View Full Version : 85 S&S transmission click

08-10-2012, 12:38 PM
Afternoon TT'ers,

I need some assistance from the engine gurus out there. My S&S has a clicking noise coming from the very back end of the trans...near the shaft. It only happens once it is in gear and the prop is spinning. It doesn't happen at idle and shifting into gear is smooth as butter. Trans fluid is good, no metal shavings. I have had the boat in the water and does same thing. Clciks in gear at all speeds. Below is a video link.


Thank you for your assistance.

08-10-2012, 04:54 PM
If it is only doing this out of the water it is because your cutlass bearings need water to lube the shaft to keep it from binding and making a horrible noise. Does it do this in the water?


08-10-2012, 05:27 PM
Yes, it does it in the water. I never Run the prop on the driveway, just did it for a short bit this time to make the video. But, makes the same noise in the water also.

08-10-2012, 08:09 PM
Whatever it is, it doesn't sound good. I'd pull the transmission and see what's going on in there before I ran it anymore.

Does that noise go away when you're under a load (accelerating from a stop, etc)?

It could be the damper if it does, but that sounds awfully loud for a damper.

Might be the input shaft nut has backed off on your transmission.

Basically it's all a guess until you get in there and see what's going on.

If you continue to run it like that you might run the risk of catastrophic drivetrain failure from the way it sounds.

You could try using an automotive stethoscope to figure out the exact area the noise is coming from. That might help you narrow down the source.

Did this noise start all of the sudden, or did it come on gradually?

08-10-2012, 08:51 PM
Hey Tockit,

It's been doing it ever since I bought the boat about a month ago. I didn't really notice it until I ran the boat in the lake with the cover up.

It does get better at faster speeds but still clicks. The loudest point is definitely at very low speeds. The sound is obviously coming from the very back end of the trans where the shaft connects.

Next question is how hard is pulling the trans? I would consider myself fairly mechanical, but removing the trans is well beyond what I have ever done with respect to an engine.

08-10-2012, 09:42 PM
Could this be related to the shaft being out of alignment?

08-10-2012, 09:50 PM

08-11-2012, 12:48 AM
Go the easy route first.
Disconnect the shaft/coupler from the trans. Push it away (wrap a towel around the prop before that, so it does not hit the rudder).
Run the engine (with water of course) and see if the clicking is still there.
If it is. It is trans.
If it is less. It is both.
If it is gone. Buy a new shaft A.R.E. shaft (http://www.elberts.com/) Strut Bushings and XPC shaft seal from OJ props.

08-11-2012, 10:21 AM
Thanks guys. I didn't really think about the shaft possibility until I read additional threads on here. And the noise sounds like it is in the coupler area.

I checked last night and the prop passes the 'pinky turn' test. A quick visual and the appears to be slightly left in the hole in the hull. And I do have a very slight side-to-side movement of the shaft in the strut. Very slight, but read that any movement at all could mean a bad cutlass.

I'm gonna disconnect her this afternoon and see if the clicking goes away. Will post what I find.

Thank you guys so much for your help. Fingers crossed it not the transmission!!

08-11-2012, 02:30 PM
Alright guys. Got the coupler separated. With coupler completely disconnected the shaft side sits about 1/8 below the trans side. Left to right seems good. There is also a good amount of slop in the shaft and the log. Is this normal?

Ran the motor on water and the clicking was definitely gone. There was additional sound coming from the trans but I am not sure what normal should sound like. I have read posts that say they can be a bit loud on these oldies.

Here is a new video. The video sounds more like a softer tapping noise but in person that wasn't as distinguishable.


Thanks again for all the help.

08-11-2012, 03:33 PM
That sound just like mine. I have an 85.

So, if you are going to do this right.
Pull your prop
Remove your shaft. If there is scaring, burning or anything of that sorts. REPLACE IT!

I'm speaking from experience. What is going on with you happened to me. But I ignored it. I just bought bigger speakers, took care of the problem for a season.
This is what happened to me.

How I fixed it.

08-11-2012, 04:02 PM
Thanks Wired. I appreciate the info. How do you like the dripless log? Did you Replace your strut as well? What kind of shaft did you buy? It should be noted that I have v-drive 1.52:1 trans also.

08-11-2012, 04:36 PM
I love my drip less shaft seal.

I did need a new strut. The previous owner did some damage to the strut and replaced it with a the wrong year and angle. It was rubbing the shaft log and ruined the seal & shaft.

What I bought.

