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Old 10-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
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Stuffing box thought and reference

This isn't really a question but rather a plug and a thought... so I figured it was best to post here...

First, I must say kind words about Progressive Marine in St. Petersburg, FL. They did a signficant amount of work on my boat to include fiberglass repairs, painting, and mechanical. I am most pleased with my trawler's restoration and the quality of work performed--they are top notch!

Anyway, my stuffing box was dripping more than it should be and was adjusted today--needed about a half turn. The yard mentioned that I should consider a "dripless" shaft seal (DSS) in lieu of my traditional, older-style packing gland and stuffing box. Well, I've done the research and I've come across numerous articles about boats sinking because of dripless shaft seal failure--very concerning indeed! A 2007 article from Passage Maker about DSS really caught my attention!

I can deal with the very small amount of water in my bilge--perhaps I should stay with simplicity. DSS doesn't convince me.
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #2
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Good insight. I had to tighten mine this past weekend. About due for new ones and I do like simple...
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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Greetings,
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:25 AM   #4
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Replacing your flax packing or flax with tefflon with a more modern material will give you what you want.

A shaft seal that does not need to drop underway , does not drip when stopped and lasts years between needing an adjustement.

Duramax , and no risk of failure beyond the capacity of 4 pumps.

Duramax Shaft Sealing Systems - Duramax Marine

www.duramaxmarine.com/shaft-seal.htm‎
The Duramax Shaft Seal Systems are available for shafts from 3/4 inch to ... that other systems experience, and with no lip seals or packing to change there is no ...
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vashon_Trawler View Post
Anyway, my stuffing box was dripping more than it should be and was adjusted today--needed about a half turn. The yard mentioned that I should consider a "dripless" shaft seal (DSS) in lieu of my traditional, older-style packing gland and stuffing box. Well, I've done the research and I've come across numerous articles about boats sinking because of dripless shaft seal failure--very concerning indeed! A 2007 article from Passage Maker about DSS really caught my attention!

I can deal with the very small amount of water in my bilge--perhaps I should stay with simplicity. DSS doesn't convince me.
Have had a dripless for 10+ years (4, 000+ hours). Do check the seal surfaces and boot every haulout, and will likely replace the boot this year just to be safe. It has worked flawleesly.

Simple thought:
If your bilge pumps can't keep up with the water that can come in between your shaft and cutlass bearing in the shaft log, you might want to think about a bigger pump.

Ted
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:28 AM   #6
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Stick with simple. At least for my boat, the very occasional drip from the packing gland is the least of my water intrusion problems. I used this stuff:

GFO Packing | SG Group Div of MGP Systems Inc.

I couldn't be happier with the results.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Really good information here about the packing and dripless systems--thank you all. My bilge generally stays very dry--no leaks and everything is well sealed (not bad for a 33 year old boat). My stuffing box does allow a few small drips every minute while under power which is normal and necessary. There are no drips that I can detect when not under power. I am pleased with the current set-up and like the simplicity. I'm definitely going to look into the GFO Marine Shaft Packing--great info!
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Yes, many modern packings will not drip - or shouldn't.
I always recommend a graphite over Teflon, as the Teflon has a shelf life and hardens over time, causing progressive leaks, wear and hard removal.
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:50 PM   #9
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I have had the dripless couplings (PSS) on 4 boats--4 different brands, ages and types of boat. I have had the wound type before that and found that they dripped and over time, even a small amount of water entering the bilge especially salt water, produces a "nose" in the boat that I don't like even with regular bilge cleaning. I have never had a problem with the dripless. Normal maintenance is required in the form of cleaning the bellows to assure proper seal. Five years is all I would go without replacing the seals however.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
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Another dripless packing fan, Tides Strong Seal to be specific. 14 seasons on 2 boats not a drop in the bilge.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:03 PM   #11
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posted before on this subject

RE: Dripless recommendations?
When I first bought my boat, my highest priority was to install a 'dripless' PYI unit, as the boat only had an 'old fashioned' packing gland.

But time constraints conspired against me and I was unable to get it done before bringing the boat home, so I settled for installing GFO packing in the 'old fashioned' packing gland.

This actually worked very well for 2 years, I was able to adjust the thing so it would drip maybe a teaspoon of water from a days cruise while underway and none at rest.
I caught the drips in a small bucket which I would empty every week or so if cruising. But I longed for the 'totally Dry bilge' that the packless advertised.

So after 2 years of using the GFO at the next haulout, I installed the dripless unit- I could pretty much get it to stop leaking most of the time, but would still have that teaspoon of water at the end of a day's cruise.

Then I read/heard some of the horror stories of the catastrophic disasters that can happen from the tearing of the bellows etc.

Fortunately, I had saved the 'old fashioned' system, so at the next haul-out I replaced the high tech 'dripless' packing unit with the low-tech gland - still using the formerly installed GFO packing(which is said to never wear out).

So, here I am today 8 years later with the same GFO packing - no adjustments now necessary.

No drips while at the dock, and when cruising the chore of dumping a 1/2 pint of water overboard every week or so is minor.

In my case I would have been happy to skip the 'dripless' exercise entirely.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshanafelt View Post
RE: Dripless recommendations?
When I first bought my boat, my highest priority was to install a 'dripless' PYI unit, as the boat only had an 'old fashioned' packing gland.

But time constraints conspired against me and I was unable to get it done before bringing the boat home, so I settled for installing GFO packing in the 'old fashioned' packing gland.

This actually worked very well for 2 years, I was able to adjust the thing so it would drip maybe a teaspoon of water from a days cruise while underway and none at rest.
I caught the drips in a small bucket which I would empty every week or so if cruising. But I longed for the 'totally Dry bilge' that the packless advertised.

So after 2 years of using the GFO at the next haulout, I installed the dripless unit- I could pretty much get it to stop leaking most of the time, but would still have that teaspoon of water at the end of a day's cruise.

Then I read/heard some of the horror stories of the catastrophic disasters that can happen from the tearing of the bellows etc.

Fortunately, I had saved the 'old fashioned' system, so at the next haul-out I replaced the high tech 'dripless' packing unit with the low-tech gland - still using the formerly installed GFO packing(which is said to never wear out).

So, here I am today 8 years later with the same GFO packing - no adjustments now necessary.

No drips while at the dock, and when cruising the chore of dumping a 1/2 pint of water overboard every week or so is minor.

In my case I would have been happy to skip the 'dripless' exercise entirely.
concur
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:20 PM   #13
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I like it simple and bullet proof too. With the advent of graphite packing, such as Duramax, a standard packing gland is virtually dripless, runs cool and protects the shaft from wear.

The main advantages of a dripless system are less important to me now and for me, it's all about managing risks. The last time I serviced my packing, I pulled the packing gland, hose and all, off the shaft log. I was pleasantly surprised to observe that my primary bilge pump cycled on and off, easily keeping up with the water flow, which seemed like alot. So I'm confident that the loss of a packing gland isn't likely to sink me. I have to ask, would that be true if I had a failure of a dripless system??
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:06 PM   #14
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I had tides strong seal on my last boat. No issues for six years although I was worried. Now back to regular flax packings and next haul out will replace flax with Teflon. Personal preference but I still prefer old school over dripless.
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:38 PM   #15
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I have another take on this.

I sort of like the drip, as I think it's good for the bilge pump to exercise.

I just tightened it the other day and it's really not dripping at all.

And I'll purposely wait for it to be really dripping before I tighten I it again.

I get nervous when the bilge pump goes a week with nary a peep.

Richard
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