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Old 28-09-2015, 10:48   #16
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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The torque from the engine opens it and when you put it in neutral there are springs in the hub that feather it.
This may not be the case. It depends on the prop. I've got a three-blade Max-Prop (this is a feathering prop), and it has no springs. With engine stopped and the shaft locked the flow of water past the blades will shift them to the feathered position. If the shaft is free-spinning, then the blades may feather, but if they get a little sideways shove (say, from a wave abeam) the prop may start spinning. Once it starts spinning the blades open up and then they stay that way and continue to spin.

I keep the engine in gear to keep the shaft from spinning. You can look at your propshaft to see if you have this same issue. You might want to check your engine and transmission manual to see if they recommend leaving the transmission in gear, but with a feathering prop I don't see the harm since there is so little force (compared to a stopped regular prop).
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Old 28-09-2015, 10:54   #17
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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Ok cool. See? Tomorrow I'll get in there and give her a quarter turn and learn about stuffing boxes....
A quarter turn is too much, adjust just a bit - "half a flat" at a time. If you over tighten you should not back it out, it will make matters worse.

Here is a good Maine Sail write up about this:

Re-Packing A traditional Stuffing Box - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 28-09-2015, 10:55   #18
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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I know, I know, I shouldn't probably even think about it. But basically I have an encapsulated full keel, and for whatever reason right underneath my engine it is hollow, it might even be all the way to the base of the keel, there are some hoses and the manual bilge pump that came with the boat in the pit, and it has a a handle in the cockpit connected to the hoses down there. I believe its called a whale gusher, and also an electric bilge pump is there although I cannont see it. How they ever got it there I do not know. Have it never breaks!

Well, when I first bought the boat the electric bilge, which is set to automatic, never came on, but I hadn't taken the boat out, I was getting it set up, now once I do take it out, that pump comes on from time to time.

It's hard to say when, like it just came on now, and pumped just a little bit, when I last sailed the day before yesterday. It often pumps, it seems, a couple hours after a sail.

Where is the water coming from? I assume this is normal?

I'm a pretty clean guy, so I clean and thoroughly hose down the boat after every sail, so water could be coming in there even though I don't SEE it, or what about the propeller shaft? I am unfamiliar with them, this is my first. And I'm trying to take really nice care of everything, while at the same time learning. Is my stuffing box leaking? Is that normal?. I don't want to leave the boat for a couple weeks and have the bilge pump fail and there to be any problems.
Sounds as if your packing gland needs to be snugged up.
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Old 28-09-2015, 12:39   #19
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I know, I know, I shouldn't probably even think about it. But basically I have an encapsulated full keel, and for whatever reason right underneath my engine it is hollow, it might even be all the way to the base of the keel, there are some hoses and the manual bilge pump that came with the boat in the pit, and it has a a handle in the cockpit connected to the hoses down there. I believe its called a whale gusher, and also an electric bilge pump is there although I cannont see it. How they ever got it there I do not know. Have it never breaks!

Well, when I first bought the boat the electric bilge, which is set to automatic, never came on, but I hadn't taken the boat out, I was getting it set up, now once I do take it out, that pump comes on from time to time.

It's hard to say when, like it just came on now, and pumped just a little bit, when I last sailed the day before yesterday. It often pumps, it seems, a couple hours after a sail.

Where is the water coming from? I assume this is normal?

I'm a pretty clean guy, so I clean and thoroughly hose down the boat after every sail, so water could be coming in there even though I don't SEE it, or what about the propeller shaft? I am unfamiliar with them, this is my first. And I'm trying to take really nice care of everything, while at the same time learning. Is my stuffing box leaking? Is that normal?. I don't want to leave the boat for a couple weeks and have the bilge pump fail and there to be any problems.
I have recently found the same issue on my Sea Sprite 30 which also has a full keel with a bilge set up that sounds very similar to yours. I am having that issue looked at by my winter marina. There is some thought that the rudder packing may have started to leak. My vessel was built in 1984 and has probably never had the rudder packing repacked and tightened. Not a real easy area to get to.
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Old 28-09-2015, 13:07   #20
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

I wouldn't stress about it much, 1 drop a sec isn't too excessive I don't think, but if you tighten it too much, it will ruin your driveshaft.
I'd wait until you get someone who is experienced to help, my boat, very little turning is needed on adjustment, so little it's hard to tell you have moved it much.
Mine is a full keel too, and it is a bear to get down in the narrow confines to adjust the nuts, only way I can really do it is with a screwdriver and a hammer. I can get a sink drain wrench on the nut, but then can't turn it as there is no room.
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Old 28-09-2015, 13:15   #21
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Yes, if there is a packing gland for the rudder, check that. On my boat the rudder gland is above the static waterline but when we are pushing hard the stern wave rises up and water can leak from the rudder gland if it's not tight. This has happened!

