Repairing Cutlass Bearings - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 05-07-2002 Thread Starter
Contributing Authors
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 244
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 5 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Repairing Cutlass Bearings

I have a squeaky noise in the drive shaft that changes with the engine's rpms. Any ideas on what it is and how to fix it?

Mark Matthews responds:
The noise you are referring to is likely caused by a worn cutlass bearing. The cutlass bearing consists of a metal or fiberglass pipe with a ribbed rubber insert in which the shaft rides. The idea is that water is allowed to circulate up the grooves to lubricate the bearing, and that bearing supports the shaft as it exits the boat.

If the engine has been properly aligned, the cutlass bearing should last for years. If the engine has been misaligned, then the cutlass bearing will wear out much faster, causing some peculiar noises in the process.

Anytime a new sound comes from this critical part of the boat, it's a good idea to have a look at it, whether that means getting a diver, or going over the side yourself, to see if there's anything fouled in the prop. It's also worth noting the type of water. In silty water cutlass bearings wear out faster because foreign material often circulates inside the bearing. In any event, now is the time to ask yourself when was the last time the bearing was changed?

Some cutlass bearings inhabit struts, while others are incased in housings. There is no other way to repair a cutlass bearing other than to remove it and to put in a new one. The next time the boat is out of the water for maintenance, grab the prop and shake the shaft. Minimal play is OK, anything more than that and the bearing likely needs to be replaced.

To do that, the prop will need to come off, the rudder may have to be dropped, the coupling will need to come apart, and the shaft will have to be removed. Some cutlass bearings are held in by small setscrews, usually covered by several layers of bottom paint. Most, however, are friction fits and can be tapped out using a dowel.

If you have more questions, I'd refer you to either Don Casey's This Old Boat or Nigel Calder's classic Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual. Best of luck to you in resolving your noise problems.

Mark Matthews is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome