flozen stuffing box

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Evan DeLucia

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Nov 20, 2021, 4:38:00 PM11/20/21
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I've got an excessive drip rate from my stuffing box - not fatal but I'd like to dial it back. Problem, the nuts are completely frozen. Tried a couple of pipe wrenches but couldn't get them to budge. My mechanic wants me to upgrade to a dripless stuffing box. Nice idea but the project could be $$. Thoughts?

Chuck and Grayce

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Nov 20, 2021, 6:48:47 PM11/20/21
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Catalina uses stuffing boxes on their boats because they fail incrementally rather than fatally RIGHT NOW like a dripless installation. Have you tried some penetrating oil on the nuts?
Best regards from Key West,
Chuck Tontsch
Floridays
Catalina 355 #137

On Sat, Nov 20, 2021, 4:38 PM Evan DeLucia <deluc...@gmail.com> wrote:
I've got an excessive drip rate from my stuffing box - not fatal but I'd like to dial it back. Problem, the nuts are completely frozen. Tried a couple of pipe wrenches but couldn't get them to budge. My mechanic wants me to upgrade to a dripless stuffing box. Nice idea but the project could be $$. Thoughts?

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Mike Curtin

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Nov 20, 2021, 7:39:42 PM11/20/21
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Evan
We just had a Tides drip less installed this spring during our haul out. It’s been great, and less then I thought was going to cost.
Mike
Iona 


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On Nov 20, 2021, at 1:38 PM, Evan DeLucia <deluc...@gmail.com> wrote:

I've got an excessive drip rate from my stuffing box - not fatal but I'd like to dial it back. Problem, the nuts are completely frozen. Tried a couple of pipe wrenches but couldn't get them to budge. My mechanic wants me to upgrade to a dripless stuffing box. Nice idea but the project could be $$. Thoughts?

bill pittore

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Nov 20, 2021, 7:46:41 PM11/20/21
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I unstuck mine last year and I think I used some PBlaster along with either an 18” pipe wrench or big channel loc pliers  and the Buck Algonquin 2” Packing Box wrench. Can’t quite remember which wrench I used. 🙄 I may have use a heat gun as well. I should wear a GoPro camera on my head so I remember this stuff.

The original flax packing was pretty shot. It might have had 400 hrs on it. I thought I’d experiment with some different packing and researched the topic to death. Shaft packing is a huge business I found out since every pump in existence uses some form of it. I settled on Palmetto Packing #1347AF which is synthetic yarn impregnated with PTFE. 
Bought 10’ on Amazon.

I just had to barely tighten it past the point of the packing hitting the bronze prop tube. It was essentially dripless, just a smear of water would be on the nut. Ran cool and when I hauled it out this year after about 100 hrs. of engine time it seems to be in great shape and no wear on the shaft that I can measure with my calipers.


Bill


On Nov 20, 2021, at 4:38 PM, Evan DeLucia <deluc...@gmail.com> wrote:

I've got an excessive drip rate from my stuffing box - not fatal but I'd like to dial it back. Problem, the nuts are completely frozen. Tried a couple of pipe wrenches but couldn't get them to budge. My mechanic wants me to upgrade to a dripless stuffing box. Nice idea but the project could be $$. Thoughts?


Jeff Hare

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Nov 20, 2021, 9:21:32 PM11/20/21
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Hi,

If anyone is interested we have a dozen or so sets of stuffing box wrenches left for sale.  We had them custom machined/anodized to fit the C355 stuffing box tighter than off the shelf wrenches.  They come with a padded case.

They have square milled holes at their ends to accept socket wrenches for leverage at odd angles.

When these are all sold we probably won't order another batch from the machine shop.

To free the frozen nuts, just penetrating oil and some time to let it work.  PB Blaster is good but try not to get it or oil  in the shaft where it will run into the stuffing box packing if possible.

We made sets to fit the C320 also.

