E26-2 : stuffing box drip

vasuvius

Member II
I'm sure this has been asked and answered many times, so, apologies for asking again.

With the engine and boat at rest, I have a drip about every 10 seconds. At the beginning of the season it was about once every minute or less at rest.
I have not been able to check drip while underway and in gear.

Yesterday I tried to tighten the packing nut but couldn't budge it. I'll spray some PB Blaster today and see if that helps. Most of the advice I've received is to hold the lock nut and tighten the packing nut.
To me, that seems like it would be just fighting with the lock nut and that's why I can't budge it. Should I not loosen up the lock nut, tighten the packing nut and then tighten the lock nut?
The space in the E26 is extremely tight. I have a slip and lock adjustable wrench which is a perfect fit for the lock nut. I think I need to get the correct wrench for the packing nut instead of struggling with adjustable wrenches and channel lock pliers.

In another 4-5 weeks the boat comes out of the water. I'm tempted to wait till then to do anything and I can replace the stuffing as well with teflon stuffing.
Am I risking anything with the wait and do it on the hard later approach? Does the stuffing box drip increase so much in the course of a season?

Thanks.
 

Brad Johnson

Member III
If the boat has set with out use for a while and your running it more frequently now it not at all unusual that it needs adjustment, Teflon packing is great but you have to get the correct size
 

vasuvius

Member II
The boat has been used regularly - at least once a week. But I run the motor pretty much to get to and off the mooring.
Today I finally noticed the drip while motoring - around 1 drip per second.
The way the bilge pump (Seaflo 1100) sits in the bilge it never really get all the water out. But it does keep bilge water level below the floorboards.
 

Afrakes

Sustaining Member
As you said, loosen the locking nut first and then make your adjustment. If it hasn't been adjusted in a long time things might be a bit difficult.
 

acubria

Member II
all you need to know in this pdf. it is hell to get to that stuffing box. yes , you need to loosen up the lock nut before adjusting the stuffing box.
My stuffing box dripped almost nothing when I bought the boat in March. Now it drips very little and the stuffing box will get pretty hot to the touch when motoring above 2500RPM for over 20 minutes, which I normally do not do. Since I dont have an electric bilge pump, I kind o prefer it this way.
Let me know where to buy the teflon pls. Use 1/8” packing for the 3/4” shaft (that is the shaft I have)
this are the tools I have used in the past.
 

Attachments

  • Packing Gland Adjustment Guide.pdf
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Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
all you need to know in this pdf. it is hell to get to that stuffing box. yes , you need to loosen up the lock nut before adjusting the stuffing box.
My stuffing box dripped almost nothing when I bought the boat in March. Now it drips very little and the stuffing box will get pretty hot to the touch when motoring above 2500RPM for over 20 minutes, which I normally do not do. Since I dont have an electric bilge pump, I kind o prefer it this way.
Let me know where to buy the teflon pls. Use 1/8” packing for the 3/4” shaft (that is the shaft I have)
this are the tools I have used in the past.
It's better to let it drip a little bit than to run too hot.
 

vasuvius

Member II
I spent a lot of time playing around with the stuffing box. I either get too much drip or none. Right now, I can feel that the prop shaft is wet but I cant see a drip.

I have this stuffing box wrench and a small pipe wrench that work well.

I ran the motor in gear around 1000 rpm while tied off at a slip for 20 minutes. The prop shaft temp was between 79 and 82º F which is quite cool while water temp was around low 70s.

@Arturo - I just ordered some 3/16" Teflon packing from Defender and it's with family in CT right now. I'm picking it up this weekend.
My shaft is 3/4" as well and I think 3/16" packing should work. I seem also have a couple diff sizes on the boat (from PO).

Do you think 3/16" is too thick ? I'll likely be going to Defender on Saturday. If I do I can pick up any stuff you need. (You're not too far away from me)
 

KS Dave

Member III
Blogs Author
Do you think 3/16" is too thick ? I'll likely be going to Defender on Saturday. If I do I can pick up any stuff you need. (You're not too far away from me)
To reiterate what Arturo said earlier, according to the Packing Gland Adjustment Guide, for a 3/4" shaft, you should use 1/8" packing. That's what I bought for mine. One of the seasoned owners can correct me, but I think having too thick of packing could cause wear problems.

After hitting it with some PB Blaster, my lock nut and packing nut came loose pretty easily. I spent most of my time digging all the old stuff out (it was mostly dust - eek!). For me, that was the most tedious part of the process. I'm going to put the new packing in this weekend.

Based on the research I did, I bought GFO brand packing from eMarine Systems - GFO Marine Shaft Packing.
 
