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Old 05-10-2015, 19:39   #1
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Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Hello: New to me Catalina 320. Yanmar 3gm30 engine.

I am getting quite a bit of leaking (one drip per second +) from my packing nut. Since it's new to me, I have no idea who old the packing material is. It appears the PO tried to tighten it and failed - there are some marks on the nut from a pipe wrench (I think).

I've got a set of special wrenches for the packing nut and lock nut. But I'm concerned about the overall condition of the shaft. As you can see from the pictures, there is quite a bit of "corrosion" or some gunk on the shaft.

I am OK with loosening the lock nut, tightening the packing nut and then the lock nut to see if that reduces the drippage.

But my big concern . . . . is this a recipe for bigger problems down the road? Should I 1) remove and replace the shaft, or 2) just clean it up with some emery paper when I have the nuts loose.

Sorry if this is a dumb question to you experts out there - this is my first sailboat with an inboard engine.
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Old 05-10-2015, 21:28   #2
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Seriously speaking; It's not what you can see that should scare you.
Do not start messing with this while in the water. Study diagrams of what each piece is supposed to do before you attempt anything.
Cleaning the crud off the shaft will only help you when you remove it while on the boatyard standing on dry ground.
The most ( not the least) you can do now is to replace each of those clamps one at a time now. Do not tighten, turn, scrape or clean anything at this time while on the water, it will only make it leak more than a drop a second, it could become a flood in a second!.
Prepare to have the whole thing taken apart at the yard, (can find new packing, new cutless bearing, new rubber hose from Buck Algonquin, 5 ply thick special for this, shaft zincs, all from online or Ebay), some epoxy and glass fibers to fix the chunk of boat that looks like it is sitting on top of the hose, align the engine with the cleaned up shaft when all put together and back on the water. Don't forget the tie wires for security. Good luck getting the shaft and the propeller off. Also change the transmission fluid and lubricate all parts and paint the bilge with oil base paint like stain cover, oil base primer. Check the strut for not having any play, tug real hard on it up and down and sideways. Read about all these components even if you get the yard to do the work. Just don't mess with things while afloat. Not trying to scare you, trying to save you a disaster. Did all that dangerous neglect pass a survey? I think you just rescued the poor boat in time !. It will be time consuming. Good Luck.
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Old 05-10-2015, 21:37   #3
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

I use a brass wire brush on a drill at low speed, it'll take all the corrosion off the nuts and clean up the threads some. You just need to "trap" the packing nut so it doesn't turn and sometimes a giant pipe wrench is just the ticket. Then I have a large spanner wrench for the locking nut. Usually requires only a fraction of a turn to tighten. About 2002 Catalina changed from a bronze to stainless shaft, from the corrosion I'd guess yours is bronze. The shaft log hose and clamps are a little troubling, one of the clamps is rusted, that wire tie is holding something that is covering the end.
So, in short, everything there looks like it might be original so if it was me I'd:
Tighten the packing, it's obviously throwing too much water around
Check, maybe replace the clamp or clamps
At next haul out I'd pull the drive shaft and :
Check shaft for true and scoring, turn or replace as needed
Replace cutlass bearing, shaft log hose and repack
I had a '94 boat previously with a bronze shaft, when I pulled it was straight, true and unscored, and is still in that boat now 31 years old. Many however get scored from overtight packing.
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Old 05-10-2015, 22:02   #4
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bratzcpa View Post
I am OK with loosening the lock nut, tightening the packing nut and then the lock nut to see if that reduces the drippage.

But my big concern . . . . is this a recipe for bigger problems down the road? Should I 1) remove and replace the shaft, or 2) just clean it up with some emery paper when I have the nuts loose.

.


A drip per second is no big deal. I assume you have a working bilge pump.

Certainly no need to replace the shaft based on the picture. A nice patina there but looks like no pitting to me. The surface under the packing is likely smooth and shiny.

If the nut was completely removed the water ingress would be much less than most people imagine. No need to be concerned about working on this in the water. But I wouldn't remove it unless you intend to replace the packing. Generally one would only tighten it, never loosen until replacing.

If you wish to adjust it just Google packing gland adjustment and review some info or vids online.

Over-tightening is the only way you could do any harm. Just make sure it still drips when underway.
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Old 05-10-2015, 22:54   #5
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Your shaft looks fine to me. Everything doesn't have to be brand new all the time.
Packing can be adjusted or replaced in the water. Your bilge pump should handle it. It's not as scary as some think. Unless you have a battleship and the packing is 35' below the surface. At the usual small vessel depth you only have a few pounds of pressure.
On ships, we used a natural fiber door mat to rub the shaft clean, moving it along
every couple days.
I adjust my packing to slightly drip when running and that usually means it doesn't drip when sitting. Too tight when running will wear a dip in your shaft.
Some old style packing glands have a grease fitting on the water side of the packing. When greased the water pressure keeps the grease up against the packing/shaft and makes old style packing last years. Some people (me and old guys like me) drill and add the zerk to new style packing glands.
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Old 05-10-2015, 23:01   #6
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Slowpoker's advice not to touch the packing nut makes no sense to me - packing nuts are adjusted routinely in the water. I adjust mine. You can loosen the packing nut completely and the boat won't sink - you'll get more of a flow than a drip, but I changed my packing material and only shipped a few gallons of water in the few minutes it took.

