We replace the seals along with the oil every 2 years when hauled out. It requires dropping the lower unit which allows for inspection and catching any corrosion early. We have not had any issues. Sometimes it does take a bit of force to disengage the shaft from the motor. I look at it as preventative as most other Maintenace items on the boat.
Mohammad & Aty
From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> on behalf of Nick Newington via groups.io <ngtnewington@...>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 12:20:42 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io>
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] Bow Thruster Amel 54
There is one area of Amelia which has been running flawlessly but I have anxiety about. It is the bow thruster.
When I first bought the boat I had to change the little relay switches that control the up down and also the stop buttons. I also changed the big brushes on the motor which were badly worn due to the commutator being a bit rough. I did a bit of a sneaky one, and set up a drill to drive the motor as if it were on a lathe. Starting with a file and finishing with 800 grit paper, I re-faced the commutator in situ. Managed to blast it clean with a dive tank and vacuum cleaner. The only problem was that the drill started to smoke after about 10 minutes. It took hours but saved taking the whole thing out to a machine shop to have it re-faced. It was one of those "in the field” temporary jobs that I did in the Azores. That is still fine. It has run perfectly ever since. Apart from that and an oil change some good old fashioned cleaning, I have done nothing more than corrosion X application.
It does not appear to leak sea water. I have tested this by shutting the drain valve in the saloon and heading up wind and then inspecting the forepeak for water. The oil is clear and not milky. The level never goes down.
So all is good.
However I keep hearing stories of leaking seals and locked up shafts due to corrosion, in particular the coupling between the vertical shaft and the motor. Not sure if this refers to the 54 or the previous generation of thrusters. When I haul out in November I was thinking of dropping it and changing all the seals, greasing the coupling. So not the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but more “ stitch in time”. To be fair if one was to calculate the hours of use it would be minimal. A few bursts here and there.
My feeling is that:
1. If the seals are working well and not leaking then they are fine.
2. I should have been dropping the unit, even a few inches, and greasing the shaft annually, but alas it has not been done.
What is the consensus on when to change these seals, when to drop out the box?
Nick (in UK but only 3 weeks to go)
ashore in Leros Gr