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Narrowjack

Vetus stern seal

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Hi all,  

Here's a question for those of you familiar with this particular piece of kit.

I've had this stern gear seal since the boat was built 12 years ago [about 1900 running hours, not much in 12 years I guess] and a great piece of kit it is too. However, during a recent trip around the four counties it's started to drip. I did do some maintenance on it a few years back, inserting a fresh shot of the official grease between the seals, but I guess nothing lasts forever. So it looks like she'll have to come out for a replacement. 

The question is, whilst I've been looking into the technical bit on the seal it seems that the lubricating/cooling water supply is supposed to be into the seal, as opposed to expelled from the seal. However, on my boat the connection point of the pipe is actually on the weedhatch body at a point actually above the water level, when the props not turning.  So, what the hell? The builders built plenty of these, so mine can't be the only one.... 

Anyone shed any light on the subject?

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I very much doubt the actual seal needs the water but the fluted rubber Cutless shaft bearings that Vetus use definitely do. I don't see that it matters if the water flows from just in front of the prop and up the shaft to that small hose or down the small hose and out of the back of the aft shaft bearing. As long as water is in the bearings when running it should be fine. f you can't hear the shaft squeaking as it runs I doubt there is anything to worry about.

 

I suspect the seal may need replacing and cording to those on here who have them they can be done in the water but you will need to remove the shaft coupling, remove and burrs on the shaft and overwrap any sharp edges like key ways with tape before sliding the new seal into place.

 

Hopefully a Vetus seal owner will be along soon.

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If the seal is only dripping at the moment, isn't it simply a question of putting up with it (and adding an ice-cream tub) until the boat next comes out for blacking?

 

 

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The pipe that is fitted to the weed hatch should actually be a feed take off from the water cooled exhaust system on a Vetus engine, this is just a bad way of trying to get some lubrication to the stern gear.

If you look in a Vetus engine / sterngear catalogue it shows you an exploded view.

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15 minutes ago, J R ALSOP said:

The pipe that is fitted to the weed hatch should actually be a feed take off from the water cooled exhaust system on a Vetus engine, this is just a bad way of trying to get some lubrication to the stern gear.

If you look in a Vetus engine / sterngear catalogue it shows you an exploded view.

Very difficult if you dont have a raw water cooled boat

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You should be putting a bit of the silicon grease into the seal every hundred hours or so. if you are going to change the seal you may notice that the new Vetus seals don't seem as robust as the old ones. Others on this forum recommend changing this seal for this one. https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/282569986576

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, J R ALSOP said:

The pipe that is fitted to the weed hatch should actually be a feed take off from the water cooled exhaust system on a Vetus engine, this is just a bad way of trying to get some lubrication to the stern gear.

If you look in a Vetus engine / sterngear catalogue it shows you an exploded view.

 

It may be a bad way but that's the way it's been done on literally thousands of boats including mine with no ill effects. If it was that bad I think I'd know about it after 15 years. If you look more closely at the exploded view you'll see that vetus also show an alternative setup with the water feed coming from an underwater scoop skin fitting. I spoke to vetus many years ago about the weedhatch setup and when they realised that the boat I was talking about only travelled at 5 or 6 kts maximum they said it should be ok as the underwater scoop method wouldn't put a lot of flow through the gland either.

 

With the engine running in gear the water feed runs from the shaft to the weedhatch. I worked that out by taking the pipe off the shaft while moored. I never got around to trying that with the boat in gear going forward but as Tony mentions it doesn't really matter which way the water runs.

Edited by blackrose

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6 hours ago, Machpoint005 said:

If the seal is only dripping at the moment, isn't it simply a question of putting up with it (and adding an ice-cream tub) until the boat next comes out for blacking?

 

 

 

Narrowjack, slide the front bronze face off the gland by removing the 3 small allen key bolts. When you separate the housing be very careful not to damage the gasket. Slide the front of the housing up the prop shaft. Water will come in at the rate of about a litre a minute.

 

Shove a load of silicone grease into the gland and put the front of the housing back on. Tighten the 3 bolts evenly. As F Drayke said, you should be putting a little bit of silicone grease in every hundred hours or so through the top allen key bolt hole. 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/172283698288

 

If that doesn't stop the drip then the other thing you could try is move the propshaft forwards or backwards by 5mm so that the worn seal sits on an area of fresh unworn shaft. A friend of mine who also neglected to lubricate his vetus gland did this and it worked. 

Edited by blackrose

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AIUI the pipe from the seal going to the weedhatch is just to let air out so that water can get in.  There will be no significant flow of water through it.

As Blackrose mentions, moving the shaft in or out (ooh-err missus) by a few mm may well cure the problem, but I would still replace the seal at some point as it is likely to be worn if the shaft is.

Usual cause of the seal leaking is not giving it a squirt of grease every hundred hours or so.  I also wipe a little round the shaft next to the seal as well, although can't say if this actually does anything.

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45 minutes ago, dor said:

 

 I also wipe a little round the shaft next to the seal as well, although can't say if this actually does anything.

 

 

It might just pick up dirt and cause the seal to wear faster! 

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