That said, I do see some cause for concern. The hose clamps are in atrocious condition, and failure could sink the boat. If this was my boat, I'd replace them immediately, one at a time. I'd probably have a couple rings of toilet wax with me to stuff in, just in case things go south, but I wouldn't expect them to.

I'm a bit surprised at the corrosion on the prop shaft. Is it stainless steel? Did some PO replace the shaft with something other than stainless? If so, the part of the shaft you can't see is probably worse than the part you can see. Spinning the shaft could well sink the boat; I'd haul out an replace it. I'd also be concerned about how much wear is on the shaft. You can grab the prop and try to move it side-to-side and up and down. I think normal is less than 0.5 mm play. Of course this is easiest when hauled out, but you can dive under and check in the water. Replacing the shaft isn't a big deal. You can do it yourself for under $500 and a day of labor. And then you'll know it's done right.

As for the drip and the packing nut, you can tighten or loosen the packing nut to control the drip. Read other threads to find out how much it should drip, but if I remember correctly it's one drip every 5 or 10 seconds.

Oh, and do you have proper zincs on this boat? Is that where the corrosion is coming from?
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Old 05-10-2015, 23:14   #7
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

OMG - Is that a wire tie holding the Buck hose onto the stern tube?????
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:36   #8
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

The white stuff on the shaft may be just dried salt, mine used to do that from the gearbox heat evaporating the leaking sea water from the packing. You do need to change those hose clamps. I've given up on those screw driver type ones and gone to the wide ones with a tightening bolt. Even though only one bolt type will fit where there were formerly two screw driver types I feel a lot more secure with the bolted ones.

Looks like the whole thing would clean up with a wire brush and smear a coat of lanoline grease on to keep it better looking.
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:44   #9
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun and Moon View Post
OMG - Is that a wire tie holding the Buck hose onto the stern tube?????
It does not appear that the wire tie is actually being used to hold the hose to the stern tube, but you can see that it's holding a piece of material over the aft end of the hose and over the two aft hose clamps.

This has been improvised for some unkown purpose,- ...a shield? ... a splash guard? I'd first investigate what's under this little improvised covering. ...or could this little covering have been placed to protect the hose from something above?

As far as the rest of the mechanics of the stuffing box and shaft, I'm with those that suggest that you can clean it up, replace all the hose clamps and replace the stuffing in the water.
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:10   #10
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

when I bought my new to me old boat I took apart the stuffing box and found all sorts of crud and serious scoring on the (bronze) shaft due to accumulated debris. My guess is the PO just kept cranking down on the packing instead of replacing periodically because it is an ugly job. I had to remove the rudder to remove the shaft and have it turned down in the gland area a bit at a machine shop to get rid of the worst of the scoring. This of course created a potential weak spot in the shaft but decided to live with it.
The packing gland needs to be cleaned out and packing replaced quite regularly... some say yearly but pick your own timing.
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:52   #11
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun and Moon View Post
OMG - Is that a wire tie holding the Buck hose onto the stern tube?????
No, its holding some kind of a tag. Maybe whoever did the last repacking put the date on it.

Or maybe it used to say "REPLACE ME"
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:30   #12
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by four winds View Post
A drip per second is no big deal. I assume you have a working bilge pump.

<snip>

If the nut was completely removed the water ingress would be much less than most people imagine. No need to be concerned about working on this in the water. But I wouldn't remove it unless you intend to replace the packing. Generally one would only tighten it, never loosen until replacing.

<snip>

Over-tightening is the only way you could do any harm. Just make sure it still drips when underway.
YMMV!

I just bought a 1973 Morgan OI 33. I had a leak from the packing, a fairly steady (but smallish) stream. It would fill the bilge every 24 hours or so. Bilge pump handled it just fine but still...

I was motoring my way home and grounded on a sand bar in the Alligator River canal. Tried to back off by putting it in reverse and reving. Did this several times.

It appears that this process loosened the nut such that my small leak turned into a large leak. Filled the bilge every 1.5 hours. AND... the electric bilge pump decided to give up the ghost. I was manually pumping the bilge every 1.5 hours while I found a yard to fix the leak the next day. NOT FUN!

A skinny kid wormed his way down into that area through an inspection hatch in the quarter berth, and informed me that not only had the retaining nut and stuff backed off, there was no sign of packing. He repacked and tightened it all up. All while in the water. Leak gone.

He claims that it was probably the "reverse" I was doing while grounded that loosened the nut.

