The comments made by Jim are correct. The shims are not related to the oil
seals at all, but are used to set the gear
backlash and the gear
tooth contact pattern on the gear set in any given saildrive
leg and bearing carrier differs from other legs and carriers, just because there are always minute machining differences between parts
, and the shims are there to accommodate these small differences. For this reason the thickness and/or number of shims in one leg will almost never match the thickness and number of shims in another leg.
book is a little deceptive as to the location and size of the shims..... They are actually located between the bearing carrier housing and the outer race
of the rear propshaft bearing, and they cannot be seen unless the outer race
is pressed out of the housing. If you didn’t press the bearing race out of the housing , you have nothing to worry about. Even if you did press the bearing race out of the housing, frequently the shims stay stuck in the housing because of oil
tension, and they are easy to miss. It’s unlikely you lost
the shims....they are about 3” in diameter, the same size as the bearing race.