Changing the water pump impeller on a boat engine lower unit is key to a strong running engine. Dropping the lower unit and changing out the impeller, on the other hand, can get tricky! Especially if you have nowhere to work on the lower unit.
How To Make A Lower Unit Stand! Using four pieces of 2 X 10 or 2 X 12 wood. Place two 18-inch pieces about two inches apart. Then screw a 12-inch piece on both sides of the 18-inch pieces.
There are a few different styles that can be made, but how you use it will determine what style is best for you. Here’s how you can decide!
How Many Times Will You Use Your Stand?
Deciding on what kind of lower unit stand is best for you, will save you a lot of time in the end. If you only need the stand once every two or three years. Then you probably don’t need to go out and spend a few hundred dollars on a professional gear case stand.
You also might not want to spend the time making a really nice and pretty stand as well.
If this is you, the quick and easy four-piece stand is going to be best for you. You can even take it back apart, so you don’t have to store it.
If you are going to be using the stand a couple of times a month. It’s probably best to tweak the stand a little bit to be as efficient and functional as possible!
You will also want to think about how you are going to use it. Is this stand going to be for mobile use, or do you have a shop, shed, garage, or somewhere that you can have it permanently installed?
Figuring this out is going to let us know what kind of lower unit stand you want to make and then will also beg the question.
How Good Are Your Carpentry Skills?
To make the quick and easy stand, you don’t need to have 50 years of fine cabinetry to make a stand to hold a lower unit while you change out the impeller.
Making an efficient and functional stand on the other hand. That can take some time and some actual skill to get it to come out right.
It will also take some more tools to make mitered and half lap joints if you really want to go all out!
Sanding the edges and measuring up the stand to make spots where you can drain and fill the lower unit oil. There can be a lot of time and effort put into making a gear case stand. If you really want to.
There is something else to consider, though, too.
How Do You Want The Gear Case To Sit?
The style of the stand you build will need to be built around the position you would like for the lower unit to sit.
Most commonly, a professional lower unit stand that you buy from a major manufacturer. Is going to have the gear case sitting in a yoke that lets the lower unit rest on the anti-ventilation plate.
The homemade DIY lower unit stand usually is designed to have the skeg sitting in between the wood and resting the lower unit on the bullet of the gear case.
I have seen some very nice stands built into a garage or a home shop. With wheels, slots for drain pains, and counters for tools. That is a little custom for what we are talking about today, and if you are building that, you probably don’t need any advice on how to do it! 🙂
We are going to stick to the old school stand that just holds the skeg and rests the gear case on the bullet of the case. Two common styles are usually made.
The Quick & Easy Gear Case Stand
This is the stand that only uses four pieces of 2 X 10’s or 2 X 12’s.
We’ll take two of those pieces and then cut them into the same length. They don’t have to be exact, just that they are at least 12-inches in length.
With those two pieces next to each other, we’ll set them roughly 2-inches apart. Then we will take our last two pieces and cut them down to about 12-inch pieces as well.
We want to screw them to the ends of the two pieces that we have sitting about 2-inches apart. This will hold them together and have them positioned so that we can set the gear case skeg down in between them.
It will also hold the stand steady, so we can change out the water pump impeller without flipping the lower unit over!
The quick and easy stand is pretty basic. The next stand, not so much!
The Fancy & Impressive Looking Stand
This is the gear case stand that is going to require a lot of measuring, cutting, and sanding! This is fully customizable for how you want it to be, but this will be your basic set up.
We want to start by taking a 2 X 12 and cut it down to about 12 inches. Then we will cut it into an “M” shape using a jig saw and then we will make one more of them.
Next, we’ll take a piece of 1 X 4 and cut it into four 12 inch pieces. We’ll put two of the pieces on the outsides of the “M” pieces that we made.
Then we will put the other two facing inward on the top portion of the “M” shaped 2 X 12’s.
Leaving a space in the middle of the 1 X 4’s so that the lower unit skeg can fit down into them and rest the bullet of the gear case on them.
This is not an exact blueprint, but more of a visual model that can be replicated to fit your exact needs.
What Makes A Lower Unit Stand Important?
Having a lower unit stand probably seems like it is more for a mechanic or someone that is working on boats every day.
Not for the average person that just wants to change their own impeller every other year. I would say that is necessarily true though.
Having a DIY gear case holder is important because it will help to make the job easier. Having a job to do is not always enjoyable, especially when you are trying to get back out to the lake.
When you have something that makes the job easier and move along quicker, it helps to take away the frustration and the stress of doing the job.
Which, in my opinion, makes it worth having one or knowing how to build one really quickly!
Thank you for checking out this article and we hope that it has helped you in the direction of building your own lower unit stand! We have some other articles that might interest you, like this one here about Whether A Boat Is A Good Investment or Not?
Another great article is this one here about What To Expect When Moving A Boat From Freshwater to Saltwater!
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