prop shaft seal

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prop shaft seal

Postby Jon on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:27 am

My prop shaft seal drips even when the boat is not running. Is that normal? Should it be replaced or adjusted. 2011 R-29 with 170 hours.
Thanks,

Jon
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prop shaft seal

Postby dialtone on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:56 am

I'm not an expert in this area: but yes. They do drip. However it should be just a drop every once in a while. Someone knowledgable in this area will chime in. Sometimes you can tighten but I've been told you DO WANT them to drip very slowly. I would say a drip every few seconds is too often but maybe a drip every 5-10 minutes is fine. Something to do with keeping the seal wet or something like that.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby The Masons on Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:15 am

Yes, it is important that the dripping is not stopped completely as the water which comes up the stern tube lubricates the packing material in the stuffing box and reduces the inherent drag and wear on the prop shaft. A simple snugging of the locking nut should suffice. Here are generic instructions:

SHAFT PACKING GLAND (STUFFINGBOX):

A properly adjusted shaft packing gland should drip slightly (from 1 to 2 drops per minute) with the engine off. Too loose an adjustment will allow too much water in the bilge and engine operation will spray water from the shaft. Too tight an adjustment will rob the engine of power, and the lack of water lubrication in the packing gland can generate enough heat to damage the gland and/or score the propeller shaft.

ADJUSTMENT:

1. Hold the packing nut with one wrench, use a second wrench to loosen the lock nut. Turn the lock nut far enough to keep it from interfering with the next adjustment (2 or 3 turns.).

2. Tighten the packing nut to obtain 4 to 15 drops per minute. Hand tightening of the packing nut is often sufficient to obtain this adjustment. If this is not the case, an additional 1/4 to 1/2 turn with the wrench should produce the desired results.

3. Hold the packing nut in place with one wrench, and use the second wrench to bring the locking nut securely against the packing nut. Make certain that the locking nut is tight. Failure to do this could allow the packing nut to back off when the engine is operating.

4. Operate the engine at slow speeds in forward and reverse and use a light to check for excessive water at the packing nut. Shut off the engine and recheck packing for proper drip.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby SGIDAVE on Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:51 am

Hello Jon,

The Masons have given a very good description of adjusting the packing gland or stuffing box.

To answer your question regarding "adjust" vs "replace," if you've not adjusted it yet then definitely try tightening it. If you've already tightened it as much as possible and it still leaks too much, then replacement of packing material is indicated.

This is ANOTHER application where an Infrared thermometer will help a lot. Its OK to tighten the packing gland but alas, how much? What if it's dripping 1-2/minute after you've tightened it? Should you go back and loosen it slightly to get 4 drops/min? If you can monitor the stuffing box temp and confirm that WITH USE (i.e., with the shaft running for a while) the temp is no more than 10º above sea temp then it's OK. Your stuffing box may be too tight if it gets warmer than that.

My point is that following the temp of the stuffing box is another objective measure of it's condition along with counting drops of water leaking past the packing.

So, get one of these and keep it handy.
Image
Plus, they make GREAT cat toys...heck, our dogs chase the red dot too :lol:

Fair Winds and Cool Stuffing Boxes,

/dave
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby Jon on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:18 pm

You guys are awesome! I knew I would get an answer to my question. I have not attempted to adjust the packing nut and after reading your replys I think the amount of dripping is about right. Thanks again,

Jon
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby baz on Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:24 pm

So if there are no drips at all when engine at rest, this is a problem, right ?

I assume the outside water travels along the prop shaft under a small amount of pressure, or is it somehow drawn up along the shaft to provide lubrication. If it's pressure then it cannot be too high as the prop is not that far down below the stuffing box position.

I thought the stuffing box was fed with water via a hose as shown below...

Image
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby knotflying on Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:39 pm

Here is what I was told:
When the shaft is not turning you should not get a drip.
When it is turning you should get one drip about every 20 seconds
To check temperature while running get outside water temperature and then point laser on nut and temperature should be no hotter than 20 degrees
My experience has been a very slight turn ( like only 1/4 inch)reduces the drip substantially.
Additionally, remember that there is water being forced into the shaft by the hose off the exhaust elbow. At least that is the way the BY engine is.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby baz on Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:20 pm

Thanks Mike. That clears the issue up for me as when my engine is at rest there are no drips seen.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby baz on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:03 pm

knotflying wrote:Additionally, remember that there is water being forced into the shaft by the hose off the exhaust elbow. At least that is the way the BY engine is.


So Mike.... how do we explain this :o I believe this is with the hose line disconnected and was posted some time ago by a fella who's brass barb for the hose got broken by an errant foot.... :roll:

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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby swillmerchant on Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:44 pm

Closing the boat after a weekend cruise, I noticed our packing nut/stuffing box was dripping more than normal. The next day, I counted a drip rate of over 65 drips/minute - obviously WAY too much when the engine is off.

