ASK THE EXPERTS
run perfectly, and compression tests have
We’ve used this boatyard for repairs
and transport since we purchased the
boat, and it has always provided the
best workmanship and professional care.
Could there be something else causing
this problem? Gary and Cheri Ingle
TOM NEALE: I’m reluctant to diagnose
from afar a condition that has been
diagnosed by a mechanic on scene. But
here’s some food for thought. First, I’ll
say that if this were my boat, I wouldn’t
want to run it without someone figuring
out what’s causing the issues. I’d be par-
ticularly concerned that, as you say, “He
also noted that the starboard shaft was
very difficult to turn by hand, whereas
the port shaft was very easy to turn. The
shaft on the starboard side is not concen-
tric with the packing nut. It is off to one
side and is very noticeable.”
Difficulty turning the shaft by hand
could be due to too much packing in the
packing box or having the compression
nut too tight on the box. But I under-
stand that you had the same work done
to both shafts, and the fact that the star-
board shaft is noticeably not concentric
to the packing nut bothers me a lot.
Various things could cause this, including an off-true cutless bearing and/or an
off-true strut (which wouldn’t be surprising, considering that you hit rocks). And,
yes, there could be other problems, such
as transmission difficulties and on and on,
but I can only guess at that.
I can suggest a few more general
points to consider.
The shaft alignment has to be very
close, and you need a feeler gauge for
that job, not just your eye. Also, you have
to be familiar with the job for many reasons. For example, the weight of the prop
may slightly deflect the shaft once you
loosen the bolts in the coupler. Get that
rechecked by a qualified professional.
Obviously the coupling was removed
from the shaft during the job. If so, there
could be a nick or bruise in the coupling’s
shaft seating or on the end of the shaft.
Either of these could cause vibration.
And you can’t really eyeball a shaft to
tell if it’s bent unless it’s really bad. Just
a little distortion in a shaft can cause
vibration, and many feel that a new shaft
is in order if the old one took a serious
blow, as from hitting rocks. Some shops
can straighten a shaft, but that’s not
always the best idea. Over the years, I’ve
changed my shafts periodically just as a
matter of regular maintenance.
I’d write to the yard management in
a professional tone and explain in detail
all the problems and what you were told
by its employee(s). This makes a record
of the matter and gives management an
opportunity to deal with it. Do this by
mail and perhaps send it certified, return
receipt requested. You may also wish
to get an independent, well-qualified
surveyor and have him put his findings
in writing. If he says there are problems
associated with the repair, give the yard
another chance, then take it to another
yard if necessary. Before it gets to the
point of having legal issues, and I certainly hope that it doesn’t, go to BoatUS.
com/Consumer to get in touch with
BoatU.S. Consumer Protection.
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