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Old 22-02-2017, 10:54   #1
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PSS shaft seal installation

I won't go into too much detail, but I am about to get tired of mucking with my stuffing box and thinking can the thing and go with a PSS shaft seal.
However I don't want to pay for a haul and I can't see as how doing it in the water would be that bad.
Anyone installed one with boat in the water?
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Old 22-02-2017, 12:19   #2
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

It's a risk for sure. Don't do it alone. You have to push the shaft back to get the old stuff off and the new stuff onto the stuffing box. You can jam some rags around the shaft to stem the flow. Don't forget to pull them out before closing the patient.

What will you do if you get 1/2 way through the job and have to leave the boat?
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Old 22-02-2017, 12:28   #3
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

I would NOT attempt it with the boat in the water. Period.

I suppose if you can seal up the end of the log around the shaft so that the water coming in is minimal, that will help, at least until you're ready to install the bellows, but you won't know how effective your method is until it's too late to back out. And once the bellows is on there's no way to staunch the water flow while you complete the rest of the installation.

You have to get the old seal off, then clean the log so that the bellows has a good seal. You'll have to push the shaft back far enough to get the old stuff off and the new fittings and on it. Then you have to get your shaft back into the coupling, and aligned, and then you have to adjust the collar to the proper tension, then tighten the allen screws. Do you have a v-drive? If so, it's going to impossible as you can't push the shaft back far enough to get stuff on and off...the shaft has to come out forward.

At the very least, if you try it, I'd have the boat right next to a haulout.

That said, I love my dripless. Dry, dry dry.
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Old 22-02-2017, 12:47   #4
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

Ditto ++ on NOT doing an inwater changeout. However, once completed it is a very good, simple system. My previous vessel and this one were changed over by us. We were able to get some good support from the Canadian distributer prior to doing number one which was a1997 installation and it is still working for the current owners.
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Old 22-02-2017, 12:51   #5
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

Back in about 1995, I replaced my PSS Generation 1 bellows which didn't leak until I motored over 5 knots.
I had readjusted the tension on it until there was no more possibility of more.
The new bellows was much softer, flexible material and if I remember correctly, had more accordion sections.
To make a long story short, I replaced in the water while anchored in the Sea of Cortez.
Sure, the bilge pump ran pretty much continuously, but it went off without a hitch.
My wife handed me the tools, and knew what I wanted before asking.
That was on a Lord Nelson 35 with a deep, narrow bilge behind the Yanmar 3HM 35 engine.
I remember the bruises on my chest from lying over the engine and hanging upside down to reach the shaft log.
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:11   #6
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PSS shaft seal installation

I'm thinking dive the boat and wrap a rag over the shaft and secure with a zip tie before pulling the stuffing box, then install bellows and ring, then dive again and remove the rag and finish the install.
Or do the wax toilet ring trick that way you don't have to dive the boat again.
It appears that if you have the cutlass in the shaft log like I do, you need to plumb in pressurized water. Not sure how to do that, maybe drill and tap the heat exchanger?

Thinking also about the Lasdrop, but it also if you read the fine print recommends pressurized water flow for all installs.
I have a deep narrow bilge as well, that is accessed of course through a hatch, it's working through the hole that is what makes it the most difficult.
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:48   #7
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

I would wait until you are on the hard also. I thought I could change my seals when on the beach & failed because the nut on the shaft would not come off. (the seal had been changed on the tide before but not this time) Needed heat & rattle gun!! The cooling water was plumbed into the inlet of the water pump instead of the outlet & that is cooling the seals well. I liked the idea of all the cooling water going into the engine & not pressurizing a return to the seal!

PS I have used face seals but the cooling requirements are the same.

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Old 22-02-2017, 17:22   #8
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

Im going to play devils advocate here. Im not convinced the dripless seals are the best. I originally had a PSS on my last boat until the carbon and stainless mating surfaces started grabbing sending a unnerving shutter through the boat, I would burp it but eventually it would happen again. I replaced the seal with a tides marine lip seal water fed. In the middle of no where Indonesia I filled the engine full of water which syphoned back through the water line to the seal. The seal was fitted exactly as the instructions, im a motor mechanic by trade and was very clear about how it should be fitted BUT anti syphon valves can salt up. In the end I disconnected the water feed and made it just a breather.

