One Thing Leads to Another

By: Grid Michal

QuestionI have a 9.9 hp Honda extra-long-shaft outboard. I have been disappointed with a recurring problem. There is a vertical shaft bushing that has seized up on three different occasions. I owned previous engines of the same hp and size, they were Johnsons, and I never had a problem like this; I don’t think they even had a vertical shaft bushing. What happens if I eliminate the bushing?

AnswerBecause everything that spins and has length tends to wobble, noise (NVH) is created. To stem the wobble, a plastic bushing is inserted in the mid-section, and all’s well with the world … until salt residue builds up behind the bushing and squeezes it into the driveshaft, effectively locking the engine. So, if you eliminate the bushing, you’ll have a wobble that will transfer itself to bearings, wearing them, and manifest itself as noise in the process. That leaves me with two choices:

1. Remove the bushing it its entirety, grind out the corrosion where it was positioned and reinstall a new one with waterproof grease. You’ll find the old one was put in without grease, and you’ll have to destroy it to remove it.

2. Use a micrometer to measure your driveshaft diameter at the point where it contacts the bushing. Get the next size larger drill bit and enlarge the bushing’s ID. That’s a “That’ll get ya, sucka!” cure, but you shouldn’t have another problem for few seasons. After a while, the corrosion will push the bushing out of its retainer, seize it to the shaft, and you’ll have to put a new one in with grease.

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