My boat is a 78 C&C 29. By the time I finished getting the old packing out there was nothing to measure. I just vacuumed up the pieces and went to the yard office. They looked up in some reference and suggested that I use 1/4" Flax. But I know that there were 3 distinct layers that came out.
Do you have any idea what the correct size is? I know that the shaft is 1" dia. I will get out to the boat tomorrow and get a finger full of the goop and see what size the nut itself is. Will that help in figuring out the correct size packing to use?
And now that I am back in the water, can I replace the packing with the Goretex stuff without sinking my boat?
Again thanks for the help.
I guess this is all being filed as "experience being the best teacher."
By the way I replaced this packing because it stopped dripping. Was that a mistake too? ie. if it ain't broke don't fix it?
To know the proper diameter of the flax use a set of calipers and measure the inside ID, thread to thread, of the female nut. then subtract 1" (your shaft diameter. You could have either 3/16" or 1/4" but the only way to know is to know the ID of the nut then subtract the shaft. It sounds like you may have a 3/16" stuffing box for a 1" shaft.
As I stated in my article regular flax packing has ZERO memory meaning it will NEVER rebound after being over compressed. It also absorbs moisture and will "grow" once in the water. this is why you need to adjust it over time. Gore GFO on the other hand will compress more and allow more threads because it is NOT wax impregnated. It will also not absorb water like traditional flax so adjustment is more predictable.
What ever you do DO NOT over tighten after the initial installation. Adjustment takes time, and break in, but there should ALWAYS be drips when the shaft is spinning and SOMETIMES when the spin drip is correct you'll still have drips at rest. Not ALL situations can be drip free at rest. A lot depends on the condition of your shaft. Never adjust to the at rest drip and always adjust to the "spinning" drip rate..
I would NOT run your boat with the packing adjusted the way it is. It SHOULD be replaced. You got this shaft and box so hot you literally melted the wax in the flax and you may have scored your shaft.
I'd recommend you use GFO as it's quite a bit more forgiving... In this day and age there is no reason to use traditional flax or teflon impregnated flax.. You want the black looking stuff caled Gore GFO or GTU from West Marine..