Stuffing box help

Aug 8, 2019
11
Oday 28 Bristol, RI
Hello,

Hoping to get some help regarding repacking the stuffing box on my new-to-me '85 O'Day 28'. I'm trying to repack and no matter what I do I cannot seem to get the lock nut loosened. I'm attempting from the port lazarette if that's helpful.

Things I've tried:
  • Loosening with 14" heavy duty pipe wrench and lock nut wrench
  • Spraying with WD40 Penetrating Spray (not regular WD40)
  • Putting pipe wrench on and tapping with Ball Peen Hammer.
Questions:
  • Which direction do I go with the lock nut and the stuffing box nut?
    • I understand to loosen I need to grab both with wrenches and bring the wrenches together, but I'm not sure which I'm to bring up and which I'm to bring down.
    • Clockwise and counterclockwise are ambiguous since I'm not sure which way is "in" if you understand me.
    • If you could put it in terms of "towards port" or "towards starboard" that would be helpful.
  • Any tips on loosening?
    • All I've accomplished is rotating the whole shaft with the wrenches and simultaneously cutting up my hand.
    • I have Liquid Wrench coming in the mail and am hoping that works better than the WD40 Penetrating Spray.
Info:
  • Make/Model/Year: 1985 O'Day 28'
  • Engine: Original Universal Diesel M50 10hp

Attached is pic of the stuffing box. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've spent roughly 3 hours toiling in the port lazarette to no avail.

Thanks,
TJ
 

Attachments

Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
First, i would try heat on the stuffing box with a torch, if you can do that safely. Second, rap the lock nut toward port very hard with a ball peen hammer. Really whack it. Third, put one wrench on the packing nut, the other on the lock nut and try to pull the lock nut to port. Good luck.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,960
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Look at the threads below the lock nut. That will tell you which way to turn it.
 
May 17, 2004
3,485
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
To loosen the locking nut we used to have a bronze bar and a hammer. Rest the bar in one of the notches on the nut and hit the other end with the hammer. I don’t remember which way it turned though. It might also be easier to access from the quarter berth. We serviced ours from there.
 
Aug 11, 2011
662
O'day 30 313 Georgetown MD
If your quarter berth is on the starboard side:
from the quarter berth access, turn your locking nut to the right, (away from your body). Be careful with heating it, as you will be in close quarters to the inside of the hull. Use plenty of penetrating oil and let it take its sweet time.
 

dmax

.
Jul 29, 2018
508
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
Leverage is your friend, use two large pipe wrenches with pieces of pipe over them to extend their length - it will give you super-human strength :what: While you're in there, you're going to want to put some new hose clamps on your packing hose, those ones look like they are about to go.
 
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Likes: Paleolithic
Mar 29, 2017
574
Hunter 30t 9805 littlecreek
I'd clean it all up first with a wire brush then spray and then heat if in water shaft will cool with sae water if out I'd use ice and torch
 
Dec 14, 2003
1,320
Hunter 34 Lake of Two Mountains, QC, Can
Banging might cause severe damage to the transmission. Cleaning, Soaking with PB Blaster (or similar product), possibly heat will help. If you have room, leverage is your best friend. Clamp a pipe wrench on the packing nut with the handle resting on the floorboard in whichever sense is needed (Stu gave you the way to find out), then another on the locking nut with the handle where you can get 2 hands or possibly a cheater bar on it. Once the locking nut is loose and screwed back towards the rubber hose, the packing nut should nut be a problem to break loose. Good luck.
 
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Likes: Paleolithic
Aug 8, 2019
11
Oday 28 Bristol, RI
Thanks all for the help, I'll be back down there this weekend to attempt again and will report back!
 

Dave Groshong

SBO Staff
Staff member
Jan 25, 2007
1,795
Catalina 22 Seattle
Not sure if it will help, but this old article by MaineSail is fantastic:
 
  • Helpful
Likes: jssailem
Jun 11, 2004
1,221
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
I'm attempting from the port lazarette if that's helpful.

Things I've tried:
  • Loosening with 14" heavy duty pipe wrench and lock nut wrench
  • Spraying with WD40 Penetrating Spray (not regular WD40)
  • Putting pipe wrench on and tapping with Ball Peen Hammer.
Questions:
  • Which direction do I go with the lock nut and the stuffing box nut?
    • I understand to loosen I need to grab both with wrenches and bring the wrenches together, but I'm not sure which I'm to bring up and which I'm to bring down.
    • Clockwise and counterclockwise are ambiguous since I'm not sure which way is "in" if you understand me.
    • If you could put it in terms of "towards port" or "towards starboard" that would be helpful.

    • I have Liquid Wrench coming in the mail and am hoping that works better than the WD40 Penetrating Spray.
Some good comments above but I'll add mine.

