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Old 05-20-2013
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Prop shaft / cutlass bearing overhaul

Well, I just hauled my boat this weekend, for the first time in almost 3 years! First let me say that I am VERY impressed with Petit Horizons antifouling paint! After all this time the only significant growth I had on my hull was the spots where the paint wore off completely! I could have easily got another season out of that 1 coat of paint!

On the other hand, I inspected my cutlass bearing and decided that it was time to replace it. Of course, as with all jobs on a boat, it snowballs! Given that I have to pull the prop shaft anyway, I should also deal with the stuffing box. I have had the boat for 9 years, and I have never done it. I have no idea when it was last done so it would be prudent to replace the hose as well.

All of this is new to me since my last boat had an outboard. I understand the principles involved, since I am a mechanical kinda guy but I am looking for some guidance on a couple of issues. A quick search online reveals that there is some debate as to which is better for packing, the old school waxed flax, or the "new fangled" teflon. I tend to lean towards modern solutions, but is it true that with teflon packing you don't need to have any water seepage as some sites suggest? Is there a down side to modern packing materials? Also, I have noticed that my prop shaft is not perfectly aligned with the cutlass bearing. It exits the shaft log slightly off center, and is slightly "cocked" in the cutlass bearing. I am assuming that it is simply a case of loosening off the engine mounts and nudging the alignment a bit upon re-assembly. Is there any tricks to achieving the best alignment?

While we are on the subject of prop shafts, I am also curious about zinc placement. I have always placed my zinc several inches away from the cutlass bearing because I didn't want it to interfere with water flow through the bearing. At the same time I don't want to place it too far from the strut because the weight could amplify any slight imperfections in the prop shaft, causing more vibration. Are there any guidlines as to how close you should put a zinc to a cutlass bearing, of am I over-thinking things?
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1979 Santana 30 Tall Rig
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Last edited by SchockT; 05-20-2013 at 03:06 AM.
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