Shaft binding after pump rebuild, plus tips & lessons

Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Likes
53
Location
Lake Anna, VA
#1
I have a 91 SN with a 62T. Couple years ago I put a Hooker 9/15 into my stock pump. I was advised at the time this arrangement didn’t need the thrust washer, and it rode well after. Last fall we noticed my pump was trying to be as loud as my engine and a rebuild was in order, hopefully it hadn’t gotten bad enough to destroy the stator or wear ring. I decided while I was at it, I’d upgrade to a Solas 12 vane pump.

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Finally got into it this weekend. When I pulled the complete pump out, it still rotated easily with just a slight worn feel. When I popped off the nose cone, I almost soaked my shoes!

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So yeah, I think it was ready for a rebuild! Got the Hooker off ;) and got a little more moisture from the other end, but seals didn’t look trashed. A little pounding and prying (what’s the easiest way to pull seals?) and I had my bare shaft in hand. The bearings definitely had some gritty feel to them, so let’s do this.

I decided to skip the press and use just heat/cold. Inspected and cleaned the shaft and stuck it in the freezer, while the bearings sat in the 225° oven. I went with open Koyo bearings, no Chinese sealed crap (shout out to JetManiac). I made sure they were fully seated on the shaft and held them there for a minute while the shaft cooled the bearings some.

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At this point I checked and the bearings spun nice and smooth. After they cooled some more, I got some Lucas marine grease and packed the bearings well, then filled the gap. Wrapped it up and threw it back in the freezer.

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Threw the stator in the oven. Took it out after 20 min and let it cool it because I forgot the seals. :rolleyes: Got the seals in, which I noticed in the manual may have been facing backwards.

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I put it in like this guy (at 1:20), with the numbers facing in:
(BTW, very helpful video) Then after digging later, it seems the consensus is like I did it. It’s also how the old ones were done. While we’re giving tips, another good source of help is this article, best viewed on desktops: https://watercraftjournal.com/quick-tech-how-rcjswatcon-rebuilds-a-solas-pump/

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Everything so far is just so you understand my process, hope I haven’t bored you. Maybe it will help others too. So my first real question is did I put the seals in right? If not, how many hours can I expect until they leak, or will it even matter much?

When putting the seals in, I’m confident the bottom one was fully seated. The top one was harder to tell. One half of it may have been slightly high, but <0.5mm. I tried tapping it in more, but couldn’t get more out of it and didn’t want to get even more forceful and damage them.

Now it’s time for the main event. Stator cooks at 225° for 20-30 min. Get my shaft out and unwrapped. Pull out the stator and drop in the shaft. Couple soft taps on the end to make sure it’s fully seated and we’re good!

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Let it cool, then I fill in the end and the new nose cone with grease. Might be a little much, but I figure the extra will squeeze out when installing. I push the cone on and get the bolts started. Couldn’t even push it in through the o-ring by hand, had to use the bolts to get it seated. As expected, extra grease squeezed out and I got the bolts tightened down. Clean it off and now I have a pretty new assembled pump!

I flip it over and pack some grease in the other end, then put in the thrust washer. I check the manual first (this is when I saw the seal picture) and put the flat side out toward the impeller. I push and rock it to work out excess grease from underneath. In the end, the face is ~3mm above the pump surface. I know some people install spacer washers to move up their impeller, so maybe this is how it should be.:confused: I put the impeller back on and tighten it down. I put it tight with a wrench, then back off and lightly tighten it with the wrench. Next I dry fit the wear ring against the stator to spin the prop and check the clearance. Or not - this thing ain’t moving! Remove the wear ring, still no go. Grab it hard and try, nothing. Try the spline tool and a wrench, nothing!! :oops: Then I realize the last time I spun anything was when I was packing the bearings before being put in the pump, so who knows what’s happening.

