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Old 10-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Repacking rudder

Mine is leaking just a bit. I have never repacked one and we are getting ready to hall out here in a week or so. Is it something I should do myself or pay? Can someone explain the process as I have looked for a u tube but didn't find anything of any help.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:39 PM   #2
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Take a picture of the stuffing box and post it here. Do you have easy access to it? 1. If it is similar to mine, the stuffing box will have 3-4 bolts connecting a top half to a lower half. Pull the nuts off....then the top half of the stuffing box should seperate. 2. Use a hook to pull out the old stuffing (see pic) from the bottom half of the box. I get them from Harbor Freight for 2 bucks. Once all the old packing is out (should be 3-4 pieces) Use a string, wrap it around the shaft and cut. 3. Now cut four pieces of packing using the string as the measurement (make sure you have the right thickness of packing, check your manual or compare old packing). 4. Put one new flax packing piece into the bottom half of the box..... Using the top half of the box to stuff it down the shaft. Then repeat 3 more times staggering the seams. This isn't something most need to pay for, it should take you 15-20 minutes and the boat doesn't need to be out of the water. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-04-2013, 08:05 PM   #3
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Packing extractors work better...
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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I've had both kinds of tools break on old, really hard packing...if the extractors don't work...I have used long, thin drywall screws...twist them in with a screwdriver well into the packing...then grab the head of the screw with a vice grip and wiggle the packing out...that's all I use these days as passing steps one and two for the other tools just makes sense/it easier for me....
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshillam View Post
Mine is leaking just a bit. Can someone explain the process as I have looked for a u tube but didn't find anything of any help.
Hmmm. Sounds like there are different styles of rudder stuffing boxes.

Mine are more like the shaft stuffing box. There is a tube fixture mounted through the hull about 4 - 5 inches tall with a bearing in the bottom and the top end of the tube is threaded. The bottom bearing is not water tight and generally not replaced unless there is excessive play in the shaft. The rudder shafts pass through the tubes and thru a lock nut and threaded packing nut. The packing nut contains packing and screws down on the top of the threaded tube.

If this is the style you have then maybe you need to just loosen the lock nut and screw the packing nut down a turn. But not too tight, just until the leak stops.

Probably a good idea to post a pic of your rudder stuffing box.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:13 PM   #6
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Exactly why he should post a pic so we can see.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:56 PM   #7
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Great advice, I'll get some pictures in the next day or so and post.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:49 PM   #8
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Pics

Ok I'll try to post some pics from my smart phone. See if I can be smarter than the phone...
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:55 PM   #9
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Check out that new powder coated rudder steering bar....Ok back to the subject at hand. How do I stop the leaking? I don't want to loosen the wrong bolt and end up having water enter the bilge....Yikes.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:10 PM   #10
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That's what I suspected you would find. . . . It's a packing nut and (locking) jam nut.

You will need two wrenches large enough to go on the two nuts. Looking at the threaded through hull pipe, the first nut (bottom) is the locking nut and the second nut is the packing nut. With a wrench on each nut, hold the packing nut and (clockwise) loosen the locking nut. Once it's loose use a wrench to tighten the packing nut down a thread or two. Don't over tighten the packing nut. Once the leaking stops, retighten the lock nut against the packing nut.

If you can't break them free easily, then apply an anti rust product (lock Ease or PB) to loosen the grime. Tapping the nuts gently with a small hammer can also help loosen the nuts. It's pretty easy.

Also I see a bolt head that looks like it's either in the packing nut or the bottom of the tiller arm, hard to tell from the picture for sure. Can you tell if that is a set screw or bolt for attaching a bonding wire? I think it's in the tiller arm and if so leave it alone.


PS: Looks like you have three copper lines running through this area. I'm guessing the hydraulic steering? In any case in the bottom picture, it looks like one of the lines has some leak water running under it. Make sure it's not touching or getting wet and check it for corrosion.
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:36 AM   #11
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Good suggestion to check the line. Thanks, never thought of that. I know where the water is coming from. It's from the scupper. They are both in bad shape, cracked, one of them is missing a small piece and these then are open into the bilge. That's on my to do list this month as I am pulling the boat and these will be easy to replace under cover. I'll reseal and replace.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:29 PM   #12
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I suspect t he nut you see is the set screw for a collar to hold the shaft in place. I have a similar set up on my Californian
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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Just finished doing a rudder repair last spring, which also involved replacing the cords in the stuffing box. I did it with a shipwright. Not sure its something I would want to do without being on the hard first. Make sure you count the number of cords you remove and make sure you have the same number and same size when you replace them. Give the box a good clean with gas to remove the pigs fat and with a bit of emory paper. Replace any of the hose with something comparable that isn't reinforced with wire. Recheck the box to insure all is well after you put it back into the water.

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Old 10-20-2013, 12:39 PM   #14
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OK, with that pretty steering bar I think you should take the tiller arm off also. It will give your more room to work and while it's out you can make it pretty like the steering bar. I've tried several different types of packing and this is the stuff I'm happiest with even though it probably doesn't make any difference on the rudder shafts.

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Old 10-20-2013, 03:01 PM   #15
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34' Tolly means the rudder is hung from above with no bottom end support.
The collar with the set screw/bolt is holding the rudder from falling out by riding on the packing nut.
To repack means removing the steering arm, and the collar , at least sliding them upwards, far enough to gain access to the packing nut and be able to remove it from the thread plus enough room to work.

I suspect gaining working room means the steer arm and the collar will have to come off which means if the boat is still in the water it, the rudder, could fall right out.

It's possible there is enough shaft length to arrange a grip for support once the steer arm is off so the collar can be slid up to gain access to the packing nut. If there is room another collar right at the top with an extra setbolt at 180o and some light line to an overhead tie point would be good enough to hold the rudder allowing the support collar to slide up.
A lot depends on how easily all this stuff can be moved.

When replacing all of it I would seriously consider getting a collar of plastic to go between the collar and the packing nut. I suggest 1/4, even 1/8", UHMWPE in black, best , although in the bilge white will be good for many, many years. It is tough, easily worked, slippery, highly wear resistant here and not bothered by being wet. It will virtually stop any wear between the packing nut and the collar. A hole saw and sabre saw will do the cutting and make a spare while you are at it. Even some of the white plastic cutting board sold in cooking dept. would be good. They are not UHMWPE but are a close relative and it should do very well also.

Almost any GOOD packing will work for a rudder as the rate of movement is very slow compared to a prop shaft and it can be tightened more than would be the case for the prop shaft.

Coat the threads of the packing nut, the locknut, the collar and its lockscrew, and the steering arm id with an antiseeze so they don't all freeze together.

When installing the new packing use a tamping tool such a piece of plastic pipe that is ~1/2 the shaft diam or as close as you can make it and work it around pushing the packing into place a bit at a time. A screwdriver will most likely punch through damaging the packing.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:32 PM   #16
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If you want some packing to use, let me know what size you need.
I am partial to the Slade packing... and will donate some for you.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:42 PM   #17
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Hey neighbor. I will be back in town on Friday and can give you a hand. Where are you hauling out?
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:28 PM   #18
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Not a bad job. I did mine about a month ago. My issue was i couldn't get the arm off the shaft. I used a slide hammer to pop it off.
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