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Old 08-04-2018, 02:48 PM
rkmason rkmason is offline
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Boat: '98 MariStar 200VRS 350 TBI
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Propshaft Rope Seal - When to Replace?

As the thread title says, when should I replace the rope seal in my propshaft stuffing box? My '98 MariStar 200VRS now has about 550hrs on it. We have owned this boat since late 1999 so I'm certain the rope seal has never been replaced nor the stuffing box gland nut tightened. After a day on the water there is always some water in the bilge, but not what I would call an excessive amount.

Is 20 years / 550hrs runtime a long time for a propshaft rope seal to go without any service? Does everyone just run them until the leakage gets great enough to become an issue, or do you replace the seal after this long no matter what? Will tightening the stuffing box gland nut help at all on a rope seal this old, or do I just need to replace it? Not trying to make work for myself, but I'm starting to wonder about it after this long.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:29 PM
FrankSchwab FrankSchwab is offline
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The packing generally only needs to be replaced in two situations:
1. You remove the propshaft - you'll damage the packing while removing/reinstalling, so go ahead and replace it.
2. You can't get down to the specified drip rate by tightening the packing nut.

Sounds to me like yours is in great shape, and I wouldn't mess with it. Check the drip rate, and if it's excessive you might want to tighten the nut to bring it into line. But if a day on the water only leads to "some water in the bilge", I'd call that "Adjusted well enough".

/frank
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Old 08-19-2018, 11:01 PM
rkmason rkmason is offline
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Frank, have you tightened the packing nut on your boat stuffing box? Does it take any specialized tools or just two big open end wrenches? The access looks a little difficult down there under the pan.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:03 PM
FrankSchwab FrankSchwab is offline
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Getting to those nuts is a royal PITA. I tried all kinds of things, but ended up buying:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006L23738
The packing nut and lock nut are different sizes; I bought a 1-7/8", and a 2" wrench. One of them isn't quite right (I don't remember which), but works just fine. Kinda of expensive for the 10 seconds you'll need them (5 seconds to break the two nuts apart, and 5 seconds to snug them back together), but a lot cheaper than the medical costs of the high blood pressure from an hour of cussing trying to use less appropriate wrenches, or trying to use almost-as-expensive wrenches which claim to be appropriate:https://www.westmarine.com/buy/seafi...wrench--290280
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:55 PM
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mtajpa mtajpa is offline
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Follow Franks instructions. I dreaded this adjustment. Bought the tools took me longer to empty the stuff out of the locker than it did to make the adjustment. I have 750 plus hours and only needed a half turn to get the right drip rate.

By the way Thanks Frank.
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Old 08-21-2018, 07:24 PM
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ValveCoverGasket ValveCoverGasket is offline
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stupid question, but somewhat related - how much is too much regarding the drip? besides the obvious overwhelming the bilge pump hah
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Old 08-21-2018, 09:24 PM
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mtajpa mtajpa is offline
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My owners manual states no leakage with engine OFF.
While operating 10-15 drops per minutes is normal.
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Old 08-22-2018, 01:44 AM
david_ski david_ski is offline
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Boat: 2003 SN196, PCM 330HP 5.7L, ZeroOff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankSchwab View Post
Getting to those nuts is a royal PITA. I tried all kinds of things, but ended up buying:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006L23738
The packing nut and lock nut are different sizes; I bought a 1-7/8", and a 2" wrench. One of them isn't quite right (I don't remember which), but works just fine. Kinda of expensive for the 10 seconds you'll need them (5 seconds to break the two nuts apart, and 5 seconds to snug them back together), but a lot cheaper than the medical costs of the high blood pressure from an hour of cussing trying to use less appropriate wrenches, or trying to use almost-as-expensive wrenches which claim to be appropriate:https://www.westmarine.com/buy/seafi...wrench--290280
I have the adjustable packing-nut-wrench. I purchased it at a plumbing store for less than the WestMarine price 30 years ago. It is a pain to use. It doesn't stay locked and always seem to be a little too loose. I prefer to use a pair of Channel Lock pliers to break the nuts apart and snug them back together.

After adjusting, I also check to make sure that the packing nut doesn't get HOT after running. After adjusting we ski a set. I will then check the temp of the nut. A little warm is fine, HOT is not. if it feels hot, you have the nut too tight, and it the packing will start to scorch the shaft. The GoreTex packing rope will barely drip at all even when running.

I now have an OJ dripless shaft seal on my boat. No need now for wrenches or Channel Locks.
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Last edited by david_ski; 08-22-2018 at 02:11 AM.
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