On my 31 I have better access and more room to work from the quarter berth on the starboard side. Not sure about the 28.

I would clean up the threads with a bronze or stainless brush to start with.
I think the best penetrating oil is Kroil.
I would spray the penetrating oil and tap the locknut with a hammer a few (several) times . Spray again and wait awhile.
I have never had good luck with lock nut wrenches. I use two pipe wrenches.
The thin locknut needs to be turned clockwise as you are looking at it from foreward to aft, (from the engine to the shaft log) The large packing nut would go counter clockwise. That would be the top of the locknut turning toward the port side of the boat and the top of the packing nut turning toward the starboard. That's if the threads are normal threads but I can't imagine they are reverse threads.
EDIT: forget this part: So your turning the wrenches toward each other sounds like you are going the right direction EDIT: delete that. it depends on how you put the wrenches on. Sorry.


I would use flame heat there only as a last resort. Too much to go wrong and I bet you can get it to move without heating.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:
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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,664
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Thanks all for the help, I'll be back down there this weekend to attempt again and will report back!
Don't give up, the pieces are bronze so they won't be badly corroded together. Just find the right angle with two wrench - it'll go, I know it!
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,931
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I have that same stuffing box on my O’Day 322.

i use 2 pipe wrenches. Small ones.

first thing I would do is to try and clean out the threads...the thin nut needs to work back towards the stern Tube..so clean those out. The thin nut (looking nut) turns clockwise was you are looking towards the stern. This should “unlock” the 2 nuts. Then you back off the stuffing nut by turning it counter-clock-wise (again looking towards the stern). I usually put the 2 wrenches on in a way that I can squeeze them towards each other. That way movement by either one “unlocks” them And I am countering the force of each wrench. Not sure I am explaining this very well...hopefully you get the idea.

You can try the heat thing if you aren’t afraid of catching anything on fire, but I did not need to do that to mine (mine might not have been in quite as bad shape as yours....ok..way better than yours;-)

here is a video of my shaft replacement project...might show something of interest...

Around 7:00 I show the stuffing box after I removed it.


Good luck... patience is key. When doing my shaft replacement, I had to give up on day 1 of trying to remove the coupling...went home, had a beer, bought some better “tools” for the job, and went the next day ready to tackle the problem.

Greg
 
Aug 8, 2019
11
Oday 28 Bristol, RI
Success!

I went to Harbor Freight and got a slightly larger pipe wrench (18").

After liberal spraying with Liquid Wrench and waiting a bit, I put the smaller 14" pipe wrench on the packing nut, and leaned it against a piece of wood on the bottom hull. I put the 18" pipe wrench on the locking nut and pulled toward me and it came undone!

Next was getting the actual packing out, which I had to go to the store and get picks for, but that eventually came out and I successfully put in new packing!

Thanks for the recommendations all, it was a ton of help getting confirmation on which way to pull, and the different options I had available!
 
Aug 11, 2011
662
O'day 30 313 Georgetown MD
Congratulations! I for one can say, each and every task that should be simple, yet ends up baffling me, is a mile stone reached when even the simplest is overcome! My posts prove it each and every time. It makes me feel good about my capabilities.
 
Jan 27, 2008
3,008
ODay 35 Beaufort, NC
Before you reassemble it, clean the threads so they are like new, then put some waterproof grease on them or something like never seize that you can get at auto stores. Should help next time you need to remove it. Since the stuffing box is designed to leak a small amount when running all kinds of salt and junk get on the stuffing box, when the water dries the salt is what remains.
 
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Nov 23, 2015
2
O'Day 19 Mariner Washburn, WI
With modern materials - and at the low RPMs of sailboat engines, I question the need for a stuffing box to drip. The drips themselves cannot transfer appreciable thermal energy. The water only lowers the coefficient of friction to a reasonable level that protects the packing and shaft. If you use an impregnated material (PTFE, graphite, etc. see Gore) the coefficient of friction between packing and shaft is low enough without a water film. The only issue might be after launch on some hulls where an air pocket might occur. A burp procedure might be necessary in that case.
 
Aug 11, 2011
662
O'day 30 313 Georgetown MD
When I installed mine, my best friend (and when it comes to boating, my mentor) asked me why I did not get the style with PTFE etc. I had talked to a very knowledgeable person at a local boat supply store, who explained for my older boat and as I was going to use the existing stuffing box, the standard packing should be used, not the more modern stuff. It makes perfect sense to me that once the stuffing rope is wet and swollen, it helps the stop of water and has minimum yet some lubrication properties. Just like jute stuffing on wooden boats.
When I rebuilt my 1960 Triumph TR3 engine, one part of the rebuild was to cut similar felt packing and soak in mineral oil, before packing into the rear oil sealing cap. Very similar reasoning to this packing gland.

And as a disclaimer, this is just my two cents worth, not necessarily true or proven as such.