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Old 20-02-2014, 08:14   #1
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Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

I read several posts on the Volvo dripless shaft seal, but none addressed my specific questions. I'm hoping someone can help.

I have a 2004 Beneteau 361 with a Volvo dripless shaft seal (see below) which I have serviced in the past (forcing grease past the lip). When I did that, there was only a little bit of water that dripped out, and only when I was squeezing the lip. Now, however, when I squeeze the lip a lot more water is being forced out. It's enough that it's difficult to force the grease in. Also, a fine spray of water comes from under the lip when the shaft spins.
  • Does this indicate a failure that more grease can't solve?
I also have a raw water feed into the stern tube behind the seal, and the water squirts out even when the sea cock is closed. This seems odd, because if enough water was supposed to come up the stern tube to create that much pressure, why have a separate water feed?
  • Does that indicate a problem further down the shaft in some other part of the stern tube?
Thanks!
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Old 20-02-2014, 08:39   #2
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Here's my take on it to get the ball rolling.... The only caveat is that I am not familiar with this actual seal...

If you've got spray coming out while the shaft is turning, the seal lip is worn, and time to replace.... That water coming from the input OR stern tube is less viscous obviously than the grease, and slides by the lip which is meant to hold the grease in place...

The feed tube is used to create a "circulation" path for cooling... In the seal assy... out the sterntube...

How many hours on the seal?
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Old 20-02-2014, 08:58   #3
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Thanks Happy!

I'm not the original owner, but I'm 99% sure it's the original seal, and the motor has just under 1700 hours on it.
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Old 20-02-2014, 09:34   #4
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by batkins61 View Post
Thanks Happy!

I'm not the original owner, but I'm 99% sure it's the original seal, and the motor has just under 1700 hours on it.
You bet!

In order to stockpile my "continuing education" credits... I did a little more digging for you.... Apparently there is the inner (aft) seal lubricated with the forced water feed going out.... and the inner (lip you see forward) lubricated by the grease....

The grease being kept between the two... It looks like it's the aft seal that's causing you the grief, while the spray is the evidence and annoyance!

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going to happen if a light misting seawater spray is left unchecked in a machinery space....

(let me know if the picture didn't appear... Flem.S.Coyle jinxed my computer, and I'm having image issues)

(yes Flem... I posted it publicly)
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Old 20-02-2014, 11:43   #5
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Thanks! That's an awesome photo. I talked to a local mechanic who has serviced these before, and he suggested getting a longer plastic tube (ice maker tubing, maybe?) and pumping grease behind both inner and outer seals.

He also said that replacing the seal, with engine alignment, on water tests, etc. was over $1000, not including haul out, so I'm incented to try the grease first.
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Old 20-02-2014, 12:10   #6
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

I think the mechanic was lifting your leg when he quoted $1,000.
I would be inclined to replace your leaking with a PSS seal, these seals can be fitted with the boat in the water. I've used one for years with no trouble at all. I have no connection with PSS. I would recommend you measure the shaft Dia and the shaft log Dia and check the prices out with PSS.
If you decide to replace the seal plenty of guys will give advice, if not send me a message and I'll help.
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Old 21-02-2014, 06:29   #7
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

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Originally Posted by Irish rambler View Post
I think the mechanic was lifting your leg when he quoted $1,000.
I would be inclined to replace your leaking with a PSS seal, these seals can be fitted with the boat in the water. I've used one for years with no trouble at all. I have no connection with PSS. I would recommend you measure the shaft Dia and the shaft log Dia and check the prices out with PSS.
If you decide to replace the seal plenty of guys will give advice, if not send me a message and I'll help.
Jeezo... No kidding.... You can do this yourself or with a buddy in the water for peanuts... If you have room after the couplers are off... $100-200 for the seal...

