Repair older Houseboat Outdrives - Dana (Chrysler) Out Drive manuals

by Old Houseboater
(Gulf Shores, Al.)

Houseboat Outdrives - Repair Manuals - Maintenance Tips

Houseboat Outdrives - Repair Manuals - Maintenance Tips

If you're looking for tips on older houseboat outdrives, or want to repair or maintain a Dana out drive made by Chrysler, than here is some invaluable information.

A large number of mid 60s to the mid 70's houseboats were equipped with DANA and CHRYSLER DRIVE 90 outdrives. Most installations utilized V8 225 HP 318 engines which were almost bullet proof. These were some of the best out drives ever produced.

The only problem is that the expertise needed to work on these units has retired or died.

If you are considering purchase of a boat with one of these installations you should obtain the manual to furnish to your service person prior to purchase of the boat.

The biggest difference, in these outdrives vs Mercruiser, is in the incorporation of an automotive clutch, hydraulically applied by a power steering pump. This setup provides smooth shifts with no clunk.

Depending on the year, this involves a mechanical or solenoid valve to operate the clutch. Proper operation of these drives require that valve operation be set up "by the book".

FAQ's regarding these drives.

What brand do I have:

Rounded upper with fin with hole DANA

Rounded upper with a chunk no hole DANA

Flat upper CHRYSLER DRIVE 90 and replacement housings.

What model do I have:

Straight splined output shaft takes outdrive _style_ props, SHIFT IN OUTDRIVE - MODEL 80


Tapered output shaft takes inboard _style_ prop, SHIFT IN OUTDRIVE - MODEL 90


All the CHRYSLER units that I've seen were model 80 internal configuration.

In addition Model 81/91 came in 2 configurations:

R/R L/L and R/L L/R (engine/outdrive) rotations

The model 81/91 used regular marine transmissions inside the engine compartment. Usually Warner Velvet Drives. If you have one of these units you are really in "TALL COTTON"

There were 2 gear ratios available but unless you have a 360 or 440 engine its not an issue.



Clutch pump oil pressure. 300 psi +/- 25 psi. If you get a junk yard or GM replacement pump swap out the reservoir which has the heat exchanger built in and also the relief valve which has the proper spring to provide the 300 psi. Same rules apply if your boat was equipped with the Chrysler pump (rare)

They also built a model 60 but I have never seen one.

They built a few units where the bellows had a protector over it. I have only seen 2 of these.

These units were some of the toughest outdrives ever built. The reason they shift so smooth is the hydraulic clutch mechanism on the engine. If this is maintained properly
these units will last forever.


Filling with oil (90 weight gear oil). These units tend to get air locked and can fool you into thinking they are full. Operate them in forward and reverse and check. These units hold 8 quarts of oil. If you have the extended length version they hold 9 1/2. Remove a cap screw out of the top of the shift lever cover when oil comes out you have the proper level. DON'T forget to put it back. Do not overfill because expansion can force out the top seal.

Hard shifting or clunking when shifting. hydraulic clutch not working - clutch plate stuck to flywheel.

Won't go into Forward/Reverse. Springs or cotter pins in intermediate shift _link_ missing or broken. (sometimes called shift assist _link_ or shift booster) Note: make sure you use stainless cotters and springs for replacements.

No drive. splines stripped off primary shaft on clutch plate end. Always use spline grease or moly when installing the outdrive.

Rattling when turning. U joint shot. Look for same size Chevy joint, a lot cheaper.

Won't stay in gear or skips. Adjustment if your lucky, if your not Nubs are worn on clutch dog and gears.

These parts can be tig welded up and reground. Use something that comes out to about 50 Rockwell hardness and grind to a 3 degree positive rake. Look in the yellow pages for TOOL AND DIE REPAIR SHOPS to do the welding and CUTTER GRINDER SERVICE to do the grinding. Show them this note.

Marysville Marine in Marysville Michigan is a good source for help on these units as is Marine The other Marysville Marine locations don't know these units exist.

Marine is also a source for parts and manuals

If you get in trouble I have installation information with adjustment dimensions. However you really need to buy a manual.

Thanks, Old Houseboater.

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Reply - Answer
Well Old Houseboater, if there was a contest for the best post of the month, you would definitely win. This is an excellent and valuable contribution to the houseboating community everywhere.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their older Dana Chrysler houseboat outdrives and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Repair older Houseboat Outdrives - Dana (Chrysler) Out Drive manuals

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Dana Prop
by: DON

wfmdfm has some Dana parts, but no way to contact them. I need a prop for my 1965 Dana out drive 17" 1-1/7 17 tooth spline hub.

If anyone has parts for sale, please use the free Houseboat Classifieds section.

IAN from All About Houseboats

Need a prop
by: Don

I need a 17" 13 pitch (or close) with 1-1/8" 17 tooth spline hub, for a Dana out drive

If anyone has parts for sale, please use the free Houseboat Classifieds section.

IAN from All About Houseboats

End cap
by: Anonymous

We need to find an end cap for 1971 Chrysler Drive 90. Any help would be appreciated.

Is it a good one. I'm new at this, it's my first boat.
by: Anonymous

I have the 318 truck big block in it, and the prop has the covers top and bottom to protect blade. Band it Hyde shift. Is it a good one or not?

Drive Problem
by: Anonymous

I have rebuilt my Dana outdrive with new bearings and u-joints. Before reinstalling, I started the engine and the drive shaft will not turn.

Anyone have a list of options to look for? It is drydocked now and I don't want to put her back in the water with out testing all possible problems.

Thanks, Patrick

1971 Dana Outdrive
by: William

Chrysler Dana 90 stopped going into drive. I can manually put it in forward drive but only shifts into reverse and neutral.

I have tried all adjustments at the hull and outdrive. I have a 1971 Gibson houseboat 36 foot. Single engine. Transom was rebuilt by Schwartzels Marine last September.

How do I replace the shifter cable?

Clicking noise on shift
by: kseyedoc

I have a 1973 Gibson with a 318 motors. The starboard engine won't go into reverse, sometimes makes a clicking noise.

To explain what it sounds like, its like if you put it in gear when engine has stalled. Do you have any diagrams of how the linkage works, I have new cables but think I need the linkage adjusted, its underwater and hard to feel what I'm working with.


In need of a prop for a 90 chrysler out drive 1973
by: Anonymous

Does anyone know where I can buy a prop for a 1973 Chrysler drive 90. It's for a 1973 Kingscraft, 31ft, she runs great, the prop is getting worn. Thanks Rob

Thanks Old Houseboater
by: Anonymous

We have 1972 32 foot Burnscraft houseboat needing a stern boot, 90 Chrysler outdrive, and tried to repair hole but not too successful.

Would anyone give us contact information please. Have a great day, and thank you.

Parts for Dana
by: wfmdfm

I have many used parts for the Dana and Stern Power Drive Legs. Email me what your looking for I and will see if I can hook you up.

Lil Lil
by: Anonymous

I had the same problem with my 318 River Queen 1968/40 foot. Two problems. First, bad thermostat or incorrect installation, gasket on wrong side.

Second, if your engine got HOT, and your thermostat was not the problem, then it most likely was the water pump. If not, most likely the excessive heat melted the insides of your engine water pump.

Good News, these engines, at least mine run real nice and cool with these problems solved, even after getting super hot and steaming.

Kennewick Man.

Clutch operation on a Gibson houseboat
by: Mark

I was looking at an older Gibson houseboat and couldn't figure out how to operate the clutch. It appears to have a slave cylinder but can't figure out how to activate it.

The motor turns over very slowly and I think this may be the problem. If anyone has any ideas let me know please.


Chrysler 318 woes
by: Lil Lil

I have a 1968 Riverqueen 35 ft houseboat. I had a mechanic work on the 318 block with Dana outdrive, it ran great for 1 short trip. Next voyage the engine started smoking and running way hot and died.

My problem now is no local marine mechanics, will even take a look at it. The advice I am getting is to get a new engine and outdrive. Is this happening to me because I am a female captain?

Chrysler/dana clutches and starters
by: Colliers Boat Dock Co

Collier's boat dock co. Table Rock Lake , Mo. We have a 50 ft working boat w/ 2 -318 chrysler engines. This boat is used almost everyday. You guys use your boats ?????

Let me tell you a secret. Take the clutch out. Starters are cheaper than clutches. Put it in gear and start the engine. Hello

Help I am Dead in the Water
by: Rob

My Chrysler 90 drive was working, stopped going into forward, but would manually engage. I tried to adjust cabling and now it will not engage manually or otherwise in any gear. Where do I start?

Houseboat Hydraulics - power steering pump getting hot
by: Anonymous

This old Chrysler/Dana power steering/hydraulic pump is getting hot. Any suggestions?

Houseboat Parts - any Dana pumps
by: Anonymous

The hydraulic pump locked up on my 1973 Burnscraft 32 foot with a Chrysler 318 and a dana outdrive. Is there any other power steering pump I could substitue for the dana other than buying another rebuilt exspensive dana pump, and get it back to shifting right again? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Houseboat Noises - outdrive, vibration / knocking
by: Gregg Riess Co. Cal.

Chris Renaud / Gilles Berube. It sounds exactly the same problem I have going on with my outdrive. I was wondering if you were able to figure out the vibration / knocking issue you have in hope it might be able to point me in the right direction. Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

Need Outdrive Help - Response To Gilles Berube
by: Chris Renaud

It's Chris, contact me. I will try to help you figure out drive issues. I lost your phone# and email. Thank You "All About Houseboats"

vibration and knocking on a houseboat
by: gilles berube

I have a 1970 Sea Rover houseboat with a 318 Chrysler and a Dana 90 outdrive. This summer I notice a sound change and vibration that started from the stern.

I can also hear a knocking while in gear, and stops when in neutral. I took the outdrive off
and all joints look very good, drained oil with stainer, (no fillings) everything seems ok.

I did a compression test on motor, everything is good, oil very clean. My next option would be the clutch or release bearing but I would have to take motor out.

Would somebody have any comments or ever had the same problem? Gilles.

Chrysler outdrive problem
by: csweavr@msn.comAnonymous

My 1980 Chrysler outdrive is hooked up to a chevy 350. My outdrive will not stay in neutral, it bounces into drive, then when I think it's in neutral, it will go into reverse.

I can't find anyone in South California that will adjust or diagnose what needs to be done, they are all afraid they won't be able to find parts, if they start to work on it.

I will have the parts made if possible, if someone knows of anyone who could do it, or that knows what the problem could be, it would be greatly appreciated.

Update: As far as I know, it's a model 5000. Where do I get a manual for that one?

Where do l see the answer to the question asked?
by: David

I also have a 1971 Gibson with a 318 and Dana 90. So I would like to see the answers to all of the questions.

Also, if anyone knows the part and model number for the shower drain pump it would be appreciated for this 36 foot,
1971 Gibson houseboat.

When I threw away the one on the boat, I didn't know Gibson had gone out of business.

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