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Old 05-23-2020, 04:47 AM   #1
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Cutlass bearing or something else?

Wanted to take the Admiral out for an instructional cruise with the new AIS. Got 100 yds from the dock when we heard a loud squawking noise for a few seconds from the back of the boat. I first thought it was somebody putting down a lift - it sounded just like it. We went another 50 yds and heard it again. The Admiral took the helm and I jumped down in the engine room, heard the squawk again just as I lifted the hatch. Saw the shroud on the stuffing box on the port shaft pulsing up and down about 3/16Ē and the stuffing box leaking about 3 drops a second. Shut that engine down, and returned to the dock. Went back to the engine room, nothing seemed amiss except the stuffing box leaking a drop every 2 seconds. I backed the stuffing box off, then retightened (probably tighter than usual), slowing the leak to a drop a minute. Today, my diver went under the boat...I was thinking he might find a palm frond wrapped up in the shaft...but didnít. Said the wheel, shaft and struts looked fine. Rotated both wheels, said the port was harder to turn than starboard...maybe thatís an over-tightened stuffing box. No runout that he could see in the shaft. I went down in the engine room while he rotated the shaft, and didnít see or hear anything unusual. I tried to wiggle the shaft and couldnít. Iíve read quite a few threads here about bad cutlass bearings, but I donít recall any reports of loud howling noises or shaft wobble. It almost seems like that kind of motion in the shaft would have to come from the transmission end. The boat was running perfectly right up to the moment it started squawking - no noises, no vibration, although we were at idle, so maybe not surprising. Any thoughts? Iíll be back in the engine room tomorrow with a pry bar to see if I can get something to wiggle. Anything else I should look for or try? Should I just head for haulout before something really breaks?
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:01 AM   #2
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Squealing fan belt?
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:23 AM   #3
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Squealing fan belt?
Donít think so. The boat came with Carquest belts that really slipped. I switched to Cat cogged belts, and keep them snug. And there was no doubt the shaft was hopping up and down...not normal.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:43 AM   #4
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I had the forward cutlass bearing tighten up and nearly seize the shaft, but there was no vibration or shaft movement. And the prop could not be turned by hand. If the rubber in the cutlass has come unbonded, it could plausibly do what you describe under power, but still feel OK turning by hand.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
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We had a cutlass bearing fail on another boat. The rubber separated from the bronze sleeve. At low rpms we had a high pitch noise. At highs rpms it was ok. From the water side you could see where the rubber had slipped back about 1/8 of an inch.
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:16 PM   #6
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Disconnect the coupling and turn the shaft by hand. That may give you a better idea, then check that the engine is aligned properly? Also, make sure the water fitting is working and not blocked, if you have one?
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:30 PM   #7
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Is there a water feed to the stuffing box?

Ted
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:01 PM   #8
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No water feed. I’ll study it again in the morning, but like most other things, it looks like I have to disassemble half the engine to get at all the bolts holding the coupling together.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:10 PM   #9
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One drop per minute drip from the packing is too tight unless it is a dripless packing. One drop per 5 - 15 seconds is normal for normal packing.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:14 PM   #10
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Not for modern packing like Gore-tex!
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One drop per minute drip from the packing is too tight unless it is a dripless packing. One drop per 5 - 15 seconds is normal for normal packing.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:20 PM   #11
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No water feed. I’ll study it again in the morning, but like most other things, it looks like I have to disassemble half the engine to get at all the bolts holding the coupling together.
I think I would start by loosening the packing up significantly and then trying turning the shaft. With a good alignment and everything else ok, you should be able to grap the shaft and turn it. If not, trying turning the coupling. I would want to eliminate the packing as the problem before getting further into disassembling things.

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Old 05-23-2020, 07:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I think I would start by loosening the packing up significantly and then trying turning the shaft. With a good alignment and everything else ok, you should be able to grap the shaft and turn it. If not, trying turning the coupling. I would want to eliminate the packing as the problem before getting further into disassembling things.

Ted
I backed the nuts all the way off the gland. It maybe got a little easier, but still much harder to turn than the other shaft. The diver turned it by hand holding the prop, but no way I could turn it from inside holding the shaft - I needed a strap wrench to turn it. It did turn smoothly, no binding, but not easy to move.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:57 PM   #13
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Not for modern packing like Gore-tex!
What he said. If we get several drops an hour itís too loose.

GFO - GFO Packing
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:48 PM   #14
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I backed the nuts all the way off the gland. It maybe got a little easier, but still much harder to turn than the other shaft. The diver turned it by hand holding the prop, but no way I could turn it from inside holding the shaft - I needed a strap wrench to turn it. It did turn smoothly, no binding, but not easy to move.
Have you ever repacked the stuffing box in the water? I haven't and I'm not suggesting if you haven't done it, you should be comfortable doing it. But, if you have and you're comfortable doing it, I would move there next. Packing is inexpensive. If I were comfortable doing it, I would want to dig the old packing out and see what's left of it. If the shaft doesn't turn as well as the other one, you're probably going to be pulling the boat out next.

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Old 05-24-2020, 10:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Not for modern packing like Gore-tex!
Agree but nothing in the OPs posts say anything about goretex.
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Old 05-24-2020, 11:15 AM   #16
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OP, just for clarification, you state:

Saw the shroud on the stuffing box on the port shaft pulsing up and down about 3/16”

What was the SHAFT doing at that time? Was it displaying any sign of vertical/lateral movement at all?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:15 PM   #17
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OP, just for clarification, you state:

Saw the shroud on the stuffing box on the port shaft pulsing up and down about 3/16Ē

What was the SHAFT doing at that time? Was it displaying any sign of vertical/lateral movement at all?
Obviously harder to see exactly what the shaft was doing, but it had to be moving up and down in concert with the shroud/stuffing box...didnít it? Unless the packing (done before I bought the boat, donít know what it is) somehow folded over on itself (as has been described to me re the rubber in the cutlass bearing) and was rolling around driving the stuffing box up and down like a cam?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:21 PM   #18
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I can only speak from experience. The P.O had overtightened the stuffing box so many times instead of repacking it and it caused light grooves on the shaft. When I lifted it out I could see the discolouration where it had been overtightened causing running too hot/ overheating.
I was lucky that I could turn my shaft end over end and took the opportunity to fit a PSS seal instead of a stuffing box. I can only say from thousands of miles that they're the best thing since sliced bread and I highly recommend them.
Others may have a different view but for me the PSS seals are the dogs gonads.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:22 PM   #19
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Have you ever repacked the stuffing box in the water? I haven't and I'm not suggesting if you haven't done it, you should be comfortable doing it. But, if you have and you're comfortable doing it, I would move there next. Packing is inexpensive. If I were comfortable doing it, I would want to dig the old packing out and see what's left of it. If the shaft doesn't turn as well as the other one, you're probably going to be pulling the boat out next.

Ted
See my response above re the packing. I wasnít thinking of doing that, but I am now. Iíve never packed a stuffing box at all, much less in the water, but it looks relatively straightforward, and I have a buddy who has done it. Between the two of us, Iím sure we can get it done...of course, thereís social distancing to deal with.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:54 PM   #20
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Does the sound go away when you increase RPM?

If the sound is at the lower RPM range and goes away with increased RPM, the cause might be a "singing" prop. A prop shop can file an anti-sing edge on the prop tips.
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