Volvo Penta Shaft Seal

Unbolt and remove couplers, maaaaaybe have to move shaft back a tad... Loosen seal clamps, ready rag, pull off, don't panic, wrap rag to slow flow, don't panic, R&R seal, ready position, don't panic, remove rag, slip on, tighten.... test, beer...
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Old 21-02-2014, 06:56   #8
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Pirates DO exist. They are behind the service counter at the marina. We've run into a few, like the jerk who spent an hour cleaning our whole engine after some work on the and then charged $70 for that unnecessary effort.
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Old 21-02-2014, 07:17   #9
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

We had one of these on our Westerly Fulmar. The trick somebody taught me to grease was to get some straws from McDonalds. They are much thicker around then most straws. Put your grease in these, push the end through the seal (it will flatten out) and then squeeze the grease into the seal. The photo above should give you an idea how far to push the straw. Do it several times.

Chris
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Old 21-02-2014, 07:23   #10
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
...Unbolt and remove couplers...
Potential caveat is if the coupling to the transmission is corroded to the point of requiring a wheel puller to separate, also there are a variety of couplers - some have a pin (through the coupler to the shaft) that may also be corroded in. Also the bolts (some are hex key-type bolt heads, others standard bolt head) can be quite difficult to remove. Pre-treat with WD-40 days ahead of time and loosen each one sequentially and gradually. Can easily break a ratchet set on these babies or mangle the bolt heads.

I started this operation myself when hauled out and had to abandon it and will get the yard to do it for me next service. Glad I was out of the water at the time.
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Old 21-02-2014, 07:34   #11
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

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Originally Posted by RigelKent View Post
Potential caveat is if the coupling to the transmission is corroded to the point of requiring a wheel puller to separate, also there are a variety of couplers - some have a pin (through the coupler to the shaft) that may also be corroded in. Also the bolts (some are hex key-type bolt heads, others standard bolt head) can be quite difficult to remove. Pre-treat with WD-40 days ahead of time and loosen each one sequentially and gradually. Can easily break a ratchet set on these babies or mangle the bolt heads.

I started this operation myself when hauled out and had to abandon it and will get the yard to do it for me next service. Glad I was out of the water at the time.
I've removed hundreds of shaft mounted couplers, pulleys, flanges... Did not mean to imply that it was as simple as talking about it... Simple with these amounts to about 15% -30% of the time! Impossibly stuck is around the same percentage...
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Old 21-02-2014, 08:04   #12
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

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Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
I've removed hundreds of shaft mounted couplers, pulleys, flanges... Did not mean to imply that it was as simple as talking about it... Simple with these amounts to about 15% -30% of the time! Impossibly stuck is around the same percentage...
There used to be a Youtube video a while ago of someone doing the operation in the water. He didn't panic - much. Got the job done with great success and relief. Sorry couldn't find this one.

Here's a vid where the shaft coupling didn't come off so easily:
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Old 21-02-2014, 10:48   #13
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

batkins61. Before you start to get in a panic spray plenty off penetrating oil around the shaft coupling. Check your bilge pump is working. Check the shaft log jubilee clip, if not moving freely spray that too. Find some 45 gallon drums, place them on the foredeck and fill with water, that way you don't need any one in the water as the stern will be lifted up out of the water. Check your shaft is spotlessly clean and with no burrs. If the shaft coupling is seized, take two hammers and hit each side of the coupling simultaneously, turn the shaft a quarter turn and repeat until it simply pops free (don't tell everyone this wee trick, works for props too). Clean the end of the shaft and lightly coat the shaft with washing up liquid, slide the new shaft log down slowly and attach securely, now slide the rotor down into place and adjust. re attach the shaft coupling, drain the barrels of water and return them, test run, adjust until perfect, then check periodically.
Now off you go to the bar and choose a nice well earned Brandy, sit back, relax and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:38   #14
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

Thanks all! Great info!
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Old 25-02-2014, 09:12   #15
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Re: Volvo dripless shaft seal blowby problem

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Originally Posted by batkins61 View Post
Thanks all! Great info!
You bet Bat-ster!

One caveat to the help.... If you leave us hanging without a report on the resolution.... We will hunt you down....

PS: Don't know how many times/different ways you tried the grease infusion.... BUT... If you got enough in there... just ... maybe.... it pushes the inner seal a little tighter on the shaft... and you buy yourself another season... However!!!! This doesn't absolve you of actually purchasing the new seal and having it on board....

PPS the tip about spraying the coupler with your unstick-em lube of choice can never CAUSE any problems... only good things...
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