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Old 30-12-2012, 02:38   #16
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Are you in some sort of hurry? How long has your stuffing box been like that? Soak it down with PB Blaster and keep it soaked down. Wrap a rag around it, soak it down, wrap it in plastic. Leave an oil change pan or something underneath so you don't get oil in the bilge. Let it keep soaking for a week or two. Softly, softly, catchee monkey.

When you are ready to go for it, make sure you have something on hand to plug things up, just in case. I know a guy who busted his stuffing box... he ran (literally) to the walgreens a block away and bought some play-dough, jumped in the water with no mask or snorkel or anything, and sealed the shaft tube from the outside. I imagine by now he has fixed it right, but the first thing he did after he stopped the water gushing in was to have a drink or three. That's quick thinking under pressure. Anyway, try slugging a wrench with a hammer. Make sure you are turning in the right direction. You are less likely to break something than with brute force twisting with 36" pipe wrenches or something.

I have this thing about heating stuff up in the engine compartment of a small sailboat. I just don't do it. But I love to hammer on stuff. It is very satisfying and often it does some good.

No joy? Still not in a hurry? Wire wheel the exposed threads (use face protection!) and soak it down for another week. Try again. If it doesn't come loose this time, leave it go until you haul the boat out, unless you are braver than I am. You will have already tempted fate enough, I am thinking.

Funny how yards charge more to haul you out when you GOT to get hauled out right now, than when you have just been sorta thinking about a haulout for a while and you were just wondering if yard A is cheaper than yard B, and how much do you think it will cost... Avoid emergency haulouts when possible.

This would be a good time to install a backup bilge pump. With a float switch, a separate battery and a solar panel. Especially if you don't live aboard and might not visit the boat for a while. Otherwise, a small leak isn't gonna hurt anything if it hasn't hurt anything already.
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Old 30-12-2012, 03:30   #17
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Kevin, when you have it ashore I would rip that out and replace it with a volvo seal. Cheap and very effective, I now clean our bilges with a dust pan and brush

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Old 30-12-2012, 06:24   #18
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

get some muradic acid and a brush....paint the acid on the stuffing box....rinse with a lot of water ....the nut will come loose.....do it all the time here at the boat yard......Ed
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Old 30-12-2012, 08:33   #19
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

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Get the proper sized wrenches and put some muscle into it. Bronze threads rarely seize up. Maybe someone wrenched it tight while not understanding it's function.

If it needs replacement you can avoid a costly haulout if you secure the prop and shaft in place externally, then putty up the places water may enter. Work carefully.
Going in the water is all fine and dandy if the water temperature is 78 degrees F where you are. The OP is in B.C. where the temp. is closer to 50 degrees. The OP stated later that he was going to haul to do a bottom job anyways. So why not wait. It's not so much the expected problems that you run into...it's the unexpected ones that can turn the affair into a big problem. It's just a lot easier when you are hauled out and can walk a few yards to a business to buy what you need.
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Old 30-12-2012, 09:09   #20
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

I do my stuffing box while the boat is in the water. Just wrap the stern tube with a strip of bicycle inner tube rubber. No water coming in.

On loosening the nut,this might sound silly but are you turning the nut in the right direction? I marked on the fiberglass near the stuffing box the way the nut should turn. When you're nearly upside down trying to heave on two wrenches it gets a bit confusing. Prior to marking the direction I would occasionally try to crank them the wrong way!
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Old 30-12-2012, 09:10   #21
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

With the right tools that box will come apart easily. I've yet to find one that did not. The thin nut to the aft end of the box is your jamb or locking nut hold it steady while pushing the large nut away from you and they will break free. This of course provided you are using good wrenches and can gain decent access to get the leverage you need.
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Old 30-12-2012, 09:18   #22
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Yes you can certainly do the work in a yard. I'm a liveaboard and cheapskate. Living in the expensive filth of a boatyard is not as appealing as a leisurely project in the water servicing, cleaning and painting the engine room.

The cold water part of the work is tough to get motivated for. But a wetsuit or a diver solves that. Monterey is cold water like BC. It was not so bad. Palau was nice.

Builds character. Bragging rights too. Confidence and self-sufficiency. You may be forced into the same work in some remote cold place.
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Old 30-12-2012, 09:24   #23
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

I agree with CENTAUR. I've never been unable to free a seized and corroded bronze packing gland nuts on shafts as large as 4" but almost always used a hammer and penetrating oil. Strike the locking nut with a glancing blow in the direction you want it to turn. Try not to round the corners on the hex part of the nut and once it's moved 1/4" to 1/2" use the wrenches. Extending the wrench handles with a length of pipe helps too. I've sometimes involved a cold chisel when necessary. Use grease, good luck The pic looked OK to me.
On the second point, I would add flax packing to a stuffing box while in the water but wouldn't fool with thru hulls until haul out. Too many things can go really wrong, really fast.
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Old 30-12-2012, 10:05   #24
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

looks better than mine now i have destroyed the remains with mal-aligned engine@ to motor mount issues....i have placed a rubber gasket over it as in pss style, with hose clamos to keep it together--yes it still drips like crazy, but the monitoring of this issue is continuous--is replaceable in water--not much water will come into boat--no more than already coming into boat. yours looks like a standartd packing gland--mine is flanged, so mine is a tad different in appearance.... have fun and do it as soon as you can and figger out WHY this fitting is destroyed--ther eis a reason--be it age, out of alignment engine, or what--find reason and fix before continuing too far..
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Old 03-01-2013, 15:05   #25
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Have been away for few days over the holidays so am now just catching up. Thanks for the info and ideas. The leak is managable, I have a good bilge pump and batteries, so am not "overly" worried anything dramatic will happen before I haul out. I live close to the boat & check it often.

Centaur- thanks for the tip on the hammers. I will keep spraying it with the Corrosion X and tapping it to loosen.

Pete7- thanks for the info on the Volvo seal. I will look into that further as it looks like a good unit & from what I can gather the price is reasonable.

This is "new to me" boat, and my first inboard diesel, so am learning lots from this place. Will be happy when I can contribute back someday!
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Old 03-01-2013, 15:18   #26
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

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Originally Posted by aboutgone View Post
get some muradic acid and a brush....paint the acid on the stuffing box....rinse with a lot of water ....the nut will come loose.....do it all the time here at the boat yard......Ed
How long do you leave the acid on before rinsing??...LL
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Old 03-01-2013, 15:23   #27
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Carefull, I have a similar looking stuffin box.
I put a big wrench on it and it wouldn't move.
After a closer inspection I found two holes on the flange.
Mine in fact was one piece with a ring that turns in to it from the shaft side.
To turn this ring you needed a special wrench with 2 small pins.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:40   #28
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

if the cutlass bearing is also bad, haul now. if not--can be replaced and or repaired in water.
also make sure your engine is properly aligned and perfect so this doesnt happen again sooner than you wish...
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