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Old 11-08-2015, 03:19 PM   #1
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Dripless rudder seal

I am looking to see if anyone has install dripless seal on there rudder. Last spring I did considerable work to my rudder system to eliminate 25 years of wear in the bushings and to address the considerable leakage at the rudder post. With the help of input from this forum (Thanks again). This work did in fact reduce the leakage and eliminated a subtle vibration in the helm. Needless to say this included replacing the stuffing.

Over the summer I found that I had keep tightening the stuffing box to stop the rudder post from leaking. This is not a severe leak and many would call it normal but at this point it is the only leak in the boat and this small amount of water tends to stagnant in the bilge and cause oder. I could also say it ticks me off and after all the work I did I was looking to stop the rudder from leaking.

Anyway I installed a dripless shaft seal on my prop shaft a couple of season ago and it works flawlessly and was looking to see if anyone had any input on using a dripless for the rudder shaft.

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:59 PM   #2
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Did you pull your rudder and check the shaft where the packing normally is?

Rudder packing doesn't really need to leak at all so going drip less is kind of redundant.

If you keep needing to adjust it, your rudder shaft may be severely pitted and unable to seal properly with regular packing.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:24 PM   #3
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Dripless seals seem to require some length to fit....Something I'd think is rarely available on a rudder post...
Since rudder rotation is but a mere fraction of the frequency and rotation of a drive shaft seals, I'd think they would be overkill in this application..
Have you fitted the more modern packing material? Seems this stuff passes little to no water and wuld seem appropriate to solve this issue..
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:41 PM   #4
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Check out the "Tides" products, very good reports from lots of operators.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:25 PM   #5
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Just repack them with GFO packing, tighten the down till they stop leaking and forgot about it.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:11 PM   #6
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Check out the "Tides" products, very good reports from lots of operators.
My boat came with a "Tides" seal on the rudder. So far so good.

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Old 11-09-2015, 08:42 AM   #7
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Wow you guys are quick, a lot of replays so fast, thank you!

OK let me try and reply to your input. During the bushing work I did I was able to get a good look at the condition of the shaft were the packing goes and it has no pits or apparent wear. I did not actually take the shaft out of the boat so I don't know what it looks like inside the bushing. (the work I did was to the lower support/heal bushing).

The packing I used was "PTFE FLAX" purchased at West Marine. supposedly good stuff. I installed it in four pieces cut at an angle. The stuff that came out was spent dried out and hard. Truth be had it leaks about the same as before I did anything

I have to agree that the rudder should not have to leak unlike the prop shaft it moves very little. I tightened the cap several times over the season only to have it leak again after a run. I suspected it may be coming from another source but the top of the cap has water on it so it has to be coming up through the packing.

It is possible the upper bushing that goes through the bottom of the boat is worn and allowing side pressure on the packing, however I was not able to detect any appreciable moment in the shaft when I had it apart.

I agree a dripless would seem overkill for the rudder but if I am getting moment that is not allowing the packing to seal a dripless would be forgiving of some movment.

All of this said,,, the boat just came out of the water for the season so I now have the opportunity to pull it all apart again and take a second look. I will also take a look at the tides products and check out the GFO packing.

Thank you all again, I will update once I pull it apart.
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:01 AM   #8
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I just looked up the Tides rudder bearing/seal. Its a bit pricey but no more than the PSS I put on the prop shaft. What I like is its both a seal and a bearing, if in fact the through hull is worn it would stabilize the shaft and allow the seal to work.

Have all winter to decide but I like the concept.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:04 PM   #9
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Ok

So I haven’t done a thing with my rudder stuffing box but dose that explain why my post is still third on the list. Man I know I have a troller and all my boat buddys bust me for going slow but there is slow and there is slow.

Hopefully a slow site is indicative of a good boat.

I wil be going with the Tides dripless rudder seal and as promised will update.

My actual reason for tuning in was to talk about some galley upgrades that I am working on. Just was surprised to see so few posted.

Hope your holiday were good ones
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:32 AM   #10
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Grab the rudder from the bottom and shake it side to side, and fore and aft.
If you can feel it moving then it is always going to leak, as the bushings and/or shaft are worn or bent. Packing is not very elastic, and will quickly conform to the shape of the movement, and leak no matter how much you tighten it down.

Cutting the packing and placing it properly on installation is critical .
Slather plenty of silicone grease in with each layer of packing.
I have managed to stop some problematic leaky stuffing boxes with a layer of "green snot" moldable packing on both ends.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:05 AM   #11
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Along with kapnd's post, if your rudder post or shaft are worn badly give some thought to pulling things apart and fixing issues. Installing a Tides system may mask the underlying marine age wear and tear. What type of material makes up your rudder block?
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:31 AM   #12
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Thanks guys for the input.

