Importance of the stern tube greaser

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April 21, 2011 at 20:55 #5131
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Keymaster

I’m just passing along our experience, in case someone else goes down this same path.

When we bought Rainshadow, the PO told us that there was no need to use the stern tube greaser anymore – that he had a marine mechanic replace the shaft packing with dripless packing seal, so the grease was no longer required – though he sometimes still did use it out of habit. (Receipts show he made this packing material change about 10 years ago.) Being niave, we believed him and so did not use the stern tube greaser. We adjusted the packing gland as needed based on the drip rate.

After about 1000 NM of sailing last year, by the end of the season a THUMP-THUMP developed in the aft cabin. Our first thought was a fouled prop. But we eventually traced it down to the tail shaft being too loose and when sailing with the prop free to spin, it can hit a resonance so it Thumps somehow in the stern tube. When at rest, we can recreate the sound by wiggling the tail shaft. So we figured it must be time to replace the white metal bearing. That’s when we discovered that the stern tube greaser is ALSO for the benefit of the white metal bearing lubrication – not just the original flax packing. So that marine mechanic who said the stern tube greaser was no longer required didn’t understand about the unusual white metal bearing arrangement.

For our first sail this year, we used the stern tube greaser heavily, and happily the THUMP-THUMP is gone. It was lovely wind, and we went through a range of sailing speeds from a few knots up to 7.2 knots – and no THUMP the whole time. (The tail shaft is still too lose according to the wiggle test, so we probably still need to change it – and I think we’ll go with the composite bearing as described in my other post.)

The morale of the story – the stern tube greaser is important if you have the original white metal bearing. Don’t forget to use it as described in the manual.

August 1, 2017 at 13:28 #26107
Czarina Blue
Czarina Blue
Participant

This has potentially saved me a lot of grief thank you! By the way do you use white waterproof grease or regular grease when filling the tap? Thanks. duncan

August 3, 2017 at 06:35 #26123
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We use Lubrimatic Marine Corrosion Control and Trailer Wheel Bearing Grease, which is a marine grade brown grease.

Marilyn

September 6, 2017 at 21:27 #26158
John Tyler
John Tyler
Participant

I recently had an engine change – still the 4108, but a recon. The stern gland needed greasing after the first few hours & is now OK. The danger of not greasing [for me] was that the ingress of seawater into the rear bilge was causing the auto bilge pump to come into play every 30 mins & thus could have drained the batteries. The guys who did the replacement engine did not prime the greaser but told me that the stern gland would need attention as the new prop gear bedded in.
John Tyler
Aquarius
Hull No 100 – UK

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