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VP outdrive bellows post


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I'm going to have my boat lifted in a few weeks and amongst many other things, change the VP drive bellows and anodes.

I may be wrong, but I thought it was this forum where someone had a lot of grief with theirs, and posted quite a few helpful photos.

If it was on here, can anyone point me to it again, only I'd like to refresh my memory, so I can watch out for the same problems with mine.

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Hi I take it vp means volvo drives, changing drive bellows is easy enough but imo i would also change the exhaust aswell and check the water inlet nipple and rubber tube as well ,any corrosion in the nipple change it as they are prone to corrosion and can break or split so while the leg is off replace everthing at once

make sure to check and poss note where the jubilee clips are positioned so the screw part does not rub the ajcent bellow or water pick up pipe.

to remove the leg 1 remove access cover on the back of drive top screw normally the top screw just turn 90 degrees bottom one is a screw disconnect gear cable and pull out of drive note when replacing use new s/s split pin remove the keep bolts from the yolk undo all jubilee clips losen the bellows and water pick

up tube, place support under the leg and gently drift out piviot pins you can drift these inwards a little heat might help here ? (it is a 2 man job to remove and replace leg unless your built like the preverble BSD ) a fexi jubilee clip driver helps easy access, when the leg is off remove bellows ect clean all faces

drain leg oil (drain plug bottom of leg ) refill with 20/40 oil to level dipstick top of leg. Fill hole top righthand cap headscrew check oil level dip stick screwed in

2 replacing leg smear lightly inside of bellows with washing up liquid fit front clip and fix to transom noteing the clip position use new clips put clips onto the rear of bellow grease piviot pins lightly align the cv drive and refit the piviot pins note the indents for the keep bolts refit keep bolts connect up bellows ect to drive watch as somebody turns wheel lock to lock to make sure jubille clips are not rubbing against neighbouring bellows double check all fixings

refit gear cable use a new split pin coat all gear piviots with a lib coating of waterproof crease lightly grease screws refit cover job done

3 anode replacement if the prop has a tab washer prize up the lugs place block under prop to prevent turning undo prop nut and remove NOTE some props have aline cutter behind them very sharp remove anode clean face and replace new anode use new tabwasher if fitted tighten prop nut and align tabwasher bend tabs into gooves on prop, bar anode remove clean face replacle with new JOB DONE and peace of mind :trophy

hope this helps Craig

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Thanks for the trouble of making such a detailed reply Craig, much appreciated.

I've printed it and added it to my file for when I do the job. I've gathered quite a bit of material and photos from various forums on the Internet, and people's actual "hands on" experiences are worth their weight in gold.

Where the official manual (which I have got) might glibly say "remove bolt X", the people who've actually done it add lot's more info, and warnings of what can often go wrong, and work arounds for real world problems.

Thanks also, DF, I thought it was on here. Quite a stressful experience for MLB, I just wanted to refresh my memory of what had happened, it was very useful information for other VP owners to know.

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I have a set of photos I took when removing my legs (the very first time I had done it) earlier this year to replace my drive bellows. I thought it might be handy for anyone else to see what the bits look like if attempting for the first time.

I can't post the link here, nor cross post it as the thread is on another forum, and cannot PM you as you have it disabled. If you want to take a look at it, you'll have to PM me.

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Thanks for the very kind offer Mark, I already have them in my "VP folder".

I friend of a neighbor new about my quest and emailed the photos and text to me, (he'd already saved them for himself for future reference, as they were so good.)

The close-ups of each stage are really good, thank you for posting them.

I wonder how much bigger your circulation as a technical author is than you maybe thought it was ! :)

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Both excellent reference pieces but be careful that you are talking about the correct drive.

It sounds very much like Puddle Jumper has a much earlier Drive than Mbird. There are a lot of differences between them. For instance the single bolt on PuddleJumpers steering helmet was replaced on the 290 model with 2 bolts and a sleeve that needs to be extracted, just taking the bolts out will not release the helmet and the sleeve isn't obvious.

Would recommend getting hold of the manual for your drive, I have the Seloc workshop manual and have found it very detailed and very good but you do need to read the whole section as up dates to later drives are added after the instructions for work on an earlier drive.

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I can't emphasise and agree with Ian’s counsel enough, with any complex (and many less complex) pieces of kit it is essential to have the proper manual, even factory trained mechanics refer to them constantly in many disciplines. Not only to have one but to thoroughly read the relevant section and be entirely comfortable that you have understood it and you feel it is within your capability and you have all the required tools, including any special tools before starting the job. One tiny component not dealt with correctly or something improperly aligned can cause untold damage and ruin your hand work and waste your cash.

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Your genuine concern and extra advice is much appreciated Guys, I can fully understand the reasoning.

When people talk about attempting DIY jobs on things like engines and outdrives, the level of their mechanical experience, tools, and aptitude is an unknown quantity.

Some people can't change a spark plug without cross-threading it on the way back in, and others can do a complete engine rebuild, from the big end shells up to the oversize pistons and rings. On a forum it can be a little disconcerting giving advice to a reader who may have a false sense of their mechanical ability, (putting it nicely :) ).

Rest assured guys, I've spotted the subtle model type variations in the advice from various sources, and I think mine's a later type 290 DP drive because of the shape of the transom shield, the year (1989), and the hydraulic rams and separate plastic master cylinder on the actuating pump.

It looks as though Mark's drive is the closest to mine, from what I've been able to see of it so far.

As for manuals, I've always been a very sad case where they're concerned. I have the paper versions of the Clymer VP sterndrive manual and also the genuine Volvo 280/290 manual, as well as all of the practical information and photos I've gleaned from the Internet, (which is an invaluable supplement to the official chapter and verse).

I've studied all of the material very carefully, and will take it very steady.

To quote Donald Rumsfelt freely, I've tried to research as many known unknowns as possible, but if I bump into any unknown unknowns, I'll mention it on here.. :)

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Just to clarify Strowy, mine are the DP-D1 variant. If yours are from 1989 they may have the reversing latch mechanism that mine do not have. I think I'm right in saying the DP-C variant didn't have this either, but I'm not sure what sort of date the change occurred.

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I haven't seen mine out of the water yet, and this is the only very grainy photo I have, scanned from a small picture on an old survey report.

The official manual shows the reversing latch in good detail, but there's no mention of it during the removal procedure, so I assume it just comes off with the leg after following Mark's step by step photos (and the manual in the other hand :) ).


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One tiny component not dealt with correctly or something improperly aligned can cause untold damage and ruin your hand work and waste your cash.

Absolutely second that - more than once!!! And even if you get an engineer to help you, double check the work to ensure the work meets your standards

Best regards


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The reversing latch needs to be released to get the drive off, easy enough but have a practice first so that you are not trying to lift the wrong bit, just slide your hand under the back of the leg and lift, you can then pull the leg away but really it is a lot easier with 2.

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Thanks Senator, I've made a note of that in my tick list.

As regards the weight, yes, the manual shows it as around 58 kg for the DP, so about the same as a (traditional) bag of cement. :)

I can well imagine the strain of trying to take that weight and also maneuver it off the splines, and then eventually back on again, a bit like laying under a RWD car and removing and replacing a gearbox into the flywheel splines, (memories.. :roll: )

Plan A is to tie a horizontal steel tube just under the swim platform and hang the top housing of the drive from that with a belt, so that it takes the weight and can slide back and forth, like the official service tool.

Plan B is to get a hefty mate and a trolley jack to assist....

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The project has now commenced, and after a few initial hitches, is progressing ok.

The help and photos from various DIY sources has been really useful, supplementing the official manuals.

Just to add to the font of knowledge for anyone else contemplating the job,

I found the label on the drive, and an engraved plate (both had been painted over !), so can now confirm that it's a DP/A.