Jeff Hare
C355 Solstice #17
20181114_173134~2.jpg
20210314_125359~2.jpg

Bruce Toothaker

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Nov 21, 2021, 4:18:04 PM11/21/21
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What is the price for the 355 stuffing box wrench set?

Bruce Toothaker – C355 #97 – DIRIGO

Thanks.

 

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Jeff Hare

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Nov 21, 2021, 7:22:34 PM11/21/21
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Hi Bruce,

 

While we still have some left (not sure how many exactly, but we have at least 10 or 15 sets), we’re offering them with a custom made padded zippered storage pouch for $85 + $8 priority shipping.

 

We take Venmo to:  @Jeffrey-Hare-320

 

Or a check to:

Jeff Hare

97 Lowell Road

Windham, NH 03087

 

How these came about: We had a good machine shop mill custom wrenches from quality billet aluminum and then hard-coat anodize a batch for C320 International Association members that worked super well.  Stock wrenches were a bit sloppy and didn’t allow attaching socket wrench handles for leverage and access when the nut and locking ring are in inconvenient positions.

 

Jon Vez wanted a set for the C355 so he worked with us a while back to hone in on the measurements needed for a good fit for the C355’s stuffing box for his (now our boat).   We’ve been busy and just didn’t get around to letting other C355 owners know we still had more of that mfg batch available until this thread came up.

 

Jeff Hare

C355 #17 Solstice

je...@adaptivemarine.com

David Mills

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Nov 22, 2021, 6:26:35 AM11/22/21
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Jeff, I would like one of the 355 kits if still available. If so, I will Venmo today.

Dave Mills
#56
Island Time

On Nov 21, 2021, at 7:22 PM, Jeff Hare <Cata...@thehares.com> wrote:



Jon Vez

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Nov 22, 2021, 8:28:39 AM11/22/21
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Evan,
As others have suggested, PB Blaster will work. To keep it from anything non metallic, spray some in a small cup and use a chip brush to apply it, then wait a day or so. Once loose if you coat the threads with Lanocote, they will never freeze up going forward. The Lanocote is viscous enough where it doesn’t act like a grease so no worries about the nut becoming slippery.
As for the dripless, I think they are great and had one on my previous (previous) boat with no complaints. However I opted for the traditional stuffing box on the 355 because when it comes time to replace the bellow, dropping the rudder and decoupling the shaft from the transmission coupling is much more involved than replacing packing.
I waited too long to replace my packing and it was a pain to get the old stuff out, so like the dentist, don’t procrastinate…
FWIW, the wrenches Jeff Hare have are a huge help!
These are some pics of 9 years of packing neglect. The vinyl tubing is a great trick for packing the new rings…



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On Nov 20, 2021, at 4:38 PM, Evan DeLucia <deluc...@gmail.com> wrote:

I've got an excessive drip rate from my stuffing box - not fatal but I'd like to dial it back. Problem, the nuts are completely frozen. Tried a couple of pipe wrenches but couldn't get them to budge. My mechanic wants me to upgrade to a dripless stuffing box. Nice idea but the project could be $$. Thoughts?

David Everett

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Feb 21, 2022, 4:42:18 PMFeb 21
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Hi All, does anyone have a specifications sheet that clearly shows what type of stuffing box we have, and perhaps an exploded view of its components? A factory instruction sheet for re-packing the box would also be great.
Thanks
David
(#62 in South Australia)


bill pittore

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Feb 22, 2022, 9:03:30 AMFeb 22
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It looks like a Buck Algonquin or at least a clone of one. Here’s the web page: https://catalog.hydrasearchrecreational.com/viewitems/packing-boxes-w-spud/ng-boxes-self-aligning-spud-type-right-hand-thread

I didn’t see any drawings or other documents on their site. There’s a good article at https://marinehowto.com/re-packing-a-traditional-stuffing-box/ that shows how to change the packing.

