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Old 11-06-2015, 02:34   #1
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Prop Shaft Bearings

I'm a first time poster and not positive this is in the right spot. I am also a woman and luckily have an amazing crew that can fix anything but we're stumped at this point.
I am currently in Malaysia and believe my bearings have gone out in regards to the prop shaft. Recently we left the boat for 9 months in Kuala Terengganu where the water is brackish but strange things and minerals may be flowing from above. Not much growth on the bottom but seems everyone who left their boat here for the season is having various issues.
This morning we were set to go but hadn't testing the engine in gear yet knowing it was a new transmission (April '14) and the engine purred like a dream.
Anyhow...in reverse everything sounded ok but in forward it made a horrible crunching noise, we tried it again and that time it shut the motor down. Another time we tried it after trying to get it all lubed up and the same thing happened but I shut the motor off myself. To test the tranny and know it isn't that we detached the tranny from the shaft and ran the engine and put it in both gears with no bad noises, sounded real smooth. But there wasn't a load on it.
So...we're not sure if it's the cutlass bearing or something right on the other side of the stuffing box where the shaft enters the boat. Any advice? How can we tell? what do I need to measure to know what cutlass bearing i need. we are currently in a marina and have no way of getting out of here to haul out which is 150+ miles south.
Any advise or information is appreciated. Can we do this in the water? DO you need more information?


Anxious to start doin' it again,


Thanks Captain Kim

sy Doin' It
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:16   #2
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Are you sure you didn't get something-rope,etc-wound in prop?

If shaft is un-coupled from gearbox,can you turn it by hand?

Cheers/Len
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:45   #3
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

The camera has been sent down but neither of us have gone. It doesn't appear to have anything on the prop or shaft but it's not too clear and the current is quite strong.
Yes, we can move the shaft disconnected but with a lot of strength. I've not hauled out in 6 years and now the boat has sat for 11 months.
Do you think it's possible that there is just an eco-system growing in the cutlass bearing? I recall scrapping a layer of coral from the prop in the Philippines a little over a year ago. Our thought is to loosen the Stainless rotor and move the shaft back and get down there and clean it real good. Move it back and forth and try to get things loosened up. Destroy an small eco-system. Can we just plug it with a bung? The noise the motor made sounded like a bearing (or 2) but I'm hopeful we can fix it by cleaning. The water we are in is brackish but comes from a man-made river and there are a lot of other things in the water through the villages and local fishing boat marina next door dumping oil and fuel and it's very galvanic.
Our idea is to get it working well enough to get us to Endau for a haul out but don't want to rush there if we can help it.
Ideas? Comments? Suggestions?
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:56   #4
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by sy_doinit View Post
The camera has been sent down but neither of us have gone. It doesn't appear to have anything on the prop or shaft but it's not too clear and the current is quite strong.
Yes, we can move the shaft disconnected but with a lot of strength. I've not hauled out in 6 years and now the boat has sat for 11 months.
Do you think it's possible that there is just an eco-system growing in the cutlass bearing? I recall scrapping a layer of coral from the prop in the Philippines a little over a year ago. Our thought is to loosen the Stainless rotor and move the shaft back and get down there and clean it real good. Move it back and forth and try to get things loosened up. Destroy an small eco-system. Can we just plug it with a bung? The noise the motor made sounded like a bearing (or 2) but I'm hopeful we can fix it by cleaning. The water we are in is brackish but comes from a man-made river and there are a lot of other things in the water through the villages and local fishing boat marina next door dumping oil and fuel and it's very galvanic.
Our idea is to get it working well enough to get us to Endau for a haul out but don't want to rush there if we can help it.
Ideas? Comments? Suggestions?
Doesn't sound like good water to swim in !!

Is the cutlass bearing in a strut or in the hull?

Is the inside stuffing box a gland type with packing or is it a dripless type?

Can you tow the boat safely to a cleaner anchorage with your dinghy & outboard?
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:13   #5
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

I think we could swim for a little bit. Locals do once in a while.
I don't know how to answer that unfortunately. How can I tell? There is the strut that hangs down holding the prop shaft and I don't know if it's in there or just beyond where the stuffing box sits.
I think the stuffing box is a Packless Sealing System Shaft Seal since i have paperwork on it. That needs replacement when I haul out. It's not leaking too much but it's old.
Swimming here is an option to check it out, we just need to time the current/tides.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:37   #6
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

If you have a strut as you describe,the cutlass will be in strut.
Just guessing here,but I can't see enough growth in the cutlass grooves to stall your engine.
After 6yrs plus sitting at present location for 11 mos.,you would have to have major growth on underwater surfaces.
I have heard of growth going right up the shaft tube.
I'm still having trouble thinking it would stall the engine,but....
You can remove the PSS Shaft seal by removing clamps that hold it on shaft tube.
You will get some water inflow,but not all that much. Ensure your bilge pump(s) are working,have some rags & screwdriver ready to stuff in around shaft in case.
Once you get the rubber boot slid back off shaft tube,you can try running stiff wire rod thru tube & break up the growth.
You may even find growth in the PSS seal.

If you can rig up a small diameter hose & funnel,you could push hose to outside end of tube & pour household bleach into tube. It kills marine growth,but it will not remove or dissolve it magically.

Suggest you check your cooling water">engine cooling water intake thru hull & any other intakes for growth also. These can be cleaned from the inside also by removing hoses,opening seacocks & using a screwdriver,etc. to ream any growth out.

