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Rudder shaft stuffing box nut

rangerm383

Dale Hedtke
I have been strugggling to get the stuffing box nut on the rudder shaft tight enough to keep the box from leaking. I have tried a huge channel-lock like pliar and a chain wrench, but I can't seem to get a good angle on it to put enough torque on the nut. I have replaced the packings after removing the steering quadrant. Any suggestions?
 

jim

James W. Griffey
This comes from my experience a a Fire Fighter more than a sailer but the packing glands on pumps should drip slowly to cool the shaft. If you stop all the water the shaft gets hot and burns grooves in the shaft. My 1979 382 I let drip just 3 or four drops a minute. After it runs a while I have to tighten it a little.
correct me If I am wrong.

Jim
Wind song
 

tcarey

Tony Carey
I have to concur with that - yes, the prop shaft should drip on a regular packing gland so that oxygenation and minor cooling may occur or the SS shaft will oxydize/pit and possibly break from serious pitting.
I'm going to a dripless system personally after my trans-At and raw water spray all over the engine - seems that in a serious following sea, it was squirting in a fine spray...not sure, but I'm going dripless anyway with the new shaft and engine.
The rudder shaft does not turn sufficiently to create any heat - so I too tighten it to dripless point.
I don't think I'm wrong....
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Tony, I am convinced you are right. A rudder shaft tightened to control leaks does not present the same concerns as does a prop shaft. No heat, no damage.
 

ewbuebel

E.W.Buebel
FYI Re dripless

A local boat here in MD almost sunk due to a dripless shaft seal. It seems that if the gland freezes, the bellows retracts and seperates the mating seals. Since it's frozen, it doesn't leak. When it thaws, however, it thaws around the shaft first and allows a considerable flow since the bellows remains retracted until completly thawed. The manufacturer recommended a heat lamp as a fix.

I had bought a dripless but marina suggested I talk to this guy first. I stuck with the packing gland and don't regret it.

Bill Buebel, M381 Shadow
 

jdgreen

Jay Green
Dale;

If you find the packing nut hard to loosen with a chain wrench/pipe wrench/etc. it can be loosened by hitting it sharply with a hammer on one of the flats. After a few good raps the nut should move easily with your chain wrench. I reccommend using a "Never Seize" type lubricant on the nut and more importantly on the stainless bolts on your steering disc.

Al
 

jhudnut

Jim Hudnut
Dale: I replaced the steering shaft packing about five years ago on my CM38. Found that if you use the wrong size packing material it is very difficult to get the nut tight because the packing material just doesn't squeeze up the way it should. Consider re-doing it but measure the size of the gap between shaft and inside of the nut and buy the right size to fit the gap.Jim Hudnut/Stella Maris
 

maluhia

Jim Ball
There is also a proper way to cut and install the packing. It should be a beveled cut and at least three off-set rings of flax or silicone material.
Jim
 

rangerm383

Dale Hedtke
This is Dale and I have resolved the problem with getting the packing to seal around the rudder shaft. I ran into Al Penniston at Strictly Sail in Chicago and he said that I shouldn't have to tighten the nut so tight-something's wrong. Sure enough, when I disassembled the system I discovered the wrong sized packing. It was too small, and when it was compressed, it "cupped" and didn't seal correctly. Thanks Al.
 

pearl

John Cram
Can someone verify the 1/2 inch flax packing on the rudder nut mentioned in previous posts for the 382? What came out of mine looks like 3/8 or less. I purchased 1/2 inch flax from West Marine and 3 rings fills the nut completely over the all the threads leaving no room to get a single turn. The packing also seems pretty stiff. Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks, John
 

jdgreen

Jay Green
I replaced my 384 rudder packing with 2 rings of 1/2" packing and it worked fine. 3 rings were too many for mine also.
Ray
 

pearl

John Cram
Yes, the old packing looks like is it 3/8 inch. Older postings vary saying the packing is 7/16 or a 1/2 inch. Seems too big.
 

paragon

Alan & Cheryl Shedd
I just replaced the rudder packing on our 382.

I cleaned all the old packing out and took particular care in cleaning the threads of the nut and stub so that the nut threaded on easily and all the way with no packing installed.

I used three rings of 1/2" per the manual that came with the boat. I first put in two rings and tightened the nut. It seemed to be fine - but since the book specified 3, I added the third. This nearly filled the space in the packing nut so there are fewer threads engaged. Diameter was perfect fit on the rudder stock. I tightened the nut using a strap wrench, checked the rudder for free movement and tightend more. I think that after some time I will need to retighten as the packing settles in.

The shaft is so far above the waterline with the boat at rest that there can be no leaking. It seems that it will only get submerged in a following sea or under hard motoring or sailing when the stern squats. Then it will be difficult to check. I agree that there should be little heat from motion and tightening the nut to prevent drips should be fine.

-Alan
Paragon, Lake Lanier, GA
 

jim

James W. Griffey
While adjusting the packing gland on my rudder I notised
the rudder stop was rubbing a large hose just forward of it. I picked up on the rudder post and it moved about 1"
Is there a bushing at the bottom of the rudder that needs to be replaced form time to time?
 

maluhia

Jim Ball
You should check the packing first. The rudder should not move back and forth if the packing is correct. Check the lower after you haulout. There is not much to go wrong below.
 

bert

Bert Okma
Has anyone measured the packing nut size for a 1983, 384 rudder. I want to purchase a wrench for this. When I replaced my shaft packing I used a large pipe wrench but never checked the size. Now that the quadrant is in place this would be difficult to measure. The wrenchs are listed in 16th inch increments.
 

paragon

Alan & Cheryl Shedd
Hi Bert:

I don't recall the size - I'm guessing at around 3" - Better to wait on Vic's measurement.

