Rudder shaft stuffing box

Maintenance and refit discussion
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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Chris » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:11 pm

Nice clean stern locker Tentation. You've obviously cured the leak. Ingenious solution to the greaser problem. I think this is probably an improvement on the grease cup arrangement as it must be easier to just engage a grease gun and pump in grease.

I will have a close look at the greaser tube on Impulse at my next visit. I would not have thought of such a problem.

Good to know although you couldn't remove all the stuffing material you still managed to get an effective seal.

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Antti_DD » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:37 pm

Chris, very explanatory photos once again – I understand now the construction much better. I initially thought that the woodfruff key was integral with the stop, but that obviously isn't the case. As you mentioned earlier, both the key and the stop are covered with green verdigris so it looks like they are of one piece.

Tentation, very interesting to see your modification since we also have exactly the same problem. The greaser tube is rusty and also the white paint on the two rudder stop blocks has mostly worn out. Therefore the metal blocks, which obviously are not of good quality metal, are pretty rusty and this has painted the whole stern locker look rusty and not so appealing. Thus, I have been planning to make a similar repair, that you have made, and also give some fresh paint to the whole stern locker. I guess that in case of the rudder blocks, the rust is mostly cosmetic. However, I am a bit worried about the condition of the greaser tube.
Antti Laine, Forum Administrator
HR 29 # 483 "Dolphin Dance"
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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Chris » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:40 am

Antti, I repacked the packing material in the stuffing box yesterday and could see I think it may cause you some problems trying to do it in-situ. The packing material is formed with a square cross section which sits inside a recess in the packing gland nut. It will be difficult to get this out because the material will be trapped behind the lip of the nut and the shaft. But more importantly I would think trying to hammer in the new material will damage the packing material and risk achieving the all important seal. If it were me I would lift the rudder shaft out.

If I remember the shaft nut on DD is exposed. If this is the case I think you could do this reasonably easily by supporting the rudder securely. Release the nut but don't remove it, turning it until the flat of the nut is level with the end of the thread of the shaft and with two opposing steel wedges, drift the shaft up. (as in the PDF you sent me). Undo the gland nut, rudder stop and top bearing and it should just slide up.

We did this several times yesterday while fixing the new rudder to Impulse in order to get the skeg fixings in place. So the process became quite easy. If you lift the shaft, you could also get to the greaser tube more easy.

All the best

Chris

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Antti_DD » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:26 pm

Thanks for the info, now that you pointed this out, I agree that removing the whole rudder shaft should be the easiest way to change the packing material and also work with the stuffing box/grease tube, given of course, that shaft nut is not stuck etc. I guess that it has never been opened during the lifetime of the boat. I'll have to consider this next time that I am at the boat. It might be so, that I leave this task for the next autumn, but it is good to plan the project ahead. But removing the rudder shaft definitely sounds easier than trying to do an acrobatic pick up and change of the packing in the cramped aft locker.
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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Brasilia » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:28 am

Hi,

on my boat (just purchased) I have water leakage from the rudder shaft box when sailing. It's not a big amount but is annoying so would like to fix it.
I cleaned the area and it is pretty clear that the box has not been touched in the last 30 years.

I studied all posts in this forum and beyond: I believe I understand pretty well how it is made and how to do the maintenance.
I bought the tools (two giant 60 mm spanners) and the new PTFE flax.

Though, before starting, I have few questions for the forum:

1. Has any of you eventually done the replacement of the packing in the rudder shaft box while afloat ?
Is the top of the stuffing box above or beyond the floating line with the boat moored ? Based on my best measures, I believe....just there. I'm thinking to put some more weight on the bow to further rise the stern and be able to work without having to stop incoming water at the same time. Any experience/suggestion ?

2. Assuming I succeed to unscrew the gland nut after 30 years in place, has anybody been able to take the shaft packing fibers out AND properly put new layers in in-situ ? If yes, any suggestion on tools that could help (I read about the iron wire hook....which I will have) ?

3. Does anybody remember what is the right size of the shaft packing material ? 6 mm ? 8 mm ?

Any input based on real experience would be really helpful.
Today I have a limited water leak issue....if I get stuck in the middle of the work with the boat afloat, would end up in a much worst situation.

Thanks
Roberto

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Peti » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:12 pm

Hi Roberto
The packing is in 6 mm

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Brasilia » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:17 pm

After about 6 hours of work, eventually I did it ! Now Brasilia has a new PTFE flax in the rudder shaft box and....no more water coming in.

If anybody need to do this maintenance and want to have more details and suggestions, just ask.
For general interest, I can just confirm that it can be done with the boat afloat.
The most difficult part, in my case, has been to lift the clamp and take out the woodruff key: both pretty stuck after 30 years in place with water/dust/dirt...

Below you can find some pictures to further clarify how the whole system is built.

Roberto

Timone Aug 2018.jpeg
RUDDER SHAFT BOX - ORIGINAL STATUS
Timone Aug 2018.jpeg (707.96 KiB) Viewed 141 times

IMG_2342.jpeg
RUDDER SHAFT - WITHOUT CLAMP
IMG_2342.jpeg (649.47 KiB) Viewed 141 times

Boccola nylon.jpeg
RUDDER SHAFT - WITHOUT GLAND NUT
Boccola nylon.jpeg (640.63 KiB) Viewed 141 times

Dado con baderna originale.jpeg
GLAND NUT WITH ORIGINAL STAFFING
Dado con baderna originale.jpeg (493 KiB) Viewed 141 times

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Antti_DD » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:51 pm

Hi Roberto,

That's great, thanks for sharing this information!

Did you use heat gun to remove the clamp / nut?

/Antti
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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Mallemuk » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:14 pm

Hi Roberto

Thanks for the great photos and the details. It'll come in handy when I shall have a go at fixing the same type of leak on Mallemuk. I was wondering how the thing was constructed. I shall start looking for a 60 mm spanner - something I don't have in my tool box!

Kind Regards,
John

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Re: Rudder shaft stuffing box

Postby Mallemuk » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:05 pm

Hi Chris and Roberto

Since you two are the only experts on this particular matter that I know of, I'll ask you for some advice. Spending my Sunday working on Mallemuk a question has come up.

I have loosened the clam bolts and have been able to move the clamp a bit - it drops a few cm and I am also able to lift it a few cm. It's not stuck but is somehow restricted by the woodruff key.
I have given the woodruff key plenty of penetrating oil and have slightly heated the rudder shaft with a heat gun. The woodruff key hasn't come loose yet. My question is: do I lift the clamp above the woodruff key first before "working" on getting the woodruff key loose, or do I push the clamp down and then have a go at the woodruff key? Does it have to be pulled out with a pair of pliers, or should it come loose otherwise?


Kind Regards,
John

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