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Old 22-05-2009, 17:13   #1
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Packing size?

I've been refitting an old 27 foot sailboat. The final and most worrisome (for some reason) step is to pick the right size of new packing, which is a new task for me (boat is still on the hard but getting ready to launch). The distance between the 7/8" shaft and inside of the stuffing box is 4.5/16", so about 1/32" larger than 1/4". On the workbench, I can fit 1/4" packing in, but it was a bit of work. The shaft spins by hand with very slight resistance. I took out 4 rings of hard old packing, but can only fit in 3 rings of 1/4", and then have about 4 threads engaged on the box.

Should I stay with the 1/4", or step down to 3/16"?
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Old 22-05-2009, 18:33   #2
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Originally Posted by clearsea View Post
I've been refitting an old 27 foot sailboat. The final and most worrisome (for some reason) step is to pick the right size of new packing, which is a new task for me (boat is still on the hard but getting ready to launch). The distance between the 7/8" shaft and inside of the stuffing box is 4.5/16", so about 1/32" larger than 1/4". On the workbench, I can fit 1/4" packing in, but it was a bit of work. The shaft spins by hand with very slight resistance. I took out 4 rings of hard old packing, but can only fit in 3 rings of 1/4", and then have about 4 threads engaged on the box.

Should I stay with the 1/4", or step down to 3/16"?
More often than not 7/8" shafts use 3/16" packing. This is not to say there are not some boxes for 7/8" shaft that don't take 1/4". If you had four rings and can now only fit three you probably need to use 3/16".

Remember if you are using a natural fiber based flax, either teflon impregnated or traditional it will swell some when it gets wet.

Gore GFO or similar products do not absorb water and swell like natural flax does.
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Old 22-05-2009, 20:41   #3
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It is kind of expensive, but you could also go with a dripless gland which would eliminate the the need for packing altogether. I have two on my fishing boat and they work very well.
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Old 22-05-2009, 22:51   #4
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Sometimes when I am using GFO, I flatten it SLIGHTLY to get the rings in.

The best way to deterine the right size is to cut a ring...pull the packing nut off...and fit the ring on the shaft flush with the threaded part. It should be the same size as the threaded part of the stuffing box. If any of the end of the threaded part of the suffing box shows...it is too small
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Old 23-05-2009, 02:37   #5
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All good advice from Main Sail & Chief Engineer.
The packing should fill the annular space “snugly”, but not “tight”.
I’ve never seen a stuffing gland that accepted a full 4 rings, when properly packed (they may exist).
I’ve found a soft wood or plastic “ram” (popsicle stick) useful. DON’T use a screwdriver (don’t want to scratch the shaft).
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