My point is, as much as a stuffing box can drip and be a pain its unlikely to ever end in catastrophic failure, im not convinced this is the case with the two seals above.

I currently have a pss on my latest boat and won't change it BUT if my boat had a stuffing box I'm not convinced enough to replace it with a dripless.

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Old 22-02-2017, 17:28   #9
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

It may have changed since I installed a PSS on my current boat, but when I did that, the instructions only mentioned an open line looping above the waterline on the boat's center.
It was pretty simple to install and has given me no problem.

I almost forgot, I replace the original lip seal (don't know what brand) with a PSS in the water.
No Brownie points are due though, the shaft seal is in a smallish space which can flood without overflowing anywhere and it is barely below waterline.
I mopped out about two quarts of seawater with a sponge after the install.
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:32   #10
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
My point is, as much as a stuffing box can drip and be a pain its unlikely to ever end in catastrophic failure, im not convinced this is the case with the two seals above.
A valid point. I think dripless seals are inherently less secure than the traditional packed gland. If the bellows fails, or your coupling slips, it can be a serious problem.

PYI recommends replacing your bellows every 6 years I believe. I keep an eye on mine and inspect it once a week. I pulled the shaft two months ago for other reasons, and replaced my three year old bellows while I was at it.

a64, I'm going to suggest that switching out can wait until the next time you haul to paint. As mentioned, if you run into an unanticipated issue part way through the procedure, you'll have few options at that point.
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:51   #11
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PSS shaft seal installation

I know the nut can easily come off, it was off last week. As far as removing the stuffing box, it's just clamped to the shaft log, any issues, just put the thing back on, it merely slips onto the tube and is held on with clamps? Just sliding the thing back on will stop the leak.
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Old 22-02-2017, 18:07   #12
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

I install these at our Marina at least three or four a year. The more I have thought about it, (at least for someone cruising long passages in a sailboat, like I plan to do soon) I think you be insane to install one of these. You cannot repair these at sea. If the bellows blows your screwed, and you certainly won't be running your engine if you someone manage to stop the water flowing. Even worse if you dont have a folding prop to keep the shaft from spinning. You can always jamb more waxed gland into an packing gland and get to where you have to go. Also, your cutlass bearing will definitely be worn in place to where the shaft settled with the old packing gland. The angle will sure to change when you center it up with a new PYI shaft seal. Is it nice to have a totally dry bilge, yes. If I only sailed locally or short hops where I could get hauled out relatively soon, then maybe. No way if I was sailing long distance, and say you got caught in a bad situation. For instance this past summer in Sag Harbor while on the hook, a hell of storm came through for hours. I was up all night with the motor in forward just to keep the hook from ripping out. No way are you doing that if your PYI takes a ****. Just saying. I know I'll get crushed now by people who have had years of no problems, but if if it does happen I would rather have a gland I can pack another piece of waxed rope around or a rag or anything you could jamb in there and tighten it down.
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Old 22-02-2017, 19:10   #13
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
.....
It appears that if you have the cutlass in the shaft log like I do, you need to plumb in pressurized water. Not sure how to do that, maybe drill and tap the heat exchanger?

.......
Not sure if this is entirely correct. AFAIK, pressurised water is only required if you maintain 12 or more kts.

FWIW, I have a cutlass in the shaft log and I don't have water plumbed into the PSS; I do have a vent line from the PSS open to well above the waterline in order to save burping on relaunching.
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Old 22-02-2017, 20:31   #14
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

You do not need to provide a water supply for a pss on a sailboat, but you do need to have a vent to ensure it fills with water from the sea side.
I also do not recommend you try this afloat. But, if you do, I suggest you tie a safety line on the propeller/shaft. It is quite easy for your shaft & prop to slide all the way out once you have freed it of friction from the existing stuffing box gland and take the coupling off....unless of course your rudder will stop it, depends on the arrangement.
Also, if you are somewhere warm, wrapping rags or something around the shaft on the outside (after you have moved the shaft aft) can stop a lot of the water ingress.
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Old 22-02-2017, 22:02   #15
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Re: PSS shaft seal installation

I replaced mine in the water two months ago. No big deal with a diver in the water to pull shaft out far enough to remove and replace with new stuffing box then push shaft back in to coupling. I had about 1 gallon of water in the bilge when done. First time doing a stuffing box, no problem.
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