I have a Liberty 28 - its a double ender with a pinched stern - it has a Perkins M-30 - access inst the greatest but seen worse and can get to most things with a little effort - however the packing gland - haha - the boat has one cockpit locker which I can just get inside - however being a double ender the boat narrows a lot the further aft you go -the exit for the shaft is of course in the most aft pointy part - I would have to go headfirst into the locker to have a chance at accessing it - but dont know if I could get back out - I am 6'2" 58 years old and 200lbs - it would be quite embarrassing to get stuck - dont think there is really an answer other than to find a really small mechanic if it needs work - I can see it and it seems to be fine - being a full keel and shallow draft - the prop and shaft is easy to access from outside the boat while in the water - can actually reach it from the dinghy without jumping in - my only concern that if I was cruising and the packing gland failed or something happened to shaft and huge influx of water - how would I get the flow stopped if I can't reach it -
never had the failure on a previous boat so not overly concerned just trying to have a plan.
Lovely boat! I was looking for one a while back but they are hard to come by, and the one that did was in a sorrow state…
Anyway, I remember the squeeze, the cockpit locker lids are so small… and you can’t squeeze on top of the engine either.
I am 100% sure someone installed the stuff down there and then aligned the engine with the shaft, and the only way to do it is by getting there.
To me, the best approach is prevention - for peace of mind I would replace everything except the log itself - clamps, the hose, packing, etc., even if I had to find a small mechanic.
If you can fit inside the locker, try my technique: lay a heavy blanket inside the locker, get in and once inside, lay on your side and send your legs up thru the opening, you are not really upside down, but kind of sideways down with the legs up, now relax and enjoy the smells for a minute, then try - you may be able to reach the target from there… But ensure you have a helper to pass you tools or pull you out, or take all the tools and
your cell phone with you just in case.
Best of luck.