Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Drip Drip Drip Can Sink the Ship

  After about ten hours of running time on our new bottom paint job, almost four hours of that at our cruising speed of 25 M.P.H., I decided yesterday to strap on my goggles and take a look at the boat bottom. Not good.
  Although no paint had fallen off of the hull itself, as far as my quick assessment could tell me, but the metal parts such as the shafts, rudders, exhaust outlets, and props, all had chunks of paint missing.
  There could be several reasons for this happening, but there is no doubt in my mind that surface prep and improper paint application are the reasons for the paint not sticking.
  No, I'm not going to bother trying to hold our marina responsible, again for several reasons, but a few of them are that I was the one who finished up the painting process on the underwater metal parts because the yard laborer who was supposed to do the work went on vacation before the work on our boat was finished. I also believe we launched Swing Set too early before the paint was completely dry, and probably didn't wait long enough between coats.
  The bottom line is that the boatyard here is not equipped to do much service work. I believe the focus on Marathon Marina and Resort as being a resort and marina is better suited for them rather than being a service facility.
  Also, we're leaving in a couple of days to drive north for some recon in order to find a more affordable marina, hopefully one with really good service facilities nearby. I think we have an eye on a good one. On my last post we got a few suggestions as to where we should keep the boat; those suggestions were ignored as being in areas where we have no intention of ever living.
  Maybe I'll do a quick haul out once we get settled just to address the underwater running gear, as like I mentioned, the hull looks O.K. except where the slings came in contact with the fresh paint where now it looks and feels wrinkled. Really wrinkled.
  Last but not least, the yard laborer who did the majority of the surface prep and painting on Swing Set is now in jail for what looks to be a long time. But that's another story.
  How about some good news?
  You may remember my post about cleaning up the shafts and reseating our dripless shaft seals so they would quit leaking. We have Strong brand Sure Seal System shaft seals on Swing Set. Well, the seal on the starboard shaft is tight and keeps the bilge dry as a bone, but the portside shaft seal has continued to drip at a steady rate. A steady drip if you're living onboard is one thing, but leaving a vessel unattended with a little drip can lead to disaster. (I read a statistic once that said the leading cause of boats sinking is due to shaft seals leaking. I believe it.)
  We have spare shaft seals in place on our driveshafts, I suppose they have been there since the boat was new, but I had been reluctant to use them because if I did, then...well then I'd have no more spare ones would I? But after trying to clean up the portside shaft and reseat the seal again, I went ahead and decided to use the spare on the portside to stop the drip.
  I utilized my friend Mr. Google once again for a quick video of how to attack the seal replacement chore. One thing that had me worried was just how much water was going to come rushing into the bilge when I pulled out the old seal, but the video and the commentary that came along with it assured me that it was no big deal.
  Now, I'm not giving a tutorial here on how to do this seal replacement, I would want you to do your own research if you need to perform this task, but I do have a few tips that may be of use to anyone attempting the job.
  One thing is that an allen wrench is needed for the seal housing, and an allen wrench won't turn around all the way because the drive shaft is in the way, so I used a socket with the appropriate size allen bit installed. This made quick work of the tedious job of tightening the five allen bolts. (Make sure they're started by hand to avoid stripping the threads on the housing.)
  I also used a small mallet to tap in the seal. I was happy to find that the new seal was still tight, as old as it was. (There is also a story here, but don't tempt me.)
  Anyway, the new seal is installed with not much trouble, and not a drip to be seen. Now I feel much better about leaving the boat for a couple of weeks although our neighbor has promised to keep an eye on Swing Set.
  I mentioned the mallet before, well I think I did, but I keep the mallet in the engine room along with several sizes of plugs. The theory is that is you get a hole in the hull somewhere, you can quickly grab a plug and hammer it home. I can see where this may apply in the case of a through hull valve breaking off, but any other hole will be jagged, and most likely occur in a spot where you can't swing a mallet, but at least I have good intentions.
  I also have a small assortment of rubber plugs to stick into the ends of hoses if I take any off in the course of some service work when I don't want stuff to leak out or in. I can't tell you how many times I took a hose off and scrambled around to find something to stick into the hose to stop the flow of water or other liquid. (Fingers are usually too fat. Don't ask.)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! What video did you use to help learn the change out process? My port leaks a little
    from time to time and i would like to do what you did. Thanks a bunch, JC