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Old 02-23-2019, 01:19 AM   #1
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Repack rudder shaft seal.

Attaching a video of my rudder. It's leaking above the top nut. Just got out of drydock Dec 26th 2018, not looking to go back so soon. Anyway possibility to repack it/reseal it in water? I'm having to wetvac that back area every other day. Don't want my bilge pumps working if they don't need to. Thanks
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:40 AM   #2
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Just had my trawler hauled out and repacked.
Looks great. But while I was inquiring about costs and procedures, which were many, two shops suggested that approach. Saying it’s just above the water line.
Scary for sure. But I chose to take her out and leta pro do it.
One shop suggested to repack it and send me on my way as the 5200 was curing.
REALLY scary.
Just saying so, good luck
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:37 AM   #3
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If the top nut is close to the waterline then the water inflow won't be much, as there is no head of pressure driving it.

Undo the nut, and raise it up out of the way. Use a drill bit to confirm the size of the gap between the rudder shaft and the housing, then get some new packing material the same size as the drill bit that was a tight fit. For a rudder I don't think you need to go to an expensive type of packing. The inexpensive and common teflon-PTFE impregnated flax will be fine. Prepare several rings of it.

Remove the old packing - a steel hook probe is useful for doing this. Then start putting the rings in place, offsetting the end points of the rings from one another. Tighten the nut, but don't over tighten it. Check it after a trip, or a bit of rudder use, and tighten a little more as required to stop drips. You might have to add another flax ring if the nut runs out of travel. But once it has bedded in after a few trips it will not leak at all.

There is no need at all for any 5200 !
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Old 02-23-2019, 03:17 AM   #4
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Brian +1. Did mine in the water and was never concerned about the trickle of water coming into the boat. The hardest part is getting the old packing out.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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Brian +1. Did mine in the water and was never concerned about the trickle of water coming into the boat. The hardest part is getting the old packing out.
I just run a bead of plumbers putty around the shaft on the outside underwater and do it, then remove the putty of course.
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:00 AM   #6
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I just run a bead of plumbers putty around the shaft on the outside underwater and do it, then remove the putty of course.
I had one that was leaking quite a bit. A steady 1/8" wide stream heading for the bilge. Once I undid the nut, the stream didn't get much bigger. Once I had a bit of new teflon coated packing in place, it stopped leaking immediately. That was several years ago and it hasn't leaked a drop since.
No need for panic.
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
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I had one that was leaking quite a bit. A steady 1/8" wide stream heading for the bilge. Once I undid the nut, the stream didn't get much bigger. Once I had a bit of new teflon coated packing in place, it stopped leaking immediately. That was several years ago and it hasn't leaked a drop since.
No need for panic.
I'm not sure of the wisdom of removing a packing gland from any shaft underwater. Not every rudder post fits as tight and some are far enough under the waterline to spray water around on wiring and such. It may have worked for you but it may also sink or damage someone else's boat. I believe it's better to advocate for a cautious approach.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:49 AM   #8
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Use caution

I just did the rudder props and shafts on my Marine Trader 36. It was difficult but not impossible. I would recommend taking the boat out to do it.
Purchase the packing removal tools from amazon.
Clean the top of the rudder post and lube it so that the gland nut can slide easily.
Never use 5200
Good luck !
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SirJohn View Post
I just did the rudder props and shafts on my Marine Trader 36. It was difficult but not impossible. I would recommend taking the boat out to do it.
Purchase the packing removal tools from amazon.
Clean the top of the rudder post and lube it so that the gland nut can slide easily.
Never use 5200
Good luck !
I was really hoping hauling out wouldn't be necessary. I just hauled out in Dec. Here on O'ahu it's not cheap to haul out.
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