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James, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 4111
Experience:  12 years Certified marine mechanic, performance boat builder
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I have a slight ticking noise on my port side Mercruiser 350

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I have a slight ticking noise on my port side Mercruiser 350 MPI Seacore Bravo III. Oil level is spot on and pressure matches my starboard side (which has no noise). I only hear the ticking at idle. A slight increase in engine RPM seems to make the noise go away. Any ideas?

Hello, welcome to JustAnswer.


The ticking noise is coming from the motor, or the drive?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Im fairly certain it's the outdrive

If it is coming from the drive, the noise would have to be the very early sound of a U-joint beginning go fail, or a chipped gear. The problem with that, is a ticking noise isn't something a drive generally does. Their noises tend to be more solid.

Could you perhaps try to Identify for certain where this noise is coming from so I don't end up having you chasing around your boat?

I know finding noises can be difficult, hard to pinpoint. One trick to doing so is to use a short length of hose like a stethoscope. It sounds silly, but it really does work.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'll go to the boat now and give you additional information within the next 30 minutes.
Don't rush, I am here all day.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The noise is NOT coming from the engine but after listening to it again I'd call it more of a consistant "wordul, wordul, wordul... " sound. BOTH outdrives were actually replaced under warranty last Nov '10 for corrosion issues so they are less than one year old. Does the noise sound more like a u-joint or a gear... I'm thinking u-joint. Do you think the repairs might be covered under warranty?

If these are new drives, it's not the u-joint. Nor is it likely the gears if the drive lube bottles are full.

On the side of each gimble ring is a grease fitting (outside the boat). This fitting is to grease the gimble bearing. I would give that fitting 5 pumps of a grease gun and see if it doesn't make that sound go away. Do both engines' bearing.

If that doesn't solve the problem you are going to need to get the bearing checked, as well as the engine alignment checked. This should have been done when the new drives were put on, but it gets over looked especially when new drives are being put on under warranty.

This should be covered, by the way, though they are going to fight you on it.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The drive lube bottles have NEVER fallen out of level range. I know which fittings you are talking about. Does the boat need to be out of the water to lube these bearing or can a diver do the procedure for me?


I'll discuss the matter with my local authorized mercury marine shop if additional work is required.


Thank you James! You were a BIG help

The fittings can be greased with the boat in the water. It will require a longer than normal hose on the grease gun, and a diver isn't necessary. The fitting shouldn't be more than a foot or so below the water line. Easily accessible.
James and other Boat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
James, I forgot to ask... What is the recommended lube/VG for the gimbal ring bearing? Thank you
You want to use a quality marine grade grease. The manual calls for "Mercruiser gimble bearing and u-joint grease" Which is, just a quality marine grade grease.

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