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Old 01-10-2017, 10:58 PM   #1
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Rudder shaft packing

I have had one rudder shaft leaking for a few months. Just hauled out this morning and have removed the old packing. There were a total of 8 rings of 1/4" packing, but the nuts had still become 'two blocked'. So I will need to add quite a lot of new packing. I can also use some washers under the nuts to get a little more travel in the fitting at the top of the gland. I did not think of doing that earlier, as I did not realise the nuts were on studs and I had run out of thread

A question. Can I simply wrap the packing around the rudder shaft in a continuous spiral? Or is best practice to have seperate rings with 45 chamfer at the ends, and offset the end joins of each ring?
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
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A question. Can I simply wrap the packing around the rudder shaft in a continuous spiral? Or is best practice to have separate rings with 45 chamfer at the ends, and offset the end joins of each ring?
That is said to be the best way Brian. How critical it is - who knows, but as all the experts say do it that way, and it is not hard to do, why not play safe..?
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:39 PM   #3
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Ok, just wanting to know the right way. I have removed 8 old rings of the stuff, which seems to be a lot. They may have been just 90 butted together, hard to tell now.

I am heartily sick of water in the bilge so will do it the best I can while the boat is on the hard!

I just bought some PTFE Flax packing. There is supposed to be enough in the pack for one shaft, but at best it would do 4 rings so I bought 2 packs. After I got home I noticed the pack said to use 'syntel' shaft lubricant when installing, so another visit to the chandlery before I can proceed!
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:45 AM   #4
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Why not GFO packing?
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:07 AM   #5
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8 rings seems like a lot. We just repacked ours and went from 6 rings to 4. I was told that with too many rings, water may not through all the rings and I could damage the shaft. We re-packed with GFO.
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:25 AM   #6
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Consider possibly....


The Gland nut or packing squeezer should slide all the way down and nearly bottom out ....so I am not sure why yours needs 8 rings....


Unless if the kind of stuffing box that has 2 threaded studs on either side that aren't screwed in far enough like mine weren't. If so screw them in further or consider replacing them with shorter studs.
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:42 AM   #7
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Different studs could give me another 1/2" of travel on the gland nut. That could potentially save 2 rings of packing. Maybe the gland nut is not deep enough. I also need to use a drill bit to confirm the right size - what I removed appears to be 1/4", and it seems to be a snug fit as there was reasonable resistance when I removed it.

I haven't seen any GFO here, but have not looked very hard. I think I'll try and locate a shipwright to take a look at it. I do think its a bit strange to have 8 rings of packing Maybe I need to take the rudder off to look at the whole setup.
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:42 PM   #8
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Excuse my ignorance, what is GFO?
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:07 PM   #9
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Excuse my ignorance, what is GFO?
Proprietary PTFE/Graphite impregnated fiber.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:25 PM   #10
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Google is your friend:

https://www.gore.com/products/gore-gfo-fiber

I found a supplier about 100km away, but not sure that I need an 8m roll of the stuff. Will try find someone at the yard that has a good rep and get some advice. The install advice on one of the GFO sites indicated to use 3 rings.

Going back to when I bought the bought the surveyor noted leaking rudder shafts. With a bit of use they seemed to take up and pretty much stopped leaking. During my refit we dropped the rudders off, and re-installed. No-one commented about the amount of packing in the starboard rudder. So I have had about 3 years leak-free performance. And the port rudder shaft does not leak at all.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:31 PM   #11
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I fought the same problem with rudder leaks for years. Access was terrible and it was nearly impossible to get a wrench on either the packing or lock nut. I eventually installed PSS dripless seals and have been happy with them.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:34 PM   #12
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One thing to double check...1/4 inch packing for your size vessel seems pretty small.


Could be...but seems small.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:41 PM   #13
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Excuse my ignorance, what is GFO?

https://www.gore.com/sites/g/files/y...re-Web%2C0.pdf
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:13 PM   #14
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Another consideration, graphite is at the very top of the galvanic scale, make damn sure you have bonded the rudders properly if you use graphite. Don't use it at all if you have an aluminum boat!
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:25 PM   #15
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One thing to double check...1/4 inch packing for your size vessel seems pretty small.


Could be...but seems small.
Rudder shafts are 2". Using some drill bits as a gauge it looks to be 5/16" gap. In that case part of the problem may have been the 1/4" packing in there. The lower most ring was pretty chewed up, not sure I have all of it out yet.

Access is not easy, and we have a heat wave. Its 35C at 9am with 50% humidity, lasting for a few days, staying hot at night. I'm not enjoying confined spaces. It seems I melt quite easily, drenched in sweat without even doing much physical activity at all. The prop/rudder specialists at the yard are back from break on Monday. I'll talk to them then, and do something easier like remove the old anodes in the meantime.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:29 PM   #16
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Another consideration, graphite is at the very top of the galvanic scale, make damn sure you have bonded the rudders properly if you use graphite. Don't use it at all if you have an aluminum boat!
Yes, rudders are well bonded and its a GRP hull. Rudder zinc anodes seem to dissolve fastest of all my anodes, so going to a larger size this time around.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:10 PM   #17
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Rudder shafts are 2". Using some drill bits as a gauge it looks to be 5/16" gap. In that case part of the problem may have been the 1/4" packing in there...
Hobo's shaft is 2" also and I think the PO used 1/4". The new 5/16" fit perfect.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Rudder shafts are 2". Using some drill bits as a gauge it looks to be 5/16" gap. In that case part of the problem may have been the 1/4" packing in there. The lower most ring was pretty chewed up, not sure I have all of it out yet.

Access is not easy, and we have a heat wave. Its 35C at 9am with 50% humidity, lasting for a few days, staying hot at night. I'm not enjoying confined spaces. It seems I melt quite easily, drenched in sweat without even doing much physical activity at all. The prop/rudder specialists at the yard are back from break on Monday. I'll talk to them then, and do something easier like remove the old anodes in the meantime.
Kind of a big difference between 1/4 and 5/16 packing...doesn't seem like much but it is.

If even anything but snug on a 5/16 drill bit....could even be 3/8 which my shafts and rudder packings use for 1 1/2 inch shafts.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:22 PM   #19
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No, definitely not 3/8. The 5/16 drill is really snug.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:27 PM   #20
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You might be surprised.....but probably not as Larry pointed out what his is.


Maybe on mine, the thinner shaft for similar stuffing box components needed the 3/8....I had to really compress then almost beat mine in...but 5/16 was too loose.
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