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Tuttifruity

Stern tube and prop shaft needs replacing after 2 years??

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Hi everyone, we recently set off from our long term mooring in Sheffield, heading for the booked dry dock to black the boat’s bum and some other jobs, and a bit of a relaxing cruise for a few days there and back. It was not to be, we were at the beginning of the Keaby when the boat started to overheat and the oil light came on. The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. Long story short, he thought there might be a leak from the skin tank and it also needed a new oil switch. We managed to limp to his boat yard where it stayed till he came back from his hols. There wasn’t a leak from the skin tank and a new oil switch was fitted, but he said the boat needed a new stern tube and prop shaft as the water poured in when the engine had been running. We hadn’t had any problems with this before hand, and both these items had been replaced only 2 years earlier along with 4 new engine bolts. We haven’t done a lot of miles since and the work was done by a highly recommended chap. Can anyone suggest what’s happened?  ps we spent a fortune at the boat yard for the repairs and can’t afford to black the boat now ☹️

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2 minutes ago, Tuttifruity said:

Hi everyone, we recently set off from our long term mooring in Sheffield, heading for the booked dry dock to black the boat’s bum and some other jobs, and a bit of a relaxing cruise for a few days there and back. It was not to be, we were at the beginning of the Keaby when the boat started to overheat and the oil light came on. The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. Long story short, he thought there might be a leak from the skin tank and it also needed a new oil switch. We managed to limp to his boat yard where it stayed till he came back from his hols. There wasn’t a leak from the skin tank and a new oil switch was fitted, but he said the boat needed a new stern tube and prop shaft as the water poured in when the engine had been running. We hadn’t had any problems with this before hand, and both these items had been replaced only 2 years earlier along with 4 new engine bolts. We haven’t done a lot of miles since and the work was done by a highly recommended chap. Can anyone suggest what’s happened?  ps we spent a fortune at the boat yard for the repairs and can’t afford to black the boat now ☹️

Is it the traditional stern gland with packing and greaser? Might just want repacking and or adjusting. I would hope for a sight more than 2 years out of stern gear. Mine is currently 15 years old. a couple of photos would help.

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4 minutes ago, catweasel said:

Is it the traditional stern gland with packing and greaser? Might just want repacking and or adjusting. I would hope for a sight more than 2 years out of stern gear. Mine is currently 15 years old. a couple of photos would help.

This for the water ingress,but the overheating sounds like further investigation is needed,as it could be one of a number of things.

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38 minutes ago, Tuttifruity said:

The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. <snip> There wasn’t a leak from the skin tank..

So where is the leak?

 

A leak of engine coolant has nothing to do with oil pressure or the stern gland. 

 

Prior to setting off from your mooring how often did you run the engine? Are you sure it had any coolant in it when you set off?

  • Greenie 1

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So if the engineer who came out put lots of water into the engine, and it kept disappearing, and, if he has decided that there is after all no fault with the skin tank, has he explained where the water he poured in must have gone?

 

As Wotever says above, any independent issues with either the oil pressure switch or the stern gland have absolutely nothing to do with the above.

I wouldn't have much confidence in any engineer who has put a lot of water into the engine, managed to lose it again, and can't tell you to where!

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2 hours ago, Tuttifruity said:

we spent a fortune at the boat yard for the repairs

You spent a fortune on a new oil pressure switch?

 

What other work has the engineer done?

  • Greenie 1

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Had You checked the oil, water, stern gland etc before you set off?. Now the new oil-light switch has been fitted does the oil-light stay off?. If she's still out of the water it may be a false economy not to get her bottom blacked.

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3 hours ago, Tuttifruity said:

Hi everyone, we recently set off from our long term mooring in Sheffield, heading for the booked dry dock to black the boat’s bum and some other jobs, and a bit of a relaxing cruise for a few days there and back. It was not to be, we were at the beginning of the Keaby when the boat started to overheat and the oil light came on. The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. Long story short, he thought there might be a leak from the skin tank and it also needed a new oil switch. We managed to limp to his boat yard where it stayed till he came back from his hols. There wasn’t a leak from the skin tank and a new oil switch was fitted, but he said the boat needed a new stern tube and prop shaft as the water poured in when the engine had been running. We hadn’t had any problems with this before hand, and both these items had been replaced only 2 years earlier along with 4 new engine bolts. We haven’t done a lot of miles since and the work was done by a highly recommended chap. Can anyone suggest what’s happened?  ps we spent a fortune at the boat yard for the repairs and can’t afford to black the boat now ☹️

Do you have a calorifier in the engine cooling water circuit?

