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Old 09-21-2020, 04:50 PM   #21
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Olddan is right. For lip seal devices that have some sort of o-ring that rides on the shaft, you can install a second seal which can be replaced without pulling the shaft. PSS style with the compression boot pushing a ceramic face against a shaft mounted ring cannot be replaced without pulling the shaft.

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Old 09-23-2020, 09:57 AM   #22
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You might want to consider one of the RE Thomas self aligning shaft seals. They combine the "dripless" benefits of a PYI PSS or Tides Shaft seal with the proven reliability of a traditional bronze stuffing boxe.

These shaft seals are very popular on commercial and higher horsepower recreational inboards on the east coast.
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Old 09-24-2020, 12:33 PM   #23
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You might want to consider one of the RE Thomas self aligning shaft seals. They combine the "dripless" benefits of a PYI PSS or Tides Shaft seal with the proven reliability of a traditional bronze stuffing boxe.
Does anyone here have experience with one of these?

Here is why I ask:

Many of the trawlers I'm interested in have either PYI or Tides dripless seals. Most of them seem to still be original equipment. This means they are WAY past their maintenance date. So, I'd probably be hauling and replacing after purchase (removing shaft to replace entire seal unit).

Personally, I tend to favor a traditional bronze stuffing box. Although I don't tend to "live for re-sale," there is a good chance I'd be selling again in a few years, and I feel like people won't like the "downgrade" from original equipment (even though I don't see it as such).

On the other hand, if the RE Thomas one can be considered an upgrade, that might be the best of both worlds (I'd get my bronze stuffing box, and could explain why it's good/better to a buyer).

Any feedback?
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:38 PM   #24
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I watched the video but did not read up on it.


If the 3 rings are just split rubber washers.... I am not sure it is any better than a modern stuffing box with state of the art packing.


Both will suffer from sand impregnation and soon will drip like a conventional unless tightened like a conventional.


Would have to work with one in person to see just how much "better" it is, the engineering (quick visual) doesn't appear to be.


I would put on whatever you want and don't worry about resale....1/2 the buyers wouldn't know the difference anyhow, a chunk will change it out again, a chunk will prefer whatever you put in and a chunk will ask on the survey for you to swap back so keep the old dripless....
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:57 PM   #25
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I think you are right and worrying about re-sale is silly.

I guess I'm still curious for myself though. So far I'm gleaning that it has some of the attributes of both, but have not got the details firmly in my mind yet.

Interestingly, I just spoke with Tides technical department, because a number of boats I've been considering have original Tides Seals (so 20+ years old). I went to their website to see what the maintenance interval was, so I'd be informed. I didn't see anything in the instructions at all so called them.

They said there is no maintenance interval. I was surprised and talked with them a bit more. Nope, you just wait until it leaks and then replace it (or put on a new seal part if you have a spare on the shaft).

Not sure I'm convinced but I guess the hose is stronger than the "bellows" type of the PYI (otoh PYI does not ride on shaft, so they each have + and -). And if it's wearing a groove in your shaft I guess it leaks and you change it.

Can't decide if "Yippee, it's maintenance free!" or No way. I would probably never leave one that long. OTOH, maybe that means that if one is functioning, I could at least use the "new" boat for a bit first vs. going immediately to the yard and doing the whole enchilada (stuffing box, shaft out, cutless, etc.). That would be pleasant plus allow me to choose when and where to haul.

Anyway, it's not something I can say was neglected by a PO if there is no maintenance interval.
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Old 09-24-2020, 02:30 PM   #26
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Personally, I tend to favor a traditional bronze stuffing box. Although I don't tend to "live for re-sale," there is a good chance I'd be selling again in a few years, and I feel like people won't like the "downgrade" from original equipment (even though I don't see it as such).
In my opinion, Dripless is the right choice where (1) access to the stuffing box sucks (beneath a vee-drive in many cases); or (2) where the owner/operator has zero interest in performing even modest routine maintenance. Otherwise, traditional stuffing box with dripless packing. If you're planning on changing, I prefer the pressure-plate style with two 5/8" bolts versus the one with a single giant nut that encircles the shaft. Latter is nice because it stays aligned, but takes gigantic wrenches or channel locks.

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Old 09-24-2020, 03:02 PM   #27
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Tides marine with spare seal on shaft.
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Old 09-24-2020, 04:30 PM   #28
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You might want to consider one of the RE Thomas self aligning shaft seals. They combine the "dripless" benefits of a PYI PSS or Tides Shaft seal with the proven reliability of a traditional bronze stuffing boxe.

