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Old 06-23-2014, 07:39 PM   #21
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That's where I'm headed Cap.Bill11, thanks.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:36 PM   #22
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I have run many a boat with old school packing (non-dripless) and been able to adjust them so they don't drip and stay cool...they more "weep" than drip.

Meaning ...with the shaft turning...if you put your finger right at the shaft and the packing gland where the shaft exits...you 'll get a very tiny amount of moisture...but it never really drips.

Oh I'm sure there a good explanation why you need drips and not just a cool running packing and a tiny bit of moisture...

I just see no reason to buy it as I've never had shaft issues, leaking packings, damaged anything...so I'm not sure why some insist on drips.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:02 PM   #23
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This is what has always worked for me. Max of four min of three wraps around the shaft. Measure the gland depth and divide by 4. This is your max packing width. Measure your gland ID and subtract your shaft ID. This is your min packing thickness. Packing is square so if these dimensions vary go undersize and add the extra ring. Multiply your shaft diameter by 3.14. This is the length of each packing ring. Stack each of these rings inside the gland at the previous gland's location plus 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Tighten the coupling til the leaking subsidies.< 20- drops per minute.Take the boat for a spin and tighten the gland until you wind up with an ambient temp of 30 degrees above ambient, Probably aroud 4 drops per minute. Some people like to cut the rings on a bias.


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Old 06-24-2014, 04:36 AM   #24
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Based on my own experience in industry and boating.
Stern tube packing is sold in most Commercial plumbing merchants and marked as 'Steam packing' it's Teflon impregnated and used in boiler applications and very cheap.
If you decide to fit it yourself this is the method I use.
Use an old gas welding rod filed to a point and make a small hook and a handle on the other end, this is great for getting out the old packing.
When fitting the packing make a ring around the shaft and cut the ends diagonally so the ends overlap, slide the ring down the shaft until seated, then cut the next ring and slide it into place with the joins at 12, 6, 9, and 3 o clock.
Tie the boat securely to the docks, run at slow speed, have a someone monitoring the boat security/engines and adjust every 5/10 minutes until there's just one drip every 20 seconds, check regularly until bedded in.
After getting fed up of forever greasing and adjusting the stuffing box I bought a PSS dripless seal for my boat which I fitted while the boat was still in the water, and it's performed faultlessly with no drips for many years cruising.
I have no connection with PSS.
I hope this is helpful.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:11 AM   #25
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... When I finished the re-pack I tightened the nut till the water stopped leaking... .
Mike
This is where your repack went wrong, in my opinion. Leave it loose with water flowing while the packing runs in.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:01 AM   #26
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Yep, when I re-do the packing I plan to run the boat immediately afterward. The video that LarryM suggested said to run the nut up to the point where you feel the packing touch the point where the shaft enters the tube.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:32 PM   #27
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OK so I have never re-pack a shaft. Stupid question: When you take it all apart, clean it and put new packing in, how much water is coming in the boat through this process or do you do it while dry docked?
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:40 PM   #28
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Depends..but usually not enough to scare you too much.

Hopefully you have everything ready to repack before starting...

if not...tie a big rag so all you get is a drip...or plumbers putty shoved in there...anything to slow it down even more...but certainly close to or below the amount of a small bilge pump without any further restriction.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #29
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OK so I have never re-pack a shaft. Stupid question: When you take it all apart, clean it and put new packing in, how much water is coming in the boat through this process or do you do it while dry docked?
I did it in the water a few years ago on the sailboat. Bought a wax ring (commode seal) at Lowe's before going down there, and was all ready to pop it around the shaft if necessary. But turned out not to be necessary at all. Just a small trickle of seawater coming in. More than I would want on a 24/7 basis, to be sure, but not enough to worry about while I was doing the repacking.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:56 PM   #30
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Measure twice, pack once

Packing is sold in sizes 1/8 inch to 5/8 inch and I am sure larger sizes too. Be SURE that the packing is the right size. To small and it will leak, to large and it will overheat if you can get it into the box. As was previously stated measure you shaft diameter, measure the box inside diameter , take the difference, divide by two and this is the correct packing size. EG: shaft 1 1/2 inches, packing nut 2 1/2 inches, 1 inch difference divided by 2 equal 1/2 inch packing for the correct size.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:14 PM   #31
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If you have never done it before or are having problems...reread the procedure many times from many sources to figure out which way works.

