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Old 28-12-2012, 22:08   #1
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Stuffing box -too far gone?

One of the things on the to-do list has been to tighten up the stuffing box to stop the constant dripping into the bilge without the engine running, so I have been spraying it with a penetrant ( Corrosion-X) to loosen things up over the past couple of weeks. I have been researching stuffing boxes and reading articles so felt pretty prepared for it.

Today was the day, remove everything from the locker, remove panels for engine access and use a wire brush in a dremel tool to remove green coating on the stuffing box.

Problem is I cannot see or feel any threads between the two nuts. They seem to be one piece, without a seam at all between the two pieces. I put two pipe wrenches on the nuts and gave it some ommph but they would not budge.

As the boat is in the water I didn't want to reef on it and break something related to the stuffing box- it could get really bad in a really big hurry.

History is that the boat sat for five years with very little use, so I have no idea when the stuffing box was last tended to. Boat is 1978 34 foot sailboat with 15HP Yanmar. Suggestions are welcome. Has anyone dealt with this before? Am I safe just leaning into the wrenches until it goes?

I have tried to attach a photo, but no luck.- If i figure out how to do it, I will.

thx in advance for the input.

Kevin
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Old 28-12-2012, 22:12   #2
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Seems I managed to attach the photo, I have no idea how that happened!
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Old 28-12-2012, 22:45   #3
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Looks like those two nuts have managed to corrode themselves into one piece,If you cant muscle them apart,i would use a dremel with a cutting wheels and cut them off and start with new.
Then of course the shaft will have to be Emery'd brite and shiny again.
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Old 28-12-2012, 22:50   #4
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

There are a few different styles of stuffing boxes. It is a good idea to figure out which kind you have. The first time I did mine I could not get it to budge. I was advised to add penetrating oil and to rap it solidly with a hammer. Also apply heat. I did these things but what finally worked was really big wrenches. The ones I used were about 24" long. I couldn't find a 2 1/4" wrench so I had a friend with a milling machine widen out a 2 1/16" wrench. Also from the picture take the time to clean out the threads with a wire brush, clean the shaft with apiece of sand paper. I had to make sure I was turning the wrenches the right way too. For a while I wasn't.
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Old 28-12-2012, 23:43   #5
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

An old trick is to use two hammers., place the heavier aganst the lock nut and tap the oposite nut face a couple of times. Rotate round both nut and gland then try the wrenches. Repeat untill it gives. Any heavy metal object can subsritute for the heavy hammer.
Have a good backup plan if afloat.
Plenty of penetrating oil , wire brush and emery paper on the threads and shaft.
Good luck.
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Old 29-12-2012, 00:02   #6
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Personally, I'd haul the boat and just replace the whole thing for about $100. Less pain and agony and you can start fresh with no drops at moorage. You should learn the proper procedures for maintenance and adjustment.

Here's a couple links you may want to use.
BoatUS - BoatTech - Servicing Your Stuffing Box
Buck Algonquin...Quality Marine Hardware Since 1955
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Old 29-12-2012, 00:37   #7
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

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.
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Old 29-12-2012, 19:25   #8
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Personally, I'd haul the boat and just replace the whole thing for about $100. Less pain and agony and you can start fresh with no drops at moorage. You should learn the proper procedures for maintenance and adjustment.

Here's a couple links you may want to use.
BoatUS - BoatTech - Servicing Your Stuffing Box
Buck Algonquin...Quality Marine Hardware Since 1955
absolutely. Why take the chance. The whole area looks like it needs a good going over. Next haul-out remove the mess and replace. While you're at it...paint the hull...it looks terrible...
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Old 29-12-2012, 20:11   #9
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Thanks for the input. I think I will add it to the spring haulout to-do list, there's too many things that could go sideways if I attempt it with the boat in the water. Now I just have to research pulling the propshaft with a full skeg rudder.
And yes, I certainly plan on cleaning up the engine compartment. I was hoping to stop the leak, then clean everything up, repaint and re-insulate with new soundproofing all before the spring haulout. However, I'm sure I can find plenty of other projects to keep me going until then.

Cheers.
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Old 29-12-2012, 20:30   #10
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

Looks like a stuffing box in normal condition. You need better wrenches, but its doable in the water.
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Old 29-12-2012, 20:49   #11
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

i'm with delmarrey. too many things can go wrong in the water. if you're planning a spring haul out anyway, why take the chance now? and like me, you may discover other problems in that area that can only be addressed out of the water anyway....
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Old 29-12-2012, 21:23   #12
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

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i'm with delmarrey. too many things can go wrong in the water. if you're planning a spring haul out anyway, why take the chance now? and like me, you may discover other problems in that area that can only be addressed out of the water anyway....
Ditto! It's called the "can-o-worms" syndrome. The shaft could be grooved as well. Just make sure that you bilge pump is in good order. I suspect the hose is rotting too.
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Old 29-12-2012, 23:06   #13
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Haulouts are for painting. I replaced the engine, prop, rudder, everything, while anchored out. Yeah some water comes in. And you have to swim some. But it's not a big deal. Certainly not a safety issue. Pulling out the shaft leaves a 35mm hole in the hull. Easily plugged. Maybe 5 gallons of seawater comes in. A child can put their hand over the hole to stop the flow.
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Old 29-12-2012, 23:31   #14
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

lets see, replacing through hull fittings...best done while the boat is in the water? or out of the water? difficult choice...wtf are you guys on about!!! The guy wants useful advice not boasts about how big your nuts are.
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Old 30-12-2012, 02:06   #15
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Re: Stuffing box -too far gone?

For those who are not given to Panic, doing the job in place would be easy.
But most people start freaking out when water starts entering from below the waterline.
WestCoastCrown would be the best judge of his talents and needs at this point.
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