Tom’s Tips About Shafts

By Tom Neale, 4/2/2009

Tom’s Tips About Shafts

1. Regularly, while running, look at your shaft in the area between the engine and where it exits the hull.  Some amount of movement may be normal, but find out what is and what isn’t. If the shaft seems to be moving

2. Only do the above visual if it’s safe to do so. For example, if the boat is rolling considerably it may not be safe to go into your engine space. Be careful of injury. This can be a very dangerous area.

3. Look at your stuffing box while running. Normally it will probably be moving a little but if it’s jumping about a lot, you’re probably seeing indication of excessive shaft whipping which could lead to damage.

4. If your stuffing box keeps leaking even though it’s properly tightened and has new stuffing, this could be caused by an irregular surface of the shaft.

5. Keep electrolysis under control with zincs, bonding, proper wiring and by staying away from poorly wired docks and boats. This can contribute to shaft deterioration, in addition to causing many other problems.

6. Regularly check the set screws and bolts that hold your engine in the proper position for proper alignment. These can work out from vibration, allowing the engine to shift out of alignment, which can do many bad things, including causing shaft damage.