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Old 21-07-2015, 17:47   #1
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Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

Has anyone ever had to break in the new style packing in your stuffing box? I repacked with the Teflon stuff and it doesn't leak but there is a break in procedure I just don't know what it is. Anyone know what it is?
Thanks ahead of time
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Old 21-07-2015, 19:07   #2
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

No break-in to speak of.

My experience with Gore Tex type packing, you merely adjust while underway, adjusting the stuffing box for a drip every five to ten seconds. Once set, typically no readjustment necessary for many hours.

Way better than cotton flax!

Let me add that I have recently changed from the GoreTex GFO to Johnson Duramax Ultra-X, another version of Teflon packing, that seems to be easier to install and adjust. I have about ten months (approx. 110 engine hours) experience with it at this date and am impressed.
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Old 21-07-2015, 20:10   #3
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
Way better than cotton flax!
Just so you know, sometimes a flax packing works just fine. I have not touched ours in 2 years and I don't know when I will need to again. Good thing too, because it's a pain in the ass. I use one of those piece of crap basin wrenches..
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Old 21-07-2015, 21:23   #4
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

I adore stuffing boxes. I abhor dripless seals. Likely your teflon has less maintenance or break in than does flax… else why is it now used? Loving the flax myself though. Enjoy!
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Old 21-07-2015, 23:13   #5
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Just so you know, sometimes a flax packing works just fine. I have not touched ours in 2 years and I don't know when I will need to again. Good thing too, because it's a pain in the ass. I use one of those piece of crap basin wrenches..



2 years huh!? Well, prior to the most recent stuffing replacement back in August, 2014 my previous teflon stuffing (GFO) lasted eight years and 700 hours. Admittedly, it was leaking pretty badly at that point but you have to admit that would be extremely unlikely with cotton/graphite flax. That was three carefully placed rings with staggered joints.

I also carry a couple cheap pipe wrenches to adjust the stuffing box. Those cute little adjustable wenches that West and the others sell are mostly worthless when you need to loosen the locknut that has been sitting in a salt solution for months on end.

The advantage of stuffing boxes is that they are dead simple, and not likely to suffer a catastrophic failure. Plus pretty inexpensive too.
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Old 22-07-2015, 07:39   #6
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

Thanks everyone

So basically what you suggest is get underway and adjust so it drips once every five to ten seconds?
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Old 22-07-2015, 07:57   #7
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Thanks everyone

So basically what you suggest is get underway and adjust so it drips once every five to ten seconds?


Yep. Then monitor it for a while - you may have to make a minor adjustment - checking both the drip rate and (carefully) checking the temperature by either placing your hand on the stuffing box or shooting with an infrared thermometer. Don't over tighten. If if runs hot - it is too tight.

When motoring for extended periods, the stuffing box is one thing I check hourly, as well as alternator belt, coolant hoses, etc.
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Old 22-07-2015, 08:03   #8
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

Don't get too hung up on counting the number of drips. The temperature of the water dripping is the important part. I believe the manufacturers recommend it to be no more than 20 degrees warmer than the sea temperature.

I remember mentioning to an experienced technician that I was worried my newly packed stuffing box wasn't dripping enough. His reply was, if the stuffing box and shaft don't get too warm to grab (I assume he meant while in neutral!) with your bare hand , then leave it alone.
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Old 22-07-2015, 08:15   #9
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

I love the dripless seals. Never had a problem with them in over 25 years and at least 10,000 engine hours.
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Old 22-07-2015, 10:48   #10
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

I have just redone mine with the teflon and it runs at 120 degrees with infrared thermometer. To cool it i need to loosed so far that water flows instead of dripping. Im gonna try the good ol flax.

I called 2 engine dealers and they couldnt give me an actual temp max.
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Old 22-07-2015, 10:56   #11
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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I have just redone mine with the teflon and it runs at 120 degrees with infrared thermometer. To cool it i need to loosed so far that water flows instead of dripping. Im gonna try the good ol flax.

I called 2 engine dealers and they couldnt give me an actual temp max.

At what temp does the wax in flax start to melt?
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Old 22-07-2015, 10:58   #12
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Don't get too hung up on counting the number of drips. The temperature of the water dripping is the important part. I believe the manufacturers recommend it to be no more than 20 degrees warmer than the sea temperature.

I remember mentioning to an experienced technician that I was worried my newly packed stuffing box wasn't dripping enough. His reply was, if the stuffing box and shaft don't get too warm to grab (I assume he meant while in neutral!) with your bare hand , then leave it alone.
100 percent agree.
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Old 22-07-2015, 11:01   #13
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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I love the dripless seals. Never had a problem with them in over 25 years and at least 10,000 engine hours.
Glad for you. I have had to emergency manage a couple of bad failures (on others' boats) and seen them leak and spray water all over the engine electrics on several others. If the backup seal on the shaft has already gone through and you are out in the Bundu… you've had it. No way to seal it properly without hauling the boat. Try doing that in the central SoPac…

Even if the backup seal is there they can be B@TCH to get correctly into place if they begin to enter the housing in an asymmetric manner and so jam.

They are nice… near 1st world marinas.
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Old 22-07-2015, 11:59   #14
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
...I have recently changed from the GoreTex GFO to Johnson Duramax Ultra-X, another version of Teflon packing, that seems to be easier to install and adjust. I have about ten months (approx. 110 engine hours) experience with it at this date and am impressed.
I have also switched to Ultra-X but I haven't launched yet. Can you let us know why you are so impressed? Less drips, shaft is cooler, etc...

Also, what is your dripping rate? According to the installation instructions, you pack it loose for the first 10-15 hours then adjust for the desired leakage, but they don’t specify what the desired leakage should be.
It also mentions that the staffing box will be hotter than with usual packing because it will act as heat sink - heat from the shaft is transferred to the stuffing box by the packing. To me this is the same with all packing…
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Old 22-07-2015, 12:01   #15
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Re: Stuffing box Packing break in procedure

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Originally Posted by 1oldbuzzard View Post
I have just redone mine with the teflon and it runs at 120 degrees with infrared thermometer. To cool it i need to loosed so far that water flows instead of dripping. Im gonna try the good ol flax.

I called 2 engine dealers and they couldnt give me an actual temp max.
How much time have you run it since repacking? I would give it a couple of hours of run time to "set" the packing properly before giving up, it might drip and cool down a bit more. 120 degrees isn't that bad, how warm is the seawater in your part of the world? If you are in the Carib where the water is what, like 85 degrees, then getting the drips to under 110 degrees should be acceptable.
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