The stuffing box is still within Annabel Lee. No efforts, banged knuckles or colorful language could persuade it otherwise.
It took some fine-tuning to make Really Big Wrench #2 fit properly but once it did Frank was able to turn the stuffing box, breaking it free from the bulkhead. So far, so good. Our next question — was it threaded on the stern tube or just pressed and bedded in — was answered when we found a gasket within the orange PhillyBond. I think it’s safe to say a gasket like that wouldn’t be present if it were threaded on. Unfortunately, without any means of apply pressure from behind our only option is to pull it from the bulkhead. That will require creating a bracket to mount on the stuffing box, a bracket we’ll mount to the motor mounts, and some turnbuckles to gradually increase the pull between while rotating the stuffing box back and forth within the bulkhead. More fabricating.
Sometimes we feel like Wile E. Coyote, constantly inventing our next solution. At least he had Acme. There are no tools built for this, or at least none we know of, (then again, dynamite might be an option!) no instruction manuals we can find, and the worst part is knowing we’ll have to put it all back together again when we’re done.
But at least it moves, and it it moves, that means it can come off. It’s just a matter of figuring how.
And now, in the sh*t you never think to check but should department… I give you the stern tube water intake.
(Missing picture, I’ll be updating these.)
We wanted to replace this plastic fitting on moral grounds. I strongly believe plastic like this has no place separating the inside of a boat from the water surrounding it. There is a reason bronze was created. Many reasons, in fact, and keeping the ocean out is high on that list. Anyhow, we removed it to facilitate stuffing box access and found it nearly plugged solid with some white substance… but what, and why? Closer inspection of the fitting itself revealed the problem. When this fitting was first installed someone applied a liberal amount of what I can imagine was Boatlife or a similar substance, with the intent of avoiding leaks. When the fitting was tightened down the sealant was displaced and formed a significant obstruction to water flow. It’s something to bear in mind when there’s an overheating problem, though fortunately in this case that hadn’t become an issue, and it’s definitely something to consider when installing fitting of this sort.
It most certainly didn’t leak, though.