How do I access the packing gland on my v-drive?

I have the Westerbeke 33 with a V drive and I need to repack the packing gland under the engine. It drips more than it should after running. What is the secret to getting to it? There must be a trick since it is in very difficult location. David Williams (#154, Sunshine)

a. David, Pull your v-drive back. It may seem like a hassle but it does not take long; you will have a chance to never seize your trans bolts and a better understanding of your v-drive and how once freed from engine you will then do it again with little effort. You will spend less time and effort trying to get at those packing nuts with much more satisfaction. Cappy deMontigny (#169, “CAPBAM”)

b. David, We have a similar v-drive. We replaced the packing gland with a PSS shaft seal and have had no problems with it. They don’t need periodic repacking. It was put on by the yard at the time our engine was removed for replacement. Not sure whether it could actually be installed with the engine in place. Hope this is a bit of help. Brian Hall, (#135, Necessity), Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

c. I had similar problem. I have a Westerbeke 40hp, V drive, shaft 1.25`. To open the stuffing box locking ring I used a tool that is used in the plumbing trade.. Its adjustable jaws will fit most nuts. But for me the lesson in humility was to learn that it was a LEFT HAND THREAD….. Cheers. Dale (#162, Tranquilium)

d. David, I am the owner of #159, Corail IV Hull # 159. Indeed it is very difficult to access this important gadget. I assume your engine is located under the cockpit like mine which is the Yanmar 50. Also assume your V drive is located under the stairs leading down to the pilothouse from the cockpit. In my case, I cannot see the packing gland and have to feel blindly my way with both arms on either side of the V drive which is cornered by the the battery banks. Once you have located, by feel, the locknut the best way to unfreeze it is to tap it with something like a hammer head until it moves a little bit. Then using a special homemade key you can move the locknut back and tighten the packing nut. In my case special keys sold in marine store are too long which is the reason I have a homemade one. Attached are the pictures of the tool used to adjust the packing: packing gland tool , packing gland tool dimensions . Please let me know if you need further assistance. Good luck and feel free to contact me for any questions. Claude Gagnon, Sechelt BC (#159, Corail IV).

e. This is a rather tardy response, nonetheless it was of interest to me since I have a W-33 and just changed my stuffing box. I replaced the original stuffing box with a much simpler unit that only requires 9/16” or 1/2″ wrenches to tighten up the stuffing box. The original unit was impossible to adjust when water flow increased. It is a Buck-Algonquin rectangular Flanged Packing Box. Check it out at www.buckalgonquin.com . Tim O’Neil (#138 Whaleback)