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post #1 of 11 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

The boatyard installed a new stuffing box and stainless shaft in my boat this spring, and I have had a few challenges and questions. Perhaps someone, especially @Maine Sail , could provide some advice.

The one they installed is shown here. It came pre-packed with Teflon impregnated packing material:

https://www.catalinadirect.com/shop-...8quot-id-hose/

Quote:
Unit comes complete with a packing nut and jam nut. It is also pre-packed with 1/4" composite fiber packing material. A high-tech non-asbestos replacement for your original flax packing. The fiber is impregnated with virgin PTFE in-suspension and internally saturated with a proprietary lubricant.

Substantially less abrasive than asbestos, yet still able to withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees F. Excellent watertight sealing ability with less required leakage at rest to compensate for frictional heat expansion when under way. An ideal replacement for standard flax packing, this packing can be adjusted to drip only once every three minutes (while at rest) compared to the typical 2 to 3 drops every minute required for flax packing.
First, I have had a real problem getting it adjusted to drip properly. It's either completely sealed, or running a small stream. It's almost impossible to get something in between. On the couple of occasions when I've gotten an appropriate drip, it always seals up in use, presumably due to thermal expansion. However, even when sealed, it has never gotten very hot - always below 95°F or 100°F. But nevertheless I am concerned about abrasiveness if it does not get enough lubrication.

Also, I am concerned that even when the water is leaking in, it is not flowing between the packing and the shaft, but instead through the threads. I see no sign that it is coming through the shaft, like my prior packing did. In fact, a few weeks ago I noticed the beginning of some dezincification on the threads where the water was contacting them, so I did an acid clean to get away all salt deposits. I decided to apply a little synthetic grease to the exposed threads and under the locknut to inhibit water intrusion, but did not put any grease on the threads under the primary nut. After doing that, the water leakage can be significant when the locknut is loose, but is ZERO when the locknut is tightened. To me this is a sure sign that the water is coming through the threads (when the locknut is loose), but when the locknut is tight (even just hand tight) the grease seals up the leakage through the threads.

Obviously, if water leaks through the threads, the stuffing box is being cooled, but without the water passing along the spinning shaft it is not providing any lubrication.

In a last ditch effort, I made the locknut hand-tight and loosened both lock nut and packing nut together. No leakage occurred until the point where the packing nut disengaged from the threads, and then the water POURED in until I was able to re-engage the nut on the threads. So I am finding no way to get any lubrication water through the shaft seal without sinking my boat.

Any advice on what I can try next? I have only 25 motoring hours so far, so I assume it is still breaking in.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

Almost seems like too much packing!

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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Almost seems like too much packing!
Yes, I wondered that too. But I would like to think that a pre-packed stuffing box from Catalina Direct was packed properly.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

I dont know how catalina does theirs but this makes me wonder about the alignment of the packing.
Just a thought by your on/off flow comment.
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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

My friend has a 94' Cat. MKII , He switched over to GFO packing . From what he tells me when it's broken in it does not leak and that is the way it is supposed be . Also I helped him a few times with the Teflon type packing , the first time I got the old packing out there were two different sizes in there . We switched over to just one size and got it to drip OK but after a while it would go back to too much . Anyhow when Don put some hours on the GFO , he says a little black goop will ooze out of the nut at first and then stop . Apparently there is a lot of GFO use by the Catalina user group .

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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

Sounds like the pieces are not offset.
Do you feel comfortable working on it with the water pouring in? When I used to have flax packing, I changed it once. It was disconcerting to see all that water but the bilge pump kept up easily. Trick is to have everything ready. I would cut three new lengths, pick the new (old ones out) . That should be easy as only 25 hours on them



For me it was less than a five minute job once the nut was backed off.


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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

I re-packed mine this season and have struggled with it since as well. It's either pouring in or sealed and getting hot. After a few hours I'll notice the drip stops, I gut the lazarette and crawl down, adjust the nut so it's dripping 2-10 drops PER SECOND only to find it stops dripping again an hour later. Very frustrating, not to mention my shoulders are burned out from emptying the laz! I'm hoping it eventually breaks in, I probably have 40hours on it by now and I almost consider starting every trip with my lazarette emptied into my main saloon because I know I'll be down there over and over again. I had a thread going on it under gear\maintenance. Mine was regular flax without PTFD.

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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

The product description says one drip every three minutes at rest which is almost nothing. It also seems to say leakage at rest is to accomodate thermal expansion under way when the seal is water tight. So the way I read it is that it is not using water leakage to lubricate or cool the shaft.

Shaft temp is <100 degrees which is not hot at all and well within the stated tolerance.

Based on flax packing, I would be concerned about the absence of a drip, but this is a different product that looks like it may not even need a drip, certianly no drip under way.

Maybe a call to the manufacturer is in order. See what they have to say before taking it apart and re-packing it.

After all, if the shaft is not getting hot then there is adequeate lubrication in the box.
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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

I installed a new shaft, cutlass the of course packing this season. I used the teflon impregnated packing and the recommended grease or something, as well. This lubricant (I can't recall the name) claims less dripping.

Sure enough, I couldn't see a drip at rpm's, but the stuffing box isn't any hotter than usual. I was concerned at first so kept an eye on it and in fact backed mine off a bit(the packing wasn't compressed much to begin with).

Now I find the bottom of the box is damp so an occasional drip is coming through. After about 30 hours, and hand testing the temperature, I'm very happy with it.

It's ironic that most threads are about problems with drip-less stuffing boxes, dripping. And now we are dealing with antiquated stuffing boxes,...that won't drip.

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Rockport, Maine.
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Re: Questions about new Stuffing Box with Teflon Packing

I would guess that you may have a shaft alignment issue. If you aligned your shaft on the hard, you must do it again once you have the boat back in the water.

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