View Full Version : Pulled shaft...replace cutlass bearings?

05-24-2013, 08:16 PM
First off, I'm not a candidate for MCOCD - rather I believe in 'on-going' maintenance, keeping things in good working order with good PM but would rather USE the boat as opposed to constantly 'finding' things to fix:)
With THAT out of the way...I'm in the process of fixing a leaking 'stuffing box' or 'drive shaft log' - that aluminum thru-hull part fiberglassed to the hull. So far I've removed the old fiberlass mat and sealant and have the area ready for West System's G-Flex. I removed the prop and shaft coupler with no problem. The shaft aligns perfectly with the transmission output shaft. I always check the coupler gap each spring, it's always less than .001. The shaft has very little 'wiggle' when trying to move it in the strut.
Should I go ahead and replace the cutlass bearings? All indications are they are not worn excessively, what wear they do have is even and symetrical. But - they ARE 24 years old AND everything is already apart. But, if it ain't broke....
What say those who've 'been there, done that'?

05-25-2013, 12:50 AM
If it were me, I'd replace them - but that's just me.

Looking at the picture, the wear on the ribs looks pretty even all around so they're probably fine.

But, You've already made your decision, haven't you?

05-25-2013, 01:13 AM

05-25-2013, 10:53 AM
Thanks guys.

It looks like hacksaw or sawzall is the preferred home mechanic method for removing the existing bearings?

If I install XPC replacements, what is the best way to seat them?

05-25-2013, 12:11 PM
I'd say hacksaw for the home mechanic - it might take a few more minutes, but I'd be less likely to damage the strut.

Never having done it, I thought the pbase article suggesting a short length of 3/4" all-thread sounded reasonable.

05-25-2013, 04:20 PM
As long it'd apart why not they are inexpensive... But the bearing still looks good enough... ;) - sounds like you're in MCOCD denial ;)

I like the shaft remover system... :)

05-25-2013, 06:36 PM
Thanks again guys, since it was a weekend job - I'd already ordered the XPC bearings, in case I needed them. SKIDIM recommends strut bearings between 300-500 hours, but Richard there also said he's seen them go 800 w/o problems. I'm at 400. Visually they looked fine. Everything had been pretty simple so far: prop removal, coupling removal from shaft, prying up stuffing box. I didn't want to end up with one of those 'oh crap' jobs and create another week's worth of work if it wasn't needed. A 4" Lennox blade and Sawzall took about 25 seconds in rear bearing and just a small cut in the front and then tapped it out with socket.
XPC's are in freezer now and I just noticed so is a bottle of Patron:)
Plan is to apply heat to the strut for expansion and maybe water or rubbing alcohol sprayed inside for temporary lubrication and slide in the bearings.
Then, test fit strut for alignment. It was dead on and hit the output shaft squarely in the same plane with the old bearings, I'm expecting the same with the new. It also passes right through the center of the hole in the hull. The stuffing box was glued down just a little far back, which had the shaft running pretty close to the bottom of the outlet, where it comes into the boat and also where the hose log is clamped. I'm going to reattach it forward about 3/4" of an inch. That means the new shaft hose log will be slightly shorter - but all will be centered this way. I'll lose some room next time I replace the packing and/or remove the coupling due to the Powerslot but will still have 'enough' room.
All new hoses (green stripe, just too easy to get everything from SKIDIM) are waiting once this job is done. After a test run (if it EVER warms up here) to check everything and set the packing nut - new fuel filters and impeller will complete this season's 'major' maintenance for the boat.
Trailer bearings need to be checked and gotta get those old leaf springs and mounting hardware replaced too.
Now, back to the freezer but not for the bearings:).......

05-25-2013, 06:42 PM
I am sure there are many a bearing with more than 800 hours on them on a well aligned shaft and not.. ;)

05-26-2013, 09:37 AM
XPC bearings pressed in. Not much difference in 'wiggle' at the output coupling end of the shaft - but man, these things are smooth. A little water and the shaft feels like it has no resistance.
Alignment still looks good. Aluminum stuffing box cleaned up, bonding areas roughed up and ready for epoxy.

05-26-2013, 02:42 PM
nice... how long did it take you to remove old cutlass bearings.

05-26-2013, 05:50 PM
nice... how long did it take you to remove old cutlass bearings.

Hey Mike,
With a cordless 18V Sawzall and a new 14tpi, 4" blade - about 20 seconds to cut through each shell. Even a good hacksaw blade (I like Lenox blades) handheld wouldn't take too long. I lowered the tongue of the trailer so I had room to work. And, my Sawzall pivots allowing the handle to rotate into a pistol grip which afforded room on the rudder end. I also soaked them good in PB blaster for several hours. Once I cut through them, I pushed them out easily with a screwdriver.
The XPC bearings were a pretty snug fit. I froze them, heated the strut just a little and still had to work them in with threaded rod as a press. Only about 1/4 inch of the bearing would start with hand pressure. I sprayed them with water to help them slide in. I read where folks had used soapy water, but I didn't want any risk of them moving once in place. They are amazingly 'slick' feeling when the prop shaft is in there.
Pressure washing the house, and now getting ready for a cookout have put things on hold until tomorrow.....

05-27-2013, 01:04 AM
thanks...I know I need to do this soon... make tackle this winter....

06-16-2013, 06:28 PM
With 60 hour work weeks and my daughter's HS graduation - my project took longer than I'd planned, but it turned out great. I secured the aluminum stuffing box to the hull with G-Flex. I made a peanut butter consistency paste with thickener to bed the box to the hull, and before it had set, I then applied strips of mat around the perimeter then covered the entire box with a layer of mat - this was all covered with standard G-Flex. I talked to West Systems Tech support about what product to use, etc. They are great, really know their stuff. I installed a new shaft log (hose). My packing is the Gore stuff just installed last year, so I didn't replace - easy enough to do later if needed but I don't think it will be. The alignment was dead on as before. The prop spins really easily. It did before but now it's crazy easy.
Bottom line, due to the nature of a non-mechanical fastening between the aluminum stuffing box and a fiberglass hull and given there will be some 'impact' etc from general use or rough water - I suspect many boats of this vintage will develop leaks around here. If you have an '80's era boat and the bilge stays wet, and you've check the other likely culprits (rub rail, exhaust, etc.) look for pin hole sized water droplets around this area. I'm not going to paint my repair, as it's easier to see of something is going on through the resin.
Installed new hoses, pulled her out of garage - hit the started and fired right up! Sometimes old-school technology just works:)

Razzys Wagon
04-13-2014, 09:06 PM
so, you left the nut on the shaft, put a socket in between the 2. used the threaded rod to pull the couplings together, and since the shaft is held stationary by the socket, the coupling was pulled from the shaft by the threaded rod. did I get it right?