Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Bow thruster


Andrew & Kate Lamb
 

This will not help you Jose but I am going to mention the problems I had with my bow thruster for the benefit of the forum.

 

When we first bought the boat and were “virgin” Amel owner we did have quite a bit of leaking from the bow thruster on our first voyage, when we were crossing the Gulf de Lion.

 

Since then we have replaced the seals and foot oil each year and have adjusted the rigging to ensure the foot is always pulled up tightly against the seals, when the thruster is in the up position. However we have had a lot of problems both with the raising and lowering mechanism which resulted in us changing the linear actuator 2 years ago, changing the sensors and rebuilding the control box. This part of the system now seems to be working very well.  Having thought our problems were over, last year the bow thruster main motor stopped functioning – there turned out to be issues with the connections of the coils in the armature and commutator - I made some fixes to this (documented on this site) and the motor started functioning again. It has been ok since until last week when the motor failed again.

 

I contacted Maud at Amel (whom incidentally I have always found to be very helpful)  but she told me that these motors are no longer manufactured and at the moment they have no solution to offer either in terms of replacement or reparation. I have found a local motor engineering workshop near Perpignan who reckon they should be able to repair the motor, by changing the commutator and possibly some coils – however if they are unable to repair the motor then we have some serious thinking to do to figure out how we can get a working bow thruster again and we may have to even consider a more “conventional” approach to this. It is sobering to think that increasingly we may find that when parts of our boats malfunction that we may not be able to get replacements.

 

Andrew

 

Ronpische

SM 472

Canet–en-Roussillon

 

 

From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: 8 June 2016 13:24
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: RE: [Amel Yacht Owners] Bow thruster

 

 

Good morning Jose,

Did “Amel” recommended to add a 3rd seal???

Could you please send me picture of the “system with a clamp” that you develop? I was thinking of a similar device.

I own my vessel since 2012 and the bow thruster also start leaking after 1 year of use (even after being serviced by Amel Martinique with a new bow thruster foot).
Consequently, I checked the bilge near the forward head every time I sail and I also installed a high water alarm and bilge pump.
http://www.nikimat.com/bilge_pump_high_water_alarm_bow_thruster.html

Every year when do the overhaul, the foam look good (but I still change them). I often suspect this is coming from the seal.
It seems the problem start if I accidentally motor over 2.5 kt (bow thruster down) which is some time unavoidable with 2 kt current.

I was also wondering if this was because of the rigging which I have not redone, but I just did the overhaul 2 months ago (and not the rigging) and no leak now even in 9ft seas.

My latest thought is the “contact cement” which could degrades after 1 year, but I don’t know for sure.

Our hull number are not far apart, may be there was a slight different design at that time.

Sincerely, Alexandre
SM2K #289 NIKIMAT
Club Nautico de San Juan, Puerto Rico

--------------------------------------------
On Tue, 6/7/16, jvenegas@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Subject: RE: [Amel Yacht Owners] Bow thruster
To: amelyachtowners@...
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 9:48 PM


 









Joel,I checked in my boat and as you
mention, there is no draining tube out of the bow thruster
compartment and that explain why we have been frustrated
drying up with a sponge the water that regularly collects
from the leaking bow thruster seals 
Since I bought my boat, I have
serviced the bow thruster and replaced all seals in my SM278
several times (5 in 6 years) .   In all cases a leak
developed around the lip seal soon after service. In fact,
just after I bought the boat, the previous owner told me he
had just serviced the thruster.  I was really shocked when
I found the the compartment filled with water after just one
overnight from Florida to Savanna.  I proceeded to replace
all seals following AMEL instructions and the leak stopped
for about a year.  That was the longest period without a
leak and the start of my saga.
For the second to last service I
spoke with AMEL in France and was recommended to add a third
foam seal to the thruster assembly but that only eliminated
the leak for a few weeks.  As I was about to cross the
Atlantic, I developed a system with a clamp that I secured
around the shaft and pushed down to create a good seal.
 That worked well for the one year trip from Boston to
Spain, Caribe, Santa Marta, Fort Lauderdale and back to
Boston.  Although my solution is good and I recommend it to
anybody doing long crossings,  as I returned to Boston it
became a nuisance to have to clamp and unclamp the thruster
every time we left the marina.  So, taking
advantage that I was  giving Ipanema a new bottom paint las
week, I  serviced the bow thruster system for the last time
and carefully cleaned the surfaces and changed again all the
foam and lip seals and I added two extra turns to the top
screw to bring the motor up as much as It was
possible. Sadly, on my return trip from
Glaucester to Boston under moderate waves I noted again a
leak around the lip seal (brand new) in spite of the fact
that I had to add manually quite a bit of extra tension to
the cable in order to align the holes to pass the securing
pin.  
Do you or
anybody in this group have an idea of why is this leak
persisting in my boat? 
I believe that the bottom two foam
seals should be enough to completely seal the system and the
lip seal should only work during the short period of time
deploying or retracting the bow thruster.  So if they are
not preventing a leak, it must be that in my boat poor
alignment between the sealing surfaces may have developed or
becomes important when tension is added to the cable to
increase the sealing force.
Any suggestion about how to fix this
problem.  It must not be very common as few people complain
about it in this forum, but it may have been enough of a
nuisance for Amel to add the tubbing/valve to isolate and
send the leaking water  to the main bilge. 
Has any one retrofitted such a
tubbing/valve in SM2K earlier than the redlined
version? 
Jose
VenegasIpanema SM2K 278 Constitution
Marina, Boston MA


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