Adjusting the stuffing box (part 1)

So after my boat arrived back in Victoria (the person who moved it commented it felt smoother, so I guess that prop fix did help), he mentioned there was a lot of water in the bilge! Oh no! My first thought was that the new transducer was leaking, but I checked it out and it all looked fine. I noticed the water was coming from the aft end of the boat so I checked the engine area and AHA – the stuffing box was dripping, once every 4 seconds.

A stuffing box is a small box filled with packing material that surrounds the shaft. Under power it lets in a few drips per minute for lubrication, but it shouldn’t be dripping at rest, especially not at 15 times a minute. It must have been coming in pretty fast under power.

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Above is a picture I borrowed from Wikipedia, and below is what mine looks like

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Now adjusting these is not that hard, but in a lot of boats they are neigh inaccessible. Luckily, my one is pretty easy to get to. Using two pipe wrenches I bought, I loosened the locknut a bit, and then tightened the adjusting nut until the dripping stopped.

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This is the first part – the second part is where I will have to run the engine in gear forward, and then adjust it some more until the right amount of drips come out under power. That will be more… interesting, so I’ll do that in a few days.

For now I wanted to make sure the bilge wouldn’t get any more water, and I’d got all the leaks.

The next day – success! There was a bit of water in the bilge, but a lot less, and that could be put down to the last of the water draining from the back, or condensation.

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Matt

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