Stuffing box packing question

  • June 21, 2012 3:31 PM
    Message # 979564
    Deleted user

    As some of you know I recently purchased a W32. The best I can tell it has been sitting for years without the engine ever being  started. I have been working on the engine and am close to getting it fired up. My concern is the stuffing box.  I believe that if the packing is dry, start the motor and I put it in gear the packing might heat up and possibly seize the shaft or come out complete and cause a massive leak.

    Can anyone help me figure out if my concerns are valid or for nothing?  I can’t pull the boat out of the water just yet so that will have to factor in.

    Last modified: June 21, 2012 4:04 PM | Deleted user
  • June 21, 2012 10:27 PM
    Reply # 979796 on 979564
    You can always just loosen the stuffing box and let it start to leak a little then tighten it up just a bit to confirm that its set at the proper tightness. 
  • June 22, 2012 4:09 AM
    Reply # 979918 on 979564
    Deleted user
    If the boat has been on the hard for a year or two or more, the packing has very likely dried out and shrunk, and the stuffing box will leak quite a bit, although not massively.  I would give it a chance to swell and if still leaking after a day or two, have at it with a wrench.  Make sure you have a workable wrench before you launch as it's a fairly tight spot.  This what I found with ouw boat when we dunked her 5 years ago after 2 years on stands.
  • June 22, 2012 4:46 AM
    Reply # 979952 on 979564
    Tate's advice was good.  Loosen the stuffing box all the way, then see if the shaft turns freely.  If not, then something else is wrong. 

    The leakage rate with the stuffing box off is probably not as fast as you fear.

    If you are uncomfortable with replacing the packing rings when in the water, you could simply wipe the newly exposed shaft with PFBC lubricant before re-tightening the stuffing box.

  • June 22, 2012 11:17 AM
    Reply # 980214 on 979564
    Deleted user

    Having never owned a boat with an inboard engine. I have to ask basic questions! So I would loosen the two nuts that are closest to the engine?



    Last modified: June 24, 2012 7:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • June 22, 2012 1:17 PM
    Reply # 980347 on 979564
    Yes, the one of the two that is closest to the stern is a locknut
  • June 22, 2012 8:06 PM
    Reply # 980549 on 979564


                   A word of caution. If your boat is in the water and you loosen the packing nut all the way to replace packing, it will come off ok and after repacking you will stand on your head cursing it because it will not go back on. Meanwhile water is coming in and you wonder what went wrong. What to do? Your engine mounts have sagged over time putting a side or up and down load on the shaft so the nut can't go on the threads straight. If you are going to repack, separate the shaft coupling from the engine coupling before removing the packing nut and then realign the engine after repacking. Sounds like a big deal but its not, just think it through. If you don't want any water to come in wrap a bread bag or something around the shaft by the cutlass bearing in the water.  Lee

  • June 23, 2012 11:47 AM
    Reply # 980894 on 979564
    Deleted user

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Thanks for the tip about seperating the shaft from the engine! Plus the bag, sounds like real world advice here!  I am not afraid to try and do all the work that is required on the boat but I like to know ahead of time what might happen. As I get older I do research BEFORE I jump it...wish I did that in my youth!

    I am getting the last of the parts I need from Bud on Tueday so I hope to have the engine running by the weekend. At that point I will leave the boat tied up to the dock and work the transmisson through the gears. It has been awhile since this has happened. I will check the stuffing box by feeling how hot it gets. I assume it should maybe get warm but not hot. I'll post again here when I get the engine running and the shaft spinning.

  • June 24, 2012 7:52 AM
    Reply # 981243 on 979564
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    When she is out of the water - you might want to use a longer piece of hose between the shaft log (I think that is the right name) and the stuffing box - as that would give you more room to work on it in the future. 

  • June 24, 2012 9:38 AM
    Reply # 981284 on 979564
    Deleted user
    If things are as old as old and suspect as you think I would change them now.  Hose will deteriorate from the inside out and should be changed about every ten years, although most go a lot longer. If it's going to be awhile before you haul out I would change both now, you can do it in the water as long as you you have a functioning bilge pump.  The amount of water that gets past the cut-less bearing is a steady flow but doesn't gush. We've done this several times and last year we removed the PYI drip less seal and went back to the old style with drip less packing while in the water. I've also changed the shaft while in the water.