A.R.E 3 piece stainless shaft (Elbert's. They manufacture the ARE shaft. Cheapest price) http://www.elberts.com/
OJ shaft seal kit. & Strut Bushings. OJ props. Talk to Eric. http://www.ojprops.com/

Your pricing will be a few dollars higher due to the 1 1/8 shaft size. For the powerslot

Check your strut. You may need to remove it and check if it is bent.
If it is. Check pricing with. I got parts from each of these places.
Remember with cost of parts, come cost of shipping. consider the shipping cost too.

http://www.liquidsportsmarine.com/ ( they had Old Stock that was New. I got mine from there). Found on eBay
http://www.bayareawatersports.com/ if you call. ask for Jim

08-11-2012, 05:08 PM

I can't thank you enough for the assistance. A week long family vacation is planned for next week, doesn't look like she's gonna make it. This is my first boat, although I've been around them my whole life. Would you say these are tasks that could be accomplished by a rookie? None of it seems terribly bad, the strut/shaft alignment seems a bit challenging.

Thanks again

08-11-2012, 05:10 PM
And is that Acme prop? How do you like it?

08-11-2012, 05:58 PM

08-11-2012, 06:29 PM
And is that Acme prop? How do you like it?

I did many many days of research emailing people on this site with the same boat as mine and calling OJ and ACME. Where I live and where I take my boat determined what I got.
The previous owner had a 4 blade OJ. He only went to the Sacramento delta and never anywhere else. So no much many feet above sea level. I tow my boat everywhere. Most of the places i go are 2000 feet and above sea level Lake Tahoe, Union Valley Reservoir, Lake Berryessa, Shasta, Rollins Lake.
So in calling ACME and OJ.
ACME was hard to get a hold of on the phone. Finally did they were very short with me in regards to my needs. (may just my luck/maybe I talked to someone before they had their coffee)
I went with OJ. Eric spent a lot of time with me on the phone. Listening to what I do ski/wakeboard, engine upgrades horsepower/maintenance. I went with OJ 913 13x13. 4600 RPM 39 MPH. They gave me credit for my old prop too toward purchase.

Don't think too hard about this.
Get it up and running safe.
Replace any hoses only if ya need to.
Otherwise it will nickel and dime you to death. Or should I say Fifties & Hundies you to death & and cause Undue arguments with you and the wife or girlfriend. And the "I told you so" will starts.

Anyone can align a strut/shaft. Of course when I needed my friends or Brother everyone was busy. Could not ask the wife to help me either. The police would be in my driveway within the first 1/2 hour of us starting on the repair.
So, I had my 15 year old niece help me hold parts up. Like the strut and shaft as I bolted thing up and tightened everything.
I used the 3M Sealant to seal the strut up.

I PM'd you as well


08-11-2012, 07:32 PM
Try this post.

It runs through about everything you will have to do in regards to install and alignment.


08-11-2012, 07:39 PM
Thank you for the links Cloaked. Great info.

Wired...again your assistance is much appreciated. Luckily I have my dad to assistance with the work. As long as I keep the beer fridge stocked for us, he's cheap labor.

I'm going to use the boat for mostly slalom and footing and tubes for the kids of course. I'll give Acne and Oj a call Monday and see what they recommend for the powerslot.

Fortunately, my wife won't be upset with spending time to fix the boat...but, she will freak of we're down for the rest of te summer. She loves being the boat and the kids would be devastated.

Thank you all again for the valuable information. I will try to take step by step pics.

08-12-2012, 07:48 AM

08-12-2012, 01:49 PM
So i started dismantling everything today in preparation for the repair. After removing the packing bladder (name), it was apparent that there was absolutely NO packing in there. I was wondering about this after I separated the coupler from the trans and the whole shaft slid down without removing the packing nut. I haven't taken the shaft out, but just wiggle of the shaft and it appears that the shaft is sitting in the center of the through-hull. Leads me to believe that the strut not necessarily bent. I do also think the cutlass is bad or going bad. There is some streaking on the shaft where it goes in the cutlass. I wouldn't call it scouring (sp?), but it definitely has seen some friction.

Plan of attack - replace shaft, strut, cutlass, upgrade to OJ dripless shaft seal, and send existing OJ 14x16 prop to OJ for a check.

I'm not convinced that the strut is bent, but I think I am going to replace just for peace of mind.

