Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Jack Hutteball on July 08, 2011, 08:25:50 PM

Title: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jack Hutteball on July 08, 2011, 08:25:50 PM
We finally had a few days of nice weather here in the Pacific Northwest, so I hauled the boat for bottom paint, waxed the hull, installed new zincs, and changed the packing in the stuffing box.  The boat is now 10 years old and this is the first packing replacement.  My manual calls for 3 rings of 3/16" packing so I purchases the gortex material in that size.   When I pulled out the old packing I was surprised to find only 2 rings of the OEM packing.  It did take 3 rings of the new packing when I did the installation.  I have the packing nut on hand tight and locked with the locking nut until I splash tomorrow, then will do final adjustment.  Thinking something was funny about only 2 rings in the OEM packing, I picked up a scrap piece and compared it to the new gore packing. I seems to be 1/4" rather than 3/16".  At this point I am assuming the 3 rings of 3/16" will compress and do the job.  I will find out tomorrow :donno:

Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 08, 2011, 08:41:43 PM
Jack, there have been varying reports of some boats requiring 1/4 inch material.  Not too many.  We have always recommended measuring the box, when/if in doubt buying both, and seeing what works, and returning the unused material.  My manual says 3/16" material.

Maine Sail's great website has a good description of how to measure the box.
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jack Hutteball on July 08, 2011, 11:28:52 PM
Stu, since there is no local source for the gortex here, if I don't have a good seal, I will be doing Ron's in the water replacement trick as it will take me a few days to get the 1/4".
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jim Hardesty on July 09, 2011, 06:35:57 AM
On a related subject.  I changed my packing last fall.  Measured what was there (1/4) and replaced the 2 rings with 3 and real light hand tight.  I wanted to use the TFE putty packing but it just didn't look good to me so I used just the Goretex packing.  It doesn't leak at all.  I havn't used my boat this season.  All that I have done is motor to my slip 1/4 mile.  I did have a little time last week and washed the boat and ran the engine put it in gear and ran it about 1200 rpm at the slip about 5 min.  I was surprised that the stuffing box was warm.  Checked with my lazer thermometer at 94 deg. 
This is my first time using the Goretex packing.  Is this normal?  I do hope to do a short motor boat ride some time and keep a close eye on the stuffing box.
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 09, 2011, 08:02:40 AM
Jack, I did mine in the water and do it in the water all the time.  I've never sunk.

Jim, the C34 Tech wiki answers you question, read "How Warm is Too Warm?"
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Indian Falls on July 09, 2011, 09:32:35 AM

I hope this instills the necessary confidence:

I did my stuffing box for the first time in the water not using any tricks. 

I found the PO had wrapped the shaft with the stuffing... a big no no as I've read.  I dug out all the remaining shreds with a large paperclip that I'd straightened out and put a tiny hook on the end.  All with water shooting in from the open log.  Put the three rings in per instructions and screwed it on.

I don't think I got much more than a gallon of water to mop out. 

It really was no big deal and I was surprised that there wasn't MORE water shooting in. 

I just used the regular flax and I kept the tightness of the nut just to where it's wet all the time.   A sponge under the Stuffing box helps evaporate the drips.  I check it before and after sailing and during motoring for temp. (don't check it in gear... ever hear of those farm accidents?)

You'll be fine!
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Ron Hill on July 09, 2011, 05:49:52 PM
Jack : Most of the C34 packing glands are for 3/16" packing a few larger 1/4" have been reported (but not substantiated!!)

I made my own packing tool out of a #2 pencil. I shaved some of the wood off of each side and blunted the end.  When you insert and "pack in" the first ring - if it's snug all the way around you have the correct size packing for the gland.  Then you insect the 2nd and 3rd rings (staggering the joints by 90 degrees w/45degree cut joints) packing each ring in snug. 
One of my earlier articles said that after I took out all of the old packing I screwed the packing nut tight and made a scribe mark so I know when the gland is "empty".

After all 3 rings are in and seated, I tighten the gland nut finger tight and tighten the lock nut only snug.  The next step is back in the water to hand tighten so the water does not drip with the shaft NOT turning. 
Then start the engine and put go in gear at a low rpm.  Tighten the gland nut a max 12th of a turn (it's a hex nut!) at a time until the dripping stops.  Gland nut WARM is OK, but if you can't keep your hand on the packing gland nut - it's toooo hot.  As I always say with any plumbing - never back up in this case you need to back off. 
The smaller the adjustments you make the better !!

A few thoughts

Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: mainesail on July 10, 2011, 06:58:54 AM

The smaller the adjustments you make the better !!

A few thoughts

Ron makes a good point.

This spring I removed the PSS on our boat to do some serious experimentation & study with GFO/GFO knock off packings. I fitted a brand new Buck Algonquin packing box with three rings of Duramax Ultra-X onto a brand new shaft. Best of all worlds, new box, new packing and new shaft.

I then fitted the packing gland nut with a digital repote temp sensor and have been monitoring the temp of the box. I have been trying to find the magic spot where I am drip free and a good temp too.

