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Old 11-10-2020, 10:10 AM   #1
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Stern tube leak

I've started to dive into a leak that developed in the area of the shaft log. It doesn't seem to come from the shaft seal, but from behind the log/bearing. The area aft in the keel where the stern tube runs is wet, and when we were in the water a leak was coming up through the false floor.
So I'm thinking of removing the shaft and both bearing carriers, and pressure testing the shaft tube. There is room to sleeve the tube. By removing both ends, I can make sure the sleeve seals well, rather than push it blindly as far as I can.
I'll also carefully inspect the hull and keel to make sure they are tight.
So first up, anybody know how to remove the shaft from this? Click image for larger version

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Old 11-14-2020, 11:23 PM   #2
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It’s pretty obviously bolted together, so a good start point would be to remove the bolts.
What is the shaft log made of? I’ve seen some corrosion related failures in stainless steel stern tubes.
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Old 11-15-2020, 08:54 AM   #3
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Seems to be stainless. The tube def has corrosion on it. You're right, just have to start unbolting and see what's there. Hoping the shaft end is accessible, and that I can force it out. There is a PSS system installed, so the shaft came off before.Click image for larger version

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Old 11-15-2020, 09:05 AM   #4
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We need a little more information, particularly about the make and year of the boat.

If it is a 30 year old T.T. it probably has a S.S. tube. T.T.s used a very poor grade of stainless, it was subject to rust and deteriorating in the tube, tanks and fittings.

It is a pretty big job to replace the shaft tube in a trawler, an even bugger job to dig out and replace all the accompanying rotten wood and glass around the tube, but you need to get it done. Right now the leak is probably just annoying, next year it will probably be worse and in a few years it will become downright dangerous.

Good Luck. I am a real D.I.Y. guy but had mine done at the yard. It is pretty involved and requires more fiberglass knowledge than I have.

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Old 11-15-2020, 12:07 PM   #5
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I had it done.
But it was much more complicated.
The stern tube was covered in concrete ballast.
Had to jackhammer the concrete out w two sizes of jackhammer.
Lots of dust and noise ... hours and hours of work.
Out w the concrete and in w the locally made stern tube.

I covered it all w lead of various shapes and sizes ending w bird shot on top.

I discovered the stern tube was leaking because the bulkhead just behind the shaft seal was bowed fwd. The expansion in the corroding steel punch outs was pushing on the bulkhead.

We surmised that the tube cracked when the boat was on the hard in freezing weather. That could be a heads up for at least a few here .. sorry.

But .. as they say .. things could be worse.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:31 PM   #6
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Mine looks pretty open under the false fiberglass floor. I'll have to open up under the aft bed, which will involve moving the water tanks out of the way. Looks doable. What a PIA.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:36 PM   #7
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Shaft log forward view. Think that bottom stud might be tough. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-15-2020, 02:27 PM   #8
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If the small hose goes to the shaft log that isn’t what I would want below the waterline. And why all the clamps and spliced hose anyway? I am sure you will get that cr*p out of there. Looks like fun...
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:30 PM   #9
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Comodave,
Shaft logs frequently are pressure fed from seawater taken from somewhere in the seawater system.

This is more common in FD boats and perhaps fishing boats to insure plenty of water is present in the rubber stern bearing for lubrication. My Willard is such a boat. I have a small ball valve that isolates the “stern bearing tube” from the rest of the system. When I leave the boat overnight or overweek ect I turn off the seawater intake at the Kingston valve and also the small ball valve feeding the stern bearing through the stern tube.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:14 PM   #10
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I know that shaft logs are sometimes fed by cooling water, mine are. I couldn’t tell from the photo if the small hose was going to the stuffing box or just going past it to somewhere else.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
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To the stuffing box. This is definitely a case of out of sight, out of mind. That photo is with my arm in a hatch. Yup I'll replace all that with a nice new hose.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:41 PM   #12
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Gotta love POs and their Macgiver work. I replaced one of the hoses to the shaft log last year when I rebuilt that log. I am going to order new hose for the starboard side tomorrow since I have the starboard engine out and am reworking the starboard side of the engine room this winter. I am replacing the house batteries with LiFePO4 batteries, painted the bilge and replacing hoses all over.
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Old 11-15-2020, 05:16 PM   #13
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Big project!
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Old 11-15-2020, 05:21 PM   #14
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Pete, 86 Albin 40. Been fixing leaks for close to 10 years. But, can't beat the comfort for cruising. (Except those long crossings with beam seas).
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Old 11-15-2020, 07:05 PM   #15
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Mike 66, Mine is a little older and a little smaller, a 78 36 foot. I' sure yours has the same problem. Love that rusted hose clamp. Looks like they couldn't get a nut on the bolt for whatever reason and used a hose clamp instead. LOL

