Another dirty secret. My only comfort is that many sailboat owners share a secret similar to this. We only see this part of the boat a couple of times each year – and then only if the owner adjusts their stuffing box themselves.
I need to uncouple the engine and prop shaft. It’s time to replace the hose, as it will have been nearly seven years since the hose was new. This is a wire-reenforced exhaust hose, which means water will eventually infiltrate the hose through the cut ends, and the wire coiled within will begin to rust. Then it’s only a matter of time before there is a leak. You can see the twist in the hose – I’m sure this happens soon after installation, as there is continuous albeit slight torque on the hose all the time the shaft is turning. This also stresses the structure of the hose. Time-wise, it has close to 600 hours on it.
The entire assembly has to come apart because I’ll need to re-align the coupling after engine bed repair. I like Tim Lackey’s approach to this maintenance: He disassembles the coupling every two years and replaces the hose, lightly resurfaces the coupling and paints it, lubricating the bolts and set screws with water-proof grease. He claims (and I believe him) that this makes subsequent uncoupling and maintenance much easier, as the bolts will always come off easily. So I will follow his example. I’ll also remove the prop and shaft for general cleaning, and reinstall with waterproof grease as well. This is also the perfect opportunity to install new hose clamps. This time, I’ll switch to the all-stainless non-perforated type, as they last much longer.
So, any wagers on how long this job will take me? Remember, any estimate should be multiplied by a factor of three. . .