Bill

Jeff Hare

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Feb 25, 2022, 6:13:50 PMFeb 25
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Hi,

 

I agree, the stuffing box appears to be the Buck Algonquin one for 1” Shaft that Bill listed.

 

The Packing Hose that connects it to the shaft log on the boat is 2” ID & 2-3/4” OD ( https://www.deepblueyachtsupply.com/80ho20012-12-inch-sections-of-packing-box-hose)

 

I would assume they are sticking with the same version for all the hulls, given Catalina’s history of consistency.  I don’t have good pictures of the disassembly of this particular stuffing box but maybe this helps?

 

(FYI: If anyone still wants a set of these shaft wrenches, we are down to about 12 sets left. We probably won’t be making any more unless enough people ask to justify the minimums on another milling/hard-coat anodizing run.)

 

 

 

We replaced the packing with 2 rings of 1/4" GFO while we had the shaft seal out.  We remove the stuffing box, clean it up with a brass wire wheel and replace the hose whenever we replace the packing material.  It’s a good time to do all that every 10yrs or so, all depending on how much motoring you do and what kind of packing you use.  I would suggest that you apply a coat of Tef-Gel anticorrosion grease to both the threads and to the mating surface between the locking and packing nut.  This will help keep them from freezing up with corrosion over time. TefGel is fairly thick and sticky so there’s no concern with it causing anything to loosen up on its own.

 

Don’t use GFO on a bronze shaft, but since the C355 has quality stainless shafts it won’t be a problem.

 

We’ve found GFO to be really easy on the prop shaft from a wear perspective and is essentially dripless and cool running after break-in.  We ran this packing material our C320 with Aqualoy 22 stainless shaft for 14 seasons before it was getting to where it needed replacing. Probably could have tightened it up and gotten another year or two but that was long enough.  We found almost no perceptible prop shaft wear where the rings were seated. Prior to that we used a PSS Shaft seal which, while dripless, seemed to be a messy solution with black graphite mist getting everywhere over time and the failure modes for those are not very pretty.

 

For what it’s worth, it was a pretty simple process for us to remove and replace the stuffing box.  Here was the whole process.  Took about 3-1/2 hrs overall over 2 days because I took the stuffing box home to clean up in the shop.  I’ve done this 5 or 6 times to date on various boats, so that should be factored in.  We did not need to remove the prop for this.

 

Steps:

1: Use a sharpie to make an alignment mark on the both the transmission side flange and shaft side flange.  It’s a good idea for alignment reasons to put them back in the same orientation.  Rotating them 90 or 180 on reassembly can introduce driveline vibration.

 

2: Remove the 4 flange bolts, the stainless wire and the 2 locking set bolts.

 

3: Remove the coupler from the prop shaft.  There are several ways to do this.  We used a Buck Algonquin flange puller (because I had access to one) but if you don’t have access to one, it’s a simple matter to take a 6” x 3” x 3/6” (rough dimensions) piece of bar stock or angle iron, drill and tap a hole in the center for a 3/8” or 7/16" diameter bolt that will be used to push the shaft out. Drill 2 holes that align with the coupler’s bolt holes.  Then you have a nice little tool to separate the coupler from the prop shaft anytime you need one.

 

4: Loosen the hose clamps holding the packing hose to the hull and twist the stuffing box and it’ll loosen up and come off pretty easily.  There’s no sealant there.

 

5: Clean up any prop shaft corrosion with some very fine strips of mesh sandpaper/scotch-brite and polish it up.  Do this also for where the coupler sits and also lightly polish the inside of the coupler and the keyway.

 

6: Pick out all the old packing material from the packing nut.  Clean up the stuffing box with brass wire wheel on a drill or something (if you want). 

