View Full Version : replaced strut bearings

04-16-2011, 05:37 PM
I just replaced my strut bearings. When reinstalling the drive shaft, the shaft is very tight in the bearings/ strut. It was almost a work out pushing/ twisting the shaft through the length of the bearing. Is this normal? This is my first bearing replacement, so im kind of learning on the job. We used the oj xpc bearings. Thanks for any responses. Robin

04-16-2011, 06:00 PM
if we screwed up, i can blame my installer.....

04-16-2011, 06:16 PM
I would expect it to be tight because you wouldn't want the shaft having excessive free play. When completed, you should be able to easily spin the prop by hand. And yes we all have children so we can blame them for our own mistakes. It's also" God's punishment to us for having sex"- quote from the tv show Two and a half Men. Looks Good!

04-18-2011, 10:32 AM
I would confirm driveshaft alignment. That may have been the cause of the bearings going out in the first place. The drive shaft should spin without a lot of effort. If it is bound due to misalignment that will make it more difficult to spin.

Disconnect the shaft at the transmission. Turn the shaft. If it is turns easily then you are onto something. If there is no change, then maybe not. Rotate the shaft and observe the gap between the coupling for the shaft and the transmission. If the gap changes, the shaft is bent.

If there is no change in the gap the shaft is not bent. Move it close to the shaft without touching. Measure the gap at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. The gap should be within .003" at each location. Rotate the shaft 1/2 turn and repeat. If the measurements are good, then the alignment is good.

Final check, when you bolt the couplings together it must be flush. If it is right it will still rotate easily. If it is binding it will make it difficult to rotate the shaft.

Great that you got you son involved in helping.

04-18-2011, 11:30 AM
I haven't even hooked up the coupler yet. Where it is very tight is pushing the drive shaft through the bearings / strut. I had to use wd40 on the shaft to get it through. My understanding was that there should be no slop, but the shaft should be able to slide right through the bearings/ strut. I have working with Eric from oj too on this (their bearing) and he has been helpful. Will keep working on it.

04-18-2011, 11:45 AM
Certainly eliminates an alignment issue....

04-18-2011, 12:56 PM
Bent shaft?

04-18-2011, 01:30 PM
Bent shaft?

Either that or a bent strut housing. Did you get the right size bearings? If you have a 1 1/8 shaft and you put in 1 inch bearings I could see that being tough to install the shaft.

With the correct size bearings and straight shaft it should slide right in. :D


I just read the follow up post that you have been working with Eric at OJ. He should be steering in the right direction as far as bearing size. Do you have a flat surface you can roll your prop shaft on? IE kitchen floor that doesn't have tile or something?

04-18-2011, 01:44 PM
i have checked the drive shaft for wear and straightness and it appears true in both respects. i dont think it is the strut being bent, as the shaft is very tight as soon as is starts in either of each bearing alone. i have a 1" diameter shaft and am using the 1" id x 1 1/4 od bearing. it installed on the shaft very smoothly. Eric suspects maybe the bearings are too tight and is sending me a new set that he said he has checked per his specs. Will keep this updated.

04-18-2011, 02:04 PM
i have checked the drive shaft for wear and straightness and it appears true in both respects. i dont think it is the strut being bent, as the shaft is very tight as soon as is starts in either of each bearing alone. i have a 1" diameter shaft and am using the 1" id x 1 1/4 od bearing. it installed on the shaft very smoothly. Eric suspects maybe the bearings are too tight and is sending me a new set that he said he has checked per his specs. Will keep this updated.

When you get the new ones, slide them over the shaft before you install them and see how they fit. Once install if they fit differently then it might just be your installer! :D

04-18-2011, 02:14 PM
Also, being as far into as you are, I'd recommend checking the Propshaft Alignment (See post #14 (http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=37336&highlight=propshaft+alignment) for a linked document).

It made a noticeable difference in smoothness on my boat.


