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Old 08-21-2002
Sue & Larry Sue & Larry is offline
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Stuffing Boxes and Rudder Posts

About three years ago I repacked my stuffing box and rudder post. After much adjusting, the stuffing box is OK but, because of the difficult accessibility, I can't get the rudder post to stop leaking. Do you know of a tool or technique to do this?

Sue & Larry respond:
You might want to try using a “packing nut wrench.” These short handled wrenches are made specifically for tightening the nuts on a stuffing box. The wrench is unusually configured in that the jaws can open very wide to accommodate a packing nut, while the handle is very short so that you can get into a tight space. These are available in both a fixed or adjustable variety and can be found at marine chandleries.

If you’re still having difficulty with your rudder post, you might want to consider removing the packing and nut altogether and installing a packless or dripless type of gland. The dripless shaft seals replace traditional stuffing boxes and packing. Water is kept out of the boat by virtue of a seal or series of seals around the shaft or rudder stock. Many new boats today use this type of seal on their drive shaft, but it’s also very appropriate to retrofit your rudder post with the same product. We recommend you take a look at the dripless shaft seals made by both PYI and Tides Marine. PYI dripless shaft seals for shaft stocks between three-quarters of an inch to an inch-and-a-half are available right here at SailNet: Propeller and Shaft Seals.  Good luck