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Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
To reiterate what Arturo said earlier, according to the Packing Gland Adjustment Guide, for a 3/4" shaft, you should use 1/8" packing. That's what I bought for mine. One of the seasoned owners can correct me, but I think having too thick of packing could cause wear problems.

After hitting it with some PB Blaster, my lock nut and packing nut came loose pretty easily. I spent most of my time digging all the old stuff out (it was mostly dust - eek!). For me, that was the most tedious part of the process. I'm going to put the new packing in this weekend.

Based on the research I did, I bought GFO brand packing from eMarine Systems - GFO Marine Shaft Packing.
It is highly likely that Vasuvius will require 1/8" packing. But the real test is whether it fits properly.

When I bought my boat from the PO, his doofus mechanic (hereafter DM) had just replaced the packing--at great expense to the PO--and the stuffing box was running hot as hades. When I opened up the stuffing box I discovered that the packing was extremely tight in the packing gland and very difficult to remove. I looked at the invoice onboard and saw that DM had used 3/16" packing in it. I also found some old 1/8" packing aboard--an obvious discrepancy. Turns out, 1/8" was right--in my case, at least.

The bottom line is that the packing has to fit correctly. It needs to be snug but not too snug. I know that's a bit subjective and hard to quantify, but let's consider the extremes. To get in 3/16" packing no doubt required DM to have hammered it in. DM ought to have realized this was completely wrong--assuming this was not the first stuffing box DM had ever packed. On the other hand, if the packing goes in with virtually no friction whatever, then it is too loose. It should slide in without great difficulty, but there should be some resistance.

If your stuffing box is the same as mine--and I'd strongly suspect it is--then you will not be able to go too small, since as far as I know, 1/8" is as small as you are going to find for a baby stuffing box like ours. But if your stuffing box requires larger packing, you'll know when you try to put in the 1/8" and it is floppy loose in the gland.

PB Blaster is great stuff for loosening up the locknut, but make sure you don't spray it into the transmission seal at the back end of the transmission, since it is not kind of rubber parts. Maybe spray some into a cup and brush it on, to avoid overspray.

I use the GFO packing myself and it works great. I have it adjusted so that it does not drip when the boat is at rest but slightly weeps water when the shaft rotates. This is the ideal setting, if you can get it. You do need some water to cool the shaft where it exits the stuffing box. Look there and see if you can detect some water glistening right at the place where the shaft comes forward from the stuffing box, if not an actual drip. A couple or three drips a minute with the shaft rotating would be fine also.

Measure the temperature at the packing nut, not on the prop shaft. On mine it is cool to the touch. (Be careful of the rotating coupler if you decide to touch it!) Even if yours were to get up to, say, 130 degrees, this would be OK, though mine stays considerably less than that.

If you are going to err, err on the side of letting it drip a bit vs. making it bone dry.

And finally, if your engine alignment is off, this can affect your ability to get an optimum adjustment, or to keep it in adjustment. After I replaced my motor mounts and re-aligned my engine, I found that it stayed in adjustment very well and I rarely had to do anything to it. Prior to that, I would have to tweak it from time to time.

Hope this helps.
 

KS Dave

Member III
Blogs Author
PB Blaster is great stuff for loosening up the locknut, but make sure you don't spray it into the transmission seal at the back end of the transmission, since it is not kind of rubber parts. Maybe spray some into a cup and brush it on, to avoid overspray.
Important point - thanks, Alan. I had included a warning similar to this, but it got lost in an edit. Watch out also for the stuffing box hose at the back, too.
 

vasuvius

Member II
I have some 1/8" packing (teflon) on the boat and will have the 3/16" handy as well. I can always pickup some GFO / graphite based packing,.

Right now, there is no drip visible when shaft is spinning at idle speed. Temp on shaft as well as packing nut was under 80º F while running it for 20 minutes. I have not measured temp while motoring.

I cannot even imagine how one can hammer in the packing - I can barely get my hands in there and the wrenches - there's no room for a hammer.

At this point, the boat will be out of the water in another 3 weeks or so and I'll have time to fiddle around with it.

For graphite packing, does the brand matter - looks like there's GFO and a few others. Just curious.

THanks
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I have some 1/8" packing (teflon) on the boat and will have the 3/16" handy as well. I can always pickup some GFO / graphite based packing,.

Right now, there is no drip visible when shaft is spinning at idle speed. Temp on shaft as well as packing nut was under 80º F while running it for 20 minutes. I have not measured temp while motoring.

I cannot even imagine how one can hammer in the packing - I can barely get my hands in there and the wrenches - there's no room for a hammer.

At this point, the boat will be out of the water in another 3 weeks or so and I'll have time to fiddle around with it.

