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Old 29-10-2013, 10:29   #1
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Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

I am trying to get my courage up to change the stuffing box flax while the boat is in the water. I can't stop it from dripping, so It is my only option other than getting hauled out just for that - a costly alternative.I have never changed it before, and certainly not in the water.

Any advice? How much water should I expect if I wrap towels etc around the shaft? I am interested in people who have done it before...on a similar sized boat.....how hard was it to get the old flax out while water is coming in. Was it difficult to get the new in and the coupling tightened. Was it a breeze, or nerve wracking?
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Old 29-10-2013, 10:46   #2
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Not that much water comes in.

Undo your packing gland before you're ready to work and just watch it......no biggie. If you're not comfortable screw it back on and go another route. I've done it on several boats, usually upside down in a cockpit locker.
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Old 29-10-2013, 10:49   #3
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

tighten it up as much as it will go before loosening it to replace the packing.
this will compress any packing in there.

precut the packing material,using the shaft to measure on ,you will need 2-3 pieces.

replace packing!

another trick if the water is not too cold is to use plastacine or modeling clay to seal up the cutlass bearing where the prop shaft exits underwater
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Old 29-10-2013, 10:49   #4
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

you will not sink. even without the towels.
you will be skeereded witless, so prep well. place tools ..all you may and may not actually need, where you will be working....
BREATHE....
then get the pad on which you will be kneeling or whatever,.. mebbe one for gut also, as positioning is wak in this job.....it is difficult to concentrate on working when ye feel you are being deliberately sliced in half, slowly, with a blunt object.
once you get the nut off or loose, you will know how much water will come into boat at one time... i hope your pump is on or auto, as if you drop something into bilge it may come in handy until you put all back together again.... should be only about as much ingress as 3 young boys after having drunk 3 cases of bad beer and peeing into bilge.
BREATHE
ok now the stuffing. i hope you have teflon kind. you can over tight that and no worries. is considered dripless packing. it is awesome. measure it before you get stuffed into the cranny you need to stuff self into to do this, btw....
somehow, get he stuff into crevasse required for stuffing. not too much and not too little.lol. have someone teach ye how much or watch maine sails presentation....or read above.....
maine sail prolly has a beautiful step by step presentation, as he is good at those...i am giving the reality one.
you are now an inverted pretzel, and in pain .... if i had been you, or i was there meself, i da found smallest leprechaun i could possibly find and pay him to do this work.

so. is your bilge pump on yet.....is your big wrench next to you???

BREATHE

you will be fine. watch maine sails presentation, but not until after you read this ...lol
post with pix, follow up, please.

BREATHE......
ye wont sink....
breathe...

atoll is smart and sensible also...so is sailmonkey...good tips for ye.

ps...second time is easier so if ye mess it up isnt any big deal. ask how i know...rodlmao.....

BREATHE!!!
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Old 29-10-2013, 11:05   #5
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

Having done this several times on commercial fishing boats. It is relatively easy. If you have a grease nipple on the unit or a greaser inject a fair amount of grease. Have a device called a packing puller small enough to fit into the space between the shaft and housing.(cork screw with flexible shaft and T handle). Most units have 5 rings between the inner end and the packing follower. You don't have to replace all. I would nomally leave one in and replace 4. cut at a 45 deg. angle so to have an overlapping joint, offset each joint by 45 deg. and use lots of grease. Water does not rush in. There will be less than 3psi water pressure from the outside so if the water ingress is too fast and you are taking too long so the bilge pump is not able to keep up just wrap a rag around it. Stop the flow and try again.
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Old 30-10-2013, 01:31   #6
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Great advice all. I am feeling calm, I am breathing normally, I am relaxed, and expect to sleep better.

Seriously thanks for the tips and I will take pics when I do it. It sounds like it is not as bad as it feels like it would be.
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Old 30-10-2013, 07:04   #7
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

awesome.
BREATHE
now....only thing you will feel is the discomfort of getting into the nasty small area provided for this job. try to have all tools and packing ready. you will not die nor will boat sink.

it would help if you had a prehensile tail and small stature.

this one aint easy but it is...... pix, and have fun. report back, please.

breathe......
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Old 30-10-2013, 07:08   #8
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

It is really not that bad…. now try changing the SHAFT while in the water (BTDT)
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Old 30-10-2013, 07:15   #9
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

capngeo...dont scare him yet...let him do this first, then scare him...lol



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Old 30-10-2013, 07:33   #10
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

If you don't have access to a proper packing puller you can use a longish small diameter wood screw and pliers to pull the old packing.
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Old 30-10-2013, 10:48   #11
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

Zeehag do you have a link for that "maine sails presentation" I tried a Google search on it but came up with a lot of junk.

Thanks!!!
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Old 30-10-2013, 11:01   #12
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

i do not have linky.....

i will pursue it and return
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Old 30-10-2013, 11:04   #13
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

Compass Marine "How To" Articles Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 30-10-2013, 11:10   #14
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

here is one. i hope this one helps...

"Can You Repack My Stuffing Box?" - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 19-03-2014, 00:31   #15
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Re: Therapy needed....stuffing box flax change in water

Use Denso tape wrapped around the shaft where it exits the stern tube. (Yes you do get wet putting this on)
Stops the water, all good.
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