Ceramic Coat on Zeus Shafts

JamesT

Active Member
Oct 7, 2013
250
Somers Point, NJ
Boat Info
2011 470 Sundancer
Engines
Cummins 480s w/ Zeus PODs
Hi all. My boat is a 2011 and I took ownership of her in late 2013 at approximately 400 hours. In summer of 2015 around 550 hours I self diagnosed a sea water leak into my STBD pod and short hauled for an emergency reseal of my shafts and upper pod seals. (I posted that on here under "Zeus POD Emergency Repair.") At that time is when I first learned how shaft seals score prop shafts. Each time I had my shafts re-resealed since then (for PM) the Zeus tech (Richie out of Cummins in Kearny, NJ who is a rock star) would move the seal to a different place on the shaft which only works for so long until you run out new places. Thanks to some folks on this site I learned of a company in Seattle, WA who ceramic coats shafts for all sorts of machines, Zeus shafts included. This cost me $375 per pair, versus probably $10K per pair of new shafts that will score anyway. The ceramic coat is applied just on the part of the shaft where the seal rides. It is many times harder than steel and can only be cut with diamond. So I took a chance and had Cummins remove my shafts last Wednesday, I overnighted them to Seattle, WA to have them coated and I received them back in my hands yesterday. I was my own GC on this job, and if I had to do it over again I would have hired Doug at Campbell's Marine in Oxford MD. Doug removes the gears and bearings from the outer shafts before shipping and then reinstalls them upon return. I did not know they could be removed and subsequently shipped them with all that attached which added to shipping cost and packaging as the gears and bearings are very sensitive. The company in Seattle (www.flamespray.us) has to remove them to do what they do, so it would have better to remove them beforehand. In any event, the shafts are going back on the boat tomorrow with new seals. I'm also having the pods lowered to get all new seals on the tops. I had my STBD done in 2015 and my port has never had those seals done. So after all this I'm hoping I'm going to have the purest gear lube out of all y'all!

Here's a photo of my inner and outer shafts righter after they came off last week. You can see the scoring in multiple places on both shafts. The 2nd photo is a pic I took yesterday of one of my inner shafts after it was coated so you can see what this ceramic stuff looks like. The yellow is a sleeve that Flamespray put on for shipping and handling. I can tell you that my finger can not distinguish any seam between steel and ceramic, nor can you feel a difference in layering. It's pretty amazing. Fingers crossed that all goes well tomorrow. I don't think we'll get a sea trial in but I'm supposed to launch on 3/19.

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IMG_4435.JPG
 
@JamesT
How did the season finish out for you? Any further issues?
I was talking to my zeus guy about the flame spray. He has a bunch of King Pin Adapter Plates that i think would be an excellent candidate for the flame spray repair. Any thoughts?
I took one home:
PXL_20220322_170621344.jpg
 
Very interesting. Were you able to do this process as a reconditioning of the original shaft or was this applied to a new shaft? Any issues with the shaft straightness/runout after this process??

I have the same issue using Tides Marine seals on the shafts of my 410. I was looking to have the shafts resurfaced using a tig welder and re-machine, but the shop I was referred to worried the shaft would never be strait/correct after all the heat applied. There are shops here in the Atlanta area that do the same thing. I think I'll investigate.

Inked20220309_142427_LI.jpg
 
Very interesting. Were you able to do this process as a reconditioning of the original shaft or was this applied to a new shaft? Any issues with the shaft straightness/runout after this process??

I have the same issue using Tides Marine seals on the shafts of my 410. I was looking to have the shafts resurfaced using a tig welder and re-machine, but the shop I was referred to worried the shaft would never be strait/correct after all the heat applied. There are shops here in the Atlanta area that do the same thing. I think I'll investigate.

View attachment 123060
IIRC, @JamesT had them recondition his existing shafts.
 
Very interesting. Were you able to do this process as a reconditioning of the original shaft or was this applied to a new shaft? Any issues with the shaft straightness/runout after this process??

I have the same issue using Tides Marine seals on the shafts of my 410. I was looking to have the shafts resurfaced using a tig welder and re-machine, but the shop I was referred to worried the shaft would never be strait/correct after all the heat applied. There are shops here in the Atlanta area that do the same thing. I think I'll investigate.

View attachment 123060
Lots of shops can straighten shafts. I don’t think I would tig that I would probably spray weld it
 
Just spoke to Gary @ flamspray.us
Nice guy, in my case, he said it would be $495 to repair the sealing surface on the Kingpin Adapter Plate.
That, plus round trip shipping to NY...
I will still be way under the $2.5-3k they are now
 
IIRC, @JamesT had them recondition his existing shafts.

Lots of shops can straighten shafts. I don’t think I would tig that I would probably spray weld it

I like the idea of adding the wear resistance to this area. I haven't found a shop locally that's doing this type of thing (search of ceramic coating for shafts returns a bunch of auto detailers lol). But If I have to redo these, certainly would be willing to ship out/back. New shafts are $2k each, and would still be susceptible to this wear.


The next issue/question I would have would be for Tides Marine and how their lip seals would fair with this coating applied.

Good news is this looks like a viable repair alternative to new shafts. I'm running out of "new" areas to run the lip seals!
 
I like the idea of adding the wear resistance to this area. I haven't found a shop locally that's doing this type of thing (search of ceramic coating for shafts returns a bunch of auto detailers lol). But If I have to redo these, certainly would be willing to ship out/back. New shafts are $2k each, and would still be susceptible to this wear.


The next issue/question I would have would be for Tides Marine and how their lip seals would fair with this coating applied.

Good news is this looks like a viable repair alternative to new shafts. I'm running out of "new" areas to run the lip seals!
It won’t be the material the seal is running on it will be the surface finish. Tides should be able to give you the surface finish tolerance then pick your coating

also the section can be center less ground…. Might be worth asking tides the diameter tolerance for your seal…. Might be just as simple as taking a few thou off of it
 
It won’t be the material the seal is running on it will be the surface finish. Tides should be able to give you the surface finish tolerance then pick your coating

also the section can be center less ground…. Might be worth asking tides the diameter tolerance for your seal…. Might be just as simple as taking a few thou off of it

I would agree on the surface finish with regard to what coating to choose. I bet the coating company would be a help.

I spoke with Tides about the shaft grooving. They didn't seem to technical other than "you don't want grooves", and either move the lip seal or recondition the shaft. Tides was the one recommending the TIG/re-machine shaft reconditioning.

But I do think this is a viable alternative when the time comes.
 
Hopefully, I've solved my Tides seal issues for a couple years.

But I always like to have a back up plan in mind
 
Helping a friend out on his pods, and I'm amazed at how hard the outer seals were when I removed them.

Seems like this ceramic coat would definitely protect the shaft from getting grooved, but it would also seem like you'd want to replace those seals periodically anyways to prevent them from getting that hard. At some point they have to loose their ability to seal properly.
 

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