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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
The stuffing box on my Cape Dory 28 is leaking at a rate of 2 seconds per drip when the engine is running and 20 seconds per drip when it's off. I know I need to get down there with 2 pipe wrenches and tighten the stuffing box nut or worse, repack it. The problem is accessing it through the lazarette. How is it possible to get in there and use 2 wrenches to do this? How do people do it? I don't think I can fit in the lazarette. Has anyone ever bought an abandoned CD28 and found a rotting corpse in the starboard-side lazarette? I feel sure that it has happened. If anyone has experience getting in there please advise how you did it.
My alternate solution is to cut a hole in the cockpit sole and install a bomar access hatch. I don't want to do this, but I may have to. What is the best way to cut the hole? Will a dremel work or should I use something else?
Thanks for your help.
 

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Senior Member
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Is the issue that the wrenches don’t have clearance....specific stuffing box wrenches are adjustable and have
Short arms

On my old Islander 28 I literally had to stand on my head with someone pulling me out by my feet.

Forced me to think larger view here. The Balmar face plates are small to operate from also, plus it’s visible.

Is there a way to cut a side panel from a quarter berth beside the engine. This could be under the galley sink or even a quarter berth. We cut a 36” x 24 “ hatch out of the plywood panel to the engine compartment. Gave us access easily to all the stuff behind the engine as well as the side of our Yanmar. Built a “shelf “ so it could be put back flush. Also put soundproofing materials on the inside overlapping the cut to prevent noise and fumes.

Edit: you have no quarterberth so maybe look to enlarging access fro lazzerette.
 

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Old soul
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It's always been a pita for every boat I've owned. My current boat is my largest, but I still can't get down there very easily. Luckily my spouse can, so she's become the engine rat :).

While I in no way suggest you ignore problems, I will say that your drip is not something I'd worry about -- not on my boat. Personally, I'm happier to see a bit more dripping, than no dripping. At least you know the packing is getting lubricated adequately.

If it were me, I'd simply monitor it to make sure it's not getting worse. And I'd plan to get in there (or hire some small, stringy person) during my next haul out.
 

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Barquito
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I agree with MikeO. Wait until your next haul out. However, at that time you should come up with a reasonable way to get to the stuffing box. After replacing the stuffing, you may need to make a few adjustments after you launch.

I have a v-drive transmission, so, the stuffing box was under the engine. The PO replaced it with a dripless unit. When that fails spectacularly, I will probably find myself diving under a burning hot engine while simultaneously drowning.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info guys. Chef - I have a cut out in the lazarette that is about 1 ft. x 3 ft. You do bring up an interesting idea about cutting out more of the plywood so I could have more room to work with. I'll give that some thought.
Mike- I really want to believe that the current drip rates are ok. My only concern is that it used to not drip at all when the engine was off and now it does drip a little. My bilge pump has never discharged water while I am sailing and my alarm has never gone off so I'm not at an emergency stage yet...but the dripping does seem to be increasing.
 

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Old soul
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Thanks for the info guys. Chef - I have a cut out in the lazarette that is about 1 ft. x 3 ft. You do bring up an interesting idea about cutting out more of the plywood so I could have more room to work with. I'll give that some thought.
Mike- I really want to believe that the current drip rates are ok. My only concern is that it used to not drip at all when the engine was off and now it does drip a little. My bilge pump has never discharged water while I am sailing and my alarm has never gone off so I'm not at an emergency stage yet...but the dripping does seem to be increasing.
Like I say, I'd certainly monitor it, and if the rate is increasing then you do need to do something sooner rather than later. If it's increasing rapidly I'd begin to suspect something more than just needing a tightening. Might need a complete re-pack, which again is not something I'd do in the water. Some people do, but some people are far more skilled than I (and crazier ;)).

I like Chef's ideas of creating more working space in there ... I may follow his suggestion myself. Or I can just keep letting my spouse do the job :).
 
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