Here's what I've found:

#1 Packing box temps are anything BUT consistent. They move up and down as your shaft speed changes and your speed through the water changes. I suspect, and have for a long time, that as you go faster cooling water is sucked out of the stern tube and away from the packing nut. This is EXACTLY what I have observed temp wise. A one time hand temp check really tells you very little about the max potential temp of your box and my remote stuffing box temp sensor confirms this.

#2 Once you get to near drip free even the SLIGHTEST adjustment can mean a temp difference of over 100F!!!!

#3 Adjusting GFO type packings to get as near drip free as possible, while maintaining decent temps, takes MANY hours of break in and many very, very small adjustments.

#4 Without a remote temp sensor this information would never be available and this is why I fitted my box with one.

#5 GFO MUST HAVE COOLING WATER. Even the slightest layer of water that evaporates before it drips makes HUGE differences in box temps..

#6 I am now at a low of about 75F (67F water) to a high of about 112F (67F water) and happy with the result. Again these temps are NOT static and don't remain constant...

This MS Paint drawing is an example of what I found when I was pushing the edge of no-drips/still lubricated and no-drips and very, very minimally lubricated.

The red line is how much the nut actually turned to make these temp changes.
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Tom Clay on July 10, 2011, 03:35:59 PM

I replaced my OEM packing 2 years ago with Gore, got the material at the marine store in Bellingham. My Catalina MK11 manual specifies 1/4", I purchased both 3/16" and 1/4" so I would be sure to have the right size. I pulled out two 1/4" flax rings just like yours.

My manual from Catalina has a date of the change to 1/4" packing, I'll check it next time I 'am on the boat."
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jack Hutteball on July 10, 2011, 10:06:04 PM
Thanks for all the comments.  Just before I splashed yesterday I thought I would put in 1 more ring of 3/16" packing, but when I did I could not get 3 turns on the nut, so I took 1 ring back out.  Once in the water with the nut hand tight on 3 rings, I had a steady drip about every 3-4 seconds.  Left it that way and motored over to my slip which is only 5 min away.  After tying up I checked it again and had about the same results.  About an eighth of a turn on the nut stopped the drip without the shaft turning.  Appears that the 3/16" will work, but I will monitor it when I have time to get the boat out and run under power for a while.

Tom I will be interested to see what your manual says about the date change for the 1/4" packing.  Did you only put back 2 rings of 1/4"?  I have noticed some things pictured in my manual are actually for earlier boats.

Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Tom Clay on July 10, 2011, 10:34:58 PM

I only put in 2 rings of the 1/4" gore material. I had to just tighten mine up last week as it was starting to leak. I have noticed the same thing in my manuals showing sometheing different than what is on my boat. What I remember from 2 years ago the packing gland diagram has a note that shows 3*3/16" packing up to a certain year and then they went 2*1/4". I'll try and get down to the boat tomorrow to get the exact wording.
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Tom Clay on July 11, 2011, 03:03:07 PM

My manual shows the document change for the packing in early 2002.

Exact wording...Rev 4 change to (2) 1/4" packing rings 4/02/02.

This was also about the same time the manual was updated 7th edition, April 22, 2002, looks like the manual had to catch up with the changes from the 6th edition in 1996. It looks like Catalina started putting in the 1/4" packing in 01 or sooner as your boat had the 1/4" packing from the factory, you probably got the old manual, 6th edition.

Hopefully this clarifies why some have the 3/16" packing and why others have the 1/4".
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jack Hutteball on July 11, 2011, 04:28:05 PM
My boat is an 01, and probably one of the first to get the 1/4" packing.  Would have been nice if I had gotten the correct 7th edition manual with my boat.  Might find other things that are incorrect besides the drawings and packing.  I need to make a copy of the seventh edition I guess.

Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Hawk on July 22, 2011, 10:23:10 PM
I replaced with the Duramax Ultra X on Mainesails recomendation and it has been great. I was careful to let it drip freely and motored for a couple hours to set the 3 rings - 3/16" material, then finger tightened. I spent the last two weeks beyond Desolation Sound up the BC coast with a lot of motoring. The first 10 hours I had virtually no drip and the packing gland was cool to the touch (62F). On the return, 11 hours non-stop I counted 6 drips per minute and cool to the touch. Unlike last year I never heard my bilge pump once.
I think I have one problem licked.
The Duramax was much cheaper than GORE and as Mainesail indicates, it sure works.

Battery and charger issues will however follow in a seperate thread.
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 23, 2011, 09:06:22 AM
added to Tech wiki, Stuffing Box
Title: Re: Stuffing box packing replacement
Post by: Jack Hutteball on July 24, 2011, 06:39:03 PM
Packing update:
I have only run my 3-3/16" packing rings for about an hour, but there is no dripping and the box is cool to to the touch (Grab around with the whole hand).  Guess I will just continue to run this way and monitor.  I wonder if they changed the size of the stuffing box or just went from 3-3/16" to 2-1/4" packing.  Love the dry bilge.