Blown bearings and grooved drive shaft
So some of you may have seen my impeller/sleeve thread, and then perhaps my posts in the rivet thread as well. If you're expecting to see my troubles get better this is the wrong thread for you!
I was cruising up the little su, taking my mother for a spin before she heads back to the slope. Through a particularly shallow spot the jet must have hit a rock because I heard it kick up out of the water. Not wanting to come off step in 4" of water I kept on it and got into deeper water. Then the engine just slowly dies, like it had run out of gas. After hopping out and tieing off, I lifted the foot out of the water and picked some rocks out of the grate. At this point I whiffed an aroma I haven't smelled before, and I knew I was in trouble. Tried to start it, wouldn't spin. Atleast we went upstream!
So today I pulled the jet off and started disassembling. As soon as it was off I could spin the motor, which is good news. Thats where the good news ends.
With the pump on the table, I can wobble the top of the driveshaft back and forth a good inch. I can turn the shaft, but it sounds like you're pushing rocks around in a tin can. So, bearings are shot. Then there is a nice 1/4" groove in the driveshaft, above that cylindrical metal casing that the shaft goes through the bearings. Is there supposed to be another set of bearings there or is there just a seal?
I'm guessing some rocks somehow got wedged between the impeller and the sleeve, creating some kind of binding stress on the bearings. Who knows. What I do know is I'm screwed! What a great start to the fishing season.
Bearing rebuild kits are readily available. I've rebuilt a bunch through the years by CAREFULLY driving the new bearing on with a socket, but a press would be better. A grooved shaft is the norm in my experience. The silt and the seal grind the shaft away at that point. What amount of grooving is acceptable is beyond me. I just de-burred and polished the shaft with emery cloth. I never was forced to replace the shaft. When I was in your predicament many years ago I just bought a new shaft assembly, also readily available. I then rebuilt the old bearing carrier and shaft and carried it as a spare. That spare came in handy a time or two.
Replacement shaft assemblies are cheaper than powerhead repairs. Save your change and fix that monster. Grease your bearing often but not with too much grease. Check your grease return tube and make sure it isn't allowing silty water into the bearing housing. The tube can't have any cracks and the end fitting needs to fit the zerk snugly. If in doubt, replace the return tube. It's cheap.
Get on it. There's plenty of summer left!
Yeah I went to Greatland welding and ordered a new shaft, bearing, and all the seals. I couldn't get the old bearing race out, so I sent it to a friends machine shop. Should be getting it back today and hopefully have it reassembled this evening. Now if only the water level would come up a little bit!