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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box > Stuffing Nut Shown WIth Old Flax Still In It
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Stuffing Nut Shown WIth Old Flax Still In It

Stuffing Nut Shown WIth Old Flax Still In It

When you are replacing your flax packing you will most likely never see this view unless you remove the transmission coupling and take the nut off. When removing the flax, with a pick, this is what you are trying to dig out! I took this photo to show the female nut with the old flax still in it. You can see the shiny surface where it meets the shaft and the thickness (3/16) of the flax its self.

This particular stuffing box is a 1 inch box from a 1985 Catalina 36 and uses three rings 3/16 flax packing. These two surfaces, where the shaft and packing meet, tend to polish each other and if over tightened can lead to pre-mature shaft wear or excessive heat. Over tightening of the flax nut, and running the stuffing box with no water drips, will eventually wear a grove in the prop shaft and ruin it. It's very important to allow a few drops of water per minute, when the shaft is spinning, for lubrication. Even the newer synthetic W.L. Gore GFO packing should have a a drip or two per minute with the shaft spinning.

Nikon D70s
1/60s f/2.2 at 50.0mm full exif

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Dan Kelly 20-Apr-2016 16:59
I have this on ine and it has a small stream of water, I cannot loosen it very easy, do you think I just need to loosen then tighten up more to reduce the leak? my boat is in the water and I don't want it to sink
Reno 21-Aug-2012 19:32
Wonderful info ..Thank you so much... Reno..
Bob Bachand 08-Jul-2009 13:14
Hi, great pictures and advice. I bought a 30 foot down east project boat and there is a slight groove worn in the propeller shaft. Is this shaft ruined or can I repack the stuffing box and get a little more life out of it?
Thank you.
Paul johnson 06-Nov-2007 17:51
Is it difficult to remove and replace packing on the nut without disconecting the shaft coupling to the tranny? also, I was told set the drips @ one dripevery three seconds. what do you think? thanks PJ