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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-08-2007
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shaft packing

what is it, and what would you do if it was leaking?
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Old 05-08-2007
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Well, it should leak. It is a material, usually graphite impregnated fibre, that looks kind of like dirty string, that is wound around your prop shaft or rudder shaft and compressed by a cup shaped nut to allow a moving thing to seal out the water. If you have ever taken apart an old style faucet, from before there had o rings in them then you have seen it.
If it is leaking alot, you should tighten the gland, to compress the packing further so it only leaks a little, say one drop every few seconds or so. There will be some sort of lock that needs to be loosened and then you tighten by turning clockwise then redo the lock. If it can't be tightened or it doesn't slow the leak then it is easiest to replace then packing when the boat is hauled.
Hope that helps.
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Old 05-08-2007
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It depends... a properly packed gland should really not be leaking when the shaft is not turning. If yours is, then you need to tighten up on the packing gland nut a bit.

If that doesn't help, you will probably need to re-pack the gland. Traditional flax-based packing materials aren't as good as the newer Gore-tex based packing materials, which will leak less, and are lower maintenance. One of the guys on this site did a nice photograph laden walkthrough of the whole proces, which you can find if you do a search.

Edit: Found the link to the photo tutorial. LINK.
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Old 05-08-2007
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Westmarine sell a good "dripless" packing that is inserted between inner and outer layers of traditional packing. It is actually very easy to use, the main trick being to get the old packing out completely first and for that you will need a special picking tool - available from most chandlers. The thermoplastic packing is simply moulded into shape and pressed into place, then the nut is done up fairly tight. Examination over a short period of running will soon tell if the nut tension needs to be increased. One tube of the packing will last several services
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Old 05-08-2007
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I read the tutorial after putting the last message onto this forum and while I respect the opinion of the author, I must disagree about the problems. I changed to the Westmarine product about two years ago, have repacked once since and have had no trouble whatever.
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Old 05-09-2007
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The trouble takes...

The problem takes some time to appear. Next time you haul check the inside of the male end of the shaft log between the shaft and a the bronze of the stuffing box. Mine became totally plugged with syntef grease and the thermoplastic residue. You still have traditional flax rings on either side of this stuff that DO need water to have lubricity. Just because the middle layer of goo sandwich is very slippery the front ring is NOT this is why they give you the grease as a band-aid.

My shaft was perfect when I installed this stuff, per manufacturers instructions, then, after running it dripless for about 60 hours, it had a score around the front ring due to NO water... Use at your own risk! I have anylized this stuff quite extensively and I stand by my claim that it is not safe for your shaft or your stufing box over the long haul! When your stuffing box becomes plugged and NO water at all gets past the black goo you'll finally understand....

If you must use a traditional type flax use Gore GFO!!!!

The picture below shows the black goo, caused by the WM "Mouldable Packing" and Syntef grease, that plugged my stuffing box!

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Old 05-09-2007
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Point taken - I'll inspect the shaft more carefully next time.

Thanks for your advice

Alan
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Old 05-10-2007
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My stuffing box is turning with the shaft (seized?). If I can free it I plan on replacing the hose and repacking. The Catalina drawing calls for 1 5/8 id. fiber reinforced hose. Where is a good source for hose? Also, if I have to replace the box is there a source for a box for a one inch shaft (Atomic-4)?

Thanks
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Old 05-10-2007
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Call Catalina..

They can sell you a new stuffing box with the hose for your 1 5/8 stern tube..
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