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Water in gear oil, what to do?

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  • Water in gear oil, what to do?

    I have a 2006 suzuki df200. Winterizing the boat this year, I found water in the gear oil. There was at least several ounces of water that came out before any oil out of the drain plug. I am not sure what caused it, but I am worried that I ran the boat all season with this water in it. I did hit a rock with the skeg (prop undamaged) last year. The lower unit had no water in it at the end of last season. I also hit a piece of wood this year, but there was no prop damage then either. The only saving grace is that I boat in freshwater.

    If I determine it is a bad seal, should I just replace it and go on as normal or should I be looking at replacing or rebuilding the lower unit due to running it with water in the oil?
    Last edited by jserr68594; 10-24-2020, 10:52 PM.

  • #2
    Here are the pictures
    Attached Files


    • #3
      S e l f f i x e r d o t c o m (all one word) has a service manual for. 2004 DF 200 PDF manual for $9.56. It’s not your year but it would be close enough to give you an idea of what you need to know and help you determine if you want to tackle the job yourself or have a shop do the work. It could be something as simple as water getting thru the drain/vent gasket. Pull the prop. off and check for fishing line on the prop. shaft. The service manual has a procedure for pressure testing the lower unit, pressure test with soapy water looking for air bubbles escaping air might point you in the fight direction. I have never had my lower unit apart so I’m surmising that water can only get in through via the prop shaft seal, drive shaft seal, shifter rod seal, or as previously mentioned drain/vent plugs.


      • #4
        I would add the proper 90 wt gear oil and roll brother. No worries. If you had metal shavings, then it would be something to worry about. I promise, you will know when a lower unit is "blowed up". These lower units very rarely need work and running a small amount of water should be okay. I say should be okay, as long as you don't have the shavings. Tearing into a lower unit is a monster. Been there done that. Removing the prop bearing housing can be tedious on an 04. It's not worth the risk of damaging that housing to see that everything is still intact. If it weren't you would see shavings and it would have been making noise. Run it with oil changed for 10 hours and change it again, just for reassurance. If it makes a bunch of noise, then shoot me a message and I'll try and steer you.

        You'll be fine.


        • #5
          I meant to ask if one of the drain plugs were loose to allow water into the unit. I would follow up with what Murray recommended on discovery, with a pressure test. The prop seal is very easy to replace (there a two on top of each other).



          • #6
            After hitting a rock, its a good idea to have the prop shaft checked because it could be bent (ask me how I know).

            A propshaft that has some runout can damage seals over time and then water gets in, and you know the rest. Mine, I couldnt feel any vibration or anything else, and the prop had no visible signs of damage. So fortunately my mechanic picked it up a few months later when it was in for its annual service. We then noticed a big scratch up under the anti-vent plate and the theory is the prop picked up the rock and it momentarily jammed between prop and that plate.

            Luckily my insurance covered damage from striking objects. So all it cost me was my excess (deductable).

            So its always a good idea to check the prop for runout, because there is little point replacing seals etc while the root cause remains unfixed.
            Last edited by Moonlighter; 10-27-2020, 10:30 PM.


            • #7
              Sometimes I am at a loss why some one will ask a question and never follow up. Whatever.
              Interesting info, nonetheless, Moonlighter. I killed my lower unit in early summer and still question what exactly happened. I don't have it around anymore to look at. I did hit something and except for scarring the prop the shaft appeared ok.