08-12-2012, 02:52 PM
I recently replaced my strut. I would not use 5200 adhesive on it. If you have to remove the strut in the future it will be difficult. I used a good marine silicone. In my opinion the 5200 is unnecessary..just an opinion. The biggest problem I had was the clearance between my powerslot and the drive shaft coupler. It required me having to raise the engine to get the castle nut in the coupler and on the shaft. I elected not to go with a drip less shaft seal. After a ton of reading It did not seem like a good fit for me. Plus with the powerslot there is very little room between the coupler and the shaft log. A properly adjusted packing nut will let very little water pass and is a cheap date. Plus it's super simple to install. It's not a hard job but for sure you need two people. Good luck

08-12-2012, 05:37 PM
Valid point Chris,

I was going to ask skidm tomorrow about the dripless dimensions. The most frustrating thing is that I don't necessarily know how it's supposed to be (first time boat owner). I would have thought there would be something (bearing or bushing) that would be inside the log to keep the shaft centered in the log. After deeper inspection I did find some packing material in the nut by very little. No idea how I wasn't taking on alot of water.

When the shaft is disconnected from the coupler it sits about 1/8 below the trans side. Left to right is good. And the shaft rests on the bottom of the log. From what I have read, the motor should be aligned to the shaft, but if I do that the shaft will scrape the bottoms of the log.

What ensures the shaft is in the center of the log...without the coupler connected?

Right now the weight of the shaft mount hanging is what was causing my original problem.

08-12-2012, 07:57 PM

08-12-2012, 08:32 PM
Pick your own poison.


08-12-2012, 08:43 PM
Adjusted Plan of attack - replace shaft, strut, cutlass, and send existing OJ 14x16 prop to OJ for a check, add GFO packing to packing nut.

It looks like you need a minimum of 7" of clear shaft for the OJ dripless. And I assume that since the overall length of the PSS dripless is 6.975", I need at least 7" for that system also. Don't have that much room.

Unless my research / measurements are off. Anybody out there have early model hull with powerslot tranny and using dripless seal?

08-12-2012, 08:49 PM

08-12-2012, 08:59 PM

08-12-2012, 09:09 PM
Great link. Where is the one in your signature line? I don't see it.

08-12-2012, 09:16 PM

08-12-2012, 09:34 PM
Great info. What size hose did you get?

08-12-2012, 09:39 PM

08-12-2012, 09:51 PM
Funny we are talking about hoses, I think that is the cause of the whole problem in this thread.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/stuffing_box shows the pic of the stuffing box hose and the PO definitely installed the WRONG hose. It was very thin and was allowing the shaft to droop and put pressure on the coupler. I originally thought that there should have been some sort of bearing inside the log to support the shaft, but researching more has proven that incorrect.

Learning is beautiful.

08-12-2012, 09:55 PM

08-12-2012, 10:04 PM
It's impressive documentation for sure. I can see burn marks on my current shaft from the packing and there is obvious wear on the shaft as well. The new shaft is getting installed with his recommendations to the letter.

08-13-2012, 02:43 PM
Well, after feeling confident in my train of thought regarding a fix, I spoke with Vince at Skidim and it looks like I may have been incorrect. I explained everything that I have seen and he said that it sounds like my shaft and coupler droop seem normal. He said the sag in the packing hose is normal with the coupler disconnected. He also said that the lack of clicking noise with the shaft disconnected could just be from removing the load, not from relieving the downward pressure on the shaft like I was thinking.

So I am back to square. What the heck is causing the clicking???

This is a total shot in the dark, but could it be the neutral safety?

Mine was disconnected by the PO and I will assume that was done because it went bad. My brief understanding of how it works is that it interrupts the ignition signal if in gear and prevent starting. Could it somehow be engaged inside the tranny and the gears hitting it. The replacement kit that I saw on skidim doesn't look like that is very likely, but at this point I'm grasping for straws.

I'm avoiding taking the transmission apart with every last breath (as you can tell), but it appears that may me my only option.

08-13-2012, 05:16 PM
Powerslot owners...is it possible to remove the powerslot portion of the tranny without removing the entire tranny?

It appears that I can get to all of the bolts, just curious about the guts. Since my clicking is isolated to that portion of the tranny, I was thinking of just removing that and inspecting.

Good or bad idea?

08-14-2012, 08:09 AM
anyone out there removed the powerslot without removing the whole tranny?

08-14-2012, 09:53 AM
I too would be worried that the prop shaft was merely amplifying the gearbox noise down the shaft. I wonder whether it may be your damper plate about to give out and the noise is carrying down the shaft. You may need to pull the whole transmission to dismiss this anyway. Don't hold back now.

08-14-2012, 10:40 AM
Peter...the damper plate has been a suggestion by a few others as well. The amplifying of the noise down the shaft is an interesting point. Last night I measured the coupler gaps (alignment) and all seems to be well...although it was a little difficult because of the coupler edges. They aren't exactly square after being painted and years of use. So getting the feeler gauges in for an accurate measurement was difficult.