On mistake is the guys who do the math with circumference and don't cut it on the shaft or similar bar...they wind up with a gap or overlap where it's not desired.

The thickness of the packing has to be accounted for...sure...on smaller sizes it probably doesn't matter much of the time...but why start off with an error.

The pic shows what happens if you just flat cut a piece of packing to size rather than on the shaft as an actual wrap.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:36 PM   #32
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You can also use a drill bit to determine the correct size packing you need. Use it like a fat feeler gauge between the shaft and stuffing box. :-)

You can also wrap the packing around the shaft in a spiral taking care to keep the edges squared up and cut multiple pieces at once you want.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:10 PM   #33
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I agree with high wire. Remove the old packing ,cut the new and put it in but don't tighten the gland all the way until no water comes in. You are just going to compress it so tight that it stops the cooling water. 10 or so drips a minute won't hurt anything and the next day just tighten a little. drips will stop when shaft is at rest. Works for me.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:34 AM   #34
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I had about a gallon of water coming in every 20-30 minutes; once you start you need to finish, can't walk away from this one. If I had a choice I would rather do this job out of the water.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:15 PM   #35
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I'd like to vote for gore packing as well, but I also don't want to make the mistake I see going on here in this thread where we talk about packing and not about principles. If you can't get good ole flax/wax impregnated packing to work, that's not a reason to change packing to gore or a dripless seal or anything else. That's a reason to get back to basic principles and solve the real problem.

First off, I also agree with someone else who mentioned that you don't want to over tighten and then back off until it drips. Packing does not easily re-orient itself once tightened. The only chance you have to make that work is to completely back off the nut and then strike it with a hammer while rotating to try to beat it back, then start the tightening process again. In your case, since you have "goo", which is melted wax already oozed out of the nut, start over. The waxy material is a part of the lubrication process. When typical flax overheats, it becomes hard and brittle, if you tighten hard/brittle material you simply make it into sandpaper and will score your shaft.

But again, back to basic principles. Lets start a visualization here. Go get your portable drill and carefully put a drill bit into it nice and straight and then hit the trigger. Wait...you DO have at least one decent drill bit and a portable drill don't you? If not, that's a red flag, but lets move on. If you watch the sides of the bit while turning, you basically should still see the shape of the drill bit as when you started. It should appear to be the same width as when its not spinning. Okay, now lets reset the bit in the drill, but this time intentionally load it not quite centered into the chuck. Now spin the bit. You should notice that while spinning the bit appears to be much wider than it really is. It's not spinning perfectly centered, so creates the impression of a much wider drill bit. What I'm getting at here is that packing only works if your shaft is turning true. If it is not, its just like that off centered drill bit. When turning, it wants to assume a shape that is much wider than the width of the shaft. The packing then tries to form a shape around that perceived wider shaft. In my experience, most folks don't pay all that much attention to cutless bearings, alignment, shaft straightness until forced. Yet, the packing can only work if that entire running gear system is in good shape.

Lets take another look at packing now assuming that we really don't know the condition of your running gear. Lest you think you can eyeball it, you can't unless your eyes can see down to 2 thousands of an inch, cause that's the degree to which shafts are typically aligned. At rest, packing can easily be tightened down to no dripping because the width of the shaft is fixed. When running, there will be some degree of expansion of the perceived width of the shaft. This basically causes the packing be be beaten back and leaves a hole by which the packing will allow leakage. Once at rest, the packing swells back up and the dripping should typically stop. While there is some ability to handle a little misalignment, its not much. If you can't get flax packing down to less than 4 or 5 drips a minute, heck even double or triple that is not the end of the world. What it means is that your shaft alignment is not true. It can be caused by any of the components in your running gear (shaft true, cutless bearing wear, coupling alignment, strut alignment, prop out of true).

So, the procedure is to put packing into the stuffing box, then to just tighten until you slow down the dripping at rest, let it sit for the packing to swell and then tighten again just until you again see it taking effect to slow dripping down to just a few drips. No need to tighten it completely, especially since backing it off is not so easy. Then go out and run it. Incrementally tighten no more than maybe 1/8 to 1/4 turn at max, then run for awhile. Each time, monitor both the drip rate as well as the heat. You arrive at a point where either the dripping gets within an acceptable range, or you notice that the dripping remains the same while the heat goes incrementally higher. At that point, you pretty much know whether its going to work or not. The stuffing box will get warm, but should never get really hot. If its hot enough to melt wax at any level, that's too warm. That's a symptom not of bad packing, but of bad running gear. While its pretty typical to have more dripping while running than at rest, if there is a big difference in drip rate, that's telling you right away that your packing is getting beaten back to a larger diameter due to the spinning shaft. You will want to really watch the spike in temperatures in that condition as you tighten the packing incrementally while suspecting you just may not be able to get the stuffing box to seal in an acceptable fashion.