These shaft seals are very popular on commercial and higher horsepower recreational inboards on the east coast.
It has the same physical arrangement as a traditional shaft packing seal, and the thought that they combine benefits looks like pure public relations BS. Don't drink the Kool-Aid.
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Old 09-25-2020, 01:58 PM   #29
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we have 2 boats and we have had experience with both tides and pss. we currently have tides on one and pss on the other. we've had 2 tides failures (the seal) due to shaft whip. tides does not tolerate any major shaft wobble. also they are more prone to problems if there is any pitting where the seal rides. tides are more "install and forget" than pss. with pss, first, you need to be able to get at the seal to compress the bellows. also, any crud that gets onto ss/carbon disk will lead to a leak. so you need to keep them clean. tides comes in 2 types of bellows: normal/blue and heavy duty/red. i think the same rules apply to both tides and pss bellows. the main problem with the bellows is the "rubber" drying out over a long time. we just swapped out the tides after 17 years, just because.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:39 AM   #30
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Any statistics on failure rate? Any numbers on failures leading to sinking?
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:57 PM   #31
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Any statistics on failure rate? Any numbers on failures leading to sinking?
Might be difficult to amass reliable data regarding failure rates.....We've all heard a few stories of boats scrambling to haulout yards because of a leaking seal system, but who knows how many of these stories are from direct observation or "echo chambers".
I personally only know first-hand of one boat having a bellows failure on a PSS seal (the only design I'm familiar with). That boat had longer shafts than our DeFever 44, and had a history of shaft vibration necessitating multiple shaft removals (which requires disturbing the compression of the shaft bellows). I believe that boat's original seals were a little over 15 years old at the time one failed.
I've owned two sailboats with PSS seals, sold both at age aprox 10-15 years old, with no signs of cracking on the original shaft bellows.
Who knows what environmental conditions exist on boats that have failures.....Overcharged/out-gassing batteries will degrade rubber, so will ozone generators that are used to remove boat smells on brokerage boats.
Salty is 15 years old now, with the original PSS seal bellows. They are still soft and pliable with no cracking evident. However, we are hauling out next month for a much needed bottom job, and I'll be replacing the shaft bellows as a precaution. Easy job in a DeFever engine room.....the wildcard will be busting the tapered shaft coupling loose from the shaft! I fabricated a puller from 3/4" plate and grade 8 threaded rod, and have torch ready to party!
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:05 PM   #32
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Any statistics on failure rate? Any numbers on failures leading to sinking?
I know of no empirical evidence, only anecdotal. I have one personal experience with a 'failure.' I use quotes because I'm 95% sure it was improper install. PSS system - the annular ring has a double/stacked set screw. The ring had backed-off allowing an alarming amount of water intrusion. Took me a minute or so to figure out what happened - the second set screw was nowhere to be found, and the primary set screw backed-out. Was fixed a minute or two later with a hose clamp backing the pressure ring.

If access to the stuffing box is decent and maintenance is easy, I prefer traditional stuffing boxes with modern packing. If access sucks (many v-drives), dripless starts to make sense.

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Old 09-30-2020, 07:11 PM   #33
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A common theme on TF is that weak links should be eliminated and potential problems with significant dangers should be carefully thought through and redundancy is golden.

Electrical, plumbing, ground tackle...heck all different possible weak links get the thumbs down by many here.

Well...even a brand new PSS bellows can have a factory defect and let go at any moment.

So..... worry about a dry bilge 100% of the time or worry about a ticking bomb in your bilge?

PS...if worried about a dry bilge...read up on the dry bilge thread.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:26 PM   #34
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Best system I ever saw was on a steel Puffin sailboat. Shaft log was fairly long and filled with grease. There was a nipple to allow its replacement. Shaft was held by bearing at start, end and I think halfway. Thing did leak a minute amount of grease I could see. Owner said he refilled it with fresh grease at every haul but that was it for servicing. Don’t know anything further about it.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:00 PM   #35
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I had PSS on the last boat. I had it serviced with replacement of the bellows and had a more lubricating water added at 5 years. Prior given it was a sailboat it had no pump pressurized source. View this part as as mission critical as I do long ocean passages.
Today put an offer in on a nordhavn. Of course have been looking at sisterships. None have a traditional stuffing box. All dripless. Find it unusual that this family of vessels which can’t run to a travel lift if failure occurs have made that decision. The majority are PSS with a few Tides. Wonder if that’s marketing or is the PYI device better?
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:48 PM   #36
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I had PSS on the last boat. I had it serviced with replacement of the bellows and had a more lubricating water added at 5 years. Prior given it was a sailboat it had no pump pressurized source. View this part as as mission critical as I do long ocean passages.
Today put an offer in on a nordhavn. Of course have been looking at sisterships. None have a traditional stuffing box. All dripless. Find it unusual that this family of vessels which canít run to a travel lift if failure occurs have made that decision. The majority are PSS with a few Tides. Wonder if thatís marketing or is the PYI device better?
I'm surprised at the dripless on nordhavn. I probably delivered 4 dozen new ones. They all had traditional stuffing boxes with two smaller bolts on the pressure plate (vs a giant gland nut). Perhaps the dripless is an after thought?

