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Water-lubricated propeller shaft leaks


To function, your ship’s propeller shaft runs from inside to outside, through the hull. Of course, this component is built and installed so that your vessel does not fill up with water, but still, your water-lubricated propeller shaft may leak. Naturally, this is a dangerous situation that you want to prevent or remedy as soon as possible. But how does this arise and how do you fix such a problem? Read on to find out why your water-lubricated propeller shaft is leaking and what to do about it.

Water-lubricated propeller shaft leaks: the cause

There is a difference between a grease-lubricated and a water-lubricated propeller shaft seal. Variants from the first category are easy and low-cost to maintain, but grease replacement is difficult. Moreover, some of this ends up in surface water, which is not environmentally friendly.

A grease-lubricated propeller shaft seal is easily converted to a water-lubricated one. You don’t have to constantly lubricate the grease pot and it is much less polluting anyway. But sand grains are capable of causing considerable wear to the sealing rings. And that, in turn, is the basis for a leak!

Furthermore, your engine may be set up a little too flexibly, meaning the packing rings are not sufficiently able to follow the propeller shaft movements. In addition, a leak may be due to stuffing boxes that seal radially and do not adjust to propeller shaft misalignment. Finally, it is possible that the axle itself may wear out and thus let in water.

Water-lubricated propeller shaft leaks: the solution

The bearings of a water-lubricated propeller shaft installation are made of rubber. These may need to be replaced once in a while to prevent or fix leaks, if you already suffer from leaks.

Do you often sail in waters known to be shallow or sandy for other reasons? Then it’s better to switch to a grease-lubricated propeller shaft. Indeed, as we explained above, that sand is going to affect your seal much faster than you would like. You are much less likely to suffer from that with a grease-lubricated system. The downside is that this requires much more maintenance. That is much less the case with a water-lubricated propeller shaft. But periodically checking that all components are still in full working order can never hurt.


That comes in handy, because we have answers! Now if you have a problem with your water-lubricated propeller shaft that is not mentioned here, feel free to contact us . Explain the problem to us so that we can provide you with a suitable solution. Besides just a method, we also have the best parts for you, such as a complete propeller shaft seal, a coupling and a grease cord.. You can easily install these yourself. At AB Marine Service, you can only assume the very highest quality, because we do offer it!

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