Dripless Shaft Packing Question - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-18-2009
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Dripless Shaft Packing Question

I did a search of the archives and mostly found information on the PSS type seals.

I'm looking at replacing the packing in the stuffing box on my Catalina 30. I'm finding packing ranging from $10 to $65.

The $65 packing is advertised as dripless, and evidently is dripless after a couple of hours break in.

I'm also seeing packing impregnated with Teflon and Gore GTU in the $10 to $25 range. My understanding is that you adjust the stuffing box for a slight drip so the water can act as lubrication. If the Teflon or GTU is providing the lubrication, can you adjust the stuffing box so there is no drip when you use this packing?

I'm inclined to buy the $65 dripless and play it safe, but if the $25 packing will do the same job why spend the extra money?

If it matters I mostly day/weekend sail in salt water but there will be times when I'm motoring all day on trips when there's no wind.

Also any tips or advice on installing the packing?

Thanks,
Jim McGee
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Old 03-18-2009
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Jim

I would advise staying away from the dripless mouldable packing clays and any traditional packing, including Gore GFO or Western Pacific Trading's GTU require some drips.

One disturbing trend my buddy at the prop shop is seeing, yet one no one is discussing in print or in the forums, is crevice corrosion of the prop shaft were it is deprived of oxygen in the shaft log due to totally sealed, no drip stuffing boxes.

The only way to be truly drip free not just "drips less" is with a product like the PSS.

This is an example of a stuffing box that was set not to drip. The crevice corrosion has totaled this shaft. PSS seals are vented or plumbed to have water flow through them this allows fresh oxygenated water to be in contact witht the stainless shaft.
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Old 03-18-2009
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The traditional stuffings work well and have a long history of usage. They can be adjusted that they do not drip when stopped and still drip enough when rotating. The only draw backs are that they require maintenance and attention. But the drips are why you have bilge pumps on boats. Unless you leave the boat for 6 months or so the occasional drip will not sink the boat.
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Old 03-18-2009
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Maine (or others),
In addition to you response above, do you have any further comments on the "Plumbed In" type dripless seals.
Our Bennie (and I believe most bennies now a days) is equipped with a shaft seal that has a thru hull and no drips. I have no idea what the propper term is for it. I am replacing mine, I have the replacement on order from Benie as we speak. I believe that we did not properly purge the air from it last season and by the time we figured out our mistake it was too late. It has been leaking ever since. The new one will be in this spring.
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Old 03-18-2009
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oxygen depravation and pitting

Maine Sail,
Is this more of an issue with powerboats who get a lot of shaft rotations compared to sailboats or is it more of a time and corrosion issue?

Right now I get a drip or so a minute which is the recommendation in the manual for my boat.

I always have about an inch of water in the bilge based on the location of the bilge pump. That means a musty odor in the boat, especially if it's been closed up for a couple of weeks. I'd like to eliminate the blige water odors both for myself and for marital bliss.

That said I'm not looking to cause long term damage to my shaft as I'm planning on keeping this boat for a while.

Jim
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Old 03-18-2009
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Check out the Tides Marine dripless shaft seal also.
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