How to Remove a Propeller Shaft From a Volvo Stern Drive

Updated April 17, 2017

Volvo Penta engines have been a popular choice of stern drive motors among boat owners for decades. Like all stern drive motors, the propellers and propeller shafts endure most of the stress and pressure. Physical forces from all directions act on the propeller shaft as the engine supplies sudden torque to it through a series of gears and universal joints. The rudder mechanism adds additional lateral forces, while the up and down movement of the boat through wave rakes causes vertical stresses. The propeller shaft can also suffer misalignment and bending as a result of propeller impacts on underwater objects. Removing the propeller shaft requires a few steps and speciality tools.

Trailer the boat, and secure it so the wheels do not move. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket, and remove the ignition key. Set the engine in a vertical position. Place a drain pan under the lower unit oil drain plug hole. Use a screwdriver to remove the drain plug. Open up the engine case and pull the dipstick. Let the gear case oil drain into the pan. Insert and tighten the drain plug with the screwdriver.

Set the shift selector in reverse. Wedge some wood blocks between the propeller blades and the ground's surface to prevent it from turning. Use a socket to remove the cone bolt from the end of the shaft. Pull off the cone, the spacer washer and O-ring. Tap the back heel of the propeller with a copper hammer, and slide the propeller off.

Keep track of the propeller shaft key and the thrust shaft bearing. If the propeller shaft key appears pressed on the thrust shaft bearing, attach a three-prong gear puller around the propeller hub and twist the centre shaft screw clockwise with a socket to break it free.

Wipe the propeller shaft with a rag. Use a large slot screwdriver to remove the two bearing housing screws. Use the Volvo Penta special tool # 884161 to remove the bearing housing. Place the slide hammer over the shaft, and connect the sleeve end, according to directions.

Pull the slide hammer back on the tool several times until the bearing housing pops out from the case. Use a socket to remove the six bolts holding down the flange washer. Use a copper hammer to knock the propeller shaft out of the bearing case, but do so lightly, striking the surface of the shaft in a circular motion.


If the bearing housing resists light hammer blows, it might be necessary to take the shaft to the marine repair shop and have the bearing housing pressed from the shaft, using a special press.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Drain pan
  • Wood blocks
  • Socket set and wrench
  • Copper hammer
  • Gear puller (if applicable)
  • Rags
  • Volvo Penta bearing removal tool # 884161
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About the Author

Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.