Hey all, I thought I'd share my recent experience repacking my stuffing box. This is a task that I'd never performed before and I was a bit hesitant to proceed with the boat in the water.
The previous owner said that the packing had just been replaced and that "his guy" had told him how much dripping was normally expected. A plastic basin...think kitty litter box...is under the stuffing box and a small bilge pump and float switch live in it; the pump kicked on only occasionally.
The dripping had been increasing for the past six months (we bought the boat last fall) and tightening it hadn't done much to slow it. We had her surveyed for insurance and the surveyor took one glance at the thing and noted that there wasn't nearly enough packing in there. The dripping wasn't a big deal so I had prioritized other projects.
The dripping kept increasing earlier this past Spring so I decided to replace the packing myself. When I went to measure it, I noted that the shaft is not centered in the stuffing box...either the engine is misaligned or the stuffing box is off-kilter. So I decided to go with some new-fangled stuff; I ordered this "dripless moldable packing."
I also ordered some Teflon-impregnated Graphtex Ultra packing, since the moldable stuff requires a ring of packing on both sides of it to keep it in place. I had the stuff on the boat but, again, had deferred the project.
When Donna and I went on a trip a couple of weeks back, the dripping turned into a stream and couldn't be put off any longer. With her help, I used the handy packing removal tool I'd bought and pulled the old stuff out. There were about five or six rings of it. I cut a ring of the new stuff but didn't have anything to push it in with. She came to my rescue and we learned that an eyebrow brush is perfect for shoving the packing in.
Next went the moldable stuff (I used an entire "small" package) and then the second ring of the Graphtex Ultra. Both rings of Graphtex were thoroughly lubricated with the included shaft lubricant. Following the instructions, we ran the engine tied to the dock in ten-minute intervals, tightening the stuffing box up a bit after each interval. We then continued on for 7 days of cruising.
Bottom line? I am EXTREMELY happy with the new packing! My handy infrared thermometer had showed that the thing previously ran at about 80 degrees F. The instructions for the new packing note that, since it is dripless, cooling water won't be dripping through the packing anymore and it will naturally run hotter; they specify that it ought to remain less than 140 degrees F. Well, with frequent checks over the next week of cruising, the stuffing box never got above 118 degrees F. and has, so far, not dripped a drop.
No affiliation, just very happy with the results from this stuff.