As to the wear on the bushings this is my second go round with this problem as I mentioned in opening this thread, last season I completely reworked the lower bushing and repacked the stuffing box. I used PTFE FLAX purchased from west marine its a teflon flax supposed to be good stuff and was diligent about cutting it in three sections at 45 degrees. I had not considered using a grease.

Anyway,, having seen how worn the lower bushing was and the fact that I am still having leakage As you point out fixing issues is were I am at. I suspect the upper bushing is worn. The upper bushing is bronze and molded into the hull, I don’t know how that could be addressed within my skill set. This brings me to the Tides system.
If in fact the problem is a badly worn upper bushing then the Tides being both a BEARING and a seal should solve my problem. I have to disconnect all the steering gear and remove the stuffing nut to do this fix so at that time I will be able to check the shaft for play in the bushing.

Thanks again, I will let you know how it goes, grease would be a lot cheaper.

87 DAYS TO SPLASH DOWN!!!
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:47 PM   #13
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It sounds like you are focused on the top end, but by all means, if you're going to do all that anyway, drop the rudder and check the shaft and lower bushing for wear and out of round.
This will also give you a chance to clean out the lower bushing and shaft where it passes through. Marine growth and rubbish buildup here, causing even more rapid wear.
Once it's clean, install a zerk fitting just below the bottom packing ring, and fill the lower end with good waterproof grease, and put it on the maint list to give it a couple of shots on a regular basis, especially when it will be inactive for a while. This alone can stop a leaky packing when the rudder is stationery.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:12 PM   #14
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I had to look up "zerk fitting" never heard it called that. Assuming I have the room that would be a good idea regardless of what direction I go.

Yes I am focused on the top bushing because I already re-machined a new lower suport bushing last year. (See my thread "rudder stuffing" of last April).

Hawaii,,, boating must be very different there not to mention year round.

Thanks again
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:51 PM   #15
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Shake the rudder as was suggested to check for any untoward wear, then I would repack. The stuff is very cheap and I'd repack with grease and good angle cuts on the packing and get as many wraps in there as you can. Then crank it down tight using a caliper micrometer to make sure it's equally tightened all around. You will have to relighted but if the rudder is not very loose the packing will stabilize it and cranking it down will seal it. I just did mine...
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:14 PM   #16
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[QUOTE

Yes I am focused on the top bushing because I already re-machined a new lower suport bushing last year. (See my thread "rudder stuffing" of last April).


Overgill,
I am concerned that the shaft could be worn down where it passes through your brand new lower bushing.
Wear on rudder shafts is usually limited to a small but critical area, you won't find wear clear around it like a propeller shaft, as it only rotates through about 70 degrees. Depending on how much room you have available, the top bearing and seal can sometimes be moved to a "clean" area of shaft for a fresh start, but the bottom is less forgiving. If it's worn, you might find a machine shop that would build it back up, then machine it round again, but personally, I'd replace the whole works if it got to that point.

Boating in Hawaii is boating in the middle of the ocean, can be idyllic or brutal, sometimes in very close order, usually leaning to the latter.
There's precious little protected water, definately no ICW type cruising.
Marinas are few and far between, and anchoring off a windward shore is always iffy, as, like today, the swell is 20', and the shoreline is unapproachable on north and east shores.
Warm water year round, so the marine growth battle never ends, no winter rest period.
Other than that, I love it, maybe the fact that it's not easy makes it more enticing?
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:28 PM   #17
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Just drill the rudder post at the top, below the packing , and tap it for a 1/8 inch npt grease zirt. Pump it full of water proof grease. No more leak. super simple. Everyone does it.
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:46 AM   #18
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Good morning,,,

My new word for 2016 "Zerk",,spell check doesn't even recognize it. I think I may have been called it a few times or close.

Sort of figured that it would have to go in the bushing under the packing just as it comes though the hull. A simple upgrade and makes sense. Been doing this boat thing for a wile just suprised I never heard of it. I will just add it to several other ideas I have gotten from this forum.

zerk,zerk,zerk,,,sorry it just has a nice ring to it.
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:50 AM   #19
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Everyone does it.
.

I don't.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:33 PM   #20
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Just drill the rudder post at the top, below the packing , and tap it for a 1/8 inch npt grease zirt. Pump it full of water proof grease. No more leak. super simple. Everyone does it.
Don't drill the post, its the gland, housing, stuffing box, bushing, but definitely not the shaft.
I am getting the materials together to run tubing to a more convenient location for the zerk fitting on the top of the rudder brace. Now I am looking at self-feeding grease cups, this may wind up being the most efficient part on the boat!
BTW, I think Zerk was the name of a German manufacturer back when all types of mechanical devices were bristling with grease fittings, and lasted forever with regular maintainance.

OK, you perverted wordsmiths, have at it--
Keyworeds: drill the post, gland, stuffing box, bushing, shaft, zerk, self-feeding, cups
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