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Old 06-07-2016, 16:01   #1
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Stern Gland

What size of packing should I use to repack my stern gland? Shaft diameter is 1 inch or 25.4mm
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Old 06-07-2016, 16:22   #2
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Re: stern gland

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What size of packing should I use to repack my stern gland? Shaft diameter is 1 inch or 25.4mm
It's 5/16. But honestly, you should do yourself a favour and replace your packing box with a dripless seal. You won't look back
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Old 06-07-2016, 17:03   #3
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Re: stern gland

Thanks Rustic Charm.

What dripless fitting would you suggest? There are many and range hugely in price

Phil G
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Old 06-07-2016, 17:44   #4
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Re: stern gland

I love my Tides Marine Sure Seal. We have one on the prop shaft and one on the rudder post. Never leaked a drop. I have one to sell, but unfortunately it's for a 2" shaft. In your size they are about $275 on the internet. Others may be just as good - these are the only ones I've owned.
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Old 06-07-2016, 18:42   #5
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Re: stern gland

The volvo/ radice shaft seals are another solution. Very simple. Radice onlu make a 25mm seal, but it does work on 25.4 shafts but they need the water cooling to keep temps down until they wear in.

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Old 06-07-2016, 20:27   #6
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Re: stern gland

Dripless packing is another option.
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Old 06-07-2016, 20:35   #7
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Re: stern gland

What is your sten tube arrangment? If it is a tube with packing gland connected via short hose section then changing to a dripless seal like the ones listed above is pretty straight forward, if it is a complete assembly, stern tube threaded into packing gland with flange affixed to hull then it will be more work to retrofit. I had a PYI on my last boat and will upgrade eventually on ours. Packing sounds better in the "you can repair in the water camp" etc, but I am not there anymore. We had a one ring of two go out and I had to instal a new one in the water, not really what I would call fun or easy in anyway. Our friends got a pin hole in the boot on their PYI and rescue taped it, think it lasted a year with daily use.
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Old 06-07-2016, 21:34   #8
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Re: stern gland

Yes, swapping stern gland types can be an 'undertaking'. Not to mention expensive. And doing such a change, much like replacing the boot on a dripless system, is one which necessitates hauling out. That's why I mentioned dripless packing.

Knock on wood, I've not had a problem installing new packing while in the water. And the 'tricky' parts are; access to the packing gland, & pulling out the old packing. But it's a pretty straight forward job if you have decent access.
And while I can't say as it's recommended, you can use several rings of undersized packing, & then compress them down to seal properly using the nuts on the stern tube. As to some degree, that's how a few types of dripless packing work.
I've had to do this using conventional packing a couple of times, for a short term solution.

One other option when replacing packing which I've yet to try, is to seal the shaft's exit, externally, while doing the job. It "should" prevent water from entering the boat, aside from what's in the tube, up to the shaft's exit point. And that would make swaping out the packing easier & less stressful. As at times, no matter what your intellect says, it's hard to fully turn off the adrenaline when you see water spraying into the boat. That, & pushing packing in, against the force of the incoming water might be a challenge on some vessels.

It would be interesting to hear other's experiences with regard to all of the above, & hopefully it'll help the OP.
Time to go & dig out Nigel Calder, as well as doing some online study on changing packing
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Old 06-07-2016, 22:44   #9
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Re: stern gland

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One other option when replacing packing which I've yet to try, is to seal the shaft's exit, externally, while doing the job. It "should" prevent water from entering the boat, aside from what's in the tube, up to the shaft's exit point. And that would make swaping out the packing easier & less stressful. As at times, no matter what your intellect says, it's hard to fully turn off the adrenaline when you see water spraying into the boat. That, & pushing packing in, against the force of the incoming water might be a challenge on some vessels.

I have removed the packing in the water with no problems. I dived and wrapped a rag around the prop shaft hard up against the stern tube, then gently tamped it in place. There was still a slight trickle, but nothing to worry about unless I were to leave the boat unattended for some time. Of course, that was with a 1" shaft about 600mm below the surface. If you're talking a much bigger shaft deeper below the surface it might be another story - bigger hole and more pressure.

