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Old 07-02-2014, 07:57 PM   #21
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the picture looks normal except for what's out to the left.

normally it would fit into a rubber tube...if it's bolted to the hull...it is unusual but not out of the question.

the whole point of having some flex in the assembly is to get the packing as square to the shaft as possible to prevent unusual wear...but if everything is aligned...again...not out of the question.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:57 PM   #22
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That is the style stuffing boxes I had on my boat. They are not that uncommon. The box that holds the stuffing is attached to a piece of hose correct?

Based on that photo I don't see any real misalignment. Looks pretty normal to me but that could be the angle of the picture.

Because the box is attached to a hose it is not uncommon for the box to sag when the packing sleeve is backed off and the stuffing removed. You just repack it and lift it up a bit if need be while you slip the packing sleeve back on. This centers it all again. You could loosen the large hose holding the box if need be to adjust out some of the droop if you want.

The box and shaft need a good cleaning and rust removal though. Some acid and a wire brush scrubbing would be a good start. If the shaft is worn down where the packing rides on it you can slide the box off the hose, cut the hose back and slide the box back onto the hose so the packing rides on a unworn area of the shaft.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:02 PM   #23
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I just caught the part where that is NOT a picture of you actual stuffing box.

So based on that photo what is different about your box to shaft alignment?
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:06 PM   #24
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I just caught the part where that is NOT a picture of you actual stuffing box.

So based on that photo what is different about your box to shaft alignment?
Found a shot of our port stuffing box. Hard to see, but the aft fitting is bolted to the hull in four places. Other Defever owners have told me theirs are similarly built and have the same rough, unfinished appearance where attached to the boat.



I only had time for a short look at it partially disassembled while the mechanics were in there, but there does not appear to be anything attached to hose as you're describing and as I'm familiar with. The shaft appears to the naked eye to be significantly off-center . . . maybe up to 1/4" . . . where it passes through the bronze casting that's bolted to the hull. One mechanic said the packing was so tight on the constricted side he broke a tool trying to extract it. The boatyard will be taking measurements and discussing how best to modify it.

One possibility, strictly off the top of my head: one of the previous owners installed a Twin Disc to replace a Velvet Drive on the starboard side. That affects the engine/shaft geometry and requires motor mount adjustments. It will be interesting to see what the measurements say.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:20 PM   #25
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Well, now I get it. I don't see what the point was in hard mounting the box like that and not attaching it to a hose where it can float on the shaft and vastly lessen the effects of any shaft misalignment on the packing and box. Seems kind of stupid to me.

If you are a 1/4" off in the alignment through the box you definitely have some kind of problem. I guess you need to start with uncoupling the shaft from the transmission and see if that changes the alignment. If it doesn't, then it's on to pulling the shaft and checking for straightness, target wiring or laser alignment of the struts, box, engine and so forth.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #26
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Single strut or V. Your shaft is probably misaligned if its not centered in the shaft log. Rubber hose shaft logs are more forgiving.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:51 PM   #27
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Just a thought. If it was fine before, then you picked up a line, and that line was apparently enough to break the line cutter, then would it be at all possible it moved the engine alignment? Seems if your shaft log didn't move, and your stuffing box is bolted to the hull, the only moveable part is the motor mounts. Just a thought...
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:01 AM   #28
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Good thought, Jeff. (It was actually 2 set screws on a limiting bracket on the line cutter that sheared, so the force was apparently not too excessive. The diver was able to unwind the pendant by hand in less than a minute, so it was not tightly wrapped. The shaft has now been dial-indicated, and is true.)

Turns out the lead mechanic told me yesterday that the female side of the stuffing box was apparently installed slightly misaligned by the factory (!). He said it's been working reasonably well all these years with no evidence of shaft wear. The packing was asymmetrical and pretty well shot; hence the excessive leaking. They're quoting 10-12 hours of labor, plus parts, to reinstall the stuffing box properly.

I want to have this done, but would prefer to pick my own expert when I get the boat to the Chesapeake with someone experienced and highly recommended. The Hinkley yard in Savannah, where the boat is now, has a good reputation but I don't think they have experience with this particular issue. The mechanic says he can manipulate the packing to minimize the leak to almost a normal drip level, get normal function out of it and no risk to the shaft if I want press on as is.

On the other hand, it would be nice to have this resolved. What would y'all do?
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:30 AM   #29
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If it were me, I would surmise that if it were installed within the flax's ability to seal properly that having it aligned more perfectly is not of significant value.

That design requires a bit better engine alignment than the hardwall rubber hose set up, but has advantages of not ever being able to twist a hose if it gets too tight or over heated. Boats have sank over failed stuffing box hoses but your design seems like it would eliminate a leak large enough to challenge a bilge pump, even if it somehow lost all it's packing. The only downside is it is less tolerant of absorbing hull flex but the boat is likely a rock and not an issue.

