View Full Version : Shaft packing - question

08-07-2006, 01:58 PM
Last Saturday I was tightening the bolts on my pylon and happened to notice that I could see my shaft packing and it was dripping quite a lot (tied up alongside a houseboat). Something like 1 drop a second or more and the engine wasn't even running. I've always had an issue with water in the bilge, but never investigated the cause. But, since I could see the constant drip and had some time while my friends were messing with their sailboats, I decided to check it out.

I used a couple of channel lock pliers and backed off the nut completely. Spewed water nicely then, don't recommend trying this while on the water. I tightened the nut until there was no drip. Then, I untied from the houseboat and idled around a little to adjust the nut to where it was dripping while idling, but not while the shaft wasn't spinning. This is a pain in the butt to do by yourself while in between 2 houseboat piers by the way.

Here's my thought, did I just fix my problem with too much drip or did I just bandaide the problem?. Replacing the packing is simple and cheap, but does it really need to be done or does the nut just need adjustment after 15 or so years? Any thought?

east tx skier
08-07-2006, 02:03 PM
After 13 years, I did mine just to do it. When I pulled it apart, I realized that the previous owner had started to do it, but had only replaced outside rope and had done so with the incorrect size for my 1" shaft.

It should not drip when the boat isn't running. In neutral, comfort levels vary, but anywhere from a drop ever 1 to 5 to 10 seconds is probably fine. My mechanic likes 1 drop per second because he likes to be on the safe side. I went with one every two seconds and am comfortable. My plan is to check drip rate at the beginning of each season.