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My shaft is leaking!


Garn
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I had my boat hooked up to Fake-A-Lake while I was winterizing it. As it was running I noticed that water was coming out of the propeller shaft right where the shaft comes out of the bottom of the boat. Is that something I've just never noticed or should it not be doing that? Do I have a problem? Let me reword that (I know I have many problems!) - does my boat have a problem?

 

Garn

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I agree with @bishop8950! This is not the right place to talk about your personal issues.

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@Garn

All shaft jokes aside;

 

Orlando is thinking of the older type of packing box - which is a big brass or plastic nut that compresses strips of special rope called packing or stuffing, the rope is either goretex or a wax impregnated fiber, and the strips have staggered seams like piston rings so that when compressed they leak less. If your boat had one of these the only way it would be leaking out like that when running on a fake a lake is if your bilge was full of water and it would only be dripping. When these are set up you have to loosen them so they drip a bit, if you tighten them way down the force and lack of cooling water burns out the rope packing. But this is not what your boat has.

 

For the past many years ski boats have come with "dripless stuffing boxes" like the OJ product or the Precision shaft seal system, these do not have rope and do not require that they drip for cooling. Some older generations of them did not have a cooling hose, but the vast majority now have a line that runs to them from the engines cooling system and pushes pressurized water out the shaft log to lubricate and cool the stuffing box.

 

So because your boat (empty bilge on trailer) is leaking out the shaft you are seeing normal cooling water coming from the system and don't have an issue.

 

Pretty common for older boats that haven't been maintained for people to complain about all the water coming into the bilge through the log - and this is usually due to the packing wearing and usually can be solved by tightening the nut that @Orlando76 is talking about.

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Unfortunately, once a dripless packing starts to leak, it is an involved repair. You must remove the flange at the transmission from the shaft - not an easy activity if your water is a bit brackish. If things come apart reasonably the replacement seal is not difficult but it's still complicated. Common problem with a challenging solution.

 

You guys are all perverts.

 

Eric

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@oldjeep Pretty simple? Pressing the flange off the shaft is not simple. Pull the engine out to get good access to the shaft and flange? I'll probably have to cut the shaft and buy a new shaft and flange to get to the $5 seal. Which only lasts a couple years.

 

I've done the job on Stan's very freshwater boat. No problems but still a few hour job with his excellent tool selection. I'll fix mine when I don't need to ski for a couple weeks in case the flange is frozen. My bilge pump can still keep up.

 

@BraceMaker is right. New stuffing is easy. Maybe I'll switch to that system when I pull things apart. A spiral or split seal would make the dripless reseal a reasonable maintenance item.

 

Eric

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@Eleeski you're doing it wrong - there is no reason to move the engine

 

Disconnect flange from trans, slide it out a bit and remove the nut. Shove a small socket or piece of solid stock between flange and trans so that it will push on the end of the shaft. Install longer flange bolts and tighten to press the shaft out. Not a big deal. If it is a little stuck then heat the flange a bit with some MAP gas.

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@oldjeep Thanks for the heat trick!

 

Your process is how I did Stan's. But Stan's was on pretty tight (cold). Mine will likely be worse. The heat might get mine apart.

 

I might move the engine on the 04 MC but it's engine is blown anyway so will have to move. (Conversion to ZO on that boat if I don't go electric.) With the shaft out, I can get it in a press. I will have to remove the rudder to get a new shaft back in (or pull the engine). Non trivial.

 

If your heat trick works, it is a doable job. Not easy. It's a huge job if it doesn't press apart. Even bigger if it warps the transmission flange.

 

Every thing will be anti seized when it goes together so I will be able to fix it next time.

 

Penicillin would be easier.

 

Eric

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Doesn't that shaft have a keyway? If I just apply enough for anti corrosion (as opposed to lube) I should be OK? I'm pretty sure I put a very thin layer on Stan's and it has worked for a couple years (he needs to replace the seal again).

 

I've used small amounts on props with good results in the past. New nylock nuts were far more important than the anti seize for keeping the props tight.

 

I'll never get it apart if it's a press fit.

 

Already I have too much time in this project and I haven't even started!

 

Eric

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@oldjeep of course how many people do you see lap their prop tapers?

 

Not everyone can be Keith Fenner, when perfectly lapped and keyed there shouldnt even be room for corrosion between a stainless shaft and a nibral prop. But since the world isnt perfect we can fill that gap with something. Loctite sells specific fit up products that if you are in a corrosive environment will seal and fill the gap, as well as release easily with a moderate amount if heat.

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