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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this at the end of the other post about another members shaft log leak but I realized I might be hi-jacking his thread so figured I would just start a new one.

Boat just went in a few weeks ago and just this past weekend as I was playing around with the stuffing box I noticed a small leak coming from the platform the muffler is screwed onto. It only leaks when the engine is in gear and at cruising RPM and it sprays a very small amount of water from a small pin sized hole. The muffler seems to sit on a raised platform of fiberglass ontop the solid fiberglass of the hull so that the screws don't screw into the hole. It is inbetween these two layers that I notice the leak. At first I thought it might be the muffler but I took it out and it is dry. Also it does not leak at all unless this boat is cranking under power so I think it could be the shaft log leaking.

Also as you can see from the 2nd pic, the boat does not have an external shaft strut - the shaft just comes right out of them hull.

Is this something that is a major problem? Should the boat be hauled or is this something that can wait till end of season? Is this type of thing normal?

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Also what is surrounding the shaft log? Meaning in the part of the boat you can't see from the prop to where it enters the cabin near the stuffing box? Is it hollow? is it fiberglass? I'm trying to figure out that if water is getting outside the shaft log, what it might be damaging

Thanks
Nick
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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Leaks through layers of laminate scare the be-jesus out me. Wonder if it's freeze damage? I think it's going to take a fiberglass guy to look at it. Maybe they can haul it out, drill bazillions of holes into the area, dry it out and then squirt all sorts of epoxy resin into that area and that would just be a patch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It seamed to be clear but it is such a small amount that I am not sure. Also I took off the muffler which was screwed in with four 1 inch long screws and the whole area seemed to be solid and no water was seen in or around the screw holes. The only reason I am thinking it is the shaft log is because where else would the water be coming from? Also it only happens when the boat is in gear at cruising rpms/speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also what do you think is in that raised platform that the muffler is screwed onto and the shaft log enters? Do you think it is hollow? Would it make sense to drill a tiny hole into the front facing triangle to see if water really is getting in there?
 

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STARBOARD!!
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It could be that this type of installation requires a weep hole to allow water in to the cutless bearing and shaft seal. If there is no way for air to escape then the cutless and shaft seal could get an air pocket trapped in and remain dry which would increase friction and cause heat damage.
 

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Are You Sure

the shaft log is leaking? Water cannot run uphill. I really would suspect the muffler. You say it only leaks at crusing rpm and then a fine mist? It also could be water flying off the packing gland when under power.
I would check the muffler again under power.

Fair Winds

Dave
 

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water can run uphill, via capillary action. That's how trees get water from their roots... and it can go a long, long way uphill.
the shaft log is leaking? Water cannot run uphill. I really would suspect the muffler. You say it only leaks at crusing rpm and then a fine mist? It also could be water flying off the packing gland when under power.
I would check the muffler again under power.

Fair Winds

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Its def not the muffler or the stuffing box - I am sure of that. Thats why this is confusing me so much because I cannot see what is going on inside of that fiberglass triangle that the muffler is sitting on and the shaft log goes in to.

What is usually surrounding the shaft log? Is it solid fiberglass or is it a hollow area?
 

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I'd hope it was solid fiberglass. :)
Its def not the muffler or the stuffing box - I am sure of that. Thats why this is confusing me so much because I cannot see what is going on inside of that fiberglass triangle that the muffler is sitting on and the shaft log goes in to.

What is usually surrounding the shaft log? Is it solid fiberglass or is it a hollow area?
 

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If it is a crack in the fiberglass, it will need a proper repair. That meens hauling the boat, grinding out the bad spot, and then laying in multiple layers of glass to restore the hull thickness and strength. Just drilling holes and injecting epoxy is NOT the way to fix something like this below the waterline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If it is a crack in the fiberglass, it will need a proper repair. That meens hauling the boat, grinding out the bad spot, and then laying in multiple layers of glass to restore the hull thickness and strength. Just drilling holes and injecting epoxy is NOT the way to fix something like this below the waterline.
I agree - I am just looking to properly diagnose what is wrong before I do haul the boat and spend weeks on the hard making a repair.
 

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Also what is surrounding the shaft log? Meaning in the part of the boat you can't see from the prop to where it enters the cabin near the stuffing box? Is it hollow? is it fiberglass? I'm trying to figure out that if water is getting outside the shaft log, what it might be damaging
I suspect that what you have is a fiberglass tube that is glassed into the hull. Since you don't have a strut, the cutless bearing is installed in the aft end of the tube. I am sure this all solid fiberglass in this area.
 

