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Boat Gear Lube Change and Maintenance
Do It Yourself - Why Not? It Is Easy!
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I have compiled this step by step guide on how to change a boat's stern drive gear oil.

I have also encountered some frustration in finding the proper tools that fit. I guess, so much for standardization! Hopefully this procedure will help you avoid those frustrations.

This procedure is based on a Volvo Penta SX stern drive.

I bought a gear lube pump that says "also fits a Volvo". So I thought, that is a good start! To better complement that, although a little pricy, I also bought a Volvo Penta gear lube. Halfway through my maintenance, I noticed that the gear lube pump cap was smaller in diameter than the oil container. In fact when I went around the stores, all the gear lube pumps were that way! It took me the rest of the afternoon to find a general-purpose fluid pump that has the same diameter as the Volvo Penta oil container. I rigged it by connecting the fill tube of the older pump (2) to the fill tube of this general-purpose pump (1) (see Pictures below).

Luckily it fit snugly!

So much for that! Here is the procedure to changing the Gear Oil.

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  • 3 liters of 75W-90 Synthetic Gear Oil
  • wide flat-head screwdriver and/or flat-head screwdriver bit socket
  • 3/8" socket
  • 9/16" socket
  • socket wrench
  • gear lube pump
  • paper towels & rugs
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    Remove the rear cover

    Clean the dipstick and set aside

    Take out the Rear Cover by pulling it towards you

    Take note of the Oil Level Plug

    Loosen the Oil Level Plug

    Check Oil Level Plug for metal filings

    Clean and set aside

    Look for the Drain Plug; usually at the bottom of the Lower Leg Drive

    Place an Oil Drain Pan beneath the Drive

    Loosen the Drain Plug

    Proceed to take out the Drain Plug

    If you have a Skeg Guard installed, you might want to take this out too!

    Check the Drain Plug for metal filings

    Also check the oil for any traces of moisture

    Put some rug or paper towel beneath the Oil Level Plug hole

    Prepare your Gear oil and install the Gear Pump into the oil container

    Install the other end of the Gear Pump tube into the Drain Plug hole and thumb-tighten it.

    Start pumping gear oil through

    The Drive will be properly filled when oil starts coming out from the Oil Level hole at the top of the drive

    Reinstall Oil Level Plug

    Reinstall Drain Plug

    Reinstall all other parts

    Now, you're done! That wasn't so hard at all...

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