I asked Peter at WIYY to take a look at it. His assessment was that the packing was dry and should be replaced. However, he suggested that there is not enough room on the shaft to replace the packing, thereby necessitating removing the entire shaft. Obviously, this is a kick to the gut and potentially the end of our season.

Anyone else repack the flax in the packing nut on a R25 Classic? Is it possible to do without removing the shaft? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Help!
Doug and Jess Christel
Indian Summer
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby SGIDAVE on Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:04 pm

swillmerchant wrote:Closing the boat after a weekend cruise, I noticed our packing nut/stuffing box was dripping more than normal. The next day, I counted a drip rate of over 65 drips/minute - obviously WAY too much when the engine is off.

I asked Peter at WIYY to take a look at it. His assessment was that the packing was dry and should be replaced. However, he suggested that there is not enough room on the shaft to replace the packing, thereby necessitating removing the entire shaft. Obviously, this is a kick to the gut and potentially the end of our season.

Anyone else repack the flax in the packing nut on a R25 Classic? Is it possible to do without removing the shaft? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Help!


Hello Doug and Jess,

HOW did Peter know the packing was "dry."

I would attempt TIGHTENING the stuffing box nut unless this has already been tried. Certainly, the packing material is a wear item and will eventually need replacing, HOWEVER, unless the stuffing box has been adjusted (properly tightened), jumping to replacement is premature.

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I've never heard of removing the shaft to repack a stuffing box. Is Peter suggesting the gland be repacked then the shaft placed through? I must not understand his process. Normally the gland is repacked IN PLACE that is with the shaft through the gland. Putting the shaft through the gland AFTER you've repacked it...won't work (it would displace the new packing material).

Again, I probably don't understand what Peter meant about removing the shaft to facilitate repacking the gland.

Yikes!

/dave
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby knotflying on Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:01 pm

Not having seen the situation it is hard to second guess someone who has seen it and is experienced. My first thought would be to tighten down the packing nut. Then to also check the temperature as I stated in this thread. If that does not work then packing replacement would be required. Replacing the packing while the shaft is assembled is difficult. I can't recall how much space you have from the back of the nut to the transmission coupling, but you need room to get into the interior of the nut and clear out all the old packing. Quite frankly removing the shaft may be an easier and quicker method. I don't see why this should ruin the remainder of your season. Removal of the shaft is very easy and should take no longer than 45 minutes once the boat is out of the water. Actually you really only have to move it out enough to take off the shaft coupling and then you can slide the stuffing nut off. The new packing goes back in three pieces with the joints for each piece staggered as well as cut on a bias. You should be back in business in less than a day.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby knotflying on Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:04 pm

baz wrote:
knotflying wrote:Additionally, remember that there is water being forced into the shaft by the hose off the exhaust elbow. At least that is the way the BY engine is.


So Mike.... how do we explain this :o I believe this is with the hose line disconnected and was posted some time ago by a fella who's brass barb for the hose got broken by an errant foot.... :roll:

Image


Baz,
The water is rushing out because at that point you are below the waterline. If the hose was connected and above the waterline it would not be gushing out like that.
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby swillmerchant on Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:27 am

Peter indicated there's no more room to tighten the nut. That's kinda what I thought looking at it, and partially why I didn't attempt it myself. Having helped repack a stuffing box on a 115' schooner at the dock, I know how much of a deluge it can be to replace the packing in the water. So, hauling it makes sense. Seeing that there's only 6" or so between the packing nut and the engine, I can imagine that it'd be a PITA to do so while the shaft is in position. So, I trust removing the prop is the right move too. I just had no idea how involved it would be. It just sounds extensive...and expensive.

If it's possible to do in less than a day, that certainly relieves some anxiety. I just don't know enough about it all to evaluate it without overreacting. I'll hopefully be able to talk to Peter some more today to evaluate our options. After putting only 25 hours on the engine during a busy summer for us, it was not what we were hoping to hear. Thanks for your input!
Doug and Jess Christel
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Re: prop shaft seal

Postby knotflying on Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:16 am

What year is the boat? Depending on how old it is I am surprised that it would be dried out so quickly. In any event, based on what you said in the last post, Peter is on the right track by removing the shaft. I have been involved with the packing being changed while on the shaft for an R-29 and there is even less room to slide the nut back and it was a PITA. Removing the shaft or slipping it back will probably save time in the long run. You may get enough room if you can pull the shaft back without removing the prop, but I don't recall how much space is between the rudder and the prop. You need enough room to put a socket and ratchet behind the shaft coupling to remove the bolt and then be able to slide the coupling off. You can then slide the nut off and clean out the old packing like a gentleman.
Good luck and let us know how it works out. I am sure if Peter can get to it you will be back on the water quickly.
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