Our hydraulics team was recently contacted by a welding contractor at Lauderdale Marine Center to remove a PTO pump off a 150’ Palmer Johnson’s main hydraulics system so they could gain access to the ship to perform their work. What started as a fairly routine job quickly turned into something much more. The splines on the unit had seized, taking what would have been roughly a half day of work to several days.
Typically, we would construct an A-frame rigging to hoist the PTO pump out of the boat but in this case, we were forced to cut the unit apart and remove it in pieces. Because of this, the ship now requires a whole new replacement unit. Once it was uncovered that the first PTO pump could not be removed using standard procedures, the ship’s engineer had us remove the second pump to check the splines. Fortunately, the second unit did not have the same problem.
We highly recommend removing, refurbishing and re-installing these PTO pumps every three years or so for routine maintenance. Just like the top-end of a windlass which should be removed, cleaned and re-installed with new grease ever couple of years; PTO pumps need to be serviced to ensure that they do not experience these types of problems with seizing.
A proactive approach to maintaining these critical components of your hydraulics systems will pay big dividends and potentially save thousands of dollars in the end.