Good Luck / Len
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:46   #7
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Thank you for the information. I know the toilet seacock has some growth for sure. If I try to remedy this from inside the boat won't a lot of water come in while I'm trying to poke it? Tomorrow we will try to clean as much as we can in order to get out to sea again.
Keeping my thoughts positive.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:53   #8
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by sy_doinit View Post
Thank you for the information. I know the toilet seacock has some growth for sure. If I try to remedy this from inside the boat won't a lot of water come in while I'm trying to poke it? Tomorrow we will try to clean as much as we can in order to get out to sea again.
Keeping my thoughts positive.
Unless your seacocks are really deep,you will not get that much flow,& you have your hand on the seacock handle.
Better to clean these out now before you leave,or you may have serious problems enroute from growth being sucked into engine,head,etc.

/ Len
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:00   #9
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

If it's not just build up, what would you advise? We've been sailing for five years in warm water. Now its just mud and clay in brackish water so i'd assume a lot of that has died but there was serious growth a coupla times. As i said before i scraped a good 1/4 inch of coral off the prop about a year ago.
Anything you suggest we can do while in the water?
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:56   #10
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

i reckon that if the shaft is free of the motor it should rotate fairly easily. remember that it might be possible for it to slide all the way out if the stuffing box is off. you need to get the boat to a place you can work on it easily. Did you say the drive was working ok in reverse.

Is it possible to load up the gear box using a length of timber forced against the drive coupling with the shaft unbolted. this might make it more clear whether the problem is the gearbox or the shaft.

is there a crane nearby large enough to lift the boat and a quay where you could be lifted?

You might also need to consider a complete replacement of the shaft and bearings. if there is something grinding away in the cutlass bearing, there might also be damage to the shaft. However these matters might not stop you from getting to a boatyard. i discovered my cutlass bearing had 5mm of play in it when I hauled my boat once. been using like that for a couple of years I reckon.
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Old 11-06-2015, 23:51   #11
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

We looked underwater and appears nothing is on the shaft binding it up. We believe it is the stern bearing. I don't know how to get a picture up here to show you our set up. If it is the stern bearing, what would be wrong with it? If something is jammed in there, wouldn't pushing out the shaft set it free? We ran the engine/tranny with the shaft disconnected and it seemed smooth. Does it need a load to be tested properly? It's kind of a small space to try and wedge some wood in there to test it like you suggested.
Yes, It was working ok in reverse when hooked up. And both directions sounded smooth when not hooked up.
I don't think there is anywhere here to get hauled, no boats here have keels.
Won't taking off the stuffing box/PSS cause water to rush in?
So, we don't think it's e cutlass bearing. Can I send a picture somewhere?
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:56   #12
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Try loosening the packing bolts on the stuffing box until you are getting a slight flow of water start the motor and operate in reverse and then in forward. The slight flow might allow any crap to move. It is odd that there's no noise in reverse. A corroded bearing should be noisy in both directions. Maybe the packing material in the stuffing box is jammed on the shaft and tightens going forward, loosens in reverse. Even the locals have stuffing boxes and so there should be help somewhere
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:02   #13
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Have you identified the type of transmission, make and model number. Is there a shaft bearing, disc brake, alternator take off, between the transmission and the stuffing box/gland.

Could you use a screw driver or wooden stick stethoscoped to your ear to locate the source of the noise ((the loudest) when the shaft is rotating). What is the hull material. (steel will make it harder to detect).

Its probably the forward thrust bearing, but lets not do anything without complete diagnosis.
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Old 15-06-2015, 23:45   #14
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Ok, we put a load on the tranny and everything is fine there. We have pushed back the shaft and can see that the shaft is rusted where it sits in the stern log. We don't know how much damage yet. It sounds like there is something crunching around when in forward. We tried the hose for noise and believe it came from the stern log area. Seeing the rusted shaft confirms that. We hope to clean it up and be able to get to a proper haul out.
We have a PSS shaft seal. Is it possible for whatever is inside there to bind like that? Enough to stop the engine? I know that is past due replacement.
All comments and advice are welcome.
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Old 16-06-2015, 02:27   #15
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Re: Prop Shaft Bearings

Got to admit I'm not sure what you mean by shaft log (I know the name is used OS, but not in Marine Engineering, so just a bit of clarification please), do you mean a carrier between Stern tube and Seal, do you mean a bearing in the stern tube, do you mean a carrier between stern tube and cutlass. Did you disconnect the shaft from transmission and push it back to view the rusty shaft in the water?.
Anyway if your rusty shaft is in way of the bearing (stern or cutlass), I wouldn't think that to be of concern to stop you from traveling, doesn't really explain all the noise either, Certainly not in forward only. I've heard of ships shaft breaking because of corrosion in a stressed shaft, general wastage shouldn't be a concern.
PSS seal should last a very long time, they wouldn't much like sand, rust or mechanical displacement, some have a flushing port to flush crap and keep it cool, if its damaged it won't cause the issues you are having it'll just leak.
Anyway if you disconnected the shaft check that the shaft is in reasonable alignment with the face of the Transmission coupling (Should be within .005") Nth Sth and East West. If thats a tough ask look at the resilient mounts particularly at back of engine, they should not be oil wet, not damaged, not bulging differently from each other.
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