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Old 11-15-2020, 07:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
Mike 66, Mine is a little older and a little smaller, a 78 36 foot. I' sure yours has the same problem. Love that rusted hose clamp. Looks like they couldn't get a nut on the bolt for whatever reason and used a hose clamp instead. LOL

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Good eye, Pete. I didn’t see that.
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Old 11-15-2020, 08:50 PM   #17
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Hi Mike,

I had the same problem on a former boat, a 37' trawler built in Korea. The shaft tube was a home built fiberglass pipe. First photo shows the tube ready to come out after removing the false floor and disgusting foam under it. Shaft was removed before interior work started. I cut the mid fiberglass bracing and the stuffing box mount with a sawsall. Once the mounts were cut the tube just pulled out. Must have been leaking there as well. Photo 2 shows the hole in the tube. Photo 3 old tube out ready for the new one. Photo 4 stuffing box mount was in rough shape.

I bought a fiberglass tube from Nor Easter Yachts in Milford, CT https://noreasteryachts.com

While I took everything apart I had the yard glass the tube to be sure alignment was right on. Everything went together well, leak stopped. Unfortunately, I can not find the photo of the completed project.
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Old 11-17-2020, 06:22 PM   #18
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We see these stainless and bronze shaft tubes a lot on Canadian fishing boats (our shop is in Maine). As others have mentioned, the preferred remedy is to replace it with a custom fiberglass shaft tube fitted with cutless bearings (water bearings). We'll then "barb" the forward end of the shaft tube to ensure a good seal around the hose that connects the self aligning stuffing box.



If you need help give "mike" a call at 207-422-6532.
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Old 12-23-2020, 03:06 PM   #19
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Hi Mike66 - I recently purchased a 1976 CHB34 with a very similar problem. At this time I don't know if the leak is through the wall of the stern tube (which I am guessing is stainless) or water seeping in around the outside of the stern tube.

Please let the forum know what you find as this may be of great help to me and others.

I like your idea of pressure testing the stern tube but I have an idea to do a similar diagnostic check with the boat still in the water. To do this check I intend to inject air into the forward end of the stern tube and push down the level of seawater in the tube. With your setup you could do this much more easily than I can by just injecting air into that small hose on the dripless packing. I intend to do this while at the dock and the idea is that, if the stern tube contains air rather than water, the leak into the bilge will become air and seawater will cease to accumulate in the bilge. This would confirm a leak through the wall of the stern tube. As regards how to inject air, I am thinking of an aquarium pump or something similar as I think the injection would have to be continuous for a day or two to give a reliable indication.
Beyond that, with the boat on the hard and the shaft pulled I am thinking of an internal borescope inspection.

I wonder if the Captain Tolley's leak fixer fluid would be able to fix these king of seepage leaks.

On the subject of how to remove your shaft from the coupling it may be held by a taper bushing which you loosen using jacking screws. Here is a link showing one.


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Old 12-23-2020, 04:02 PM   #20
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My boat had copper stern tube extensions from the factory. I wanted to replace them and found that pre-made fiberglass stern tubes are available from Centek (they make a wide variety of fiberglass exhaust components as well). I purchased mine at fisheries supply. You can get the heavy duty fiberglass stern tubes in a variety of sizes, so if you find you need to replace portions or all of the stern tube, you might find the Centek product to be a good fit.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/cent...r-post-housing
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