Strong Seal/Tides Marine dripless seals
- If you own a Strong Seal dripless shaft seal, read on! A major, but apparently unadvertised, change is about to happen. This shaft seal, made by Tides Marine (who also make Tides Marine Tracks for mainsails), is a dripless seal that uses a nitrile lipseal similar to a water pump shaft seal or a trailer wheel grease seal. The Strong Seal was apparently made through 2001, when they introduced the upgraded model called a Sure Seal. My boat has the older seal, and so far I've been happy with it. I had to replace the nitrile seal right after I bought the boat (another long, and very scary, story!), and the replacement was relatively straightforward. I expect the unit will go many more years into the future.
Well, here's the newsflash. Tides Marine has determined that these units are beyond their useful life, and has announced that they will no longer sell any parts for the Strong Seal line after December 31 including the lipseal, which is the only truly "consumable" part. My unit is most assuredly not beyond its useful life, and I would be most unhappy if the next time the seal needs replacement, the only answer is "buy a whole new unit." Accordingly, I am preparing to buy two spare seals.
So, if you have a StrongSeal, and want to keep it going, you may want to consider buying spares while they are available. Unlike many similar lip seals, these do not appear to be an industry standard size.
Oh, they are also running a very attractive upgrade offer -- 1/2 off a whole new unit (regularly around $300). You need to return the old unit for this price, and since mine is in great shape, I'm not interested, but it is still a nice offer.
'79 S34-I #063
Luce Creek, Annapolis