I cranked her up to measure idle RPM (suggested by Skidim) and shes idling around 800-900 RPM. Guage is bouncing all over the place so not very accurate. Then I put it in gear and NO CLICKING!! Then i realized that I hadn't tightened the coupler bolts fully. Once I did...clicking noise came back.

Now i'm even more lost, but leaning to having to take out the tranny. Could the strut angle be the cause? Or would that just cause the alignment to be whacked out?

08-14-2012, 11:07 AM
I think I am just going to remove the bell housing and the tranny in one piece. That way I can inspect the damper plate first. If that isn't the issue then I'll move down the tranny. This is WAY beyond any engine work I have ever done, but supporting the motor with jacks and removing the whole housing doesn't seem that terrible.

08-14-2012, 12:00 PM
I think I am just going to remove the bell housing and the tranny in one piece. That way I can inspect the damper plate first. If that isn't the issue then I'll move down the tranny. This is WAY beyond any engine work I have ever done, but supporting the motor with jacks and removing the whole housing doesn't seem that terrible.Pulling the tranny isn't bad at all on these boats. I just did mine a couple of weeks ago with a bottle jack.

I just removed the four 3/8" transmission crossmember bolts and jacked up the engine under the left riser, then slide a couple of small 2X4's under the oil pan to support the engine while I pulled the tranny.

The transmission only wieghs about 100 pounds.

Up and down alignment is easy too. The 2 forward engine mounts have 7/16" adjusters on them.

Loosen the jam nuts under those adjusters and turn them up or down to get your vertical alignment, then tighten the jam nuts back up.

Its really not as bad as it sounds.

08-14-2012, 04:41 PM
Peter...the damper plate has been a suggestion by a few others as well. The amplifying of the noise down the shaft is an interesting point. Last night I measured the coupler gaps (alignment) and all seems to be well...although it was a little difficult because of the coupler edges. They aren't exactly square after being painted and years of use. So getting the feeler gauges in for an accurate measurement was difficult.

I cranked her up to measure idle RPM (suggested by Skidim) and shes idling around 800-900 RPM. Guage is bouncing all over the place so not very accurate. Then I put it in gear and NO CLICKING!! Then i realized that I hadn't tightened the coupler bolts fully. Once I did...clicking noise came back.

Now i'm even more lost, but leaning to having to take out the tranny. Could the strut angle be the cause? Or would that just cause the alignment to be whacked out?

Geez, I am way out of my league here, but I would expect not. It won't hurt to get it right first though to eliminate it. Having the bolts loose may have just stopped the noise transferring down the shaft. Glad I haven't got your problem.:) I don't want to be abused when you pull your transmission strip it down and find nothing wrong. One more thing you could try is a stethoscope or large screwdriver to your ear may help as to exactly where the noise is coming from.

08-15-2012, 07:32 AM
Thanks Tockit for the info, I'm going to give it a whirl.

No worries Peter, I certainly wouldn't give you any crap if there's nothing wrong. I know that there is, just not sure where. I found the Borg-Warner manual to my tranny last night and there really isn't much in the way of gears inside the powerslot portions. After seeing that, the damper plate is making more sense. Either way, tranny is coming off to find out.

It's good that I am getting a 'mastercraft' maintenance education, but bad that I am losing summer lake days. I am going to try to take her apart this weekend. Will keep you all up to speed on my findings.

08-20-2012, 04:53 AM
Well, How did you go?

08-20-2012, 08:09 AM
Not much progress unfortunately. Florida summer rain is like clock-work.

Was able to get some dash wiring sorted out. Proper ignition and stereo wired properly. And I got the drivers seat put back on the adjustable slide rails (Thanks to Rambo Marine).

Transmission is hopefully this week!!

08-24-2012, 05:00 PM
Alright guys...got the tranny off today. Here are some pics. I can't tell from just looking at the damper plate that there is anything wrong, but it's getting replaced anyway. It is quite rusty. I have read a few people on here painting the new dampers with rustoleum...any thoughts??

08-24-2012, 05:04 PM
Here's the tranny side. Again, pretty rusted...although there is no structural damage. Should I grease the spline portion when putting her back in? Also considering a tranny rebuild from a local shop while it's out. Figure it couldn't hurt since I am still not totally sure where the clicking is coming from.

08-24-2012, 05:09 PM
The flywheel looked the most rusted. And there are quite a few teeth that are chipped off. Hard to tell from the pic, but about half of the tooth is broke off on about 15 or so teeth. I can't see how this is the source of my problem since the teeth only touch the starter, but I could be wrong. And the started has some obvious corrosion, but I haven't experienced any trouble with it. I think these are all unrelated, but I might just go ahead and replace while it's apart.

