View Full Version : Bravo style outdrives - what do you do to yours and when?

HB Vic
10-31-2012, 05:30 PM
Many of us with a little more than stock HP have had the unfortunate experience of losing their Bravo style drives.

I had the unfortunate experience of grenading my Teague drive beyond recognition a few years ago. I'm running a TCM800 and at that time the boat had approx. 100hrs on it. The drive was opened up around 75-80hrs. Had some minor issues but had everything fixed 100%. When it blew, sure it hurt my pocket book, but what hurt the most was it was the first day of a long trip.

At the time I opted to have Max Machine Works in Havasu build me up a brand new drive using Merc internals but their larger bearings and modified case. To date this drive has not had any issues.

Rather than continue to blow up Bravo's, I decided I was going to go with the new Imco SCX. Forked out the dough, got the drive, and had it installed on my scooter. For some bizarre reason my potato chip did not agree with the SCX. A few of us did some homework, took a lot of measurements, and continued to scratch our heads as to why my boat did not like this drive. I continued to try and drive the boat for a few hours and finally gave up when I could not get past 80-85 without the boat feeling like it was going to lose control at any moment. Fortunately the good people at Imco took the drive and helmet back and refunded me in full. You can't beat that!!

After the SCX experiment I decided to go with another Bravo. I managed to find a MMW billet upper from a guy on the East coast. Had it shipped direcly to the guys at MMW and had them completely tear it apart. The drive was almost cherry...score! So I had the MMW guys build me a lower and in the end a complete MMW/Bravo drive.

Since then I swap out drives around 20hrs or so. I also do an oil change in between swaps. The last swap cost me a few buck as the pinon was showing pitting. Pitting usually leads to a broken tooth. One single broken tooth can absolutely ruin your boating season. So I had the MMW boys put a new pinion in it and away I went.

Some may think this is extreme. Maybe it is. But the next time I'm dead in the water due to a drive failure, I'm going to have a little grin on my face knowing I have a complete spare ready to bolt on in 10-15 minutes and we can continue to enjoy the weekend. Thank god I do not own a twin engine boat.

What do you do with more than stock HP and your Bravo drive??


10-31-2012, 08:14 PM
So when you swap drives do you inspect them and if they are good put them back on or are you just trying to spread the wear across two drives? Seems like it could get a little pricy rebuilding drives every 20 hours.

HB Vic
10-31-2012, 08:30 PM
So when you swap drives do you inspect them and if they are good put them back on or are you just trying to spread the wear across two drives? Seems like it could get a little pricy rebuilding drives every 20 hours.

Guess I forgot that part. I send them in to get torn down, inspected, and parts replaced if needed.

Menace Marine
12-07-2012, 04:05 PM
In my experience drive oil is the critical factor Without getting into a pissing match about what oil is better I will simply say good oil is fresh oil. Change it every 10-15 hours on the drives with bigger motors and you will be ok. If you have over the rated hp for the drive I like to inspect them at the 50 hour mark. It shouldn't be a problem keeping an xr style drive alive with under 1000 hp between the 50 hour inspections assuming the oil is kept clean and fresh.

02-03-2013, 11:17 AM

You are running an 800 Teague engine in your F-26. I was under the impression that the Maxworx drive could handle 800hp with no problem. Your saying that you send it in every 20hrs. to have checked. That sounds expensive for the average boater, I'm not banging on the Maxworx drives but if there are defective parts in it after 20hrs It seems a bravo 1 XR is just as strong if maintained properly. Does the MAX upper have bigger gears or are they Merc gears with a beefier Max housing? Maybe your big toe is causing the drive damage after 20hrs. All that said 90% of the threads that I have read on Maxworx drives the owners with boats in our size range and running up to 1k hp love them. People with the bigger heavier boats not so much.
It's really odd that the SCX upper would make your boat handle so poorly. I run the B1XR SC Lower on a Mach26 and in the future would like to upgrade to maybe the SCX but I don't know now. What about the SCX-4 would that be an option with an SC Lower?

Thank You for starting this thread.

HB Vic
02-03-2013, 02:01 PM
The max drive uses standard Merc gearsets but larger bearings and some other beefier parts. Have not wrecked one yet which is why I'm having them torn down every 20-25 hrs. So far that's equated to once or twice a season.