How much play is allowed in a cutlass bearing of a 1977 Pearson 30? The shaft is 7/8 inch, and the movement side-to-side is about 1/16 of an inch, while the movement up and down is about is about 1/8 inch.
Thanks for the question. Actually, the propellor shaft should hardly move at all, or not an amount that can be measured with a ruler in any event. My guess is that you need to replace the cutlass bearing. If you know the last time it was replaced, that may prove informative. If the boat is 'new' to you, chances are it's time for it to be replaced. We have a number of articles relating to cutlass bearings here at SailNet, and perhaps some of those can help you better understand your problem. Simply type "cutlass bearing" into the search box on the upper right hand corner of every page at SailNet and you should get a list of several articles.
Removing the cutlass bearing is a relatively straightforward process. Disconnect the coupling, and remove the shaft. You may have to drop the rudder, depending on the arrangement of your boat. With this out you can either gently tap the cutlass bearing out with a wooden dowl, or you may have to see if there's a set screw holding it in on the side that will need to be extracted. I'd also recommend that you subscribe to our Pearson e-mail discussion list to see what hands-on experience other owners might have had. Here's a direct link to that: http://members.sailnet.com/email_lists/. After you get this index page, simply click on P for Pearson, then you'll be asked to fill out some painless forms, and afterwards you'll be able to query other owners on how they've resolved this problem in the past.