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I would find it hard to believe that water would run uphill from the shaft to where you are indicating the leak. Are you sure the clamps are holding tight on the exhaust hose? Is the exhaust hose above waterline there? I doubt it considering the height over the shaft. So if the hose is under water, perhaps some pressure builds up when running and then goes away when shut down. Try tightening the clamps, or better, get 2 very good new ones to tighten down the hose. Is there signs of aging of the hose? Could be cracked.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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You may have crevis corrosion in the welds on your water lift muffler if it's stainless or a crack in the exhaust hose at some point aft of the muffler, particularly if the hose is very old. As a hose ages, cracks tend to form around the circumference, eventually exposing the wire reinforcing to the air which further weakens the hose. We discoverd the source of a mysterious leak--such a crack in our own exhaust hose--during a cruise to Key West last year. One simple way to check is to soak a small piece of spong in food coloring and place it in the filter basket where debris is collected in your raw water filter. The coloring agent will leach out and discolor the water which will be detectable on a white paper towel. (Whether that is the source or not, don't forget to remove the sponge!)

FWIW...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions so far. I actually took the muffler off and disconnected all the hoses and filled the muffler with water over the galley sink to see if it leaked anywhere, epecially from the bottom but it didn't leak at all. Also the hoses all connect from the top of the muffler so if they were leaking I would be able to see it. When I re-installed the muffler I dried and cleaned the whole unit as well as the area where it screws into.

When I ran the boat again the spray came back from the same spot but the muffler and hoses were totally dry so I'm pretty sure I can rule out the muffler. I just can't think of anything else it could be though? I think I am going to try drilling a very small hole into this area just to the right or left of where the shaft log is and see if water starts coming out or to see what is behind there. I know it is not the exterior hull or bottom of the boat as that is much lower. Other than this I can't think of anything else to try?
 

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Ok, so here is my GUESS. I think that your cutlass bearing housing, is leaking around it's perimeter, where it exits the hull. If it were mine, and after reviewing the other suggestions, and ideas, and it still seemed plausible, I would haul the boat, pull the shaft (into the boat), make an airtight plug and insert it into the stuffing box inside. I would get some butyl tape, and tape an area off completely surrounding the cutlass bearing area 2-3' cover with poly so you have an airtight bag, and insert a vacuum source. check and halt any air leaks. Now look for water being pulled OUT of the hull. My 2 cents thinks its going to be leaking on the outer perimeter of the cutlass bearing. For a good vacuum source, go to your local refrigerator repairman, and ask him for a refrigerator compressor. These will draw a nice vacuum to about -25psi. Do not think you can use your own, by cutting it out of your old fridge, Let a professional empty and dispose of the refrigerant. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok, so here is my GUESS. I think that your cutlass bearing housing, is leaking around it's perimeter, where it exits the hull. If it were mine, and after reviewing the other suggestions, and ideas, and it still seemed plausible, I would haul the boat, pull the shaft (into the boat), make an airtight plug and insert it into the stuffing box inside. I would get some butyl tape, and tape an area off completely surrounding the cutlass bearing area 2-3' cover with poly so you have an airtight bag, and insert a vacuum source. check and halt any air leaks. Now look for water being pulled OUT of the hull. My 2 cents thinks its going to be leaking on the outer perimeter of the cutlass bearing. For a good vacuum source, go to your local refrigerator repairman, and ask him for a refrigerator compressor. These will draw a nice vacuum to about -25psi. Do not think you can use your own, by cutting it out of your old fridge, Let a professional empty and dispose of the refrigerant. Good luck.
Say you are right and this is the problem, how severe is it? I just had the boat hauled last month and put back in before the spring rush, bottom cleaned and painted, also besides all the regular maintenance, I got hit with rigging failure and am spending mucho dinero replacing all of that. To be 100% honest I do not have any money left as I just spent over $10k last month on repairs to the boat. To spend another $1500 to $2000 to haul the boat, plus not to mention just about every single hauler is slammed busy putting boats in and does not have room until June to take boats out, is not something I am anxious to do.

I am not the type of person to let problems go so this is absolutely killing me and I know boats cost money so I am not trying to cheap out by saying I am too cheap or lazy to have it hauled. I am just trying to think of any other way to find out 100% what the problem is before I haul it or take action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Also if it is the permimeter of the cutlass bearing leaking, is there anyway to apply some 5200 or other water proof sealant while the boat is in the water to test that theory?
 
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