Rudder Post Stuffing Box Question - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-03-2010
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Rudder Post Stuffing Box Question

My rudder post stuffing box was leaking very slightly last season when under power, so one of my jobs in the off season was to re-pack it. So I repacked it today, and the steering is now very stiff. I'm confident that I used the correct size packing material.

My question is, should I be concerned about the stiff steering, or will it loosen up as it is used? FYI, the boat is still on the hard, so the packing has not gotten wet yet and I suspect this may make a difference, but I don't really know. Any old salts out there with a view on this?

Thanks in advance.

Plumbean
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Old 04-03-2010
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I'm surprised you've been able to pack the stuffing box so tight that it makes the steering stiff. Generally, tillers or quadrants supply so much torque that even a seizing on the rudderpost couldn't hold against their power- and you'd hardly notice any drag on the helm if there was one. Maybe something else is making the steering stiff. If you have a wheel, did the quadrant shift out of alignment, or are the cables tighter than they were before? If you've got a tiller, has the tillerhead shifted on the rudderpost so that it's now chafing on something? Is there a seal that you've tightened more than it was before? I would hope it would loosen up some once it's wet, but if it doesn't... are you going to haul again to repack it? That might be overkill. I'd check the steering system overall, and not worry about it if it's ok.
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Old 04-03-2010
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try backing it off to see if it will turn freely. if it does then do not tighten it as much. when the boat is in the water tighten it so it just stops leaking, then check it every once in a while to check for leakage.
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How many wraps did you make and did you remove all of the old packing? did you back your nut off just a little bit after tightening it?
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Old 04-03-2010
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A bit more info:

It is tiller steered, and the tiller is currently off the boat, so while it is definitely stiffer than it was beforehand, without the tiller in place it is hard to really see how bad it is. But it is quite noticeably stiffer -- to the point where I think it needs to be much looser.

The stuffing box only fits one wrap. It appears to be identical to a typical Edson stuffing box (uses three bolts around the flange). All of the old packing was removed.

The stuffing box is actually above the water line (at least, it's supposed to be -- looks awfully close) so theoretically this could be done in the water too without needing to dive on the boat.

I'll try backing off the bolts a bit next time I'm back at the boat. I just thought that since the packing is dry at this point it might be the answer.

Thx,

Plumbean
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