Yes, you can try "better" packing materials than standard flax. They are more resilient and can take more heat. With a decent state of running gear the gore packing is dripless without undue heat, but you will waste your money to think that going to better packing will take the place of a running gear misalignment. Worse, it may allow you to ignore and otherwise not notice a very real problem worth solving. Flax packing has a major advantage of being a canary in a coal mine.

Its tempting to just monkey see/monkey do and go straight to the miracle product, and there are lots of good reasons why doing so is not necessarily a bad thing. I just encourage you to take enough time to make sure you really know that packing is your issue, as we are all pretty guilty of recommending our individual wonder products (I certainly have my own) when we should be wondering aloud why an acceptable result can't be achieved without such wonder products.

Lastly, my personal pet peeve, slightly askew to your issue. Never take the arm chair advice to tighten a packing gland as the solution for dripping packing UNLESS you know the precise state of the packing within that gland. I always see people jump straight to "tighten the gland" to stop a drip. The problem of course is if the packing has been overheated, tightening will ruin the shaft in short order where otherwise you have the option of replacing ten bucks worth of packing first. A scored shaft may not drip at rest, but will never fully seal running because it is not true. Of the last three boats I've owned, each came to me with packing that was a bit dry & brittle. I would not have wanted to tighten those without knowing the state of the packing, and the only way I know to do that is to pull it out. It may not be enough data points to come to a perfect consensus, but enough for me to realize that in many cases, blindly tightening a packing gland is the wrong solution and will cause more problems that it solves. Will those making the blind armchair recommendations be there to help haul the boat just so you can change the length of your shaft log to get on some clean shaft material? In most cases, probably not and that's why it gets me so riled up to monkey see/monkey do that kind of advice.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:26 PM   #36
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I had about a gallon of water coming in every 20-30 minutes; once you start you need to finish, can't walk away from this one. If I had a choice I would rather do this job out of the water.
Screw the nut back on, typically it has closer tolerances. Your two gallons an hour is now much less, go have lunch stress free. If you have a small bit of paper towel/tp/rag/sponge/styrofoam floating nearby/dirt from the shoreline/leaves you can put any of that in, screw the nut on hand tight and come back tomorrow or next month.

I only chuckle because the first time I did this, I was so worried about the boat I could not come up with any of these simple solutions (and there are many many more). My packing was overheated, I broke two different corkscrew tools trying to get it out and the next chandlery was in the next town (cause I already bought all the corkscrew tools at the store at the local marina).

Once you have done it a couple times, for some reason its easier to realize that there are in fact few reasons the boat safety should be at risk.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:14 PM   #37
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Just to finish this up: I re-packed the re-packed stuffing box, tightened the nut and left water dripping. The water quit dripping after a few minutes, I assume because the packing swelled up and sealed off the water. Then went out for a spin. Ran the boat for 2 hours, checked the box frequently. The nut got pretty, warm maybe even call it hot, but I could wrap my hand around the nut and keep it there, nothing like the previous run. On each of the individual packing loops we had lubed them up w/ grease which ran out as things warmed up. Shut things down back at the slip and after a few drips all dripping stopped.
Hopefully, this is called success. Thanks to everyone for the comments/advise.
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:41 PM   #38
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It is important to have some dripping. Stainless shafts (that's all of them but bronze) need oxygen to maintain their corrosion resisting chromium-oxide layer. If stagnant seawater sits in the shaft tube, it's oxygen is soon depleted, which leads to crevice corrosion and pitting of the shaft. The pitted rough surface then tears up the packing and the constant leaking may alert you that it is time for an expensive new shaft.

By the way, I favor the Teflon impregnated packing that WestMarine sells; works great, much less costly than the Gore. My stuffing box runs 3-5 degrees above ambient. Not 35, 3 to 5 degrees F.

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Old 06-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #39
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Mark: Hopefully mine will run cooler as the packing wears in.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:46 PM   #40
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Absolutely final last word on this issue: the re-repacked stuffing box is working as it should, it drips when underway, stops dripping when I shut her down. Again, thanks for the advice from all.
Mike
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