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outboard question

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Hi guys, I just took my pontoon out to winterize it. The oil in the lower unit came out gray, not milky white. I know that milky white is a sure sign of water in there from a seal. I was ready to pull the lower unit and over the winter bring it to a Honda dealer for compression test and repair. A local marine mechanic said that because it was not full of water and was only gray that he wouldn't do that yet. He said I could have fishing line wrapped in the prop and it could have got so tight that it could have separated that seal for a moment. I do pull lots of line out of that, its our fishing boat. He suggests that I pull the prop to clean anything that may be back there, put it in the water in the spring and pull it out after a few days to check it. Any thoughts?

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I'd take it back out on the water for a test run with the new gear oil to se if it turns gray also. If it does, you have the whole winter to fix it, not during the spring when marine mechanics are the busiest.

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yes, changing the gear oil only take a few minutes but will running it on the earmuffs for 5 minutes be enough time for water to seep thru? It was in the lake for 7 months

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Have you been changing it ever year? So is this the first time its looked gray? And what brand gear lub? Mobil one gets gray very fast. I will say that but I have not used it in some years now but the older oil I used did.

Fishing line is a common cause for the seal failure. But like said if it did not eat the seal it is likely OK if you get the line out.

Running on muffs is not going to show the prop shaft seal leaking or not.

If you had a lot of hours on it this year and its just gray it can't be leaking very much.

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The lakes are not frozen yet, clean it, change it, go fishing, enjoy a fish dinner. If all is well when you check the oil you are done, if not you have all winter to fix it.

Edited by REW
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the screw on the bottom of the unit is a magnet. It is supposed to have dome metal shavings on it but, but there was hardly any. Not like some that I have seen

I understand that, but considering the color of the fluid, I would be curious to see what a clean magnet picks up as its drug through the now drained fluid, rather then go by whats collected on the drain plug magnet through the course of use. Just about every automatic transmission I have ever dropped the pan to service, had metal dust on the magnet as a mater of being normal, but the fluid color was never grayish in color, unless there was an obvious issue.

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I agree with the comment about taking off the prop, cleaning the hub, changing the gear lube, and taking it out on the lake.

If fishing line caused the seals to fail, you should be able to see gear lube on the ground under the outboard.

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