Shaft Seal Failure - What do you do? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-29-2009
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Shaft Seal Failure - What do you do?

In my mental list of worst case scenarios, some kind of shaft seal failure while underway ranks pretty high for 'scary'.

Is there common thinking on how you would deal with this? Lets assume your shaft is still in place, but your whole stuffing box is gone - however unlikely. How would you stem the flow of water in such an awkward place?

Ideas?
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With routine maintenance, a shaft seal failure is one of the more unlikely scenarios and easily preventable. Having said that, the amount of water which would be expected with the shaft in place isn't that disasterous and most reasonably sized bilge pumps should be able to keep up with it. Certainly, you would have something like a towel, rags, etc which could be used to further reduce the flow rate to a manageable amount. The most problematic issue you might face is identifying it as the source of water once it is under water.
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maybe have a plug handy on board, a cone cut into halves with a hollow center for the shaft. that could be jammed in there if the packing failed... i wouldn't run the engine though
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I"d probably wrap a towel and plastic bag around the shaft/stuffing box and hose clamp/duct tape the crap out of it. You could dive underneath the boat and stuff the shaft tube from the outside too. A person would be properly motivated to find a fix.
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I think Ray's plan above is most practical... but K1vsk is right in saying that that particular scenario is pretty unlikely. Even a completely loosened follower is unlikely to result in an unmanageable amount of water intrusion if we're talking about a traditional stuffing box with packing rings.

But hey... It's always good the think these things through beforehand!

Breaking the seal on a "dripless" shaft seal is another story altogether - and you really need to take care if you ever remove the tranny/motor while still afloat.
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Old 01-29-2009
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I read someone's website where this did happen. Long story short, he had a diver waiting at the dock when he got back with a toilet wax sealing ring; really just a big lump of sticky, squishy wax.
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Old 01-29-2009
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I carry

I carry rubber strips for events like this. I get stuff from my wife's medical supply catalogs called Thera-Band. 12" of Thera-Band wrapped tight and some self sealing tape or zip ties goes a long way. Don't forget to lock the tranny in reverse before wrapping the shaft & shaft log.. Oh and I keep both gold and green strength of Thera-Band on-board. I'm surprised no one has marketed it as a boaters emergency repair kit..

That being said if maintained and installed correctly it is highly unlikely this will ever happen..

Cut into strips truck inner tubes are also invaluable.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-29-2009 at 07:37 PM.
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The self-fusing silicon tape works wonders for things like this.
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I know someone that had this happen to them.

She had just had the dripless seal system replaced, but something (a bolt??) was not done correctly. She motored for over a day before the seal blew, offshore, at night. Floorboards awash. Once she identified where the water was coming from, she was able to stem the flow to a manageable rate. It was a long night, particularly since they didn't want to tow her through the inlet at night. She often sails single-handed, but was lucky to have crew this time.

Yes, the problem may be rare, but not rare enough.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The self-fusing silicon tape works wonders for things like this.
Yeah I just wish they made it in wider widths.
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