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Drive Shaft Packing Drip Rate/Adjustment - I think it's dripping too much (See Video)!


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This is my first Malibu (2007 Malibu VTX 550 hours) and I know the drive shaft packing is suppose to drip....but, I think this is dripping too much, right??? (See video below)

Here are my questions:

  1. Is that dripping too much?  Should I be concerned about it?
  2. What is the proper drip rate?
  3. Is it easy to adjust those packing nuts? (I'm a little timid that I'm going to make things worse!)
  4. Do I need any special tools to adjust it?
  5. Do you think the packing needs to be replaced?
  6. Any tips or tricks...how to guides?

Thanks! Appreciate any help or feedback.


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For most packing nuts, 10 drips per minute while in forward gear is about right.  It is important that the packing nut is not tight enough to cause it to get uncomfortably hot to touch after running at cruising speed.  The down side to having the nut too loose is allowing excessive amounts of water into the bilge.

A set of specific sized packing nut wrenches are ideal for loosening or tightening the set nut and for adjusting the packing nut, but it can be also be done with a long drift/punch, a hammer, and an adjustable sink drain wrench.

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1 7/8" is the wrench size.  I got lucky and found a double open ended at my local Northern Tool.  I cut it in half.  You loosen the thinner jam nut, then tighten the bigger nut, then snug the jam nut back up.  I'd go a full turn and check the rate along with the temp of the bigger nut on your next outing.  Rinse and repeat until you find the desired drip rate and nut temp. ...

It can take an outing or 2 for the packing to swell at the beginning of the season, but yours looks excessive.  Given the age and the assumption it's never been done, you may be looking at replacing it, and that's a real fun job...

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