Jump to content

Welcome to TheMalibuCrew!

As a guest, you are welcome to poke around and view the majority of the content that we have to offer, but in order to post, search, contact members, and get full use out of the website you will need to Register for an Account. It's free and it's easy, so don't hesitate to join the TheMalibuCrew Family today!

Finished Virtually Dripless Propshaft Repacking


Recommended Posts

All:

I replaced the propshaft packing yesterday on my 2002 XTi. I replaced what I assume is the original factory packing with the gortex "virtually dripless" cord. Last year, I was getting a heavy constant drip to a small "pee" even when sitting at anchor without the engine running - not good to have the bilge so wet. I tightened the packing on our last lake trip last year, and got it to slow to a reasonable drip, but I was concerned that the stuffing box nut was almost "bottomed out" and that I was going to cause a lot of heat and damage the shaft over the long term. I've never repacked a stuffing box so I figured this was a good time to give it a whirl.

So I started the project out by removing the stuffing box (aka the huge nut) and sliding it up to the base of the transmission, so I could work on it without having to remove the floor panel. I inspected the propshaft and was happy to see that it was nice and smooth, with no signs of any wear or damage.

Next, I went about removing the old cord. This was by far the part of the job that was the most tedious. Not sure if they make a specialized tool for the job, but I experimented with three items and they worked great. First, I started off with a kids "corn on the cob" holder...you know, those little yellow holders with the sharp spikes so kids can eat corn and not get their hands buttery. I put a small 90^ bend at the very tip of the corn holder with a pair of pliers and started "picking" away at the old cord. As soon as I got some small pieces to come out and be visible from under the edge of the stuffing box nut, I used a very small pair of needlenose pliers to pull it free in as big a piece as possible. The first ring of old cord came out in just a few minutes.

I started on trying to remove the second ring of old cord, and discovered the corn on the cob holder's spike was not long enough to reach into the stuffing box to get a "bite" on the old cord. So I decided to try another tool. I used a pair of dikes to cut off a straight section of a wire clothes hanger. I put another small 90^ bend it one end, and I used my bench grinder to put a sharp point on it. Voila! That worked great and the flexibility of the wire hanger helped get it up into the stuffing box. After about 30 minutes of twisting the stuffing box nut and picking away with the sharpened coat hanger, I had all three of the old cord rings removed and the hollow stuffing box ready to accept the new gortex cord. Here's a pic of the old vs new:

254157_2075292639092_1148239844_2497313_1593796_n.jpg

I used a brand new razor blade to cut the new rings - you need to cut three new rings. One tip is that you do not want to try and pull the new cord super tight when you cut the gortex material. I did that on the first one and I could not get the joints to fit together - left a gap. Applying light pressure to the ends of the cord when making the cut produced the best results. The quantity of gortex cord you get in the package from SkiDim has plenty of extra in case you screw up a ring or two, so don't fear if you dork one up. Second tip, which you see on the other tech articles, is to cut the joint on a 45^ angle so you have two edges that overlap and make a seal. The Gortex, even with a new sharp blade, does not make a perfect cut, it wants to unravel if you are not careful.

Once i had all three rings cut, I used a marker to put "1, 2, 3" on every other flat spot on the nut to mark where I want the joints to be. You need to off-set each joint and this seemed to work well. I placed the first ring and forced it into the gap in the stuffing box, making sure the joint stayed nice and flush. Once i had it started, I slid the stuffing box down the shaft to where it mounts and screwed it down gently to seat the ring. I then slid the nut back up and repeated the process with ring 2 and 3, matching the joint up with the 1, 2 and 3 numbers I had written.

It all went back together pretty easily. I twisted the stuffing box nut down "snugly", which is what the directions say. I could sort of feel the gortex start to compress and I stopped there. I then tightened the jamb nut down to finish the job.

I was not able to water test today as I had planned - will do that tomorrow and report back if I have a dry bilge. But I can say this is a job that shouldn't scare anyone as far as removal and reassembly. Again the only real hard part is removing the old stuff - it's really "stuffed" in there and does not come out without a fight. :-)

-- Mike

Link to comment

Nice write-up, Mike. Good to hear it went fairly easy for you.

One suggestion on the tools. I found a cheap pick set at Harbor Freight that worked great. Comes with 4 different picks in different angles. The 2 on the right of this picture did the job for me.

image_1941.jpg

With all the talk about prop packings here lately, I decided to check my own today. The boat has been sitting on the lake for about 3 weeks now. I didn't find any substantial amount of water in the bilge & the packing wasn't leaking at all. After running the boat across the lake, I checked the temperature of the shaft, stone cold.