 

Here's a possibility - you were low on water when you set off, an air lock has formed preventing the water from circulating.  If you don't have a water temperature guage the water could have boiled and forced past the expansion tank cap, so the water in the bilge might be condensed water vapour, nothing to do with your stern tube.   You could have lost a lot of water this way.  The oil light came on because it got so hot you lost pressure.  You have probably burnt the oil so it needs changing pronto - did your engineer do that?

 

Sounds to me like all you need to do is change the oil fill the system with water and make sure to bleed all the air out.  This might take a while if you have a calorifier and involves squeezing the air out of the pipes.   With luck you haven't done any permanent damage. 

 

I think the stern tube is a red herring and from what you have said I wouldn't have much confidence in this "engineer" 

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The only thing that could write off a stern tube / stern gland and shaft is serious misalignment, the shaft may have worn the front part of the stuffing box.  Either that or there is virtually no packing in it.  This is one of those times that I wish I lived nearer as there are a lot of 'experts' around that really aren't. Unfortunately I am nowhere near you. If I were you I would offer a couple of cans of beer to some untidy and oily boater to have a quick look. I fear you may be getting bad advice - I hope not but another opinion could be useful.

  • Greenie 3

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It's a good few miles from Sheffield to the lead by canal, so any airlock would have shown up quickly. Who is the engineer and what work has been carried out? As others have said though where has the water gone that the engineer poured in? And what makes him think your stern tube and prop shaft needs replacing? As others have said pictures would help.

I wish you had posted earlier as I was at Thorne yesterday and could have had a look now at Doncaster going back to rotherham 

Edited by peterboat
  • Greenie 1

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If the boat hadn't been moved for a bit, there may be a bit of water from the stern gland. Might just need adjusting, assuming it's the traditional type. How much water comes in when it's stationary? Can you watch it while the engine is running? If it poured in when the engine was run in the boatyard, why did it not pour in while you were moving the boat?  If you grab the propellor through the weedhatch, (Engine off, obviously!! :D ) is there any sideways or up and play?

 

As others have said, the water poured into the engine must have gone somewhere, and may be the source of the water in the bilge. Is it possible there is a leak in a coolant hose? Such a leak could well be the cause of the overheat, as the engine coolant level fell.

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Thanks everyone for your advice. Sorry I didn’t get photos and we’re away from the boat now for 2 weeks so I’ll get some then. They didn’t take the boat out of the water in the end because I asked him if we could black it at the same time if they did.  They did change a couple of hoses and secured them better,but what you said, Neil, sounds like the answer, an airlock in the system. When we set off, the oil had recently been changed and I did add some water and antifreeze, but the boat has stood since January. When we occasionally ran it for a couple of hours tied up,  it didn’t take much grease to stop a slight drip, but on route I did notice I was having to add a lot more. On the invoice they have charged for repacking, and the oil light doesn’t come on anymore 😬

When I’m back at the boat I’ll grab hold of the propeller as you suggest Iain to see if there’s any play.  

One of the lads next to our mooring whose gone tootling for a while knows a good mechanic, so we’ll grab him when he’s back.

  • Greenie 1

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7 hours ago, blackrose said:

Stem tubes and prop shafts should be regarded as consumables to be replaced every few years.

 

 

 

 

 

😋

not if the engine & gearbox alignment is good, on our boat which has recently been sold both were original to the boat and not touched since built 28 years earlier.

I suspect that it was still running on the original packing.

 

however a misaligned engine can do damage fast, a friends boat had an engine mount fall through a box section bearer (in a way that couldn't be seen), 6 hours of running (to get back to their mooring) gave an overheating engine from the extra load, the stern tube was worn oval and the prop shaft had some lovely grooves in it.

after everything was rectified (new bearers, new engine mounts, new prop shaft and new stern tube) the gearbox failed about a month later

  • Happy 1

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"The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. Long story short, he thought there might be a leak from the skin tank and it also needed a new oil switch. We managed to limp to his boat yard where it stayed till he came back from his hols."

