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Old 07-06-2012, 08:36   #1
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Shaft Seal Query

I.m new to this site and looking for some prop shaft seal help. I purchased a 2001 silverton 392 aft cabin. The boat is dry docked and I have completly redone the motors, & all electrical. Im ready to hook up the prop shafts. While running the motors, I noticed that there is water coming from (outside) the prop shaft right at the through hull. I have been smelling radiator fluid around the boat and have been blaming it on the neighboring guys working on there boat. But now I'm question if its my boat. My question is, is there suppose to be a small amount of fluid coming from the prop shaft for lubrication. All I know is if water gets out, then water can get in. Is it just a seal issue?
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:58   #2
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Sorry I'm a bit confuse by your question.

1. You see water coming from outside the boat but you are drydocked? I think you are saying you are outside the boat and see water coming from the inside of the boat and dripping onto the ground?

2. The prop shaft is not currently installed so the water you see is coming through the hole where the prop shaft will go?

3. If you only see water coming out of the prop shaft hole when you run the engine they you have a leak in the engine cooling system. The antifreeze odor would agree with this.

4. If you have antifreeze and a fresh water cooling system then you will also have a raw water pump and a heat exchanger where the two systems meet. Are you feeding water into the raw water system when you run the engine? If not then you are trashing the impeller in the raw water pump.

5. Is the water/antifreeze level in your engine dropping when you run it? Further confirmation of an engine water leak.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:03   #3
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

To go back to your original question, yes the prop shaft seal should keep most of the water out, but depending on the type of seal you have it may or may not have a small water drip to cool and lubricate the shaft.

If a traditional stuffing box type seal then it requires periodic adjustment to keep the trickle of water at the right level. Too little and you burn up your prop shaft. Too much and you have to pump it out and may sink the boat if it sits at the dock for a long time. Normal is drip every several seconds. Hold your hand on the stuffing box to see if it is warm (obviously don't do this with the engine running for safety reasons).
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:11   #4
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

If you have dripless seals there may be a water line from the raw water prior to entering the exhaust for cooling of the seals. the only way for this water to move away from the seal (and carry away heat with it) is to exit the boat aft from the stern tubes. If this is the case it would be worrisome if there were no water coming from the stern tubes. However if you're running the engines on land with no external cooling water feeding them and you have water coming out of the seals, there is a problem
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:58   #5
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Yes, Sounds like the raw water injection into the dripless bearing/tube is picking up anti freeze. A leak inside the heat exchanger. Coolant mixing with raw water.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:16   #6
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Sorry about that, let me start all over. Boat was a sinker. It took on roughly 8 feet of salt water. I purchased the boat in 08 and have been working on it since. The boat was dry docked for 2 years prior to me owning it. The motors are 8.1 MPI Crusaders, transmissions are Hurth velvet drive. Prop shaft has not been removed nor have the seals been checked. There is a lubricating tube on the bottom of the heat exchanger that goes to the through hull Seal that the prop shaft goes through. That is the only way of lubrication and while I was running the motors (I am running water to the motors while running them) I went out side and noticed the water coming from the prop shaft right at the Hull. I've never delt with prop shafts and dont know all the verbage. I'm ready to hook up the prop shaft to the transmission, but I'm having a bad feeling that I need to replace seals.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:22   #7
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Just guessing here: It sounds like you have a shaft seal that is lubricated by raw cooling water? if so, then I would think what you are seeing is normal... UNLESS there is antifreeze in it.. you should be able to see that from the color right? As long as you have done all that work, you should take a look at what you've got, maybe ask the yard manager if your type of units need servicing... and you will learn more about them in the process....
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:42   #8
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Any one who can see this message, feel free to comment. I'm not new to the boating world but I am new to doing a complete rebuild and am learning a lot. Thanks again for all of the comments.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:27   #9
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

If what you're describing is accurate, nothing is wrong. The water that is used to cool the engine is then sent two places. One is with the exhaust, out the back of the boat and the other is out the seals of the propeller shafts. THIS IS NORMAL.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:30   #10
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

Mr Smith, Puget Sound. I love everything about that area. If you ask me thats were heaven caresses the earth.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:34   #11
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

GT, a couple of fast cell phone pix would make it much simpler to figure out what you've got back there.

It sure sounds like cooling to a dripless seal. And generally rubber parts and seals whould be replaced every five years, so whther you really need to or not? This might be a good time to get back there and replace rubber parts, while you're still drydocked. If the rubber that you can access has any cracking, checking, feels stiff or brittle--than absolutely replace it.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:53   #12
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Re: Shaft Seal Query - Post moved by Moderator

I live in Arizona and my boat is in San Diego. I will be going back this weekend and will send pictures. I have never sent pict before so some one will have to walk me through it.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:06   #13
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Re: Shaft Seal Query

To all that have responded, thank you. If there is one thing i have learned is there is no time for pride when it comes to boats and water. I appreciate all the inpute and suggestions.
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Old 07-06-2012, 14:19   #14
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Re: Shaft Seal Query

Hi GT

From the expanded description I will add my vote to cooling the shaft from the heat exchanger. But the water should not have antifreeze.

Definitely monitor the level in the fresh water side of the cooling system to see if you are loosing water.

Also, what's going on on the inside is critical. As others point out, if this is a dripless seal there are rubber parts that have to be replaced periodically. Main one will be a rubber boot around the shaft that connects to the seal assembly. Will be comparable to the rubber boot around an old 4 in the floor stick shift in a car.

Also, I would be more worried if water was showing up on the inside of the boat.
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Old 07-06-2012, 17:46   #15
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Re: Shaft Seal Query

Thank you for the advice. I dont have water inside the boat, just noticed it running from the hull directly were the prop shaft goes in. I will take your advice and remove all seals and boot since its out of the water. Thanks again.
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