Intro: Propeller-shaft stuffing boxes—often the only holes below the waterline without a valve—can quickly deteriorate from a slow drip to pouring water. Repacking your own isn’t hard when the boat is out of the water, and once you’ve done it, emergency in-water repairs aren’t hard either.
Step 1: Two parts of a stuffing box squeeze rings of packing around the shaft to form a seal. It’s tightened until it leaks a tiny bit of water to cool packing heated by a spinning propeller shaft. Too much heat hardens packing and makes it leak, and regular over-tightening wears shafts. A longer or shorter hose moves the packing to a new area of shaft, but check with a prop shop on how deeply the shaft can be worn, as this varies by horsepower, prop size, and transmission reduction. “Over 90 percent of the calls I get are because a stuffing box is too hot, either from over-tightening or using oversized packing,” says Steve Gaston, executive vice president of stuffing-box manufacturer Buck Algonquin (www.buckalgonquin.com). Unfortunately, packing sizes aren’t standard among manufacturers.
Talking about windows on boats, there’s a lot to consider. Will the new ones hold up and be easy to maintain? Know the ins and outs of what’s available, and see why the crew on one project chose replacement windows from Vetus.
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