The stop-cock to my house has been locked solid, but after diligently applying lubricant twice a day for a week it now rotates freely and works fine.

I now have a different problem, how do i lock the gland nut in the correct position? If I tighten the gland nut to the point where it no longer rotates freely then the stop-cock no longer turns, if I loosen the gland nut to the point where the stop-cock turns freely then the gland-nut turns with the shaft and quickly tightens itself to the point where both the gland nut and the stop cock won't turn.

Access is very limited, if I loosen to the gland nut too much it leaks, the whole stop-cock is covered with so much oil that loctite won't stick, and I don't want to risk smearing any plumbers mait on it for fear that I'll end up locking the shaft up rather than just the gland nut.

Any suggestions?

UPDATES The gland packing isn't actually leaking (unless I release the gland nut completely). The problem is that the gland nut is either freely rotating or locked solid. (basically the friction between the shaft and the gland nut is greater than the friction between the gland-nut and the body of the stop cock. A photo isn't really practical - the stopcock is at the bottom an 18 inch hole in the ground, most of the work I've done has been by touch only!

My solution so far has to been to hold the gland nut in place with a spanner the other end of which can be jammed against the side of the hole the stopcock is in. This holds the nut in the right position, the gland doesn't leak and I can turn the tap on or off without problems. This is a great temporary fix, but I don't want to leave my spanner down the hole, and it's very easy to knock it out of place unless I've very careful.

  • A picture of the gland nut would allow for suggestions
    – d.george
    Apr 25, 2020 at 9:05
  • Wow, having it 18" underground makes this tough. I would consider (and I have done this before) buying a cheap/sacrificial locking spanner; the type that clamps down on a nut and locks (we generally call them Vice Grips after a common mfgr.), and clamping it on and leaving it there until you are forced to dig the whole thing up for replacement. Sep 27, 2020 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


Your packing is old and stiff and will no longer seal without over tightening the gland nut.

First, try laying in a small bit of new packing material on top of the old, then tighten the gland nut to get a seal. If this doesn't work (there are various reasons that it might not, like: no space in the gland to add packing, old packing too far gone, etc.) then you will need to re-pack the valve, i.e. dig out all the old packing and replace it with new.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.