08-24-2012, 05:11 PM
Take a look at the engine mount in this pic. The rears on my boat have definitely been around a while...the fronts look pretty new. Notice how far right it is sitting in the bushing. Is this normal?

And yes...the PO disconnected neutral safety. Going to re-connect. Looks like I could easily split the yellow/red wire and wire it in, but I have seen some people that have the white wire coming from the breaker going to it. Any thoughts from the gurus?

08-25-2012, 12:47 AM
Where is everyone? You guys at the lake skiing while I'm working on tranny??? Jealous.

08-25-2012, 12:54 AM
We have helped you get this far, now we are all running for cover. Looks like hard decisions ahead...:D

08-25-2012, 01:36 AM
Lol. Nice one...that one made me laugh.

08-25-2012, 06:57 PM
Damper plate painted. Going back on tomorrow.

08-26-2012, 05:30 PM
made some more progress today, but not as much as I would have liked. Was hoping to get in the water next weekend...not happening!

Problem arose while putting the new damper plate back on. According to my research, bolts to mount to the flywheel should be 35ft/lbs of torque. But, that snapped the head off the first bolt. So either the bolts can't handle the torque or my wrench needs to be calibrated.

Moved on to the prop and got prop shaft all put back together. The original log hose was less than adequate and was allowing quite a bit of movement. Don't think it was the source of my problem, but I replaced anyway. As you can see from the pics, the old hose was super thin. Also replaced the packing in the nut with the Gore-tex material from Skidim. There was originally 5 pieces, but after some research, I decided on 3 pieces of the new material.

08-26-2012, 06:05 PM
Good job so far.

08-26-2012, 07:10 PM
Good job so far.

Thanks Peter. I'm a rookie, but the knowledge on this board is amazing and making things a lot easier...and cheaper.

08-26-2012, 09:58 PM
It is funny, I am a rookie too when it comes to different problems. We only get experience when we have had that particular problem with our boat. Man some of the people on here must of fixed a lot a boats!!:) Still unsure as to whether damper plate will fix your clicking noise. Have fun.

08-27-2012, 10:04 AM
The old damper did look like it had been around a while. I couldn't see any visible damage but the springs were sealed so I couldn't see those. I hope it's the problem...otherwise I'll get some more practice taking the tranny out.

09-02-2012, 01:03 AM
Got the damper plate put back on today. Had some trouble with the bolts to mount to the flywheel, but I got that squared away. Some research showed those bolts torqued to 35 ft-lbs, but that snapped a bolt...realized that information was incorrect thanks to some help from some other TT'ers.

I don't know about everybody else, but my powerslot feels A WHOLE LOT heavier than 100 lbs. Or I'm just a sissy!! Thanks to my dad's ingenuity, we were able to make a DIY lift that held the tranny up and let it slide right back on. Definitely going to by an engine lift. Any recommendations?

Everything is back together accept for the couplers. Going to check out the alignment on Monday and hopefully get her in the water to see if the damper plate resolved the CLICK. Sayin my prayers!!

09-02-2012, 04:46 AM
I'm a-waitin. Better be good news. ;)

09-07-2012, 07:16 PM
It's been a few days so I thought I would let you guys now how things went.

After getting everything buttoned up we did a really quick water test and click was still there. I was BUMMED!! This was really quick trailer in the lake test last weekend and I was determined to get the kids back in the water this weekend.

I had previously checked the tranny fluid on the dip stick and all looked good so we didn't change it while putting on the new damper. I decided to check again, this time with a flash light down in the tranny. STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE!!! Was so thick that I burned up my drill pump trying to get it out. Eventually got 1.6 quarts out and put new Dex in.

Today at the lake....got her off the trailer and NO CLICK!! YIPPEEEEEEE!!!! Smooth as butter and no noise from the tranny.

After a little time on the lake, I did here a very slight noise, at about 5 mph then nothing at any higher speed (it was more like the sound of gears, not the harsh click). Ate lunch and back on the lake, NO NOISE...then after a while...same slight noise.

It was like the noise came after the tranny fluid heated up. My dip stick says the fluid amount is right at the fill line, but I am curious if my tranny likes more fluid. I'm gonna do another fluid change and put in 2 quarts this time instead of 1.75 like I did this time and see how she acts.

Thanks to EVERYONE who helped me out with this project. I am so happy that we were able to get back on the water and I am greatly appreciative of the TT'ers!!

09-07-2012, 07:29 PM
Hmmm, At least you have a new damper plate. :D