||03-24-2013 02:55 PM
PSS Shaft Seal
This is my first post however the intention is make everyone aware of the potential problems which can arise from using PSS shaft seals produced by PYI .
I re-engined my boat in Aug 2010 and after some research elected to use the PSS seal to replace my old fashioned packing gland however later with less than 20 hours on the engine the PSS seal failed which requires a quick lift and replacement. The part of the bellows which fits over the carbon block against which the rotor rotates was split and it appeared as the jubilee clip had "scissored" it against the aft end of block around which the clip was tightened. After some discussion the supplier/installer replaced it with a new one which I installed myself assisted by a friend as I believed the clips had been misplaced over the bellows during the initial installation. The replacement did not cost anything but the lift and launch certainly did.
On 9 Aug 2012 after a day out to an anchorage for a swim I turned down an invitation to spend the evening with a lady friend and remained on board in the marina. Later while watching the Olympics on TV with my feet up on the salon table I noticed a small amount of water on the shower grate which I decided my over enthusiastic deck washing friend had sprayed in through the dorade vent and went back to watching TV. After some time I decided to wipe up the water and stood up only to discover the floor boards were afloat.
Panic set in and I tried the electric bilge pump which ran but did not throw out any water so I used the manual bilge pump until the floor board were no longer afloat when I investigated the electric pump and discovered that a join in the pipes had separated. Once this was re-joined the pump made short work of clearing the bilge. One of my first worries was that I might be pumping oily water into the marina however fortunately there was only a slight amount of oil which was soon dispersed with a few drops of dish washing liquid.
Once the bilge was empty I began checking for a leak and discovered water running from aft - from under the drip tray so after a few more Olympic events I got up the courage to empty the starboard locker to check the shaft seal which I decided could be the only source for the water.
A quick check indicated that the seal had failed in exactly the same manner as the previous seal – photos are available if anyone is interested.
I can confirm that local TV is total **** during the night as I sat up, watched TV and pumped the bilge every 20-30 minutes until the marina staff arrived at 0900 hours when my yacht was lifted and held in slings while I rushed around to the marina workshops trying to locate a new seal.
The Volvo workshop had a seal on hand that would fit and as I was in no position to argue or debate the matter asked him to install it quickly before the marina charged me full price for the lift.
I only used the Volvo seal under duress because of my previous experience with a Volvo 2B engine but as the seal is black, not green, I might get used to it and forget that it is supplied by Volvo.
Since then I have exchange a large number of e-mails with Seaview in France (European dealer) and eventually forwarded the damaged seal to them so they could confirm that it was not a fake as I originally suspected. They confirmed that the seal was original equipment produced by PYI in America. I now very much regret sending them the seal as they eventually demanded measurements which I could only provide from memory which left them free to accuse me of providing inaccurate information when they had the seal in their possession and therefore had no need to ask me for dimensions or measurements – I eventually suspected this was just an excuse to create a “red herring” and avoid straight forward answers.
My principal reason for contacting them was to determine why what was reputed to be a reliable seal should fail so dramatically and nearly result in the sinking of my yacht. My direct explicit questions were not answered and often were left unanswered until I sent them hasteners. They requested the Turkish dealer refund the cost of the seal which they did. However as my concern was not about the cost but why the seal failed so quickly as I felt that this problem should be corrected so others might actually lose their yachts if their seals failed.
Eventually when Seaview got fed up or could find no other means of avoiding providing an answer or explanation I was referred to PYI in America. My correspondence with the Director of International Sales came no closer to providing an answer as his replies did not address the problem as he claimed in one message that the carbon block was such a size and later directly contradicated this statement even though he had the seal in his possession. He eventually appeared to become angry and received a message which basically told me to go away as they had wasted enough time on this subject.
I find the behaviour of Seaview and PYI very strange considering they produce what is almost the ultimate item of safety as it designed to keep water where it belongs outside the yacht and that any failure can be catastrophic. Would it not be considered normal for the producer of such equipment to immediately investigate to determine what went wrong. If they did this, why would they not share this information with the customer, Why would they make such an effort to redirect my efforts by continually providing misleading or false information?
If members are using a PSS seal and if it is providing good service, enjoy but if you are thinking of purchasing and using this seal, I suggest you think very carefully before you suffer the same failure I experienced.
Needless to say I will NEVER touch another PSS shaft seal because, if for no other reason, when they fail they fail big time.
All in all my experience was not a happy experience in addition to being an expensive test of the PPS shaft seal.