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post #283 of Old 12-11-2011
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Inspired by you marvellous cheapskates, I undertook a low buck project, not the first, and certainly not the last, but I think this one is noteworthy.

Among the items needing renewing on my new-to-me '79 Endeavour 32 is a cutlass bearing. On the Eandeavour, the cutlass bearing (1-1/2 OD x 1" ID x 4 inch length) is carried in a bronze strut. Everyone told me that the way to do it was to remove the propshaft and sort of cut out the bearing from the strut. I have an (lazy) aversion to taking more stuff apart than necessary, so wasn't keen on the idea of removing the shaft. Then when I measured, I found that to take out the prop shaft, you have to drop my rudder. My response to that idea is "no freakin' way." I went looking for an option, and came up with this tool:

Strut-Pro Cutless Bearings

Now this Strutpro tool looks like an excellent tool set for a marina or maybe a club to have but a little rich for my single use. So I decided to make the tool. I drew up the bits, and sent them to my blacksmith buddy, but even when my buddy gives me a super deal, it was still going to be a little costly. Then I thought that I could maybe make the tool out of off-the-shelf parts. Here's what I came up with:

I know, it's a little unclear, but it's just plumbing parts, more or less. There are 4 1-1/2" pipe flanges, 2 step down Hex bushings (1-1/2 to 1-1/4", and 1-1/4" to 1" - it might be possible to find a 1-1/2' to 1" instead and save three bucks) there is also a 1" x 5" nipple fitting, with one end of the threads cut off. Fitting it all together is two chunks of 1/2" all thread, 6 nuts, 10 fender washers, and two 5/16" x 1" bolts with a couple of nuts and 4 washers holding together the "active" end. All 4 of the flanges have had two of their 4 holes drilled out to 1/2" to accept the rod.

Here it is laid out a bit:

Two of the flanges have been notched to fit over the shaft (forward of the strut) for the static side of the tool. The threaded bit of the flange nests perfectly on the end of the strut - though took a tiny bit of fiddling to get set properly.

The Active end of the tool has that piece of pipe nipple that slides over the propshaft perfectly, and is thick-walled enough that it engages the bronze part of the cutlass bearing.

To use, put the pair of notched flanges over the shaft above the forward end of the strut. Put the last inch or so of threaded rod through them, and bolt them up tight. Set the now paired set of notched flanges against the forward end of the strut, so that the threaded flange encircles the end of the strut. Slide the active end of the tool over the shaft from the rear end, and slide the free ends of the threaded rods though the paired flanges. Then slide the active end of the tool up tight to the cutlass bearing. Install three oiled washers, and the nuts. Snug up the nuts, double triple check that the static end is sitting correctly. If it is, start cranking on the nuts.

It took about 30 or 40 minutes start to finish to remove the bearing from the strut, much of that fiddling with getting the tool together and placed properly. A helper would have been very useful, but my teenaged sons would rather die. I oiled the active end washers and the threaded rod to help things along a bit. It might have been less difficult had I removed the set screws. They were so obscured by layers of paint, I didn't know they were there.

Once the bearing was out - that is, pushed out of the strut toward the bow, but still on the shaft - I slit it with a cutting wheel on a dremel tool. Which died.

Now I will get a new bearing, and use the same tool to force it back in.

If I were to make this tool again, I might go up one size in the threaded rod. I am not sure if the cheapskate design could be reworked for different sized shafts and bearings. I felt really lucky that both the pipe nipple, and the flanges, were perfect fits for my particular scenario.

Total cost for the tool? $50 more or less.

I am sure I have not been clear enough. Here is a video from Strutpro to show you what I have tried to emulate:

Bashing about on Lake Ontario and Beyond
"Ariel" '79 Endeavour 32

Last edited by Ritchard; 03-27-2012 at 01:17 PM.
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