I found a little more information on the 'rope' seal.
It's apparently called a jute seal. My machinist explained how to install them.
1: Soak the seal in oil
2: Find the 'flat' and lay the packing down on the flat
3: Place metal or wood plate over seal and using hammer flatten the seal until it is narrow enough to fit in the rear seal slot.
4: Install seal into slot, and with either wood dowel or socket, roll and press the seal into the slot until it is firmly in place and seated in the slot, and verify it is not easily removed.
5: After fitted into slot, then trim the excess ends of the seal, leaving at least 1/16" on each side.
Anyone else have experience with these type of seals, and does this sound about right??