Access to packing gland issues - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
cdy
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Access to packing gland issues

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.
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post #2 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: Access to packing gland issues

First couple of times I had to go head first into the lazarette in my boat I tied a line to the boom and fed it into the bottom of the laz with me so I’d have something to use for leverage to pull myself out with if I needed it
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post #3 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: Access to packing gland issues

On my last boat I had to climb into a lazarette to access the back of my engine, and my packing gland. It definitely took some contortions to access different components, but with a little practice I figured out where I needed to put each part of my body in order to work.

The stuffing box is something that does need adjusting and inspecting from time to time. The packing itself doesn't tend to fail catastrophically. Typically it just starts to drip or trickle and needs to be tightened. What CAN fail catastrophically is the piece of rubber hose between the fiberglass shaft tube and the packing gland. If it fails it can sink your boat!

The problem is that these difficult to access weak points tend to get ignored, and don't get inspected as often as they should.

By all means, pay a smaller guy to get in there and inspect it, and maybe replace the hose preemptively when the boat is out of the water. Having said that, it is not a bad idea to TRY to access it yourself just so you know how to get at it, or if you CAN get at it if necessary. Just make sure you have someone with you that can assist you by handing you tools, or helping you get out. It is always a good idea to have a 2nd person on hand when working in a confined space.

If you do have a failure at sea it won't do to be figuring out how to access it for the first time while the boat is taking on water! That would be a bad time to get stuck!

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post #4 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: Access to packing gland issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdy View Post
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.
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post #5 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Re: Access to packing gland issues

My middle daughter is 5 feet tall and 90 lbs - maybe I should just send her to packing gland repair school and have her do the work for me
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