Author Topic: Leaking Stern Tube! Help!  (Read 1405 times)

JustinAlenScott

  • Vanguard
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
  • Pearson Yacht Enthusiast
    • View Profile
  • Model: Vanguard
  • Vessel Name: Peace
  • City: Highlands
  • State: NJ
Leaking Stern Tube! Help!
« on: September 22, 2022, 01:09:53 PM »
Thank you in advance just for reading this and thinking on it. Not sure where to post this so I might try two places. We're sinking!

She's leaking at the back end of the packing glad where the rubber hose clamps onto the stern tube. Steady stream of water out the back (I've staved it off a bit for now). This leak came about (as it inevitably was going to before long, apparently) when I began my efforts to tighten the packing gland around the prop shaft. The packing has been admitting a slow drip for quite some time, which I liked. After a week of sailing (we do have to motor in and out of our slip and to set sail) the drip became a trickle and a full bilge. No problem, right? Just tighten the packing gland and we're all good. Unfortunately that was terribly wrong.

Of course the threads are all corroded from splashing water about and my smallest initial effort of testing them spun the whole assembly on the stern tube and let in much more water. I rigged up a float switch on the bilge pump and connected to an auxiliary battery that now has a battery charger connected to it and plugged in to shore power. I have had some success staving back the water and the pump is keeping up and holding up .. for now.

There's a leak in the front (the packing) and a leak in the back that I really hope is not catastrophic. I'll be pulling out on Monday to do what I can to fix it until I haul out for the winter in January. So here's what's going on in the back where the packing gland connects to the stern tube.

At the back of the rather corroded bronze fittings is a rubber hose that clamps over the stern tube. The hose is held fast with four (4) hose clamps. There is not room to add more. Those hose clamps are very rusted and likely not holding as much pressure. Just tightening won't do, a couple of turns on one showed me a little water weeping up around the sides of the hose clamp. I can't risk letting more water into the boat while I make repair, that's why I'm pulling out on Monday. Just to hang in the sling, make repair and be back on my merry way. I'm concerned about whether the rubber hose is in good shape because uncoupling the shaft changes this from an hours project to a weeks project.

Here's my working plan and let me know if you have any suggestions or cautions or experience or advice.

Clean all the threads on the packing gland
Pull the boat out
Remove all four hose clamps
Clean the area and inspect rubber hose
Gently assess viability of stern tube
Loosen locking nut on packing gland
Work both nuts up and down the threads a bit
Spray some clear flex seal under hose*
Spray clear flex seal on rubber hose
Install and tighten four (4) new hose clamps
Tighten packing gland
Spin prop shaft by hand to make sure it spins
Tighten locking nut

Here come my questions, comments and concerns. I would be very grateful for yours in return.

Will this fix the leak and stop the water coming in for at least six months (I plan to replace in the winter)? Do you have some guidance or experience doing this?

My greatest concern is what to do if the stern tube itself is corroded or damaged and that's what is letting water in. My next concern is what condition the rubber is in. So those are my biggest questions: What can I do to patch up the stern tube if it's in bad shape? Can I mend the rubber hose or supplement it to hold it fast and true until I can find dry dock in January?

I'll attach a couple pictures so you can see what we're working with here.

Thank you so much for any and all help!

Alma

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 342
  • Karma: 10
    • View Profile
    • GeneSmithStudio
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: ALMA
  • City: Forked River, NJ
  • State: NJ
Re: Leaking Stern Tube! Help!
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 06:15:42 PM »

JustinAlenScott

  • Vanguard
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
  • Pearson Yacht Enthusiast
    • View Profile
  • Model: Vanguard
  • Vessel Name: Peace
  • City: Highlands
  • State: NJ
Re: Leaking Stern Tube! Help!
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2022, 10:28:27 AM »
If the stern tube is in satisfactory condition install one of these.

https://www.go2marine.com/PSS-Dripless-Shaft-Seal-Measured-in-Millimeters?gclid=Cj0KCQjwj7CZBhDHARIsAPPWv3fF5JYtjVI_ikygyD7xRNm58qoZHMSBIS66AxleUhl36FU_3mphg5waAjAUEALw_wcB

It is the best solution and maintenance free.

That's what I want to do when I can get put on blocks in a yard someplace when I haul out in January. In the meantime I only have about three (3) hours to hang in the sling on Monday and repair what I have so Peace can stay afloat until then. And we still have some more sailing to do!

Dolce_Vita

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 563
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • S/V Dolce Vita
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Dolce Vita
  • City: Pasadena
  • State: MD
Re: Leaking Stern Tube! Help!
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2022, 10:14:19 AM »
in my opinion, if the stern tube is dodgy, you have no choice but haul and block now.  To do anything else is to risk total loss of the boat.  If the tube separates suddenly, it can let in an enormous amount of water in a short time, overwhelming your bilge pump.  And even if it doesn't, sooner or later the bilge pump is going to fail for some reason.  Maybe a piece of trash gets caught in the float switch, or the marina power is out overnight and the battery dies.

That having been said, if it IS the tube, a temp. kludge to slow the leaking is to pack the tube from the outside with modelling clay while you're short-hauled.  This will slow or stop the leaking, but will leave the engine/prop unusable.  This might hold you until your January haulout.  But you lose use of the boat between then and now so why not haul out for the winter now?

If, on the other hand, your tube and hose are in reasonable shape, your proposed actions look good, with one addition.  Be sure to dig out the old packing and replace it with new packing of the correct size.  Your old packing is probably shot, accounting for that leak, and the compression nut is probably bottomed-out, which accounts for the whole assembly turning.
@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4