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