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Old 03-23-2013
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Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Hi Everyone
I recently "finished" the restoration of a 67 Allied Greenwich 24. It is a full keel cast as part of the boat, not bolted on the bottom. The keel is the bilge. I put it in the water for the first time last season. It floated but needed the bilge emptied at least twice a week. I keep in on a mooring not in a slip. Once while sailing downwind in big swells I went down below and there was water 3" above the floorboards. The only through hull fitting are 2 cockpit drains and the rudder post. I thought maybe water was coming through the stuffing box but it only has a slow drip which seems normal. My next idea is that water is coming up through the rudder post fitting and draining into the bilge. Some previous owner must have had this problem too as there's a large built up mound of fiberglass and epoxy around the lower nut of the stuffing box. The question is, what do I do about it? I have attached a couple of pictures. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by sailorgirl31; 03-23-2013 at 01:08 PM. Reason: attach pics
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

No pics
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Here's one pic. The other uploads failed. I'll keep trying.
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Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box-photo-12.jpg  

Last edited by sailorgirl31; 03-23-2013 at 01:13 PM.
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

It looks like that stuffing box/gland is pretty wet.. that's likely your source. The large nut needs to be tightened, and then the lower locknut brought up to secure it.

Better, though, to open the gland up and redo the packing for a new, high-confidence seal.

The link below takes you to a 'how-to'.. it's for a propshaft but it's the same job...

Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Thanks for your reply. It's wet because I took the pic after I sprayed it with Blaster to remove some of the rust. I'll try what you suggest. Should I spray water up the rudder shaft from below to see if it comes in?
Karen
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Girl is there a puddle of water around the rudder shaft and tube? Big "channel lock" type pliers may work to tighten the gland. BUT! use 2 wrenches. you don't want to twist the gland off the tube.
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

If the boat's still on the hard I'd follow the instructions in the link and redo the packing now, much easier and safer.

No reason to have to worry about a lot of water in the bilge all the time- takes away from the joy of the moment. Of course if you're out of the water now it's going to be difficult to find/confirm the actual source. But with no keel bolts and limited thru-hulls the possibilities are few barring structural damage..
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

The failure is the rudder stock stuffing box. The problem is that the former owner obviously didn't know what he/she was doing and apparently laid in additional glass below the shaft log, and in the process embedded the locking nut in the added material. What you need to do is use a dremel tool to carefully grind away the build-up and free the locking nut to the shaft log. Then, tighten the upper portion of the log until the dripping is all but gone and, holding it steady, tighten the locking nut against it from below. Problem solved. See image and attached snap of your situation below.

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Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box-rudder-stock.jpg  
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 03-23-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Thanks svHyLyte,
I was afraid of that. I was preparing to have to do that but hoping not to. The area is very difficult to get to as it's under the cockpit and only accessible through a lazarette. While I'm not looking forward to the project, I am looking forward to a dry(ish) boat.
Thanks again.
Karen
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Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Karen, I've never seen a rudder stuffing box so close to the hull bottom. Is it possible the PO cut off the tube and just tried to epoxy the SB into the "mound" of stuff showing in the photo?

Oh! welcome to Sailnet!
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