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post #1 of 15 Old 04-29-2012 Thread Starter
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stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

Hello all

I have removed the old packing flax from my stuffing box and plan to re-assemble in a day or two, a couple of questions.
- I was able to remove all of the flax with the exception of a few "flakes/bits" remaining in the nut. How critical is it that all material be removed before assembly? The pick I used to remove the flax will not get the remaining bits out. Should the nut be flushed with something? WD-40 etc?

The shaft is 7/8's in dia so I bought 3/16's teflon based flax. It appears to be smaller than what came out. Could this be due to compression and swelling of the old flax? I have no problem buying 1/4 flax to keep in reserve during re-assembly I just don't know how things should feel as I am assembling. When I re-pack with 3/16's I don't know what loose feels like or even if it should feel loose.

For what it is worth the boat is a Contessa 26 and all of my research suggests 3/16's is correct. The boat has the original engine and what appears to be the original shaft.

Any thoughts are welcome.

John

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post #2 of 15 Old 04-29-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

Shaft packing should be very close to the radial dimension between the OD of the shaft and the ID of the packing nut. If the packing "falls" into the space between the shaft and the packing nut - it is too small. The fit should be snug. For a good visual tutorial, see Mainesail's excellent description of shaft packing:

Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Be sure to cut the packing rings on the 45 degree as pictured, and pay heed to the "slow drip" advise!! Good luck!
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-29-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

I think my stuffing box with 7/8" shaft took 5/16" packing. I think you can get the specs from Buck Algonquin on their site.

I checked the website:
http://buckalgonquin.com/pages/Produ...spud_page.html

It does call for 5/16" packing. It would be great if you could find 5/16 X 1/4, but all I could find is 5/16 square. With the latter I could only get 2 rings of packing installed but it's drip free and compresses well.

Mark Smith
1977 C&C 30 Mk 1 hailing from Port Clinton, Ohio

Last edited by msmith10; 04-29-2012 at 09:29 PM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-29-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyandjebus View Post
- I was able to remove all of the flax with the exception of a few "flakes/bits" remaining in the nut. How critical is it that all material be removed before assembly? The pick I used to remove the flax will not get the remaining bits out. Should the nut be flushed with something? WD-40 etc?
Do not flush the stuffing box with anything. You will likely do more harm than good. Regarding the few flakes, if that is all they are, the will likely become part of the new packing when you tighten up the nut.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyandjebus View Post
The shaft is 7/8's in dia so I bought 3/16's teflon based flax. It appears to be smaller than what came out. Could this be due to compression and swelling of the old flax? I have no problem buying 1/4 flax to keep in reserve during re-assembly I just don't know how things should feel as I am assembling. When I re-pack with 3/16's I don't know what loose feels like or even if it should feel loose.
One piece of the packing should fill, yet fit inside of the stuffing box. Like a finger in a glove. You then build depth, and seal the inevitable seam in the piece of packing, by applying 3-4 more pieces of packing, with the seams UNaligned.

When properly packed, and the nut tightened, you should not have any water enter near the shaft when the engine is off. When the engine is running and boat is in gear, there should be a drip every second or two. No more.

The stuffing box is a very simple way to allow the shaft to exit, while keeping water outside of the boat.


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post #5 of 15 Old 04-29-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

This looks like something I'll need to work on before splashing.

100_1790

I'll need to look into PB Blaster. I'll need to replace my stuffing box since it's corroded to green.
what is a good source for the nut/bolt assembly? shaft?

Edit: I just looked at an old maintenance book from a previous owner. Seems the last documented re-packing of the stuffing box was April 2001.

Daniel
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Last edited by Rhapsody-NS27; 04-29-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-30-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

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Originally Posted by Rhapsody-NS27 View Post
This looks like something I'll need to work on before splashing.

100_1790

I'll need to look into PB Blaster. I'll need to replace my stuffing box since it's corroded to green.
what is a good source for the nut/bolt assembly? shaft?

Edit: I just looked at an old maintenance book from a previous owner. Seems the last documented re-packing of the stuffing box was April 2001.
It will certainly need repacking buy I wouldn't rush out and buy a new one too quickly. Bronze turns green quickly in salt water and doesn't corrode much further for decades usually. I would clean it up and inspect it. Check for dezincification which shows as pink.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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I would rush to re place the stuffing box. It is a bigger job then you think. Mine had not been repacked since commissioning in 2001. It took a lot of PB blaster and a hand from a friend to get it apart but it did eventually.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-30-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

Mine came apart easily and was quickly and easily repacked.


When I first bought the boat, this is what the stuffing box looked like.


I was not sure what size packing I needed, So I went to WM, and bought every size. After I repacked it, I returned the ones that I didn't use. It worked like a champ all last year, and would still be working now, if I didn't have to remove the prop shaft to replace the cutlass bearing.

Because I know that I'll get crap from some of the senior members over the wooden blocking plate, her is a pic taken after I replaced the backing plate w/ G10 - and after I repacked the stuffing box!

I also rerouted a slew of hoses.

After I pulled the stuffing box out, as part of the prop shaft replacement, this is what it looked like;



Note that you can still see the packing if you look very carefully at the pic. You can see in the lower photo that the inside of the stuffing box was being worn by the shaft... It turns out that the motor mounts (now replaced too) were not installed properly, - thus causing the entire drive line to wobble, and requiring that the cutlass bearing be replaced.

I was not too keen on those hose clamps either...

As long as I had come this far, I replaced the stuffing box with this.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 04-30-2012 at 02:59 PM. Reason: added picture of G10 / stuffing box
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-30-2012
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Re: stuffing box de-packed several questions before re-assembly

For a conventional stuffing box, some antiseize on the threads might be a good idea for future access. And some zinc paint ("cold galvanize paint") on the parts that turn green, would probably prevent that in the future.
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