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Old 08-10-2008, 01:56   #1
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flax packing???

Hello i just recently purchsed a 25 ft 1965 Trojan express..Been out 5 times so far and she runs perfect,except now there is a pretty excesive drip comeing from where the prop shaft meets the coupling thats attached to the stuffing box.
Is this faulty flax packing?
Is there someting that can be tightend to stop the drip
how will know i if it needs replaced?
NOTE:the boat is stored in water and sat for almost two years since it last left the harbor.
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Old 08-10-2008, 02:10   #2
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Greetings, and welcome aboard.
That's a nice old woodie, you got there.

See Acoustic’s excellent photo-essay on “Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box”:
Goto:
Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Maine Sailing at pbase.com
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:23   #3
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Its common for the stuffing material to get extremely hard over time and no amount of tightening will not stop the leak.
Based on the information you provided, sitting for two years, you just purchased it.. I would replace the material regardless of the condition the next time you come out of the water.
If the drip is excessive as you say then I would not wait too long to fix the problem. All it would take is a few unfortunate circumstances to go along with the drip and the boat could be in real trouble. Shore power fails, battery charger no longer working, bilge pump cycling and batteries die. Its all bad from there.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:28   #4
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Good clear instructions - I have bookmarked the site.
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Old 08-10-2008, 16:04   #5
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If i were to repack my stuffing box and tighten it down untill it had no drips, would it harm anything. I dont have an inboard motor, and the shaft is stopped in place by vise-grips to not spin. Im in the process of cleaning and painting in the bilge and need to stop the water leak.
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Old 08-10-2008, 17:32   #6
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I am reading into your post but I guess you plan to, repack in the water?

If you don't repack and just tighten the nut until the water stops then you won't be hurting anything at all. If the current packing has hardened or has a lot of salt impregnation tightening may not stop the drip.

My boat was in the water with the engine out for a year. I was able to push the shaft about 6 inches aft so I could clean and paint.
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Old 08-10-2008, 17:52   #7
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The packing in it is shot. Ive already stuffed the rubber hose with rope, but i guess its time to repack. Ive also considered taking a piece of hose the same size as what is on it now and cutting it to be about 2'' past the prop shaft and putting a plug of some sort in the hose. No more stuffing box and no more leak.
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Old 08-10-2008, 18:23   #8
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This is what I ended up doing in a very similar situation.
I got together everything I would need to change my packing including a pick and wire brush to clean the threads when the nut came off.
I had the marina tow me to the travel lift just before lunch and raised me just out of the water and left me hanging. Much like a shorthaul for a survey. I replaced the packing and when the the guys came back from lunch they put me back in the slip.
I know it can be an expense fix but....the alternative isn't too good.
If you are waiting to come out when your engine is ready then your idea might work also.
I'd just go from easiest, tighten nut, to next plan, longer hose, to short haul or just let it drip and channel the water so you can still paint everything else.
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Old 08-10-2008, 18:34   #9
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Well i cant do a haul, so its on water for me. I think im just going to do the longer hose option for now.
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Old 08-10-2008, 18:41   #10
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What if you backed off the nut and only pulled the first row of packing.

You put in new material and tighten the nut. I would bet you could do that without a lot of stress.

Just another thought
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Old 08-10-2008, 18:55   #11
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Im not shy about doing a repack in the water. Ive got plenty of space to get in around the shaft and do the work. Im just thinking the packing nuts are very very corroded, to the point that i don't think they will give up easy.

I had to do a quick repair in the water last summer when another boat drug its mooring and ended up leaving it right next me. When the tide shifted and my boat swung over the mooring i ended up with the lines around my prop. I cut those off, but was left with a major leak. I pulled the whole stuffing box/rubber hose off and stuffed it with rope and a piece of my pants leg. The leak stopped for along time, but is now back to a steady drip after having the bottom cleaned.

Right now, im thinking the long hose/plug idea would be best. I just need to figure out what to use for a plug.
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Old 08-10-2008, 19:05   #12
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Maybe a cheap baseball bat cut to the correct length. It might be less tapered than a DC plug.
If not, a piece of PVC with a cap glued to one end. Any way it sounds like you have a plan. Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2008, 19:30   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVDistantStar View Post
If i were to repack my stuffing box and tighten it down untill it had no drips, would it harm anything. I dont have an inboard motor, and the shaft is stopped in place by vise-grips to not spin. Im in the process of cleaning and painting in the bilge and need to stop the water leak.
It will stop the water. Unfortunately, in most cases, it will not re-bound when you adjust or loosen it after your done so it will most likely need to be replaced. Other than GORE GFO or Western Pacific Trading's GTO packing most packings have no memory and once over compressed they will not usually un-compress and will need replacement.

If you want to temporarily stop the flow buy a wax johnny ring for a toilet and wrap the nut/shaft intersection with wax. It will usually stop or drastically slow the drip..
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Old 08-10-2008, 21:04   #14
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Great tip on the wax ring to slow the flow of water. Thanks Acoustic!
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Old 08-10-2008, 21:10   #15
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If you add a ring or two of packing and tighten to stop the leak while working in the area it would be helpful to the project. I would just loosen the jam nut when you get the engine back in. The shaft vibration will give the packing a bit of clearance then tighten up a bit. Or pull it all out with a pick when you get ready to go and repack.. in or out of the water whats a little water going to harm.
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