Stern Tube Leak

Want to know how to fix or improve something aboard your trawler? Ask Chuck Baier who, in two decades of living aboard and cruising, has repaired and renovated just about everything.

Stern Tube Leak

Postby MarkandSaradale » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:10 pm

Hi Chuck. I also have a Marine Trader 34 Sedan with a leaking stern tube. Have you experienced this sort of thing
on yours and what is involved?
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Re: Stern Tube Leak

Postby capn chuck » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:39 pm

If you are referring to the rudder packing gland, yes ours was leaking when we hauled out this year. I suspect that the boat is 30 years old and so is the rudder packing. If yours is the same as mine, there is a collar with adjustment bolts on each side under the rudder arm that the rudder shaft runs through. You will need to undo the four nuts on the two bolts and slide the collar out all of the way. We then use a dental pick to pull all of the old packing out and it is important that you do remove all of this. If the boat is in the water, a fair amount of water will start coming in so be sure the bilge pumps are functioning. Have at least three individual wraps of the correct size packing ready to go back in. Ours is 1/4 inch packing and we use the Gore brand. You wrap the packing around the shaft and cut the two ends with a razor blade on a 45 degree angle. As you push the new packing in, one piece at a time, you position each of the three pieces so the cut ends are staggered at lets say the 12, 3 and 6 O'Clock position. Don't line them up with each other. You then slide the collar back in place and tighten down the nuts on each side evenly until the leaking stops, then tighten down another 1/2 turn. Use the second nut on each side to lock it down. Once you have used the boat a time or two, check for leaking and tighten again if needed. That should do it. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, an experienced tech should be able to do this in less than an hour. After having said all of this, if you are referring to the tube the prop shaft comes through that is a whole different story. We do not have a problem with this but if you are, you will most certainly need the help of a yard experienced in this type of repair since it is not easy and not cheap. If you are referring to the stuffing box, the repair would be the same as above except you would only tighten down the stuffing box until the drip was coming one drop every ten seconds and then run the engine for a while and readjust. I hope I covered all of the bases. Chuck
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