* The two tappings in the steering helmet pivot were not M6 (though the manual says that as well), they were 1/4" x 20 tpi. That could be really tricky because a M6 is so close that it does screw in nearly all the way, then starts to bind, without pushing the pivot up. One of the manuals states that the lower gear change cover screw can be used, so that showed the correct thread size. I didn't use that though, as it's a cross head, and it would have worn the slots unnecessarily.

* The slotted oil drain screw was an absolute b***er to get out. I tried an impact screwdriver, but no luck (I don't like bashing an alloy casting very hard !) In the end I ground an old 3/4" wood chisel into a perfect fit screwdriver and turned the blade with an adjustable wrench.

* I did manage to remove the leg with plan A, (on my own), the block of wood and wedge underneath allowed it to come out nicely without having to take the weight. I had the weight estimate wrong, the DPA drive is listed as being 58 kg, but that's with the transom shield, which is 14kg, so it was "only" 44kg !

* Getting the props off was quite hard, even with the proper tool. The outer locking nut was ok, with a standard socket, but the cone was as stiff as hell, and the 10mm bar of the special tool just bent. I used a round cold chisel through the holes instead, with a piece of pipe on the end of that for leverage. The special tool for the forward prop locking ring was essential, and fitted nicely, good job too, because that was damn tight as well. A crucial piece of info that I couldn't find in any of the official documentation was that both locking rings unscrew anticlockwise, despite the counter rotating shafts. I didn't like the idea of putting it in gear with that much force either, so I used another idea gleaned from the Internet, a piece of 6x4 wood between the props and the underside of the cavitation plate. I'd rather be careful to not bend the props than strain the gear train. I've always carried a spare set of props "just in case", but would never have got them off while afloat without this experience.

The components on the propshaft are a little confusing, there appear to be a few standard variations, plus maybe someone hasn't put everything back on mine. There was no locking tab washer for the front prop, I think it's fairly crucial, so will get a replacement.

I was lucky with everything else, the original bellows were in very good condition, and the UJ's were dry and with no play. The oil in the drive was at exactly the right level on the dipstick, (not lower or higher :o ) , and not emulsified.

I know most people strongly advocate changing both bellows and the pickup tube, but mine are in perfect condition, so I'm strongly inclined to just renew the drive bellows and clips with genuine VP parts. My thinking is that if the exhaust bellows develops a small hole, or the intake pipe, there's just water in there anyway ? They really are in "as new" condition, and the exhaust bellows are even more expensive than the drive belows (around £45 !).

I intend changing the drive bellows and antifouling the boat every two years anyway, so they'll get checked again then.

Last point (sorry for the long post !), I noticed the tilt arm plastic pivots had a lot of play, so will be replacing those anyway, but also the steering helmet pivot bush has quite a bit of side play as well, giving the leg about 2-3" of free play, making the steering even vaguer than normal outboard/outdrive wander at slow speeds. I intend to replace the inserts and seal on that as well.

So things are progressing OK, with the leg presently being cleaned off at home ready for painting.

Here's a photo of my method for getting the tilt pins out, (I don't like bashing things with a drift if I can help it !)

to be continued..... :)


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That must be the shiniest tilt pin I have ever seen!!!

Incidentally I have started to look around YouTube and just about all the Volvo 'How Too' videos have been pulled - there used to be loads showing 'How To Remove an Outdrive' or service this and that engine - all gone - just sponsored links... I wonder if Volvo have launched some sort of 'Intellectual Property suit...'

Oddly the Mercruiser stuff is still all there!!

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Like the Idea with the pin removal tool, take it you pushed the pins outwards with a piece of bar.

I did knock mine inwards with a hammer but then have never been adverse to a bit of brute force and ignorance.

My manual stated that you should not knock them in if the drives have power trim but that they are tapped and should be withdrawn by threading in a bolt and pulling them with a slide hammer. Your method looks far better, maybe you could market it as a special tool? cheersbar

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