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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Compass Marine How To Articles >> Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box > Stuffing Box Wrenches
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Stuffing Box Wrenches
April-15-2005

Stuffing Box Wrenches

This picture shows the wrenches I use to loosen and tighten a stuffing box. One wrench is a traditional pipe wrench and the other is a spanner wrench designed for a sink drain. Both of these wrenches are available at Home Depot or a hardware store. I find it easier to use the pipe wrench on the small & thin locking nut and the spanner wrench on the big nut. It's very important to use wrenches that fit the nuts well. Water pump pliers will, in many cases, not work very well or will not get the nuts tight enough after adjustment. Use good wrenches and not pliers for safety's sake.


If you have tried the above method and the nuts don't break apart use a little bit of PB Blaster penetrating oil. Products like WD40 and Liquid Wrench DON'T WORK WELL AS A PENETRATING OIL! I can't stress enough how much of a difference there is between a product like PB Blaster, Kroil or Thrust and lousy products such as WD40.


Here's a direct quote from a guy who used this site for directions. Unfortunately after three hours, Liquid Wrench and a broken tool he gave up and emailed me for advice:


QUOTE: "I knew where the cap and the locking nut were, I just couldn't budge them. Went out and bought PB Blaster. Ten minutes after spraying it broke loose. PBB rocks!"


*WARNING, WARNING, WARNING:


Be very careful NOT to get PB Blaster near ANY engine or transmission seals. True penetrating oils will EAT engine seals causing catastrophic failure of that seal. The most common seal DIYers destroy is the transmission output shaft seal. Be very, very careful using PB Blaster on your engines coupling bolts and DO NOT use the spray feature when working that close to seals. If you need to use a penetrating oil on coupling bolts fill the PB Blaster cap with the penetrating oil and then use a Q-Tip to dab PB Blaster on the bolts being very careful not to drip ANY on or near the transmission output shaft seal.

Nikon D70s
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Paul Starnes 02-May-2012 16:20
I also use and am a very big fan of PBB and am very fond of it when working with any metals that are frozen tight. I've also have heard of the potential damage that can happen to rubber seals. Regarding releasing the packing gland nuts, I've found that when I spray PBB on the exposed threads and hit the large nut on the end in the 'lefty-loosey' direction, the nut will break free very easily.
Paul Starnes 02-May-2012 16:18
I also use and am a very big fan of PBB and am very fond of it when working with any metals that are frozen tight. I've also have heard of the potential damage that can happen to rubber seals. Regarding loosing the packing gland nuts, I've found that when I spray PBB on the exposed threads and hit the large nut on the end in the 'lefty-loosey' direction, the nut will break free very easily.
Carl N 28-Apr-2012 02:33
Very nice tutorial, I do disagree with the comment about WD40 as a lousy product, it's actually a water dispersant,which it works great for, not really a penetrating oil
Guest 31-Mar-2009 23:32
great article. I'm new to marine work but have 35 years in auto work. What you said about PB blaster is TOTALLY true
BrianB 05-Nov-2008 16:05
Guest - Mine are back threaded so the wrenches in the picture are correct for loosening the nuts.
eddie johnson 09-Jul-2007 02:43
have you ever seen stuffing box nuts that were circular in shape and have regularly spaced notches around the perimeter (1987/1988 28 ft o'day)