Join Date: Nov 2016
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Stuffing box adjustment
I have been trying to eliminate or at least minimize water leakage into my N28-2. One of the larger leaks was the stuffing box. It has been leaking with the engine running as it is supposed to, and with the engine off. I checked it yesterday evening, and found it dripping at a rate of about one drop every 10 seconds. This was with the engine off. So I figured it was time to adjust it. I started adjusting in 1/4 turn increments. It took about 1-1/4 turns to stop the leaking. I could still turn the prop shaft by hand without too much effort, so the box should not be over tight. In the spring when I get ready for the season, I will adjust it again to ensure it is adjusted properly.
When we purchased the boat, the bilge below the stuffing box was wet, but there was no evidence of excessive leakage. I have put about 15 hrs on the engine since then, and the leak rate had increased significantly.
There appears to still be plenty of adjustment, so I am not too worried about it at this time. I will be pulling the boat out again in the spring, and I will repack the stuffing box at that time.
In going through the limited logs for the boat, there is no record of the stuffing box being serviced or adjusted in at least the last 10 years or so, so I was not too surprised it needed significant adjustment. I did find a partial package of teflon flax in the spares, so I at least have some idea as to what size and kind of flax is currently in the box.
On a side note, due to the limited access to the stuffing box, I had been trying to locate a set of stuffing box wrenches. I took a dial caliper and measured the two nuts, and found the large one to be 2" and the small one 1-3/4". Locating the 2" was easy, locating the 1-3/4" was very difficult. No one listed one in the smaller size. I finally stumbled across Catalina Direct, and they listed a wrench kit that had the correct size of wrenches. So I ordered a set. They were not cheap, but they are very good quality wrenches, made by PROTO. Anyway, I did have to open the 1-3/4 up just a hair for it to fit properly. They work great. Just the right size for the limited room available to work in.