Last winter I started noticing lower units and outdrives tilted up or left down, depending on what boatyard I happened to be visiting. It made me think there was a mechanic’s preference, so now I wonder how to tilt the drive up for the winter?
Hendry F., via BoatingWorld.com
Most of the fears have centered around gearcases freezing and cracking. When you see one with a crack that starts just in front of the prop and works its way forward, that’s from corrosion buildup between the housing and the propshaft carrier, not freezing. Before the snow flies, changing the gear oil is mandatory. If the oil is watery or milky and the drive is tilted up, water will seep in and that will freeze and cause untold damage. Before that occurs, that’s the time to correct the problem. If there’s a leak under the water pump, that also will create a freeze-and-break situation, so you see that the same problem can occur whether the drive is up or down. Change the oil, correct any leaking problems, and tilt it up or leave it down — you’ll be just fine. — GM