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jkimberly 02-10-2009 12:51 PM

Seafarer 26' prop shaft replacement
Last year I bought a 1985 Seafarer 26' with a 1GM10 Yanmar diesel. The PO decided to replace the cutlass bearing during the last winter he had it but couldn't get the prop off. All he succeeded in doing was to twist off the threaded end of the bronze prop shaft. He drilled a hole through the hub of the prop, through the shaft and put in a cotter pin to hold the prop on. It was at this time that I first saw the boat. :o

Everything else being in good shape, I decided to buy it. The PO had explored replacing the shaft and set a $500 price to it, which we deducted from the cost of the boat. I've sailed it for the first season without a problem but now that it's out and in my yard for the winter, I really want to do the prop/shaft replacement before I put her in again. In examining the shaft and prop, I've discovered that the prop hub has a crack in it extending from the extreme rear almost to the front end. :eek:

I was able to remove the prop without too much trouble (not sure why he had so much?!?) and slide the shaft out as far as it will go but it hits the rudder stanchion (?) before it will clear the cutlass bearing. The cutlass bearing is in a skeg about mid-way between the hull and rudder stanchion. Without removing the engine, there appears to be no way to remove the shaft other than to cut it in two. :confused: I'm sure this won't be a problem as it's bronze. The issue is that to install the new shaft, I'll have to depend on getting the clearance I need by removing/replacing the cutlass bearing.

Without a cutlass bearing in the skeg, I SHOULD be able to get enough side to side clearance to get the shaft past the rudder stanchion and then slide the cutlass bearing up the shaft and into the skeg. I suppose I could get a bearing puller to remove the bearing first but it really seems to be easier to just pull the shaft and cut the bearing out.

As I go through this, I'll try to take pictures of the procedure and post them here but I wondered if anyone else has had to go through this type of grief. This seems like an awful lot of "stuff" to go through just to replace a shaft and you'd think there should be an easier way to accomplish it. BTW, the PO's estimate of the cost is pretty close, w/o labor. Least expensive prop (Michigan Sailor 2 blade) I've been able to find is $285 (13x10 RH 1"), stainless shaft is about $180 and cutlass bearing is about $35.

Anyone care to add their own thoughts or story of how you did this?

Thanks and
"Fair Winds"


Bazzer 02-10-2009 04:51 PM

I have the same problem!
Hi, I have the same problem on a Newport 30, mine is worst since the gearbox is slipping as well. My coupling is really rusty and frozen onto a already to long shaft. The only answer is to remove the rudder I'm afraid.


jkimberly 02-11-2009 08:35 AM

Unfortunately, it's not a matter of removing the rudder (wish it was that simple!)

The Seafarer has a modified keel somewhere between a fin and full and the rudder is mounted onto an extension of that. This is the part that is actually in the way - it's part of the bottom so it cannot be removed.

With a slipping gearbox, you may end up removing the motor anyway to replace/repair the gearbox. If that's the case you might get lucky and be able to pull the shaft whole up into the boat to remove it. Use LOTS of penetrating oil (PB Blaster) on the connection but try to avoid getting it on ANY gaskets as it will eat them!


Northeaster 02-11-2009 11:53 AM

Although I have only owned 2 sailboats (a Seafarer 26, and 30) I am pretty familiar with them - have redone alot on my current 30'er.

I have seen pics of the 26, and it is basiclaly the same design as both of mine.
I believe your cutless is mounted in a prop strut. And, as you mentioned, when you try to pull the shaft aft, it will hit on the skeg (ahead of the rudder). I think you will find that is is mis-aligned a bit on purpose, and if you put a large pipe wrench on the strut, with a long pipe on the wrench for powert, you can temporarily twisting it enough to have another person pull the shaft clear. I was a bit leary of damaging the bronze strut, but an experienced diy'er told me it was common to do that. My prop shaft passed by the skeg on the port side!

If you don't want to try twisting it, you can afirly easily loosen off the engine mounts, raise the engine enough to have the shaft pass out underneath it. I would be very careful to mark (perahps with paint, etc) the position of the upper and lower nuts on the engine mounts, so you don't need to re-align the engine afterwards.

If you take the shaft to a machine shop, they may be able to repair the end.

here's a link to some of the pics form my work on my 1978 Seafarer 30:

Dscn0810 - Cleaned / painted engine compartment and engine Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery

Northeaster 02-11-2009 11:55 AM

Once you see the 1st pic, click on "View all of Northeaster's pics" to see the rest of them.

jkimberly 02-17-2009 11:04 AM

Surprisingly enough, this really worked! :) At first I was very hesitant to attempt bending the bronze prop skeg - I could see it already in my minds eye; put the pipe wrench on it, add a pipe and start to apply pressure when "POP" goes the skeg! Significantly adding to the project in both time and money.

However, using the aforementioned pipe wrench and a piece of PVC tubing along with a couple of large cinder blocks for weight on the pipe, caused the skeg to bend "just enough" to where I could work the shaft out :D I'll reuse this procedure to put the new shaft back in and document it then with pictures.

Moving on to acquire the necessary parts. 7 week lead time for a Michigan Sailor 2 blade :eek: need to get that ordered quick . . . .

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