 

7: You’ll need the prop shaft or a piece of 1” OD tube or dowel handy to cut the new packing rings.  I like to wrap the material around the tube so they bypass each other.  Using a new razor blade, cut where they bypass each other at a 45 degree angle.  The 45 degree angle is better than just making a square cut because they tend to seal better.  Make two of them.  The rings will go into the packing nut with the seams at 180 degrees of each other.  Avoid threading this back onto the stuffing box body and tightening it until it’s on the prop shaft so that the rings don’t expand and make it hard to get on the shaft. 

 

NOTE: if you prefer, you can wait to put these rings in until the packing nut is slid on the prop shaft already but you’ll have to use other tricks to get the packing material inserted. Not a big deal either way.  Sometimes, it’s a little more difficult to get the packing nut started on the shaft on with the rings already in place, but it’s a little more difficult to put the rings in with it already on the shaft.

 

8: slide the stuffing box hose, 4 new hose clamps, slide the stuffing box body on (don’t forget to have the locking nut threaded on).

 

9: To replace the coupling, polish the key and keyway and tap the key back in place.  Wipe on a little oil from the dipstick on the end of the prop shaft where the couple will sit and wipe most of it off.

    A ziplock filled with ice cubes and some very salty water draped it over the prop shaft for a half hour or so will freeze the prop shaft end pretty well.  (We usually do this in the winter, so that step isn’t necessary). 

    Put the coupler in a ziplock and set it in a pan of very hot water.  Can also use a torch if you’re careful, but boiling water works well enough and more evenly heats the coupler.

    Put on gloves, then quickly pop the coupler on the shaft.  Have someone on the outside with a block of wood and a small hammer to tap it in place.  You’ll just watch through the set screw holes until the dimples in the shaft line up with the holes.  You shouldn’t need to tap very hard. Just little taps.  You may not even need to do that, but I had to this time.

 

10: Line up the sharpie marks from step 1 and replace the coupling bolts.  Put in the 2 set bolts and be sure they drop into the dimples, but don’t tighten them up fully, just trying to be sure the shaft doesn’t slide in or out. Use a thread locker, make sure the lock washers are present and tighten the 4 coupling bolts alternating side to side a little at a time until they’re finally all very tight.  (Could check the torque specs if you’re that kind of person).  Then tighten up the 2 Set bolts (again with thread locker) and finally add stainless locking wire for security, be sure to tuck in the ends so you don’t scratch yourself in the future.

 

Break in Process for GFO packing:  Snug up the packing nut until the shaft doesn’t turn by hand, then back it off just a bit until you can turn the prop shaft again but with a fair amount of resistance.  That just helps set the packing material in the nut.  For GFO, we leave it a bit snug just so that it doesn’t drip at all at rest.  Running the engine in gear for a while, it’ll get warm at first but shouldn’t burn you and shouldn’t drip.  Then back it off till you just start to get an occasional little drip, then tighten just a hair until that stops completely, even when motoring.  Watch it/adjust it slightly for the next few hours of motoring.  It shouldn’t get hot or uncomfortably warm even when motoring for hours and really shouldn’t let in any water.  If so, back it off just a tiny fraction. 

 

-Jeff Hare

C355 #17 Solstice (Thanks Jon!)

image002.jpg

Jon Vez

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Feb 25, 2022, 7:13:44 PMFeb 25
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Nice write up Jeff! I can confirm that the stuffing box is B-A and I believe that they are on all 5 series boats…
If you replace the packing rings an easy way to seat them is to use a 3/4” piece of reinforced vinyl hose from HD/Lowes. About 2” in length and cut a slit vertically so you can slide it over the shaft. This will allow you to push each ring in evenly and snug.


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On Feb 25, 2022, at 6:13 PM, Jeff Hare <Cata...@thehares.com> wrote:



bill pittore

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Feb 25, 2022, 7:28:42 PMFeb 25
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Great write up Jeff. I did read in the marinehowto.com page that carbon infused packing is not recommended because of galvanic corrosion potential. However, you have obviously used it successfully for 14 yrs.! Is it likely that the 355 shaft is AQ22 as well and will also be fine with GFO type packing? I replaced my packing last year with a teflon infused synthetic that worked really well. Nearly dripless and ran cool as well.

