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Old 28-04-2015, 20:00   #1
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To drip or not drip stuffing box?

What the pros and cons. I know if dripless breaks its way more complicated in the moment if your in the ocean. Opinions in general are appreciated.


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Old 28-04-2015, 21:29   #2
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

I've had a dripless on my Pearson Triton for 15 years. Works like a charm. Properly installed, monitored and maintained - what's to break?

I know the design has changed and they all come with cooling lines - I think many people forget to "burp" the unit when launching, which results in starvation of the seal when under load. Since I am in the Great Lakes, the boat is launched from storage every year. After the boat is in the water I turn on the cooling water valve and then pull the hose back just a bit which allows a bit of water past the seal - burping. No worries.

It is recommended to replace the hose about every 10 years as it seems to lose some elasticity and won't keep the necessary tension on the seal. No dripping into the bilge. No repacking. What's not to like?
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Old 29-04-2015, 08:50   #3
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

Absolutely hated the constantly wet bilge in our old power boat.

As long as you can get to the dripless seals relatively easily, it shouldn't be too hard to tie a rag around to slow the influx from a failure enough to let the bilge pump keep up while you figure out a longer term solution.

Love our current outboard powered boat. If there's any water in the bilge, it's time to look for a source.
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Old 29-04-2015, 09:02   #4
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

I have had both. On my last boat a lot of water would accumulate and would over flow onto the cabin floor when I heeled. I installed a drip less seal worked fine but it was always on my hot list to burp at launch.
Current boat has a compression seal and drips flow nicely to bilge. Water accumulation there is mostly from air conditioner. Repacking is easy and I like the fact it is a bit more robust.


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Old 29-04-2015, 21:12   #5
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

Our GFO packing is in a regular stuffing box but it does not require a drip. Certainly less expensive than a drip-less shaft seal and less maintenance as well.
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Old 29-04-2015, 21:47   #6
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Our GFO packing is in a regular stuffing box but it does not require a drip. Certainly less expensive than a drip-less shaft seal and less maintenance as well.
What zboss says. Simple tried and true. Use the GFO packing, tighten just up to no leaks, turn down the locking nut, and you are done.

Those fancy new seals are complicated. Just one more place for things to fail.
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Old 30-04-2015, 09:59   #7
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

drip, or dripless! we have a 40ft skookum, built in port townsend, wa, fought the dripping stuffing box for eons! had water everywhere! finally removed the original, and put in the dripless! every skookum i looked at, had the same type of problems we had...everything was built wrong! it was built to fail! we have a 14ft 2" shaft, and they used the stuffing box for the center bearing! hence the the weight of shaft was ridding on the packing at the bottom! new shaft has a rubber center bearing, like the stern bearings, then the no drip in front of that!! in the directions/info, slow boats don`t need the water supply to the dripless, but we put one in, so it always has a supply of water, and no need to do the burp! a dry bilge is really strange!...clyde
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Old 30-04-2015, 10:12   #8
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

I have installed a dripless system in both of our boats. After tens of thousands of miles, no issues whatsoever. I have installed hundreds on other boats and have never heard of any failures. The PYI are the best in my opinion. The Tides unit were very prone to failure early on. I don't have any experience with them recently. We too got tired of dealing with conventional shaft packing leaking. They must be installed properly. Chuck
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Old 30-04-2015, 10:17   #9
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

Ditto on the GFO packing --tighten stuffing box to about a drip a minute when underway and check to see that it does not get hot when running --after that leave it alone ---in 10 years have only had to adjust once and still no problems ---small envelope with spare packing has been sitting around for those 10 years waiting to be used if needed--and when needed re-install will be a simple inexpensive job---why complicate life? dripless is just another expensive piece of equipment waiting to fail --KISS principle for me
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Old 30-04-2015, 10:20   #10
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

"tighten stuffing box to about a drip a minute when underway...."

Sorry --possible misunderstanding --do NOT try and adjust stuffing box while underway or you will have fewer fingers than when you started out --I meant adjust the stuffing box when NOT underway so that when underway it drips about 1-3 drops a minute
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Old 30-04-2015, 11:14   #11
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

I have, in fact, adjusted my stuffing box while underway, and feel that this method is the quickest and most efficient way to set the proper compression of the packing - Johnson DuraMax Ultra X in my case. Just use some normal caution when doing so.

Currently, I have about a six second drip period while underway, though I could reduce that considerably and still safely maintain the stuffing. Zero drips when the boat is stopped. Stuffing box temperatures remain within a degree or two of the sea water temperature. With the depth of my bilge, only very occasionally do I hear the bilge pump energize. I take on more water in the bilge from heavy rainstorms.

This is not to denigrate the dripless seals, but to emphasize the much better performance of the Gore Tex, and similar new products, as opposed to the traditional flax packing.
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Old 30-04-2015, 16:06   #12
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

If you move to a PSS seal, or probably other brand of dripless seal, you won't look back. They are brilliant. No more difficult packing, grease and no more water in the bilge. I've had a small problem with a faulty one, so they clearly can fail. But, the company were brilliant to deal with and prompt. The replacement is fine.

And just a word of warning. You will get someone eventually on here suggest that Dripless seals are not 'dripless', but 'drip less', if you get my meaning. That's just wrong. PSS seals and other brands of similar are designed to be exactly that, to not drip at all. If they are dripping, then something isn't set correctly.

On sail boats with say a 1 inch shaft, and that travel at less than 10 knots you are meant to connect a tube to above the water line and this eradicates the need for burping. On faster vessels you are meant to plumb them into an actual water source, off your engine.

But highly recommended. The following is an earlier discussion about my failed one.


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Old 05-10-2015, 17:53   #13
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

I have just changed out my packing for duramax X. Do I hook up the greaser
cylinder, or do as Duramax sayes and make it greaseless?
I will have to put a cap over the grease port on the stern gland if not reconnecting it to the grease reservoir cylinder.
Perhaps hook it up but not use it and reserve for some kind of seal failure in the future? Pump it full of grease & limp home?

Grease may impede the cooling of the shaft and wetting of the packing fibre.
No?
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Old 05-10-2015, 21:43   #14
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lateral View Post
I have just changed out my packing for duramax X. Do I hook up the greaser
cylinder, or do as Duramax sayes and make it greaseless?
I will have to put a cap over the grease port on the stern gland if not reconnecting it to the grease reservoir cylinder.
Perhaps hook it up but not use it and reserve for some kind of seal failure in the future? Pump it full of grease & limp home?

Grease may impede the cooling of the shaft and wetting of the packing fibre.
No?
You mustn't use greese with duramax or it won't work as it's meant to.

I'd also be ready for some shaft scoring. Not as much as using a graphite, but you will still see some.
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Old 05-10-2015, 22:28   #15
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Re: To drip or not drip stuffing box?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
You mustn't use greese with duramax or it won't work as it's meant to.

I'd also be ready for some shaft scoring. Not as much as using a graphite, but you will still see some.
Thanks for the tip.
I'm surprised I didn't have scoring with the flax.
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