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Old 06-06-2013, 12:56 AM   #1
MurrayM's Avatar
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,709
Flax packing swell rate?


The maintenance log said 3/8 inch flax packing was used last time the stuffing box was repacked, so that's what we bought. This was my first time, so I didn't closely compare what came out to what was going in.

Take a gander at the old (longer white one) compared to the new (smaller darker one) in the photo below.

Does flax packing swell that much, or do you think there was a change in the stuffing box dimensions that wasn't mentioned in the log?

I counted how many turns released the stuffing box, and it took almost double to even begin to feel resistance putting it back on. Me-thinks I'll have to measure the inside of the stuffing box, subtract the shaft size, and divide by two...but still wondering how much it swells in the first 24 - 48 hours.
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"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:37 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 17,244
Flax doesn't "swell up" to fit the shaft.

The best way is to use the round end of a drill bit to measure the actual space for the packing.

Or pull and measure the old packing.

Too small might crush into place , but a proper fit is far better.

Once you figure the size why not advance 120 years and purchase Duramax

or a modern product that wont drip , doesn't REQUIRE a drip underway and will run cool and last longer?
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