04-18-2011, 09:38 PM
Hopefully the engine / drive shaft alignment will go smother then the bearing replacement has so far. Im not sure if my mechanic son is ready for dealing with a feeler gauge and precision. he is more of wrench it until its tight kind of guy still. on a more serious note, Eric from OJ seems to be leaning so far towards either bearings that are too tight in tolerance or the drive shaft is possibly a little over sized. has anyone else ever had either of these problems? i bought the boat new in '99, so i know the shaft is OEM. i dont recall how hard it was to spin the prop when it was knew. my reason for changing the bearings now: over 300 hrs operating in shallow sandy water, and the bearings were starting to squeak when first put into gear and stick a little bit.

04-18-2011, 09:53 PM
You can get a plastic micrometer for cheap from Home Depot to check the shaft.

I don't have a ton of experiences with prop shafts but both of mine were correct in size. As I suggested, be sure to slide the bearings over the shaft before you install them.

04-18-2011, 11:47 PM
Eric will take care of you! Good luck and please keep us updates...

PS, I love your boat! I know I have told you that before, but the blue, white and silver/chrome decals work perfect together. Do you have any larger pictures of your boat?

04-19-2011, 12:40 AM
How is this pic? this is my baby last spring after getting her ready. ive got a long list of needed repairs after this bearing issue, starting with a new circulation pump, new amp, etc. hopefully they will all go smoother then this drive shaft issue.

04-19-2011, 08:03 AM
It looks like you are using a very long piece of threaded rod to install the bearings. Did you check to see if the rod came in contact with the bearings and maybe chewed them up a bit?

04-19-2011, 09:53 AM
i used plastic bushings on my install rod inside the bearing to help hold it center, and i inspected them after the install and they appeared straight and without blemishes. the one thing i didnt do and i wish i had was try the bearings on the shaft before installing the bearings and tested the fit before hand. i will be back at it as soon as the new bearing set gets here, hopefully thursday or friday. i will keep posting.

04-27-2011, 09:30 PM
Here is my update: Eric sent me new bearings. Fit great over the shaft. I installed one on the shaft. Too tight again! Took measurements of the strut barrel for Eric and he said the barrel opening is too small. I am not sure if the strut was defective from the factory, or if the barrel of the strut got bent/ distorted over the years. I just ordered a new OJ strut from skiertoskier.com for $217. This was the best price i could find.

04-28-2011, 08:38 AM
Does your strut have set screws? If so, remove them as they are not needed with these strut bearings. Typically the struts are bored to 1.5" exact. if there was any debris or burrs it will feel a bit tight. Take the boat for a run it for 15 minutes at lower speeds to loosen up the shaft to bearing and then take a look. If it is still too tight you will want to possibly remove them and take some measurements.

04-28-2011, 08:18 PM
No set screws in my strut. My measurements (eric saying too tight) were taken firm the strut with out the bearings in it. The barrel also appears to be slightly out of round.....

05-02-2011, 07:15 PM
I got in my new strut a couple of days ago, and just installed it today. it fits great! bolted it on, aligned the engine and can turn the shaft freely with one hand. i think my strut bearing ordeal it over. thanks to everyone on here, Eric from OJ for his advise and his company's new strut and bearing, and to skiertoskier.com for the good $217 shipped price on the strut....it was here in 3 days. the strut even has mastercraft engraved on it. works great for me, but too bad if you have a 'Bu, huh?

05-02-2011, 11:44 PM
Good for you... Eric does good work!

05-25-2011, 11:56 PM
Finally put her in this weekend and she ran like a raped ape! really smooth. i might be imagining this, but i think it tracks and steers better now then it did, with a slight pull. im guessing this is do to the old strut being bent, and pointing / directing the prop / shaft at an angle. The only issue i had was i had the packing nut too tight, and i almost burned my hand checking it after driving it a few minutes. I adjusted it to a slight drip and it is great now. i used the GFO gortex packing from skidim. if Eric was a little cheaper, i would have bought his dripless seal to go with his strut....im tapped out for this season's upgrade / repair budget! My thanks to Eric and everyone else for their ideas and tips for this head scratcher. Eric really went beyond what i would expect from a company executive. He's got my business in the future and my recomendations.

05-26-2011, 01:02 AM
Glad to hear it.