Burper “Gismo” for a Volvo Lip Seal by Ian Bruce

On my Mk2 Griffon I have a Volvo rubber stuffing box. That’s that black thingy that fits on the prop shaft to keep the sea out. (Please stop me if I get too technical for you.). This type of Volvo water seal needs to be purged whenever you launch and/or take the ground in your bilge keeler, i.e. whenever the seal has been out of the water. I take the ground a lot during the season, when we visit Scilly quite often and for a couple of mid-season scrub-offs on Middle Back on the Dart. The chore then was to completely empty the cockpit locker, climb in and lean across the rear of the engine, squeeze the seal and listen for the hissing to start as the water squirts in. Job done! you might think, but no! with the cockpit full of kit, you have to re-load the locker. Normally at this point, just to add to the pain…. it starts to rain! In all, a full ten minutes’ time is used up whilst your cruising companions are heading for the horizon. Well, not anymore!
The Spring 2021 edition of Westerly Owners’ Magazine carried an article by Tim Harrison who found what can only be described as a “gismo” left onboard, and was unaware what it was for until explained by the previous owner. I studied the photos and constructed a “gismo” of my own (I should get out more). It consists of a broom handle and an old cycle brake calliper with the handlebar lever, see Figure 1. Total cost with new broom handle and new brake cable, made up for me to the correct length at Halfords, was a mere £7. The callipers, brake leaver and indeed the rest of the bike were donated by a friend. Hence, I now have the perfect “gismo” for purging the Volvo water seal form within the cabin. Simply remove the engine box lid, push in the “gismo” over the top of the engine sit the callipers over the seal, squeeze the leaver and the callipers close. Then wait for the hissing! So simple, and all before my cruising companions have time to weigh anchor! It’s an amazing piece of kit, on a par with the best bits of kit on my boat… the Seafeather wind vane steering gear and, of course, my wife!


For those who may consider one of these to be a worthwhile project I’ll give a couple of tips. Measure your broom stick. Fit a 4cm-ish metal feral at one end to bolt the callipers through in order not to risk splitting the broomstick during use (I used a section of the bike frame, as figure 2). Bolt a bracer (see phot) to be bolted to one side of the callipers to prevent both sections closing when brake lever is pulled (figure 3). Fix the lever, measure the proposed cable length and if need be pop into Halfords or other bike shop and have one made up to fit. Adjust the brake blocks to contact the water seal at right angles.
Then off you go!

Good luck and all the best, Ian Bruce,
The good ship Drekly
Stoke Gabriel, River Dart.