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Old 12-05-2017, 04:07 PM   #1
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Tides marine shaft seal

My boat is a 2000-vintage Pacific Trawler 40 (hull #39), and is equipped with a Tides Marine "Strong Seal" shaft seal. This seal is the earlier version of the current SureSeal shaft seal. For those not familiar with the Tides Marine seals, they use a lip seal to provide a drip-free self aligning seal to the propellor shaft. My installation came equipped with a spare seal, riding in a carrier in front of the housing. One of the purported advantages of the Tides Marine Strong Seal is that a leaking lip seal is replaceable without hauling the boat.

Well, after 17 years, mine now leaks! About 12 drips per minute, which is WAY too much for my comfort.

So-has anyone that has the same Tides Marine Strong Seal ever actually replaced their lip seal without hauling? I've talked at length with Tides technical support, who were very helpful and obviously knowledgeable. The technician was adamant that they have NEVER had an in-water seal replacement go awry, but freely admit that it isn't the 10-minute job the online installation video claims.

The main issue seems to be lack of access, precluding easy removal of the spiral retaining ring for the old seal, removing the old seal itself, and getting the new seal in place without cocking or damage to the new seal. Use of the carrier as a push block against the new seal is recommended, as well as use of sliding bar clamps on each side of the carrier to provide axial "push" against the new seal to seat it. Tides didn't have an issue with the (probably) 17 year old replacement seal, given that it's in good shape (no cracking, no obvious deterioration of the rubber, presence of the seal tension spring, etc.).

Yup, water ingresses once the old seal is removed. Probably enough to make the installer uncomfortably wet, and frustrated, and anxious if the new seal installation gets hung up. But, it's a boat, and I've replaced many an old-style packing gland in the water without issue, so I'm aware of the leakage issue.

So again, has anyone ever replaced one of these seals in the water?

Regards,

Pete
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:40 PM   #2
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Hi Pete.

When I bought WESTERLY in 1997, I looked at the Tides Marine unit, but ended up with a PYI because it required less room. Probably only the newer boats have it. So no help from here.

Did I see your boat at Edmonds recently? Wasn't able to stop by and see.
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:55 AM   #3
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Hi Jay,

Yup, that was us in Edmonds. A few of our Roche Harbor YC friends meet up in Edmonds over the holiday to dispose of the leftovers!

FYI, I've decided to have Seaview West do my in-water seal replacement. I'm just too fat, old, stiff and blind to do it myself. Will be interesting to see how this turns out!

Regards,

Pete
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:37 AM   #4
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I have quite a bit of experience with these seals. After 17 years, I would STRONGLY recommend you replace the entire seal assembly. The assembly is meant to last about 10 years. Replacement requires hauling and shaft removal, of course.

Once you have installed a new seal assembly, you can replace the lip seal in the water, if you accept the risk. (I would not) However, you would need to have placed a spare seal (or two) on the shaft BEFORE installing the new seal assembly. If you don't have shaft clearance, you can't install the spare seal(s) so in-water replacement isn't an option.
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:49 AM   #5
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If it were me, I would have the boat hauled or contract the replacement to a reputable boat yare with experience replacing the seal while still in the water.

You are talking about a few hundred dollars vs. losing the entire boat.
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:55 PM   #6
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I had a Tides seal I don't remember if it was if it was the original or the newer unit, (I have had both in my boat) slowly dripping, it was a fairly new seal. I called Tides, a tech told me, not to disconnect anything, but to push the seal housing back a bit on the shaft,then turn it one way then the other, then pull it forward to original position and see if this stopped the drip. I did this and it worked. Maybe there was a bit of trash under the lip seal and the move cleared it? It won't move much as it is still mounted on the hose and shaft. It might work for you or not but it is easy and won't cost anything and it might hold you over till your next haul out.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:34 AM   #7
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To All,

Much obliged for your inputs. I am currently "in the queue" to replace the seal in the water at Seaview West Boatyard at Shilshole, WA. Not going to do it myself. After the replacement, I will assess how successful the replacement went. If the leak stops, OK for now, but I'll continue to watch it like a hawk. If the leak does NOT stop, I will order a complete new seal assembly, and re-schedule for a haul, shaft pull, and replacement of the whole enchilada.

I'll report progress and results.

Again, thanks to all.

Pete
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:36 PM   #8
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Pete,

Pardon the dumb question, but you have spare lip seals already mounted on the shafts forward of the seal assembly, right?

Spare seals should be enclosed in a plastic carrier to protect them as they sit and wait to be used. Watch to be sure the shaft between the spare seals and the seal assembly is well cleaned before the new seal is slid into the assembly. Also, be sure they use the plastic "hat" to protect the new seal as it is slid into place.
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