For graphite packing, does the brand matter - looks like there's GFO and a few others. Just curious.

THanks
When I said "hammer it in," I didn't necessarily mean that literally--though who knows? Maybe he pressed it in with a screw driver by beating it in with the palm of his hand. I dunno. All I know is, based on how insanely hard it was to remove, it must have been insanely difficult to jam in there in the first place. That packing was *WAY* oversized. It should never fit that tighly, and the difficulty DM would have had in installing it ought to have tipped him off that it was the wrong size.

While you will be able to replace the packing with the boat on the hard, you won't be able to adjust it until you splash the boat. (I'm not sure if that is what you were getting at, or if you meant that you were going to do the work *prior* to hauling it.) If you do replace it on the hard, be sure to adjust it before you motor away from the dock, though. If it's too tight it can stall the engine. Do you have an electric bilge pump? It should easily keep up with the flow while you are adjusting it. I always replace mine in the water and have no problems whatsoever.

I use GFO so I can't speak to other options. It works very well.

A temp of 80-deg. on the packing nut, with the shaft rotating, is ideal. But try running it above idle with the boat tied to the dock. Run the RPM up a bit higher--maybe not to full cruising rpm but certainly above idle speed. Again, there doesn't need to be an actual drip, but you should be able to observe some dampness where the shaft exits the gland. There must be water coming out to cool it, even if it is a very small amount. You simply cannot (or should not) run it bone dry. If you can maintain a temp below 100-deg. while running it at speed, in gear, that you are in great shape, I'd say.
 

vasuvius

Member II
I was thinking of replacing the packing on the hard, then using a bucket of water (with a hose to continuously feed if) to do a quick test and then tweak after splashing it.

I'm still figuring out things - this is my first boat and I'm a new sailor as well.

I'll try running above idle next time I bring the boat to the dock. It's on a mooring.
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I was thinking of replacing the packing on the hard, then using a bucket of water (with a hose to continuously feed if) to do a quick test and then tweak after splashing it.

I'm still figuring out things - this is my first boat and I'm a new sailor as well.

I'll try running above idle next time I bring the boat to the dock. It's on a mooring.
Kinda seems like a lot of work and I doubt it would be accurate.

Do you have an electric bilge pump? If so, it should keep up with the flow easily. My electric one is rather small and it does so just fine.
 

Roger Janeway

Member II
The space in the E26 is extremely tight. I have a slip and lock adjustable wrench which is a perfect fit for the lock nut. I think I need to get the correct wrench for the packing nut instead of struggling with adjustable wrenches and channel lock pliers.
You probably figured this out already, but wrenches with short handles make the job much easier. A small channel lock pliers together with that specialized chrome stuffing box wrench you referenced work fine. I find it MUCH easier to face aft and reach down directly over the (cold) engine --- essentially lying across the engine --- to get to the two nuts, instead of approaching from the quarterberth side (where you run into the rigid exhaust hose). You might have to move your coolant expansion tank temporarily to the edge of the quarterberth to do this, but you shouldn't have to disconnect it, which would be a mess. (But this advice applies only to adjusting the nuts, not replacing the packing material, which I agree seems impossible, despite the fact that more versatile souls in this thread have done it.) And maybe this is feasible with my Westerbeke but not with your engine.
 

vasuvius

Member II
You probably figured this out already, but wrenches with short handles make the job much easier. A small channel lock pliers together with that specialized chrome stuffing box wrench you referenced work fine. I find it MUCH easier to face aft and reach down directly over the (cold) engine --- essentially lying across the engine --- to get to the two nuts, instead of approaching from the quarterberth side (where you run into the rigid exhaust hose). You might have to move your coolant expansion tank temporarily to the edge of the quarterberth to do this, but you shouldn't have to disconnect it, which would be a mess. (But this advice applies only to adjusting the nuts, not replacing the packing material, which I agree seems impossible, despite the fact that more versatile souls in this thread have done it.) And maybe this is feasible with my Westerbeke but not with your engine.
short handle small pipe wrench and the stuffing box wrench together work pretty well. The coolant tank is on the port side and out of the way on mine. And, it's a Universal / Westerbeke engine.
 

vasuvius

Member II
Kinda seems like a lot of work and I doubt it would be accurate.

Do you have an electric bilge pump? If so, it should keep up with the flow easily. My electric one is rather small and it does so just fine.
I do have an bilge pump with auto/manual switch. But it sits a little too high. There's always at least an inch of water in the bilge - roughly 1 gallon I would say (based on pumping out with a manual bilge pump/
I'm going to look for something better in the winter.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
My method for getting out the last of the rainwater (from the inside of the spar) is to 'dry' the bilge with a turkey baster when I visit the boat every week.
 
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