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post #1 of 18 Old 06-27-2008 Thread Starter
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Stuffing box leaks

I own a 1990 Hunter 28. While the engine is running the stuffing box is leaking a small but steady stream. Have contacted a few boat yards but have had no luck getting anyone to look at it. Anything I can do to temporarily fixed the leak? Does it sound like it can wait till end of season?
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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You probably need to re-pack the stuffing box. Halekai36, one of the members here, has a good tutorial on doing this, located HERE.

You'll want to inspect the prop shaft surface to see if it is scored or otherwise damaged.

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post #3 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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SD

is there a correlation between tightness of stuffing box and whether the shaft spins when under sail (if tranny is in neutral).

strane thing happened during wed nite race before start - shut engine down - put gear in neutral - and was under main doing about 4.5kts under sail when all of a sudden the bloody shaft starts turning (note I have a martec folding prop). i placed it in gear in reverse and it stopped turning.

in the past 2 years this has never happened...
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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The link that SailingDog gave you gives you all the instructions and pictures you need to do this job yourself. It is easy after you have done it once and is well worth the peace of mind to know that it is good to go another 5 - 10 years. The stuffing box is supposed to drip while turning and even somewhat while at rest. Have you tried tightening the bolts to see if you can minimize the drip? If tightening the bolts slows the leaking down to a drip then you can think about replacing the packing the next time you haul out (which is the best place to do this the first time, IMHO).
BTW, the replacement GORE GFO packing (that Mainesail, er, Halekal36 recommends (as do I) should only cost you about $25 + shipping. I got mine from here: Virtually Dripless Packing by Gore GFO
All you need is a pair of wrenches, a razor blade and some determination to actually work on the stuffing box. It really is pretty easy if yours is a typical installation.

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post #5 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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RPerret, interesting question but I think that the two things you mention are not really interrelated. The stuffing box and its tension are not supposed to be so tight as to really restrict the shaft from turning as this can cause the packing to score your shaft which is bad. If the prop spins while under sail simply put the engine in gear to stop it. Since you have a folding prop you need not worry about the shaft orientation while racing, or do you?

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post #6 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcleo View Post
I own a 1990 Hunter 28. While the engine is running the stuffing box is leaking a small but steady stream.
A stream or a steady drip? While the engine's running, or when the prop shaft is turning? It should drip every 10-20 seconds when the prop shaft is turning. It has to, to provide lubrication and cooling for the packing.

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Originally Posted by gcleo View Post
Anything I can do to temporarily fixed the leak? Does it sound like it can wait till end of season?
If it's more than a drip every few seconds, you may be able to simply tighten the packing nut up a bit. It all depends on how old the packing material is and whether that's already been done. Otherwise the packing material will need to be replaced. Either way: It's not really a difficult job. See the material sailingdog pointed you to. Suggest using Gore GFO or GTU packing material. (The latter is available at West Marine.)

See this thead: Fix or Wait? - Stuffing Box.

Jim
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post #7 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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Stuffing Box

You can try to tighten the packing nut a little to see if that stops or slows the leak.

Before that, how much is the box leaking and is it leaking under power when the shaft is turning or when it's just sitting there and the shaft is not turning? A few drips a minute when the shaft is turning is okay. Even if the shaft isn't turning, a few drips a minute isn't catastrophic.

A few weeks ago mine was dripping at rest once every 11 seconds and every 2 to 3 seconds when the shaft was turning. I snugged the packing nut down a 1/16 of a turn or so and the drip rate reduced to one every 45 seconds at rest and once every 6 seconds when the shaft was turning; good enough for me. My packing flax is 6 years old, so it may have to be replaced at the end of this season.

If you do decide to tighten the packing nut, remember you need to loosen the locking nut first. You may have to apply a little liquid wrench stuff to loosen any corrosion. Also, don't over tighten the nut. If your not getting a few drips a minute when the shaft is turning and the shaft/stuffing box isn't remaining cool, you need to back the nut off a little until it does.

The link the Sailingdog gave you of Halekia's technique is very a excellent tutorial.

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post #8 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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folding props 2-blade need to be oriented so one blade does not drop and drag in water. i have marked shaft to ensure that the one blade does not drag.

of course with feathering props this is a non-issue

rick
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RPerret, interesting question but I think that the two things you mention are not really interrelated. The stuffing box and its tension are not supposed to be so tight as to really restrict the shaft from turning as this can cause the packing to score your shaft which is bad. If the prop spins while under sail simply put the engine in gear to stop it. Since you have a folding prop you need not worry about the shaft orientation while racing, or do you?
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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If the stuffing box is causing enough resistance to stop the prop spinning... you've got a serious problem.

Just curious, is this boat new to you or have you owned it a while? If the boat is new to you, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you re-pack the stuffing box after inspecting the prop shaft for wear, scoring and other issues.

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SD

is there a correlation between tightness of stuffing box and whether the shaft spins when under sail (if tranny is in neutral).

strane thing happened during wed nite race before start - shut engine down - put gear in neutral - and was under main doing about 4.5kts under sail when all of a sudden the bloody shaft starts turning (note I have a martec folding prop). i placed it in gear in reverse and it stopped turning.

in the past 2 years this has never happened...

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-27-2008 at 11:32 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-27-2008
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If you are as clueless as I was when my old boat was new to me everything sounded as though I should bring in the experts. I did not know what a stuffing box was until we got our Tartan 27. Heck, I did not even know that the engine had a raw water impeller but I found out about both things the hard way. Do not worry so much about this stuffing box issue as it is an easy fix where some are not. With resource links like the ones above you just need to learn by doing it yourself and save yourself a bunch of money and learn about your own boat and it's systems in the process.

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