Dripless Packing

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I was reading in Mainsheet that this dripless packing works well. I have a fairly steady drip I would like to eliminate. Does this stuff really work, is there any downside? And, is there any issue replacing the packing while the boat is in the water? I have been told it is do-able and the amount of water which enters the boat is not to panic over.

Tom Lanzilli

Advice from the Message Board:

I've had the GFO about 3 years, great stuff. Still need to tighten the shaft nut occasionally. Changing in the water is not that bad. I took an old tee shirt, after removing the shaft nut, wrapped the shirt around the shaft a couple times securing with an overhand knot. Kept the incoming water down to a small trickle. Chose a shirt over a town because it compressed enough to still allow access to the nut. Lots of ideas to remove the old packing. I used a combination of things. Started with a "drywall" screw. Used a 12v drill to screw it into the packing. Got the first 2 layers out this way. The last layer was too thin, used an ice pick and hemostat to scrape/pull it out. Don't forget to cut the packing at a 45 rather than 90, bit more work, but it seals better. Ken Juul

To answer your question: Re-packing the stuffing box. There is NO problem doing it in the water, assuming your bilge pump works. I wrote that article before Gore became available. The content remains valid, just add GFO to the list of materials. Stu Jackson

Believe what you read in the Mainsheet!! I've used the Gore packing for the past 10+ years and think it's great. Try it, you'll like it!!! Look in the Mainsheet Tech notes and I published an article on "Replacing your packing while still in the Water." Follow the article's instructions and there is little water that will come in. I re-did mine (in the water) last spring and it works fine. Needed to check to see how my old packing was doing. It was doing fine and that was about 10years of 200 hours/year!! I believe in projects there's a picture of my feet and my packing gland while I changed to the Gore packing. Did that back many years ago. Also I made my own old packing removal tool out of a coat hanger. Bend the end 1/2" long degrees and sharpen it. The packing tool is from an earlier article (1992?) and it's made out of a blunt end, shaved on the sides, #2 lead pencil. Both easy to make and both work. No big deal! Ron Hill

Another point on removing the old packing - I used a little stainless pointed "pick" I had in the tool box (again Home Depot) that has a 90 degree bend at the end. I used this to clean the threads (just following the thread pitch) after I got out he old packing. Real easy and cleaned all the threads. Seems to me that if the threads are still filled old packing, the new stuff is not going to fill the voids properly and thus - LEAKS! Jim Price