 

Sorry to hear but I think my highlights could be the problem unless he really was the closest boatyard. Like others have stated, an engineer should have some clue where water is disappearing too. Unless the added water was draining overboard he was filling up the boat.

Sounds like he might be taking advantage of you and got you to pay for his holiday. You definitely need a second opinion.

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41 minutes ago, jakk said:

"The engineer who came out kept pouring water in but it kept disappearing. Long story short, he thought there might be a leak from the skin tank and it also needed a new oil switch. We managed to limp to his boat yard where it stayed till he came back from his hols."

 

Sorry to hear but I think my highlights could be the problem unless he really was the closest boatyard. Like others have stated, an engineer should have some clue where water is disappearing too. Unless the added water was draining overboard he was filling up the boat.

Sounds like he might be taking advantage of you and got you to pay for his holiday. You definitely need a second opinion.

 

I just wish this sort of thing was far less common than it is. There is very little an individual can do about this sort of thing apart from relying on personal recommendations. It does make RCR membership look like a good idea because at least they have a reputation to care for and are likely to take steps against a contractor who appears to be indulging in what it looks like went on here.

  • Greenie 1

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38 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

I just wish this sort of thing was far less common than it is. There is very little an individual can do about this sort of thing apart from relying on personal recommendations. It does make RCR membership look like a good idea because at least they have a reputation to care for and are likely to take steps against a contractor who appears to be indulging in what it looks like went on here.

Particularly so when the result is “we paid so much to the engineer that we now can’t afford the blacking”. What on earth has this “engineer” done that cost many hundreds of pounds?

  • Greenie 3

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3 hours ago, WotEver said:

Particularly so when the result is “we paid so much to the engineer that we now can’t afford the blacking”. What on earth has this “engineer” done that cost many hundreds of pounds?

I think he has another branch on the Bristol Avon :giggles:

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Sorry for late reply, I’ve been away. I put the antifreeze in separately, should I have mixed it with water first? I looked at the invoice again and they have done other things, I didn’t know the pipes had no support brackets as I didn’t know they needed any 🤭. The pipe to the expansion tank looked ok to me but I’m a relatively new to understanding boats. One thing I didn’t mention was when we were driving past Tully’s boatyard in Rotherham, all the nuts fell off the stuff box. Fortunately Tully’s had a slip way and I managed to reverse the back end onto it so we didn’t sink, and the Canal and River rescue bloke put it back together. From there we managed to get back to our mooring. The other thing is the boatyard put in lots of water but no antifreeze so I’m going to have to drain the damn thing again to get some in! ☹️

0BB7BC60-D925-4A91-8F7F-DEB1880E248D.jpeg

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54 minutes ago, Tuttifruity said:

Sorry for late reply, I’ve been away. I put the antifreeze in separately, should I have mixed it with water first?🤭☹️

 

You should ideally but on the majority of ENGINES (not central heating) with calorifiers it will have mixed itself after a few hours running. Where it may not is where there is no alternative path for the coolant so the antifreeze and water just stay in "layers". Even so the water pump bypass system normally allows eventual mixing.

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Always best to pre mix the anti freeze with water to whatever ratio you desire for filling up, for then if you have any left over it will be the same ration for topping up. In fact mix loads up for longish term topping up.

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6 hours ago, Tuttifruity said:

Sorry for late reply, I’ve been away. I put the antifreeze in separately, should I have mixed it with water first? I looked at the invoice again and they have done other things, I didn’t know the pipes had no support brackets as I didn’t know they needed any 🤭. The pipe to the expansion tank looked ok to me but I’m a relatively new to understanding boats. One thing I didn’t mention was when we were driving past Tully’s boatyard in Rotherham, all the nuts fell off the stuff box. Fortunately Tully’s had a slip way and I managed to reverse the back end onto it so we didn’t sink, and the Canal and River rescue bloke put it back together. From there we managed to get back to our mooring. The other thing is the boatyard put in lots of water but no antifreeze so I’m going to have to drain the damn thing again to get some in! ☹️

0BB7BC60-D925-4A91-8F7F-DEB1880E248D.jpeg

Lee guest has rogered you rigid!!!! If the stern gland fell to pieces after he did that work I would be asking for a large refund otherwise it would be the small claims court for him! I would not go there even if it was the only place left on cut

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