Bill

On Feb 25, 2022, at 6:13 PM, Jeff Hare <Cata...@thehares.com> wrote:

Hi,
 
I agree, the stuffing box appears to be the Buck Algonquin one for 1” Shaft that Bill listed.
 
The Packing Hose that connects it to the shaft log on the boat is 2” ID & 2-3/4” OD ( https://www.deepblueyachtsupply.com/80ho20012-12-inch-sections-of-packing-box-hose) 
 
I would assume they are sticking with the same version for all the hulls, given Catalina’s history of consistency.  I don’t have good pictures of the disassembly of this particular stuffing box but maybe this helps?
 
(FYI: If anyone still wants a set of these shaft wrenches, we are down to about 12 sets left. We probably won’t be making any more unless enough people ask to justify the minimums on another milling/hard-coat anodizing run.)
 
<image002.jpg>

Jon Vez

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Feb 26, 2022, 9:24:13 AMFeb 26
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FWIW Bill,
I have also stayed away from graphite, mostly because when I switched to a Gori I had a rapid zinc loss that I initially had trouble tracking down, so didn’t want to add any other variables.
I also used the Teflon packing but the graphite was tempting. I know Jeff has used it for years with no issues so YMMV…

Sent from my iPad

On Feb 25, 2022, at 7:28 PM, bill pittore <bill.p...@gmail.com> wrote:

Great write up Jeff. I did read in the marinehowto.com page that carbon infused packing is not recommended because of galvanic corrosion potential. However, you have obviously used it successfully for 14 yrs.! Is it likely that the 355 shaft is AQ22 as well and will also be fine with GFO type packing? I replaced my packing last year with a teflon infused synthetic that worked really well. Nearly dripless and ran cool as well.

Jeff Hare

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Feb 26, 2022, 10:44:30 AMFeb 26
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There's this quote later from the 'mainsail' guy about his article:

"And we all know how boaters always maintain their anodes.;) Anodes do disappear, fall off etc.. You be shocked at the number of boats I measure mid season with zero or near zero anodic protection...

Please understand that my site only suggests CAUTION using these packings and suggests to check it periodically. I won't personally use it on bronze shafts, to much of a voltage spread for me, but still do install it with AQ 22 shafts for customers who are good about keeping up with anodic protection."

So there's that... 

My strategy to all this is similar, first and foremost, keep your zincs in place. If mere the presence of carbon was such a critical problem even with zincs in place then wouldn't there be many of failures of PSS shaft seals with their constant bathing of the shaft in carbon dust?  Also, shaft log house is rubber, ie carbon. SS shafts also contain some carbon.

Anecdotally, We had a PSS on a bronze shaft for about 3 or 4 years and when removed to replace with SS, there was no sign of any corrosion there. The shaft did have a ring of caked on carbon dust that had collected near the seal.  Flax and other natural fibers are also carbon based, right?  

For our situation we are comfortable with it.  If you've got an old boat with home grown wiring or is electrically leaky, corrosion may be a considerable problem in general.  We are seasonal boaters and put on new zincs regularly and try to take exceptional care of our stuff. For sure everyone should make decisions based on their own situation.

Cheers!

I'll follow up on this in the future since I may need to swap out the prop shaft in a few years anyway due to wear.

Jeff

Jon Vez

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Feb 26, 2022, 12:03:19 PMFeb 26
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Exactly right Jeff! Rod Collins aka Mainesail sums up the pros/cons fairly and never says do not use. I’ve met and spoken with him about all things electrical over the years and he is always well balanced in his recommendations.
For those who aren’t on top of it or where one suspects other problems, where graphite sits on the anodic table could just add to an existing problem.

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On Feb 26, 2022, at 10:44 AM, Jeff Hare <Cata...@thehares.com> wrote:

There's this quote later from the 'mainsail' guy about his article:
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