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Asleep at the wheel
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we had Dragon Wing pulled in November, I bit the bullet and had the marina winterize her. It was our first year with her, and the forecast called for below-freezing temps before I could get out there again, so I figured it was better, and possibly MUCH less expensive (if the freeze caused engine problems), to have them do it. Their winterization included changing the oil and pumping antifreeze into the raw water system (our 5416 being fresh water cooled), and I was glad it was done.

When I finally got to the boat a few weekends later, I saw that there was a hole in my bilge. In researching this, it turns out that I have a Garboard plug, and the marina had pulled the plug for me which allowed the bilge to drain. Given the leaks that have developed over the winter, I was REALLY glad they did this because it helped prevent other damage.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I was out there and found the garboard plug itself. I sat that in the galley with the keys for the engine, thinking that the marina would likely start the engine to move the boat to her slip.

Given the engine issues we had last year, I decided I would also take a quick peek at the engine compartment to see if I could see any oil leaks, etc. As I took the cover off, I saw that one of two caps on top of the engine (I think it was the left-hand cap when viewing the engine from the front, which appeared to have oil-related specifications stamped into it). I wasn't sure if this was standard procedure or not (this being our first winter with an inboard), so I took it off the engine and placed it on the counter next to the plug and the keys, along with a note that said something like "Garboard Plug and Engine Oil Cap" as reminders to them that this stuff needed to be done.

Today is launch day. I got a call from the marina shortly after noon; they had launched the boat and wanted the combination to my cabin because they wanted to check on things. This means that the boat was put in the water without the garboard plug, and without them going inside to put that cap back on the engine. Is this standard practice? Was I supposed to have put the garboard plug in already myself? How about the cap for the engine, was I supposed to know that a) it was off and b) that I should have put it back on?

We picked this marina because they are supposed to be very reputable. So far, I am not seeing them live up to the reputation. But then, maybe I'm expecting too much of them.
 

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Holy moly. Put a boat in the water with the garboard removed and she will surely be at the bottom before long. No way a bilge pump would keep up, let alone last very long.

Our marina has us fill out a winterizing and spring commissioning work order. That is where we would specify this type of work that needs to be done. If things come up over the winter, I have them added to that spring work order. I will admit that I NEVER assume the yard will just do something on their own.

At the least, they were good enough to check the stuffing box before they let her float. That's proper procedure. Can't imagine they didn't notice the garboard missing too.

When you say the stuffing box hose is ballooned, do you have a vinyl/rubber prop seal? If so, that may need to be fully replaced. They have about a 5 yr lifespan. If its just a normal stuffing box, the stuffing may need to be repacked, which is no big deal.
 

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I have never had a yard launch any of my boats without them giving me fair warning a day or so before in case there was something that needed to be addressed before she was floated.

You should replace the stuffing box hose, clean up the box itself, replace the packing and replace the clamps with high quality AWAB clamps. I would ask the yard to put her back on the hard so you can do this before going back in.

Repacking the stuffing box.:http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/stuffing_box
 

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If that rubber part was ballooning, which is the hose that connects your stuffing box to the shaft tube, it will need to be replaced.

To prep for the news, the prop shaft is going to have to be separated from the transmission and the shaft coupling removed from the shaft to repair it. The coupling is that rusted part up against your transmission and they can sometimes be a b.i.t.c.h to get off!

Sorry Jim. Bright side is that the stuffing box is something you want to know is in good shape, so fixing her up should set your right for many years to come.
 

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Old soul
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Wow... Jim, this is not the way things are supposed to go. Of course the garboard plug should have been put back. And if that was the oil cap, then you'd end up with oil all over the engine room if they started it without it in place. That's crazy.

The ballooning hose sounds like a problem that needs replacing. I've never done that. The stuffing box, however, might only require tightening. It works by compressing the stuffing (usually waxy cord embedded with flax, although there are other high-tech materials as well). I can't tell from your pic how compressed the box currently is. If there is room you could try tighten it.

Not saying don't replace the stuffing. That's probably the best option (a job I have to do this season before launch), but it may not be necessary.
 

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Master Mariner
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I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but IMO you are a long way from launching.
First you need to free up the two bolts on the flange that hold the shaft. The shaft will have to be free of the flange and pushed aft to get the stuffing box (packing gland) off the shaft to change the hose between the stern tube and the stuffing box. Looking at the flange, you will probably need to separate it from the engine and vibration dampener and use heat to remove the shaft and locking bolts. The flange should be completely de-rusted and at least be primed, and I would suggest, painted. The stuffing box should be cleaned until it no longer has any green on it and all threads (lock nut and packing nut) are working freely. Of note; if you cannot slide the shaft aft enough with the prop on it to get the stuffing box off then you will have to remove the prop. Lastly; after doing all this work, you should make sure your shaft is properly aligned.
Sorry, but on the bright side, if you do this correctly now, you won't have to do anything more than tighten the packing nut, for many years to come.
 

