Saturday, 18 February 2017

Last Summer…..

…..the Milly M came out for repairs. For some time I had, had problems with the stern gear. It started early on in my boating life. From new Milly performed well and I had no reason to worry about her running gear. What I wasn’t told when I picked up the boat was that I needed to keep my eye on the engine mounts. Consequently I didn’t!

Over a period of time the engine mounts settled and then the nuts supporting the engine slowly began to unwind. I wound the nuts back up lifting the engine back to where it should be. The overall effect was a misaligned gearbox to shaft which applied pressure downwards on the inside end of the stern tube, and upwards at the outside end of the stern tube. This had the effect of making each end of the tube oval. Here you can see the wear of the tube. It doesn’t look much, but it did make life afloat trying.
20160614_094643This in turn, eventually, made it impossible to stop water coming through the tube using the greaser without over tightened the packing nuts. This is not a good plan!

Packing appears to be made of some fibrous/cottony type material. Theoretically this should not be a problem but it is. Although the shaft is a hard steel  the pressure that can be applied to the shaft via the packing is phenomenal and the shaft is bound to wear as we can see below.


Anyway I was booked in on a Monday morning at 09.00. I arrived before time only to be told that there was another boat to be lifted out. I didn’t have a problem with this but I wasn’t told the whole truth. The said boat was coming out to be zinc plated and two-packed so had to then be pressure washed and wait until another boat came out of the shed, This took all day I was not impressed. Around about 7pm I went down to Foxton for the night to return in the morning.

Now I know boaters time is different to normal time, but I feel as a boater I should have been told the full story. As it is I wasted the whole day for nothing.

On Tuesday I returned to the wharf and was lifted out.


Even though I had been ‘down the hatch’ the evening before there was still some rubbish around the prop. Yeah I know it looks odd, that’s a hose reel on the wall on the other side.


Getting the shaft out was easy once the packing housing had been removed. It was a simple matter of angle grinding the prop shaft to recover the prop and then sliding the the rest of the shaft out.


Taking the shaft out in two pieces did not show up the poor build that later became apparent. You can see from the picture above that the rudder post doesn’t completely clear the skeg cup and so the rudder cannot be removed. No amount of levering would free the post enough to clear its movement past the skeg  This is because the tube that passes through the fuel tank is too small in diameter. It was not possible to remove the rudder or tilt the post far enough to clear the path of a full length shaft into the tube. On one side of the rudder it was necessary to grind away the rudder post in line with the tube to make enough room to line up the shaft.

However the shaft did eventually go in and the job was finished within the day. Apart from a stiff rudder when Milly went back in the water I was pleased with the work done (the stiffness did wear off after a few weeks) and the price which came in at £22 under £500. I was expecting more.

I now had a few weeks to poodle about until I needed to be in Northampton for my bathroom refit which I wrote about here.

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