I can't say enough about SkiDim's virtually dripless packing. It works great & it's inexpensive.

Link to comment

Hey Bill, those tools would be worth their weight in gold for this project - looking at the tips, I agree with you - the two on the right look like what I made.

Glad you are liking the Gortex material - I used the same stuff and hope for similar results!

-- Mike

Link to comment
martinarcher

Nice write up! Glad to hear it worked out well.

I tuned my packing nut tonight after we were done skiing. It was dripping about once a second at idle in gear. I tightened it until it drips about once every 10-20 seconds. We ran a WOT pass across the lake with my head watching the packing at it dripped about 2-3 times a minute during our run. The packing gland was just slightly warm. I think I'm about where I should be now. Next time I mess with it I'll be putting in the new "virtually dripless rope". I have some from the rudder rebuild, I just need to check if it's the right size rope.

Link to comment

Yeah, nice write up Mike. I'm about ready to do this as well. I've got the material from skidim, just waiting for my picks from harbor freight (slow shipping). Do you have any pointers on how you went about cutting the cord at a matching 45 degree angle?

Link to comment

Yeah, nice write up Mike. I'm about ready to do this as well. I've got the material from skidim, just waiting for my picks from harbor freight (slow shipping). Do you have any pointers on how you went about cutting the cord at a matching 45 degree angle?

Only way I lknow to do that is to place what will become the two rope ends along side where it needs to be cut and cut through both pieces at the same time and angle.

Link to comment

You will likely find that you have to back off the nut for the packing a bit to get it to leak at all when you first drop it in the water. Mine seemed very loose to get the drips going right for the first outing. It seems to seal better than the flax rope.

Once it had been run dripping well for a day, I snugged it down to a drip about every 30 seconds. It's been great for 2 years now.

Link to comment

Only way I lknow to do that is to place what will become the two rope ends along side where it needs to be cut and cut through both pieces at the same time and angle.

Exactly..... and use a brand new razor blade on it. The stuff cuts like butter. And they send you enough to do like 2 packings. Maybe for prop & rudder? :unsure:

Also, when I did mine, we did two boats at the time. On Greg's boat he had tightened it down pretty tight initially..... when we dropped them in the lake, the prop shaft got pretty warm after just a few minutes. So when we did mine, we left it loose, let it leak for a few minutes, then snugged it up till we got the drip rate we wanted. The idea being that the packing would need to be lubricated, settle into the gland, etc. Then just check it occasionally for any heat or leaks.

Link to comment

I cheaped out & bought a pair of adjustable spanning wrenches from the plumbing dept at Home Depot for like $13. The fact that their adjustable definitely makes them more of a PITA to work with, especially in that confined space.

post-1-1124847479.jpg

Real prop packing wrenches are available at most dealers for around $25 - $30 each.

140.jpg

Link to comment

I cheaped out & bought a pair of adjustable spanning wrenches from the plumbing dept at Home Depot for like $13. The fact that their adjustable definitely makes them more of a PITA to work with, especially in that confined space.

post-1-1124847479.jpg

Real prop packing wrenches are available at most dealers for around $25 - $30 each.

140.jpg

I have one of each - bought the fancy Malibu one for $20 bucks and then the cheapo adjustable. Worked great!

Regarding the cutting of the new material, I wrap the new stuff on the shaft - don't pull it too tight or you will have a gap after you cut it. I then cut on a ~45 degree angle to basically make a little butt joint. The material you get from ski dim has enough extra you won't run out if you screw one up!

Edited by EchelonMike
Link to comment

Are both the nut and locking nut the same size? (1 7/8")

Yes.

I recall someone who got a hold of a 1 7/8" open ended wrench & just cut it in half, making 2 short wrenches.

Link to comment

All, got out on the lake today and thought i would post a few added comments. put the boat and the water for a few minutes before starting it up...no leaks from the packing nut. a good first sign! idled out of the no wake and got up on plane and all was well. spun back to dock to pick the gang up and checked the packing again. all dry but shaft and nut HOT. sh*t, too tight. backed off a full turn. still no drip. did one more run and back to dock again. no drip but still pretty warm. backed off one more turn and still no drip in neutral. bonzai run again and now shaft barely warm and just a little water below it. found the right mix i think.

So if you use the gortex, i would start by tightening the packing nut with your bare hand only. i used the wrench to snug it down a few turns and that was wayyyyyyyy too tight. loose is better than too tight i was lucky i did not burn up the new stuff. i'd say you want it to leak some at first and tighten to stop vs the other way around.

-- Mike

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...