Re: Rudder Stuffing Box Packing Material

Paul Stascavage

Thanks you too all who contributed to assisting me with this project.

Just a few notes here to possibly help others dealing with this project in the future.

To clean the rudder post of rust and salt deposits, I took a 2 inch piece of schedule 40 PVC and using contact cement, I glued a small piece of fine sandpaper to the inside of the pipe.  This did a great job cleaning up the post and allowed me to work on the post without touching the gland threads.  I did this before removing the old packing so as to prevent most of the dust from getting into the gland.

As a side note, I use a similar procedure when cleaning the salt deposits out of the c-drive cavity before installing new seals except I zip tie the sandpaper to the outside surface of the PVC pipe.

After pulling out the old packing, I found some of the threads of the gland brittle and damaged with some remnants of some threads at the bottom of the gland.  I am fairly certain that the damage occurred merely from the friction of the packing material rubbing against the threads as it was removed.  I was quite careful with the screws and the Palmetto 1101 Packing Extractor to make sure I was not near the threads.  One of fiberglass guys in the yard used thickened west system epoxy, west 403, 404, and cab-o-sil to beef up threads.  He waxed the packing nut and installed it as a mold.  We let it cure for 4 days.  It worked great.

To cut the new packing material, I started with a short piece of 2 inch schedule 80 PVC.  I had a machine shop mill about 3 inches of the end of the pipe down to 50 mm diameter (the same as the rudder post) and used this to size and cut the packing material that is supplied by AMEL but is no longer cut to size.  It was easier than trying to do it on the post itself.

The new packing material went in easy with grease.  I tapped each piece down with a 1/4 in wooden dowel and then with the 2 inch piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe.

We launched yesterday and so far no leaks.  We will see what happens when we set sail in a couple weeks.

Again, a big thank you to all for their input.  The knowledge of the members of this forum and their willingness to share such is truly awesome.

All the best,

Paul Stascavage
SM #466 - s/v Rita Kathryn
Severn Yachting Center - Hayes, VA

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