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Old 25-04-2018, 03:14   #1
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Lip Seal Seepage

I've got the rudder out of my boat for the first time in her 17 years of service (9 to me).

It's nice to see that the bearings and steering gear all look to be in tip top shape despite the tens of thousands of miles, much of it in rough weather. The gear itself is oversized like all of this kind of thing on Moodys so not under much stress, and I like that.

However, the lip seals were shot and sea water had seeped through and had been standing in the cofferdam around the rudder shaft. This has caused a plywood bulkhead to swell up and pop its paint -- not good. Now I'm drying that out so that I can put a coat of epoxy on it.

I guess the accumulation of lip seal seepage is inherent to boats with cofferdams around the rudder shaft -- so what do you guys do? Pump it out regularly? I can't even see what's going on down there without unscrewing the lazarette floor and lifting it all, and that after clearing out the entire lazarette :headbang:. So I have not been paying much attention to what is going on down there, which I understand now is not right.

Any tips?
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Old 25-04-2018, 04:52   #2
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Re: Lip Seal Seepage

Perhaps a cheap solution would be to tie a loop of "cotton" rope around the shaft pushed down into the bottom of the coffee dam. Lead a tail up and over the edge of the coffer dam headed downhill towards bilge. This would serve to wick away whatever seepage would have occurred.

As far as stopping seepage... New seal well greased? Glass in an extension tube around the rudder shaft from the coffer dam to well above any waterline, if possible?
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Old 25-04-2018, 07:57   #3
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Re: Lip Seal Seepage

What is the purpose of the dam?
Is it possible that the cure is worse than the disease?
If not maybe leave a hose in the bottom of the dam and then once in a while use a squeeze bulb to see if there is any water, as long as itís dry I assume no action is required?
Doesnít stop the leak of course but is an easy way to check to see if there is one.
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Old 25-04-2018, 13:33   #4
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Re: Lip Seal Seepage

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
What is the purpose of the dam?
Is it possible that the cure is worse than the disease?
If not maybe leave a hose in the bottom of the dam and then once in a while use a squeeze bulb to see if there is any water, as long as itís dry I assume no action is required?
Doesnít stop the leak of course but is an easy way to check to see if there is one.
The cofferdam is a very good thing. It ends well above the waterline, so if the seals go out, the water can only get so high. Without the cofferdam, the boat could sink.

Good idea with the hose; thanks.
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Old 25-04-2018, 13:45   #5
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Re: Lip Seal Seepage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The cofferdam is a very good thing. It ends well above the waterline, so if the seals go out, the water can only get so high. Without the cofferdam, the boat could sink.

Good idea with the hose; thanks.
IIRC you have a skeg hung rudder and it's entrance into the hull is pretty high, like less than a foot below the waterline. How high does your rudder shaft log come up? If above the waterline then I suspect with new seals (gland packing?) that you won't get much water if any at all coming in through the post. That said I think the squeeze bulb and hose is a pretty excellent idea.
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