Also, re the unavoidable drips from the packing, I cobbled together a collector that I cable-tied under the packing assembly.The collector is a short bit of 2" PVC pipe sawn axially in half and with ends glued in, and with a drain tube epoxied into the bottom that leads the water directly to the bottom of the bilge.

So now the floor of the engine bay stays nice and dry.

Cheers, Graeme
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Old 07-07-2016, 00:48   #10
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Re: stern gland

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Thanks Rustic Charm.

What dripless fitting would you suggest? There are many and range hugely in price

Phil G
There are many, yes. My only experience has been with PSS Dripless seals. Their customer service is fantastic.

The instructions advise under no circumstance do the work in the water, but I'm guessing that depends on your set up. I've replaced my seal in the water without any problem. I took it off to take a picture.

As others have said, it can be quite a process. My old packing seal had the stern tube shaft side simply hose clipped on. So replacing my old packing seal was an extremely easy process. The most difficult bit was cleaning up the Greece from the old packing. I can't loose my prop and shaft either, so that makes mine easy.

If you take a picture of your stern tube and current set up, either I or others can quickly advise how easy it will be or not.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:05   #11
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Re: stern gland

I have used a PSS purchased through Amazon and shipped to Australia, for about 2 years now, no problems with the supplier and has not leaked a drop. Having a steel boat I should have changed years ago.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:55   #12
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Re: stern gland

Since installing a seal requires disconnecting and backing up the propeller shaft far enought to slip on the flexible boot and the seal itself, I just don't see this as an in the water task. Congratulations to those who have done it; they've got better nerves than mine.
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Old 07-07-2016, 15:14   #13
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Re: stern gland

Thank you all who posted. I'll get a photo this weekend and maybe that will help narrow down your valuable advice.
Phil G
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Old 07-07-2016, 15:36   #14
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Re: stern gland

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Since installing a seal requires disconnecting and backing up the propeller shaft far enought to slip on the flexible boot and the seal itself, I just don't see this as an in the water task. Congratulations to those who have done it; they've got better nerves than mine.
It just depends on the set up. I can push my prop shaft all the way back and it can't fall out as it hits the rudder skeg. The cutless bearing prevents much water coming in, as does the new stern tube bearing which I had to put in when I removed the old stuffing box. So, with my set up, it would take days, probably weeks to sink my boat.
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Old 08-07-2016, 01:11   #15
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Re: stern gland

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Since installing a seal requires disconnecting and backing up the propeller shaft far enought to slip on the flexible boot and the seal itself, I just don't see this as an in the water task. Congratulations to those who have done it; they've got better nerves than mine.
It can be done while the boat's in the water, & pretty safely. One way is to have several collars that you can clamp around the shaft, so that it's physically impossible for it to fall out of the boat. And I've even used extra shaft zincs for this purpose. Albeit, sometimes I first taped up the shaft where the collars or zincs were to be clamped on, so that they had a significantly better grip on it.

And I've sailed hundreds of miles with shafts clamped in place, but not connected to the engine/transmission. Though, yes, one does frequently check the shaft's position when doing this. Plus there are a few other safety tricks to add, if one's forced to sail with a disconnected shaft.

Also, when sliding the shaft aft to work on it when the boat's in the water, you can ease it out a bit, & then dive on it, to lash it in place. That, or setup a "stop" of some sort behind the prop, underneath of the boat. Again, to prevent it from moving too far aft & falling out. And it doesn't hurt to hang a tarp or similar underneath of things sometimes, too.

Still, it's preferable to do such things when docked, & ideally, out of the water.


PS: When doing things which necessitate sliding the shaft aft a bit, without hauling out, it's generally wise to support the shaft, so as not to stress any of the other hardware which supports it's aft end. As well as the shaft's thru hull bits. As it wouldn't be fun if someone kicked or fell on the shaft, & either of the above hardware bits broke!
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