So yea. YMMV but in my case the leak with NO packing material was somewhat large. Had I not been aboard it would eventually have seriously damaged the boat. I was aboard and I was already watching the leak so I immediately noticed that it had increased. Plus I could hear the leak, a steady stream of water falling into the bilge.

I would concur however that a drip every few seconds is somewhat normal and nothing to worry about. Assuming your bilge pump works, that rate of leak will likely cause the pump to kick on once a week or so.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:36   #13
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

thank you for everyone for your comments. You guys are awesome.

so, let me clarify a couple of things:

First, the boat is on the hard right now. She's sitting on stands. We'll be heading down (we are Montana) to where she is stored in Florida, spending a couple of days provisioning and doing some "stuff" before putting in the water and heading offshore (Bahamas) for two months.

The wire tie is just holding a "tag" on. The "tag" you can see is simply informational (doesn't "do" anything). I suspect it has the "replaced on __/__/__)" date on there, but all of the ink is gone.

Yes, I concur about replacing the rusty hose clamps - scary right now.

I will replacing the cutlass bearing while its on the stands before putting in water. I have tools (strut pro and prop puller) from the Catalina Owners Group to use. There is quite a bit of slack (1/8" or so) when I grab the shaft and push/pull it in the cutlass bearing.

At the same time, I plan to remove the packing nuts too and replace the packing. I already have the 3/16" Gore packing material. And yes, clean up the shaft of the "gunk". I hope to find the shaft is NOT scored or damaged.

I have found the website from Compass Marine that has GREAT info on replacing the cutlass bearing and the packing materials. Excellent information.

I am concerned about being able to actually TURN the nuts with all of that corrosion there. Hopefully its mostly just surface gunk and not damaging.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:48   #14
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowpoker View Post
Seriously speaking; It's not what you can see that should scare you.
Do not start messing with this while in the water. Study diagrams of what each piece is supposed to do before you attempt anything.
Cleaning the crud off the shaft will only help you when you remove it while on the boatyard standing on dry ground.
The most ( not the least) you can do now is to replace each of those clamps one at a time now. Do not tighten, turn, scrape or clean anything at this time while on the water, it will only make it leak more than a drop a second, it could become a flood in a second!.
Prepare to have the whole thing taken apart at the yard, (can find new packing, new cutless bearing, new rubber hose from Buck Algonquin, 5 ply thick special for this, shaft zincs, all from online or Ebay), some epoxy and glass fibers to fix the chunk of boat that looks like it is sitting on top of the hose, align the engine with the cleaned up shaft when all put together and back on the water. Don't forget the tie wires for security. Good luck getting the shaft and the propeller off. Also change the transmission fluid and lubricate all parts and paint the bilge with oil base paint like stain cover, oil base primer. Check the strut for not having any play, tug real hard on it up and down and sideways. Read about all these components even if you get the yard to do the work. Just don't mess with things while afloat. Not trying to scare you, trying to save you a disaster. Did all that dangerous neglect pass a survey? I think you just rescued the poor boat in time !. It will be time consuming. Good Luck.
I am with slowpoker all the way. Everything needs immediate attention and in the way described.

The shaft may not need replacement and don't tighten the nut unless you know whats inside or the condition of the packing. No cause for panic, but if it was me, I would haul out and start fixing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun and Moon View Post
...Replacing the shaft isn't a big deal. You can do it yourself for under $500 and a day of labor. And then you'll know it's done right....
It would be a day of labor IF the OP is able to remove the shaft from the engine, and given the level of corrosion, this in itself could take a day or more.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:03   #15
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Re: Can this be cleaned up and OK?

I don't agree either with not touching the nut. There is not that much corrosion to do serious damage. You should have a bicycle inner tube or other means to seal it off in your emergency bag with plugs, "stay afloat" plumbers putty, etc. that would take just about any non-structural (glass) failure down to a dribble easily handled by a bilge pump.

I have replaced packing in the water on many types of boats, with the easiest being the full keel with the cutlass bearing in the hull. Otherwise, dive the boat and pack rags around the shaft if needed.

I would not suggest anyone replace packing in the water the first time without someone who has done it before. It is easy to panic if you don't know what to expect.

Clean it all up with a wire brush as is. Use PB Blaster, but place rags around and keep it off of anything rubber. Let it soak and scrub it all with a wire brush for a few days. Replace the hose clamps before trying to set the packing nut.

Use two wrenches, one on the packing nut and one on the lock nut and use equal opposing force, but should not need a lot after it is soaked well. If it is still seized, next haul out, pull the shaft and have it all cleaned and checked at a prop shop, and a new coupling fit and faced to the shaft. Check the cutlass and prop at the same time.

In your case, it appears the packing has not been adjusted for some time, which is why the shaft is... well, getting the shaft. You should always adjust to the type of packing and replace the packing at every haul out, or switch to a PSS - which is an entirely different argument.
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