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Old 06-03-2015, 22:46   #1
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PSS faulty Bellows

I've replaced my standard gland seal for the prop shaft with a PSS seal. I'm in the second year now and up until now I've been really happy with it. But the last trip a month ago I noticed more water in the bilge under power than usual. So today I checked it out and under power water was pissing out of the seal between the ceramic and the steel collar.

My first thought was that the collar had loosened off, so I got out with the Allen keys and tried to adjust the tension on the bellows. To my surprise I couldnt. I dug out the instruction sheet and for a 1 inch shaft, it's recommended 3/4 inch of back tension. The problem is the bellows have no stretch left in them, which means I can at most get about 2mm of tension. Enough to stop it leaking when stopped but leaks bally when under way.

Has anyone else has this problem?

I obviously have to purchase a new bellows but gee, I thought it would last longer than two years...
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:49   #2
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Hmm... mine is 6+ years old and still going strong (touch wood).

2 years is pretty sad but I cant offer any insight as to why so short
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:01   #3
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Are you sure the bellows has not somehow slid on the stern tube?

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Richard
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:19   #4
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

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Originally Posted by boden36 View Post
Are you sure the bellows has not somehow slid on the stern tube?

Regards,
Richard
No, not on my set up. But in any case that wouldn't stop the ability to compress the bellows. When I checked it I moved the SS collar way forward so I could clean the two surfaces as the maintenance note say. That's when I realised the bellows remained compressed and there was no more compression possible. When I installed it, I used a ruler to get the 3/4 inch and I remember thinking there's no more available anyway. But now it seems it's got no more 'spring' and remains compressed.

The warranty says 3 years so if I can find the receipt, I'm hoping I can get a replacement.
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:07   #5
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

This is really odd. I pulled out and replaced ours and it was at least ten years old, probably more like 15 and still felt springy and supple. Could the bellows be dragging on the stern tube at the compression point and thus not expanding forward as they should? Is it possible that they have overheated at some stage and lost their elasticity that way? If they don't have a breather fitted I believe this is a possibility.

Anyway, when you pull them out to replace them I would love to know what you find. Having recently fitted ours, I am interested to hear if their is something to indicate a change of quality. On this point, are you certain it is a genuine PSS, I understand that there are some similar devices made by other manufacturers.

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Old 07-03-2015, 07:31   #6
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

When my PSS started doing that, I found that the collar had not moved on the shaft. But, rather, the other end of the bellows that go over the hull gland opening, had slid back a little bit, reducing the bellows tension against the collar seal on the transmission end. I just loosed the hose clamps, pushed the end forward, and re-tightened the hose clamps and no more leak That was five years ago and it's been fine since.
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Old 07-03-2015, 15:01   #7
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Im going back to my boat tomorrow, I'll check the stern tube and how much is on it. But I doubt that's the problem as I 'think' I only have about 1 1/2 stern tube poking out that it goes on.

I cant remove it for a while so I'll take pictures of it which I think will show the problem.

Is it a genuine pss? Well, it came in a legitimate box with all the documentation and I purchased it from a local engineering shop who advised they were pss seal agents here. I think it would be genuine.

And my batteries are sealed AGM type in a separate compartment, so they couldn't be the problem. According to the documentation gasses from batteries can deteriate the bellows and cause them to crack. But mine look like the day I installed them. Clean and good condition, it's just I've lost any 'spring' well except for a modest 2mm. Not enough for it to work properly under shaft rotation.
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Old 07-03-2015, 15:13   #8
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Something isn't right. The bellows can't harden up that much in a short time. Remember there is some pressure from the water pushing back against you when you try to compress the bellows. It adds about 3.5 lbs of force for each foot of water depth (assuming the bellows is about 3" diameter). It's significantly harder to push the bellows back when in the water than when on the hard.

My money is on the clamps at the shaft log working loose and the bellows slipping rearward there.
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Old 07-03-2015, 15:26   #9
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

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Something isn't right. The bellows can't harden up that much in a short time. Remember there is some pressure from the water pushing back against you when you try to compress the bellows. It adds about 3.5 lbs of force for each foot of water depth (assuming the bellows is about 3" diameter). It's significantly harder to push the bellows back when in the water than when on the hard.

My money is on the clamps at the shaft log working loose and the bellows slipping rearward there.
Pressure preventing me 'pushing the bellows back' isn't the problem. The problem is that the bellows are have no gaps to squeeze when in the free position, as in, when the SS collar is released and away. My two stern tube cutlets bearings are new so I don't need to worry about being flooded when working on it and if I have a new bellows I could even do the work in the water without any problem.


Ill definately check the two rear clamps and make sure it hasn't slipped back, but I doubt that's the problem.
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Old 07-03-2015, 19:44   #10
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Post a picture of the bellows. If possible with the front stainless ring slid forward so the bellows are are at their "natural" position. I know that lets a little water in. But any picture would help.

Also, you will need a couple new set screws when you are done with this exercise.
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:13   #11
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Pressure preventing me 'pushing the bellows back' isn't the problem. The problem is that the bellows are have no gaps to squeeze when in the free position, as in, when the SS collar is released and away. My two stern tube cutlets bearings are new so I don't need to worry about being flooded when working on it and if I have a new bellows I could even do the work in the water without any problem.


Ill definately check the two rear clamps and make sure it hasn't slipped back, but I doubt that's the problem.
BTW, just how much comes in when you move the collar away from the bellows. It should be at least a trickle (ie more than a fast drip) otherwise you would not be getting enough cooling which might explain the loss of elasticity.

Do you have the vent tube open to the atmosphere (well above waterline) or are you using water injection or is the vent sealed off?
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:21   #12
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

I have one with the vent sealed off. Just have to burp it once in a while like the old days before they had vents.

After thinking about it some more I wonder if the initial install collapsed the bellows too far back and they have taken a set. Also, it might be some marine growth has "glued" the bellow sections together.
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:38   #13
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

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BTW, just how much comes in when you move the collar away from the bellows. It should be at least a trickle (ie more than a fast drip) otherwise you would not be getting enough cooling which might explain the loss of elasticity.

Do you have the vent tube open to the atmosphere (well above waterline) or are you using water injection or is the vent sealed off?
When I move the SS collar away quite a bit of water flows in. Nothing concerning as my two cutlets bearings are new, but there's certainly enough to know there's enough water that it's not overheating.

And I have the nylon vent screw connected to s tube that goes above the Easter line.
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:40   #14
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Post a picture of the bellows. If possible with the front stainless ring slid forward so the bellows are are at their "natural" position. I know that lets a little water in. But any picture would help.

Also, you will need a couple new set screws when you are done with this exercise.
Will do.
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Old 07-03-2015, 22:52   #15
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re: PSS faulty Bellows

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Also, you will need a couple new set screws when you are done with this exercise.
I keep bumping into the spare set screws that came with my PSS. And somehow I just KNOW that when I need them I won't be able to find them.
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