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Old Jun 20, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Backwoods Alabama
Joined May 2000
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Stuffing the stuffing tube

The Springer Tug has about 2-1/2 hours total running time on the clock. I need to get an idea of maintenance intervals and procedures on the grease-filled prop stuffing tube. On this boat the stuffing tube is by Graupner, using plastic (delrin) bushings with a 4mm shaft.

At the club meet we had Saturday I had I ran the boat for about an hour and water leakage through the stuffing tube. There was grease slung out on the inside and it leaked about 3/4oz of water. The stuffing tube was initially filled with white (lithium) grease, and I did have the feeling that I might not have completely filled it with grease when I built the boat. When I pulled the prop shaft this morning, there was significant water with the grease.

I was planning to pull the driveshaft and inspect it after a couple of hours running, anyway.

What should be service interval on the stuffing tbe grease be? I imagine that it needs regular maintenance, I wasn't expecting it after just a couple of hours. Is there way to check the grease quantity, short of disassembly? The stuffing tube has a soldered-on grease tube, but I had trouble squeezing grease into it from the tube on the first try.

What brand/grade of grease? Most folks I've asked suggest lithium (white) grease, but I have some "Super Lube" from Vacu-Boats which seems to have more "body". I have patr of a small tube, and think I can get more at the local Fastenal store.

http://www.super-lube.com/synthetic-...ease-ez-49.htm

--Bill
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
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I would call the leak, insignificant...

I typically fill the stuffing tube with white lithium grease, from the
automotive store, then use the propeller shaft to push about three
strokes of grease back out of the tube.
I don't usually have any water in the boat via the stuffing tubes at all, but
I make my own stuffing tubes, and the bearing tolerance might be a bit tighter.
The ships usually go years before I regrease the stuffing tube.

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Old Jun 20, 2010, 08:21 PM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Backwoods Alabama
Joined May 2000
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This suprised me because I wasn't expecting a leak or maintenance this soon. Not a big deal, I have a sump around the drive shaft and everything is waterproofed. I'll re-do with a better fill of grease and see how it works. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that I simply didn't have enough grease.

--Bill
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 02:30 PM
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W.L Upshaw's Avatar
United States, CA, Long Beach
Joined Oct 2005
561 Posts
I always fill the stern tubes in my New Jersey with white lithium greese and when I run the shafts back in I put my finger tip over the opening at the forward end of the tube to minimize the amount of greese that gets pushed out of the tubes.

These tubes are 3/8" dia and are 14" and 17" long. They take a bit of greese. I will pull the shafts and clean out the tubes every couple of years.
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 03:01 PM
Just Limin'
laser110's Avatar
United States, NJ, East Brunswick
Joined Nov 2008
1,325 Posts
On my recent Jim Wilder build I did the same as others an filled the tube with Lithium Grease. I filled the tube by placing some grease on a popsicle stick and packing it in from both ends. I then smeared grease all over the shaft and when I inserted the shaft some grease came out. So far I haven't had any leaks the grease helps keep the shaft moving freely in the stuffings tube.

Scott
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 04:15 PM
GILL
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United States, NJ, Hopatcong
Joined Aug 2005
2,518 Posts
I do almost the same as Lee, I use lith. automotive wheel bearing grease. But I use a Hypodremic body to shoot the grease in. With no neele the hypo fits a 4mm perfectly, but can be used on a 3/16. you know exactly how much your putting in. Then just a finger over the other end when you push the shaft in.
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 07:29 PM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Backwoods Alabama
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I re-greased the stuffing tube today. I used compressed air to blow the old grease out and it was clear that there wasn't enough, so I probably didn't completely fill it the first time.

This time I squeezed white lithium grease into the stuffing tube til it ran out the forward end, covered the hole with my finger as I pushed the shaft in. Should work well.

Thanks,

--Bill
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 07:32 PM
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PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
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I push some of the grease out, because one time I ran with freshly filled, and
full stuffing tubes, and the cool water of the pond changed the viscosity enough
to cause my boat to run very poorly. Once I had removed some of the grease, the
boat ran fine.

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Old Jun 21, 2010, 08:32 PM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Backwoods Alabama
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Some grease did ooze out from the pressure of the inserted prop shaft, I didn't let it ooze freely. Off boating tomorrow, we'll see how it does.

--Bill
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