I used a strap wrench. It has a plastic handle and rubber strap so it is light weight and doesn't corrode. It will take a large pipe wrench which comes with a long handle that may not be too convenient to swing in the confined space. The nut doesn't need to be super tight so a short-handled tool is sufficient.

-Alan
 
Bert,

Mine wrench measures 3 3/8". I also measured the nut it is a heavy 3 1/4". I'm with Alan I'd try the strap wrench first. I bet it will do just fine and it will take your oil and fuel filters off as well. Double duty is always good. The packing is 1/2" by the way.

Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic
 

bert

Bert Okma
Hi Vic and Alan,

Thank you both Vic and Alan. I like the strap wrench idea for all of the reasons given. I think I will go that way: less weight, less issues with corroding and more uses. The size will help me pick one with the right size range. Thanks again,


Bert
 

ldg6190

Larry Guptill
Having just solved the problem may i suggest that you use a 3" clamp as a wrench. it is just the right shape to get around the nut and provides enough tourque to get it tight. No it shouldn't leak and yes make sure that you have new packing in the nut
 

svpilgrim

Jeff Lovett
I'm in the process of modifying Pilgrim's (1979 M382, Hull#115) rudder. I assumed the rudder packing needed to be replaced so dropping the rudder served to kill two birds with a single stone.

Based on deep gouges along the upper edge of the packing nut, I believe a PO used a hammer and cold chisel to tighten the packing nut.

Unable to find a suitable wrench to fit and unwilling to resort to the barbaric method of hammer and chisel, I constructed a custom packing nut wrench.

Using 1/8" laun plywood I created a template for the wrench.


20217.jpg

template


I took the template and a scrap piece of 3/8" steel plate to a local machine shop. It cost me $10 to have the machinist use a band saw to cut out the wrench. Once back at the boat yard I used a file to clean up the rough edges of the tool. After a couple coats of spray paint my custom M382 rudder packing nut wrench was ready to go.


20218.jpg

wrench


Due to the short wrench handle and awkward body position, gaining enough toque on the wrench bare handed proved difficult. Using a mallet to strike the handle of the wrench made quick work of removing the nut.


20219.jpg

success


Since the nut had no scars from earlier attempts to remove it, I'm guessing the decaying, flax packing is from the original construction. I have little doubt it would have leaked.

More images and notes on Pilgrim's ongoing rudder repairs and modifications can be found in our on-line album...
https://plus.google.com/photos/105725086102693499228/albums/6070004538454949041

And on our website...
http://m382pilgrim.blogspot.com/
 

scundy2

Steve Cundy
Jeff, can you tell us the size of your wrench?

I really like the documentation with all your great projects!

Steve
 

svpilgrim

Jeff Lovett
Steve,

Not sure which measurement you are seeking. Here is an image of the template with some of the key measurements drawn on..


20221.jpg

template


The overall length is 13-3/4"

Hope this is helpful.

Jeff
 

scundy2

Steve Cundy
Thanks, Jeff! I was looking for the distance between the parallel flats - looks like 3-3/8" from your template.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
John - I pulled my rudder last winter. I replaced the rudder box packing, glass blasted the gudgeon for inspection, replaced the gudgeon screws, replaced the thrust washer with HDPE and wrapped the rudder post (inside the gudgeon) with a few thin sheets of teflon film.

I see on your blog that you're replacing the gudgeon screws. If you haven't already, you should also take a look at the 4 screws that attach the plate just above the rudder. It's part of the rudder bearing assembly. Those 4 screws were in worse condition than my gudgeon screws.
 

svpilgrim

Jeff Lovett
Ken,

Thanks for the recommendation to check the screws in the plate above the rudder. What do these screws thread into?

Also I'm guessing that the thrust washer is the HDPE washer/shim on the rudder post above and below the gudgeon? How thick did you machine these washers?

Jeff
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
Jeff - Only one thrust washer was used - at the top of the gudgeon where the weight of the rudder rests on the bronze gudgeon. I bought 1/8" washers from McMaster-Carr. 3" diameter. They come with a 1.5" hole, so I used a dremel to enlarge it to 2". I then cut the washer so I could bend it around the rudder post. This is what I used: http://www.mcmaster.com/#2866t16/=vh6pn3

The washer I used was much thicker than the original washer I removed. But there was plenty of clearance, and I wanted something sturdy.

As for the screws... I'm not sure what they thread into. They go through the bronze(?) plate, but from there I don't know. I looked at the construction drawings, and it's difficult to tell.
 

jnoble

John Noble
Ken,

Could you please specify the 4 screws holding the top plate above the rudder - size, type (wood, machine, etc.) and material (I assume bronze)?

This would avoid others from having to haul and wait to order and receive the screws. Thanks.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
I just found my invoice for the screws. There are 3 of them. They are the same size as the gudgeon screws, albeit shorter. The gudgeon screws were 4" long, and I had to trim them to the appropriate length. I cannot remember if I had to trim the plate screws, but I'm pretty certain think I did. At any rate, this is what I ordered.

From Jamestown Distributors:

Silicon Bronze Machine Screws
3/8-16
Length 2-1/2"
 
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