Back into the vice we go. Have to loosen the impeller to get the shaft to turn, though at this point I’m turning the pump around the shaft. With the impeller backed off fully, it spins but not freely. Have to force it the whole time, not a lot but more than it should be. Even lightly hand tightening the impeller makes it much harder to turn. I wonder if I packed too much grease, so I pull the nose cone. Probably too much, since it pops up 1/4” from hydraulic pressure. Scoop out more grease and then I can practically seat the cone fully by hand before installing bolts. When the cone was off though, the shaft wasn’t any easier to turn. Well crap this looks bad! :mad:

Now for the other end, I take off the impeller and check the thrust washer. More grease has squeezed out while tightening the impeller and now the washer is only 0.5-1mm above the pump surface. It’s so snug in there that’s it tough to try and remove. I figure it’s likely not the problem, so I leave it for now. I can tap down on its edges and get it to cock over in a way so I at least know it’s fully seated.

After some talks with Craig, assuming the bearings were properly seated, he thinks that maybe the pump clearance wasn’t right and it’s causing too much press on the bearings. I never measured the bearing or pump cavity diameters before starting so who knows. With it all back together, it’s still the same. No/loose impeller, I can turn the pump around the shaft with more effort than should be normal. Lightly hand tightening the prop makes it much harder. If I turn it in the direction that tends to help tighten the prop, it almost locks up and takes significant force to turn. Even lightly taking a wrench to the prop locks it all up. When hand tight, the impeller-pump gap is ~1mm. The bearings don’t feel abnormal, but it doesn’t spin freely enough to really get a good feel. Pulling the cone doesn’t help any.

What’s likely going on? Is it cocked bearings? I’m fairly sure the bearings were seated fully and square against the shaft. It seemed like I got the assembled shaft in the pump smooth and fast enough enough and tapped it flush to make sure it was seated fully before the pump cooled around it. Could it be bearing press from a tight pump and it needs to be honed out? What should the inner diameter be If I pull the cone?

Is it possible I caused some damage from hydraulic pressure due to stuffing in too much grease? Could this have affected the bearings or seals? It almost seems like when the impeller puts the slightest force against the thrust washer, it causes the seals to tighten up on the shaft. Is it possible that the direction of the seals is affecting things? Maybe it’s a combination of some of this??? :rolleyes:o_O

Thanks for staying with me so far. Hopefully this helps others learn before they do their own down the road too.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Likes
53
Location
Lake Anna, VA
#2
So the next questions. I’ve looked and couldn’t find answers for any of this.

Is there a good way to pull and reinstall the seals? I can just replace them if needed, but I imagine it’s a little hard with the shaft still mounted.

If it’s not seal related, I probably need to open up my pump. What’s the best way to remove the shaft without damaging the bearings (I have a press available). Would it be worth the risk of even trying to reuse the bearings, or should I be safe and replace them regardless?
 
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Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Likes
142
#3
Solas Pumps many times require machining to proper clearances. Sometimes the Holes are not even centered!

Call Randy at Watcon, He is versed in the Solas Pump issues and can help you.

Your Solas Pump is not the first to present this issue. Solas needs to state "Final Clearance Machining Required" on their Pumps.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Likes
142
#4
Step 2: “Here at RCJS/Watcon.com, we mount and turn every pump in the lathe. There’s no better way to true up the bearing area, open it up, and reduce ‘press’,” Zigler explained.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Likes
396
Location
wisconsin
#7
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to tell. Sounds like you have some kind of issue. Weather it is bearing, pump, or install problem I don't know. We machine EVERY pump here, and I have yet to have one come out of the box were the bearing area is good. I also open it up to reduce press.

You cannot re-use seals, and I would NOT recommend re-using bearings if you press them off.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Likes
108
Location
Cumming, Georgia
#8
Did you get it resolved? I'm rebuilding my Solas pump right now and I wanted to confirm the seal order / orientation before screwing it up. The diagram in the manual sucks and I just wanted to verify.

Thanks
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