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over tight stern gland ??

hello all, wondered if all you wonderful people could advise me .
we have just bought a lovely 46ft narrowboat , the stern gland is dripping a little which i understand is normal, but after about 32 hours cruising over 4 days and regularly giving it a little turn of grease each evening i have noticed the drip being more frequent , so i tightened up the stern gland by about half a turn both sides but now the prop does not turn as freely by hand as it used to before, should i worry about it and maybe loosen it a little or not , any opinion would be greatly appreciated. happy cruising

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | 5.39pm, Wednesday 30 August


WW says:

The stern gland should certainly drip a little, although the recommended amount varies from one drip per second to one drip per minute. The main requirement is that the stuffing box does not get warm and that the prop shaft turns freely.


  • It may be that your boat had not had much use before you bought it and, now that you have started cruising it more, the water is finding its way through the packing more easily.

  • In the short term, you could try tightening and loosening the nuts until it drips a reasonable amount but the shaft is still easy to turn and does not get warm.

  • In the longer term, you could replace the packing. I have just done this on my own boat and described the job in and article called 'Like a Fish out of Water' which is due to be published in WW shortly. Ideally, it should be done out of the water as mine was but, if this is not possible, it might be better to get an experienced boat mechanic to do the job.

    Graham Booth  | 10.40AM, Thursday 31 August

    If you can turn the shaft fairly easily and it does not get more than hand hot when running for a while, it will be fine.

    Rupert Smedley  | 5.10PM, Thursday 31 August


    Readers say:

    thank you all , it all worked out fine this morning, barely a pint in 3 days and ran nice , thanks again guys you're all wonderful.happy cruising and have fun

    jean-marc bedos  | 7.18PM, Thursday 31 August

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