Stuffing box access is excellent on nordhavn. I personally strongly prefer the traditional with modern packing.

Congrats on finding a potential dance partner. Hope the transaction goes smoothly. We'll miss you here at kiddy table if you join the NOG

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Old 10-01-2020, 04:45 AM   #37
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Also looked at David Gerr boat and as backup now looking at some KKs. But it seems regardless of original spec what’s in use now is a dripless. Would note if you google this subject it seems virtually all commercial ships use dripless as well. Apparently there’s less concern if your not dealing with skinny water. Similarly only the foolish wouldn’t do a a test run (or several) after swapping out parts before going on passage.
Just had shaft alignment adjusted prior to sale of the last boat as you could feel something. It was off 3/1000” of an inch. Detectable by feelers but not visible watching while running. Just at the edge of it worth adjusting. Think in a trawler you would get use to how it should feel pretty darn soon so misalignment as a cause for failure is a stalking horse.
I don’t think this is about a dry bilge. People put check valves in their bilge pump runs. I don’t. Would rather put up with a wee bit of water than have anything that could impede flow when they’re truly needed. From what I can gather catastrophic failure is much talked about but little seen. That’s why I continue to be most interested in the real numbers of failures.
I think regardless of brand if your shaft alignment is reasonable, you change out what’s necessary every 5 years , your use doesn’t exceed 10,000m/y and it’s not subjected to a difficult environment (excessive heat, chemicals etc.) dripless isn’t the failure point that’s going to sink your boat. View it similar to hitting moose in Maine or. bison in Sturgus. Yes it does happen but it’s very unlikely with a modicum of good behavior on the part of the operator.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:49 AM   #38
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Maybe Nordhavns with their watertight bulkheads think the potential problem, with the bulkheads and rarity of a total bellows failure they can live with the new tech.

Unlikely but possible...roll the dice.....
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:59 AM   #39
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Also looked at David Gerr boat and as backup now looking at some KKs. But it seems regardless of original spec whatís in use now is a dripless. Would note if you google this subject it seems virtually all commercial ships use dripless as well. Apparently thereís less concern if your not dealing with skinny water. Similarly only the foolish wouldnít do a a test run (or several) after swapping out parts before going on passage.
Just had shaft alignment adjusted prior to sale of the last boat as you could feel something. It was off 3/1000Ē of an inch. Detectable by feelers but not visible watching while running. Just at the edge of it worth adjusting. Think in a trawler you would get use to how it should feel pretty darn soon so misalignment as a cause for failure is a stalking horse.
I donít think this is about a dry bilge. People put check valves in their bilge pump runs. I donít. Would rather put up with a wee bit of water than have anything that could impede flow when theyíre truly needed. From what I can gather catastrophic failure is much talked about but little seen. Thatís why I continue to be most interested in the real numbers of failures.
I think regardless of brand if your shaft alignment is reasonable, you change out whatís necessary every 5 years , your use doesnít exceed 10,000m/y and itís not subjected to a difficult environment (excessive heat, chemicals etc.) dripless isnít the failure point thatís going to sink your boat. View it similar to hitting moose in Maine or. bison in Sturgus. Yes it does happen but itís very unlikely with a modicum of good behavior on the part of the operator.
I mostly agree with this. Catastrophic failure is often cited, but actual first hand experience is rare - as mentioned, I did have the collar back away in a PYI and it was dramatic. I believe it was faulty install, bit a failure. Besides, easily fixed albeit a wet ordeal. Contrast with frequency of scored shaft or wet bilge masking other issues, and the balance tips to dripless for many.

But I still prefer traditional gland with modern packing. Gland itself has a 40+ year service life vs 5-7 for dripless. Traditional needs fairly frequent tweaking, but for me it's just part of my routine. Hard to break after all these years.

As many have said, keeping a dry bilge - as in bone dry, is not that difficult. That and a very clean engine will express potential errors very early, long before failure.

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Old 10-01-2020, 06:17 AM   #40
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Maybe we only hear of catostophic failures occasionally...but we DO hear about the failures because of the results being newsworthy.

Like total loss fires and sinkings (newsworthy) as opposed to all the other problems boaters find and fix ( not newsworthy).
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