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Beneteau 361
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Volvo shaft seal has been leaking slightly under power and I was planning to replace it next winter. However apparently it was in the worse shape than I thought and today I when I came to the boat I found my bilge full of water and a steady leak from the seal. As an emergency measure I put a hose clamp around the seal and tightened it just enough to stop the leak (see the photo). I can still spin the shaft freely by hand.

My question is - do you think it is ok to occasionally run the engine with the clamp in place (not for extended trips obviously), or am I done for the season?
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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replace it yesterday!
 

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Don't even think about risking it (unless you don't really like your boat.) I had my shaft back out and let me tell you, it is a shocking amount of water that comes blasting in. A short haul for me would only be about $200. MAybe you can get through the rest of the season sailing only but I wouldn't even think about firing that motor up.
 

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Hey, it's your boat and your risk, do as you please. If that was my boat I would haul it tomorrow, fix it and enjoy the next two months sailing. Maybe you can use it as is and it might not leak or rupture. Or maybe it will and you can see how long you can doggy paddle. You just never know. I tend to use an abundance of caution when it comes to the holes in my hull. If you had a malfunctioning winch or something on the topside, no big deal, you can limp by and make it to the end of the season. Something below the waterline, well that is another story. In the end it doesn't matter how much advice you get, the decision is yours. If I was going to go against my better judgment and use the motor I would make darn sure I had someone watching it at all times, keep the RPMs low and run it for the shortest time possible.
 

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If you are insured, you are wasting that money, because the insurance company is NOT going to pay off on your "it'll be OK for the next two months". So you might just as well take your winter haul out a couple of months early, 'cause I can't imagine you will actually take the boat out like that.
But as they said above, It is YOUR boat, (until it sinks) and your choice.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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My Volvo shaft seal has been leaking slightly under power and I was planning to replace it next winter. However apparently it was in the worse shape than I thought and today I when I came to the boat I found my bilge full of water and a steady leak from the seal. As an emergency measure I put a hose clamp around the seal and tightened it just enough to stop the leak (see the photo). I can still spin the shaft freely by hand.

My question is - do you think it is ok to occasionally run the engine with the clamp in place (not for extended trips obviously), or am I done for the season?
The unfortunate fact is that Volvo shaft seals have a very short life-span. We have had to have ours replaced at roughly 4 year intervals as have several of our friends that are stuck using the same seals for lack of space for better dripless seals. The recommended temporary fix is the hose clamp method you have employed that will be good for a few hundred miles of motoring although the clamp needs be watched/checked daily (shaft vibration will cause the clamp to loosen) and tightened only enough to stop the leakage and no more. (More pressure causes more rapid erosion of the already compromised lip seal.) I suggest, however, that you substitute one of the clamps that are entirely solid verses what you have used. (Others have even used wider zip-ties to good effect for a short period.)

The good news for you is that you have adequate room to dispense with the Volvo seal entirely and go with one of the other, more reliable, long lived, dripless seals, either a Manecraft, which I prefer for it's compactness, or a PSS Seal. N'any case, good luck.
 

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If you are insured, you are wasting that money, because the insurance company is NOT going to pay off on your "it'll be OK for the next two months". So you might just as well take your winter haul out a couple of months early, 'cause I can't imagine you will actually take the boat out like that.
But as they said above, It is YOUR boat, (until it sinks) and your choice.
Especially since OP just posted about it!;)
 

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The recommended temporary fix is the hose clamp method you have employed that will be good for a few hundred miles of motoring although the clamp needs be watched/checked daily (shaft vibration will cause the clamp to loosen) and tightened only enough to stop the leakage and no more. (More pressure causes more rapid erosion of the already compromised lip seal.) I suggest, however, that you substitute one of the clamps that are entirely solid verses what you have used. (Others have even used wider zip-ties to good effect for a short period.)

The good news for you is that you have adequate room to dispense with the Volvo seal entirely and go with one of the other, more reliable, long lived, dripless seals, either a Manecraft, which I prefer for it's compactness, or a PSS Seal. N'any case, good luck.
One suggestion I'll make, if the OP does proceed with the hose clamp solution, is to at least replace that perforated hose clamp he currently has in place with a solid one, such as those from AWAB:



I hate perforated hose clamps, and believe they have no place below the waterline on any boat... Upgrading to solids seem like cheap insurance, to me...

I'm not familiar with the Volvo seals, but I certainly second your recommendation of one such as the PSS... It's a great product, from one of the better vendors in the marine industry, IMHO...
 

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Beneteau 361
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great suggestions, thanks everyone. I will definitely install the solid clamp for now regardless of what I decide to do. Good to hear there is some experience with similar temporary fixes.

I was also thinking about PSS and I wanted to replace the cutless bearing too while I am at it.

I'm curious--how old is the shaft seal? Did you burp it when you dropped in the water at the beginning of the season? Did you lube it?
I think the seal is factory original which would make it 12 years old/1360 hours. I lubed and burped it at the beginning of the season but not sure the PO did - it was nowhere in his maintenance notes.
 

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Great suggestions, thanks everyone. I will definitely install the solid clamp for now regardless of what I decide to do. Good to hear there is some experience with similar temporary fixes.

I was also thinking about PSS and I wanted to replace the cutless bearing too while I am at it.

I think the seal is factory original which would make it 12 years old/1360 hours. I lubed and burped it at the beginning of the season but not sure the PO did - it was nowhere in his maintenance notes.
Beneteau has been using the seals for some while as they are inexpensive. I find it unlikely that it's original but perhaps. We have not found that lubing the shaft made any difference in longevity and one of our friends insists it makes matters worse rather than better although the Volvo literature suggests annual lubrication with a teflon/silicon lubricant using the "flattened soda straw" technique. You should not need to "burp" the seal (presumably when you launch the boat) as the breather hose should allow air to escape and the seal chamber to fill with water.

N'any case, good luck.
 
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