Those of you who follow Livia's blog already know about Speedseal. But, since some of you may not have read her write-up, here's mine:
It's really a good idea to check the raw water pump on the engine from time to time. The impeller is made of rubber and will eventually wear out and/or have pieces break off. Especially if you've ever forgotten to turn the raw water on before starting the engine. I had replaced my impeller back when we were getting ready to sail out of Anacortes. The engine racked up a lot of hours coming down the coast but hasn't run a whole lot since then. A couple trips up the river and monthly exercise runs has been about all.
Back when I replaced the impeller in Aacortes I remember cussing out Westerbeke for putting the pump cover in an almost unreachable spot.
The machine screws at the 12:00, 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 positions aren't too bad to get at. But the ones at 8:00 and 10:00 are almost impossible. Even with a really stubby screwdriver you can't get at the screw heads. Maybe if I removed the oil filter first but that'd be highly unhandy. An offset screwdriver would help but I've misplaced mine and they're not an easy item to find any more.
After reading Livia's blog about installing a Speedseal, I decided to follow her lead. So I called to order one and, having swallowed the whole pitcher of kool-aid, ended up ordering the new Speedseal Life which adds a Teflon bearing surface and a brass disk which are supposed to work together to extend the impeller life. The goodies arrived a week or so ago and today seemed like as good a time as any to do the install.
Removing the old pump cover was every bit as bad as I remembered it. But, once I got it off and the old impeller out, it was instantly obvious just how important this little procedure is.
Removed impeller side by side with a new one:
I cleaned the face of the pump of old gasket material, gooped the Speedseal Life with the included silicone lubricant, gooped the impeller with lubricant as well and, as explained in the Speedseal instructions, prepared the new impeller for easy installation by wrapping the vanes with a wire-tie.
Then, with everything lubed and the faceplate o-ring firmly in place, I installed the Speedseal on to the pump.
Knurled hand screws replace the machine screws. The ones in the 8:00 and 10:00 positions are never fully removed, only loosened. This is because, instead of holes at these positions, the Speedseal has slots. So, once the hand screws at the 2:00 and 4:00 positions are removed, the cover just slides out. This going to make life SO much easier. Fired up the engine afterwards and ran it for 10-15 minutes. Nary a leak. Life is good.
Thanks to Livia for reminding me about this product and thanks to Speedseal for inventing it.