Stuffing box problems - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Stuffing box problems

My stuffing box is dripping at a rate of about two drops per second. When not running that is. Itís quite a lot more than before I started on this trip, about 100 engine hours ago. I tightened the packing as far as it would go but it made no difference. I probably need to replace the packing but now I canít loose the nut
The PO used Equalseal 100% GFO packing in 1/4Ē size.
The stuffing box looks like brass, with some oxidation on the surface.
How urgent is the repair or repacking? What stuff can I use to loosen the nut?

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Re: Stuffing box problems

Urgency: If it drips at rest, I assume it also still drips when running? That being the case, you're not going to overheat the shaft so I don't think it's an emergency.

Brass is malleable so if overtightened, the contact surfaces mold to each other. The only way to separate them is good ole torque. Penetrating oil and the like will not get in there and I doubt you can put enough heat on it to make a difference while it's in the water...probably also a really bad idea to try even out of the water. A wrench on the nut and channel lock pliers or a pipe wrench to keep the body from rotating. You won't have to move it much for it to let go.

What size is the shaft?
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Re: Stuffing box problems

Shaft is 1.25Ē
Would you change all packing or just add some to whatever is still there. Not to save the packing material but to avoid possible major leak while in water.
Access is just from above, not permitting much movement, maybe 1/16 of a turn. I have these two wrenches.
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Re: Stuffing box problems

The box.
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Re: Stuffing box problems

Those look suspiciously like the exact right tools for the job.

It seems counterintuitive that 1/4 packing goes on a 1 1/4 inch shaft, but that's what the GFO site says. (https://www.emarineinc.com/categorie...-Shaft-Packing)

My guess is that the PO aligned the gaps in the stuffing, or maybe there's room for one more ring. If it was me going to the trouble to open it all up, I'd repack the whole thing so I knew it was done properly, rather than patch an unknown and risk having to do it again.
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Re: Stuffing box problems

Thank you, Phil. Good advice. I will look for the right pipe to slide over my wrench handle. I gave it my all and the nut just wouldnít budge.

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Re: Stuffing box problems

When I was looking at the IP 35's our broker said IP makes a tool that allows a bit more than a 1/16" turn. I googled it and have not been able to find this mystery tool, but may be worth a call to IP.

Check out Mack Sails (772) 283-2306, they are located in Stuart and service a ton of IP's. They probably have the mystery tool on hand!
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Re: Stuffing box problems

I've used PB Blaster to loosen mine. But just put a little on a Q tip and coat the seams a few times over a day. That will loosen it.
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Re: Stuffing box problems

I'll be interested to hear what you find. As I think about it, I think it's more likely that the PO didn't put enough rings on the shaft which is why you could have over tightened it to metal on metal.

Blaster, like @rbrasi said, will get at corrosion seizing, but I don't think that's what's going on since you've worked it fairly recently.
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Re: Stuffing box problems

Work on the locking nut first. Clean the shaft before backing off the sliding bit while it gushes. Can be a bit disconcerting A length of bicycle inner tube quickly wrapped around the shaft may allow you to replace the staggered bits of new stuffing in relative non panic. There is a small tool like a corkscrew that helps groping for the old packing Can be tricky at arms length.
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