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Volvo penta outdrive propeller shaft problem - help

Steve S

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The propeller shafts of the port side DPH outdrive of Tigerfish, have let in water into the outdrive this year. The cause is the oil seals wearing a groove in the prop shaft, this happened before at 400 hours when I got the boat, the new seal were moved a little, this time they have gone at 1500 hours, I've been told they can't be moved a third time.


Options are:


Replace the prop shafts - expensive, lower gears will need time spent reshimming so not 'just' a shaft cost.

Replace the lower leg - even more expensive

Get the shafts ceramic coated - Sounds like it could be a lowest cost as the shafts are otherwise good.


This is where I'd like your help guys, have you any ideas which companies might take on the work of ceramic coating the shafts?


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I have done that job in the past for a shaft on an outboard. But using chemical metal instead of ceramic.


But it was a small old 20 hp unit. The engine was not worth the cost of a new shaft. So it was that option or scrap.


It lasted the rest of time that Rick had the boat.


Is there an option to skim the shaft to fit differant seals with slightly smaller ID seals?


Do not know who could do that for you mate. Sorry. If it was skimming there are plenty of options.


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Hi Steve,

If it's like this: 

Charlie's option would be cheapest and easiest:    "Is there an option to skim the shaft to fit different seals with slightly smaller ID seals?"


Failing that you could get the diameter reduced and "sweat" a sleeve on it and have that turned & ground to size.

You could try Robton engineering for a price.    https://www.robton.co.uk/

But there's probably plenty of firms over your way.










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In my engineering days, we used to grind the shaft to reduce the diameter and then metalise or spray weld additional material onto shafts and then grind to size. Any decent engine engineering company should be able to do this for you. I don't think times have changed too much.


A for example https://www.saunders-motorworks.co.uk/engine-services.html



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If it comes to a new shaft Steve, I presume that you can get trade discount.


If not let me have the details and I will get you a quote.


If you do where do you use, as my engine is out for repairs and another quote may be required.

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Thanks so much for all your help and ideas.


The sleeve, idea is a good one for one of the shafts, the other unfortunately is very slightly wider at a different point on the shaft (not enough to stop the oil and water seals sliding over it).


I've found a company that will grind and build them up using using a ceramic, this appears to be the modern way of metalise or spray weld additional material onto shaft. I'm told the company has a regular stream of Volvo propshafts to treat...


Once I get them back and if they seem ok and they don't muck me around I'll post the details.


If you have an old style DPH drive this is going to happen to you if you knock up enough hours... Jerry's outdrives being newer will have a modified design where the problem has been largely overcome by having a much longer area to position the new seals. My starboard drive had the lower leg replaced and has the new design.



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Thanks Steve


I have a different problem at the moment, the engine is out, my bell housing is awaiting machining for a new liner sleeve again.


Delayed by Easter and the fact that I am off work with covid. I intended to have all the preps done ready and the engine de rusted and painted by now, but am still awaiting negative tests.


I hope others are enjoying the sunny weather and getting out,

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  • 5 weeks later...

The wear groves in the prop shafts were repaired with a molybdenum thermal coating. The process consisted of grinding back the shaft, spraying on the molybdenum thermal coating, then grinding the shaft to size.


The photo below shows the finished shafts. It was not necessary to remove the bearings etc on the shafts which saved additional expense.




The repair was handled by Sam Cobb of landtosea.co.uk, he uses a local factory, I don’t know which one. It took 3 weeks in all. I was charged £290 plus VAT per shaft. Ropewalk were very happy with the quality of the finished shafts. They have been refitted and are in use and my boat launched yesterday, yippee. 


I was told the repair should last longer than the original shafts, since I got 1500 hours out of them it should mean I’ll never have issue again. Sam told me the process is used to repair wind turbine shafts, IPS drives among many other items.


Also a big thank you to Charlie for letting me have a reconditioned steering ram to replace one I found leaking on the night before launch, it got me out of a hole.


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12 hours ago, Graham Nash said:

I bet you were expecting much more expense when this thread started.


Id say that sounds like a great result!


Yes it is a great result Graham, I was otherwise looking at a cost of about £5k including VAT for new shafts and shiming. I'm sharing it as all too often all that is offered is replacement when IMO effort should be made to repair and not just for financial reasons, it's such a waste.


Steering rams is another, the big volvo dealers/service agents that I know don't have reconditioned ones on the shelf, they will happily sell you a new one though, and your old one, they throw it away! 😒

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Well done Steve

Great result, Happy that one of my spares got you out of a fix.


Alfresco also went back in yesterday.😁

New starter got her going in less than one revolution.


Like you I had the defective Bell Housing machined and sleeved to take a new bearing, rather than replace it with the new unit which would have been a special order from Volvo at £1500 plus VAT. Ivan at lake engineering did a great job.


Luckily my son Dan and I do the other engineering.

As taking the leg off and getting the engine out and stripped, then reversing those processes is very labour intensive and hence expensive. We still use genuine Volvo parts so the wallet still took a bash.


We painted the engine while out so that will help as it ages.


Nice to have her back afloat again


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