Adequately aligned and sealed is " sealed " I would not spend extra to make it more perfect than the boat builder considered acceptable.

Being a re-formed perfectionist, I can tell you there is room in the world for less than perfection or we would not need stuffing boxes to start with.

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Old 07-15-2014, 08:55 AM   #30
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1. Not sure you'll find anyone that is more "expert" in the task at hand...it's just not that complicated.

2. Doug Doty has a point that a softer packing may be all that's needed. I might try a ring or two of this stuff to make up for any asymmetry...

WESTERN PACIFIC TRADING Drip-Less Moldable Packing | West Marine
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:00 AM   #31
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Found a shot of our port stuffing box. Hard to see, but the aft fitting is bolted to the hull in four places. Other Defever owners have told me theirs are similarly built and have the same rough, unfinished appearance where attached to the boat.





I only had time for a short look at it partially disassembled while the mechanics were in there, but there does not appear to be anything attached to hose as you're describing and as I'm familiar with. The shaft appears to the naked eye to be significantly off-center . . . maybe up to 1/4" . . . where it passes through the bronze casting that's bolted to the hull. One mechanic said the packing was so tight on the constricted side he broke a tool trying to extract it. The boatyard will be taking measurements and discussing how best to modify it.

One possibility, strictly off the top of my head: one of the previous owners installed a Twin Disc to replace a Velvet Drive on the starboard side. That affects the engine/shaft geometry and requires motor mount adjustments. It will be interesting to see what the measurements say.


My stuffing boxes are like the ones in the picture. They are really pretty good because they not only have the packing gland but there is also a cutlass bearing. The water supply tubing you see in the picture is for the cutlass bearing and to keep the packing wet. The shaft doesn't float at this point. Engine alignment is important.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:49 AM   #32
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I would run with it and resolve the issue when you get it home.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:50 PM   #33
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I would run with it and resolve the issue when you get it home.
Thanks, all. That's what I'll do. I checked both stuffing boxes every couple of hours over the 200 miles or so from Palm Coast to Savannah and they never got beyond warm to the touch. Probably because of all that water running through them.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:55 PM   #34
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Thanks, all. That's what I'll do. I checked both stuffing boxes every couple of hours over the 200 miles or so from Palm Coast to Savannah and they never got beyond warm to the touch. Probably because of all that water running through them.
try a little of that mouldable stuffing I linked..available at West marines..maybe other places too....it may help till the whole setup is changed.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:55 PM   #35
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try a little of that mouldable stuffing I linked..available at West marines..maybe other places too....it may help till the whole setup is changed.
I'll ask the yard to do that, Scott.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:53 PM   #36
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If she made it 200 miles she'll probably go the rest of the way. BUT. Alarm bells should be going off by now. Out of curiosity: did you notice what side the small space was on? top, bottom, port or Sbd? It matters, because top or bottom would relate to the reduction gear. sideways would indicate other than the gear.

Also, did both sides get a new gear? are both sides off center???

A shaft that is 1/4" out of the center is WAY off. Either the back end was torqued (most likely by the line in the wheel. OR (as some others have noted, the front end is thrown a motor mount, or the noted reduction gear replacement may not have been professionally lined up.

either way, no mention is made of 'the other side'. Didn't you say both sides leaked equally?

Just so you know, you can simply add packing as you squeeze the glands down (as necessary). The trick is, to not over compress the shaft gland so far down that ALL (or almost all) the packing is squished out. As long as about hallf the packing is in there, you can (with engine OFF!!!) remove the nuts, back out the gland and add another row (or 3) of packing. Yours will be tough to install, since you will have to pound a flat spot in one area, and rotate it and pound a high spot in another to make it slip around the shaft because of the lopsided ness.

But this certainly did NOT come from the factory lined up this way. Something has changed. Go on a hunt to find out what has moved, shifted or slipped.
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:58 PM   #37
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Definitely vertical, not side-to-side misalignment. Dial indicator shows no damage to the shaft. Starboard was dripping the most and had been slinging water for a long time based on the degraded acoustic tiles nearby. (I had put "tents" over both SBs when I saw the water flying off them.) Also a chance I suppose that the water is from the supply tubes feeding the SBs and not from outside. Wish I'd thought to taste it. There is no evidence of damage to the motor mounts, although they may not have been sized properly to accommodate the Twin Disc replacing the Velvet Drive.

Anyway, the packing has been replaced and I'm moving the boat the week after next to the Chesapeake. It will be hauled again in the Fall and we'll get to the bottom of it. I'm guessing it was the transmission replacement on the starboard side, combined with ancient packing and a new and ignorant owner. But really, everything is still speculation at this point.
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