Another possibility is a leak in the exhaust hose. I had a leak just before the exhaust exited the boat, and exhaust water was getting into the boat. I replaced the entire hose.
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:28   #22
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
This may not be the case. It depends on the prop. I've got a three-blade Max-Prop (this is a feathering prop), and it has no springs. With engine stopped and the shaft locked the flow of water past the blades will shift them to the feathered position. If the shaft is free-spinning, then the blades may feather, but if they get a little sideways shove (say, from a wave abeam) the prop may start spinning. Once it starts spinning the blades open up and then they stay that way and continue to spin.

I keep the engine in gear to keep the shaft from spinning. You can look at your propshaft to see if you have this same issue. You might want to check your engine and transmission manual to see if they recommend leaving the transmission in gear, but with a feathering prop I don't see the harm since there is so little force (compared to a stopped regular prop).
My transmission's manual says to put it in reverse ideally but says it won't damage it if you don't. The engine place that installed the engine and prop said to sail in neutral. So I'm getting some conflicting information here. My gut tells me that sailing in neutral sometimes the prop isn't feathering. I guess I can look by sticking myself down the cockpit lazarette and having a look, but out sailing, that's kind of hard.

So there really isn't any reason not to sail with it in reverse right? It won't hurt the engine, transmission or prop, if anything it will give more force to help the prop feather.

I just don't want to do anything to hurt my engine.
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:32   #23
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Mine must have been replaced though right? It can't be original. Last year they put a new engine in, a beta, where it used to have a Volvo and the new prop. I doubt they changed the shaft, but the would have had to remove it, and then repack it as part of the job right?
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:36   #24
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

It may just be time for new packing, shaft or rudder gland. That stuff can't last forever. Next haul out spend a couple of cents, I'm being smart probably a couple of dollars for packing. At least you will know it was replaced. It looked as if your shaft glad was floating on the end of a hose.

Do yourself a favor and spring for new hose and four SS clamps. Removing the flange and pulling the shaft back may be a bitch?

Maybe I'm all wet and tightening the packing glad may do it. I hope so.
I believe replacing the packing can be done afloat.
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:48   #25
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Arhat wasn't a picture of mine though, that was a responder's
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:52   #26
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
Mine must have been replaced though right? It can't be original. Last year they put a new engine in, a beta, where it used to have a Volvo and the new prop. I doubt they changed the shaft, but the would have had to remove it, and then repack it as part of the job right?

It seems as often when packing is replaced that t has to bed or wear in. In other words I believe it's pretty common for new packing to have to be adjusted a couple of times in the first hours. If yours was replaced then that may be all it is.
This is just guessing but if I repowered I would have replaced the packing when I was there


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Old 28-09-2015, 15:09   #27
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Given that you are fairly new to this stuff, I would not touch the stuffing box. It is likely to be corroded and hard to turn. You also need two wrenches to loosen it - and know which way to turn. Mainsail has a good set of pictures that covers also changing the packing.

Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com


A dripping stuffing box does no damage. Even if the bilge pump broke, it would take a long time to bother the boat. The drip keeps cool aerated water around the shaft. A slightly too tight stuffing box can destroy the shaft from overheating or galvanic corrosion - a really expensive repair. Let a yard do it. They may have to replace the packing. Or better have a knowledgeable friend show you how. But there's really no hurry if this is the only source of water.

Instead, install a backup 2nd bilge pump higher than the old one on it's own float switch. This will protect you from other mysterious leaks if the existing bilge pump or switch fails - which they do with alarming frequency. While you're at it, install a loud alarm in the 2nd pump circuit that will get attention if it ever starts pumping.
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Old 28-09-2015, 15:10   #28
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

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It seems as often when packing is replaced that t has to bed or wear in. In other words I believe it's pretty common for new packing to have to be adjusted a couple of times in the first hours. If yours was replaced then that may be all it is.
This is just guessing but if I repowered I would have replaced the packing when I was there


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Ask if they did repack the glad. I wouldn't make the assumption they had, on an engine change.
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Old 28-09-2015, 17:18   #29
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Having a little experience with several irrigation pumps with stuffing boxes I suggest you 'adjust' it while the pump (Propeller) is turning.
As previously said ........ weeny bit by bit, side by side. Too tight & you'll smell the smoke! For irrigation pumps now days the stuffing material looks like a woven asbestos rope but with a square profile. Comes in various sizes. (3/16", 1/4", 5/16" etc) It's impregnated with a mixture of lead and grease.
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Old 28-09-2015, 18:42   #30
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Re: Simple question. Bilge pump coming on

Here is a Youtube video. There are several other videos listed when you open this link.


Cheers/ Len.
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