About that Stuffing Box
I'm getting ready to launch soon, first time for me. Previous owner reported stuffing box was ok, and I've been dealing with other issues since I bought it.
Now that I'm getting closer to launch, I've been thinking about the stuffing box. It's just about the only thing I've not gone over, reworked, replaced or rebuilt.
Truth is, I know little about them. This is my first inboard. I've read Mainsails's great write up:
Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Maine Sailing at pbase.com
However I'm reluctant to get into another project (or create a new project) this close to launch.
1. Any quick checks or tests to get a general idea that it's fine (for the season).
2. Once in the water, I can tighten or loosen the nut to adjust, but water will gush in if I remove?? Correct?
Thanks for any information. I'm so close!
It should drip occasionally.
You are correct, if you remove the water will gush in.
I would check it while the boat is still in the sling.
I just went through changeing mine - twice so I can offer a few sugestions.
First if you do change it use GORE GFO - nothing else. I changed mine out last month while the boat was on the hard with the PTFE Flax packing from West Marine. Once the boat was in the water I could not after 2 and a half weeks get it to drip the proper amount and the stuffing box ran warm. I also read all of Mainsails website as well as other posts so I know I was doing the right thing but could not get it to function properly.
Finally I got so sick of it that I ordered the GORE GFO stuff and just changed it while the boat was in the water.Once the packing nut was off, sea water did rush in but no where near out of control enough where the bilge and pump couldn't handle it. Everyboat is different so whos to say yours won't come in quicker but for mine it was easily manageable.
With the GORE GFO packing I was able to tighten the packing nut 3 times as much than I was able to with the PTFE Flax, and get it to drip properly and run cooly right off the bat.
So...I can't really answer your question about knowing when to replace it on your boat but if you do, go with the GFO and attempt it on land but it should also be manageable while in the water as well but maybe not best for your first time changing it out.
If you have not replaced your stuffing box you have not yet lived!
If you replace the packing now you will know that it is good for 5+ years. If you don't you will never know when it will need replacing and it is pretty easy to do before launching.
Get the Gore GFO packing. We are going on 5 seasons with it and still going strong.
It is a really good idea to get to know the places your boat could be leaking from and the stuffing box is only one of them.
Now fetch my Port wine, violin and gather Dr. Maturin and his cello please.
Were to buy Gore GFO? I can't seem to find it online anywhere. Is the final product sold called Gore GFO Flax Packing?
What size to get? What's the sizing based on. Do certain size shafts need certain sized flax diameters? Or is it the nut?
-CalebD- "Which they say the Doctor's in a horrid passion"
Lots of places carry it... do a google search and you'll get at least one or two vendors... however Gore's pages and discussions of it are the bulk of the first page of hits.
The size you need depends on the size of the packing gland and the shaft diameter. If the packing gland is a 1.5" inner diameter and the shaft is a 1" shaft, you'd need 1/4" packing...
Pack now or haul later. GFO has the best reputation, carbon fiber and PTFE. Controlled thermal expansion and teflon lubrication. The old flax turns to concrete under heat and pressure and has a higher drip rate compared to the GFO. The article you have linked is a classic, just wished that my stuffing box was as pristine and easy to reach.
If you are brave, toliet seal wax can be packed into the gap at the shaft(outside if you dive on it) that can slow the leakage down to a drip to facilitate an in water change out. This is more risky and if you find any complications, you may still nead to haul.
I just paid to have mine done. Next time I do it myself. The mechanic who did it does it quite often and said he used teflon packing which should be good for 5 years. I'm guessing/hoping its the Gore GFO that was mentioned. The original price was sky high and when I complained :( the owner of the company justified the price by stating "no body wants to do them"??....well he adjusted the price, and "I" want to do them now.
Now that I know how, played around with the PTFE flax packing so much before I then again changed it out in the water to the GFO stuff, I bet you I could change MY stuffing box in about 6 minutes. So all in all I am happy I know how because you never know where you are going to be when something like this fails and you have to get your hands in there.
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