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Hey,

One brief point:
Around here the marinas / yards / service places / etc NEVER start the engine. They move the boats around with work boats or just by hauling lines. For example, my boat will get trucked to the travel lift (storage yard is 15 minutes away), splashed, mast stepped, then the boat walked back to a temp dock. If I can't be there that day they will move it to another dock by hip towing.

Last point - until you actually SEE your boat and see what is 'swollen' I would not believe anything. It's rare, like REALLY rare, for a stuffing box hose to swell. They are very stuff and usually re-inforced with wire. I bet something else is swollen.

Barry
 

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do you have a close up of the hose? Im not seing the balloning...

thats the exaxt same setup I have, my stuffing box leaks stilll but I could tighten it...I have no engine in now and will be fixing the prop in place somewhow but Im not seing the balloned hose

how did that happen? pressure? ice? cold? what?

good luck
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Jimgo,
Sorry to hear of your launching drama. As others have noted you will want to get your stuffing box ironed out now for a worry free season. Apparently the yard finally did get inside your boat as they noticed the stuffing box. Maybe they also noticed the garboard plug too?

I wouldn't fault the yard for this though. They are not mind readers and are probably launching several (or more) boats a day. Not that many boats are equipped with garboard plugs.

It is my belief that you should have (A) replaced the oil fill cap and (B) put the garboard plug back in the hull when you noticed them this spring. File this experience away for next years launch.

Hope the rest of your season goes smoothly.
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I didn't see the ballooning of the hose. I'd like to see that, but I suspect they won't want to put me in just to take me back out again. As a practical matter, that hose is probably well beyond its lifespan. I've had the boat a year, and she was for sale for 2 years before that. The previous owner had financial troubles, so I doubt the hose was replaced in the year or two before that. That means we're at least 5 years into the life of the tube. If they will drop me in the water, I'll see how the hose swells. If its at all bad, I'll probably bite the bullet and replace it.
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Caleb,
I was reluctant to have put either cap in place. I didn't know if they had the cap on the engine off for a reason (e.g., they hadn't finished replacing the oil), and I didn't put the garboard in because I have leaks and it has been raining. But your point is well taken - I should have been more proactive and at least reminded the marina that those things needed to be done. I would have done them myself, but that kind of defeats the purpose of paying someone else to do them.
 

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bingo jimgo

ps. aligning the shaft is not rocket science but you do just have to be persistent

dont beleive thos that tell you its a $1000 job or else

basically you uncouple your coupler pardon the redundance, and with feeler gauges at different points of rotation you rotate the shaft and compare that to the engine side...if its off you shim or losen mounts and retighten till your feeler gauges match up on all "sides"

simple really but beleive me a lot of people dont even do this
 
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Jim, there should be no need to re-align the shaft. You only need to align if you move the engine mounts or replace the cutlas. Recommended that all hoses in contact with raw water should be replaced every 5 years. But I have gone much longer. Removing the shaft coupling should be no biggy and you only need to slide the shaft back a few inches, just enough to slide the stuffing box off. I would suggest removing it and replacing the hose. From the looks of that stuffing box it should be removed and cleaned for proper operation. If the hose looks okay and you can free the packing nut without stressing the hose...that means you need two wrenches, one to back it up and one to turn the nut, then you don't have to remove it. I know that doing that in limited space is a bitc* I could never reach it with two hands and there is no room to turn a wrench, but you go and try, other do do this. My solution was to replace it with a PSS drip-less seal. Manufacture recommends replacing the boot every 5 years. It has been 12 years...I need to inspect it this year.

I would get your camera down in there and take a closer picture. Today's cameras are great for seeing things you can't see with the naked eye.
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks to everyone so far!

I've been looking through Defender and West Marine, and I don't see any hose that specifically states that it is for sealing prop shafts. I know Maine Sail mentioned a specific brand in his how-to, but I was kind of hoping to pick up the hose locally so I could try to knock this out tomorrow, or at least start on it tomorrow. Can anyone give me an idea of what I'd need? The shaft is a 1" shaft. I have some 1.5" (ID) sanitation hose{/URL], but I suspect that's the wrong stuff.
 

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Jim,

Getting the shaft free of the coupling often requires a torch. Even splitting it for the tranny can be a serious ordeal. Sorry.

Now that I think of it, wasn't there some concern that your yard gave you dubious advice that implied they were just trying to sell you something? That stuffing box sure looks like it needs work anyway, but the pint above that ballooning sounds exaggerated rang true.
 
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