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Old 14-05-2013, 19:37   #1
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Help! Leak from prop shaft. any advice to fix myself?

I have a serious leak from my prop shaft. Starboard size is bad, portside is not as bad. Please, if anyone knows how to tighten a prop shaft, then left me know. Any advice would be appreciated. I have attached pics to show the set up and leak. Thanks in advance. 1994 chris craft 380 continental. Built by OMC when they owned it. The rudder set up is very different then the prop shaft. I was able to tighten rudder nuts but prop shaft set up is confusing.
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Old 22-05-2013, 18:01   #2
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Re: Help! Leak from prop shaft. any advice to fix myself?

It looks like a standard packing gland.

When tightened packing is compressed. If you've at the thread bottom you need new packing or in a half ass job, more packing. It's sold at any good marine store that sell items for larger boats. Maybe a local marine repair shop will know by experience the packing size without seeing the boat.

First determine if your bilge pump will keep up with the flow if you remove the old packing. It wouldn't hurt to have a submersible pump standing by. One that has more than enough capacity to keep you afloat. And test it.
You'll get a little wet, but I would pull out the old packing before putting in new packing. You add enough packing to the point where the compression collar will properly insert into the gland and just have enough threads to get the nuts fully on. Then tighten each side equally. Don't get ahead on one side. New packing probably doesn't need grease. I'm an old timer so bear with me. The rule of thumb I was taught was tighten until when running there is a slight drip that translates into no drip when the shaft isn't turning. Don't just tighten until there is no drip and forget about it.
When running, check for too much heat at the shaft or packing gland. Too tight packing can wear a groove in your shaft.

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Old 22-05-2013, 18:13   #3
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Re: Help! Leak from prop shaft. any advice to fix myself?

Lepke pretty much nailed it. If you run the engine and the bearing gets hot, it is too tight. Warm is ok, cool is best. Over time the gland packing does compress / wear out, so you either have to tighten it up a bit more, or if it is really worn / compressed, then replace. If you don't know when the packing was last replaced, you might want to replace it anyway, for peace of mind.
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Old 22-05-2013, 19:45   #4
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Re: Help! Leak from prop shaft. any advice to fix myself?


I happen to have my stuffing box on my desk as we speak. Let me know if you would like to see some photographs so you have a better idea of how it all goes together.

I have a 1 inch shaft and a 1.5 inch nominal ID, reduced to about 1.46 actual to the internal threads. I am pondering how it isn't going to be a bear to get new 1/4 inch packing material both past the shaft and the internal threads. Maybe the new stuff will be soft and malleable and the rings I took out were 10 years old and stiff. I had the box off the shaft and it was a fair effort to get the old stuff out. I can't imagine the swearing if I tried to get it out while still mounted to the shaft.

I went down this path because I wanted to replace the likely decades old exhaust hose with a proper Buck Algonquin stuffing box hose. A nice side effect is that I discovered the coupler/shaft through pin was not fitted .

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