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SeaDeucer 02-23-2009 10:39 PM

Replacing Cutlass Bearing
Hey Sailors, I'm a happy new owner of a Jeanneau (Attalia 32 '85). However I have been told to replace the cutlass bearing. This appears to be a problem as the suggestion includes checking the shaft of course. However the shaft is way too long to come off without removing the rudder. In speaking with a mechanic, he suggested sliding the engine forward. Although there is great access to the engine on this model, actually moving it forward, and probably up and into the cabin seems a little excessive, to say nothing of expensive. If there is play between the shaft and cutlass bearing, is it likely the shaft is damaged? Any comments would be appreciated, thanks, Philip

billyruffn 02-23-2009 11:08 PM

It would help if you have a photo or two of the prop, shaft, strut (if any) and rudder.

Moving the engine does seem a little extreme. It may be easier to drop the rudder. Before you do, you might want to check with Jeanneau on what they recommend. Some rudders are designed with a tube through the rudder that permits the shaft to be removed without removing the rudder. The tube wouldn't necessarily be visible as it would be capped, faired and painted over.

On my boat I have to drop the rudder to replace the bearing -- it's expensive as it requires a round trip up an down with the travel-lift in addition to disassembly/reassembly of the steering, quadrants, etc. Even so, that's a lot easier than moving the engine.

re. shaft wear -- if there's too much wear in the bearing it can cause the shaft to wear as it "wobbles" around. How much shaft wear depends on how much wear there is in the bearing and how long it was run with a worn bearing. If the shaft is badly worn, it will need to be replaced. That, too, is expensive -- a lot more expensive than replacing the bearing.

Good luck.

saurav16 02-23-2009 11:17 PM

I replaced my bearing two years ago at the yard they used a hydrolic press to push the bearing out and by removing the prop the bearing slide off and the new one went in. I heard that you should remove the shaft to check it. But after replacing the bearing have had no excessive wear. The job was 180$ so even if the bearing lasts 5 years I think its worth it with out removing the shaft which is a PAIN in the @$$. Dropping the rudder is the easy part but the taking the shaft out of the coupler on the engine i heard was really hard. It usually has to be cut out. Anyways that's my 2 cents.

GeminiDaze 02-24-2009 12:42 AM

If you are a new owner of a '85 boat did the recommendation come from the survey when you bought it. If so I hope you considered that in the price. I have a 2002 Jeanneau SO43DS... my strut is bolted through the hull. If you cannot get the shaft out without removing the rudder or engine, I suggest removeing the strutt and replacing the cutlas bearing then re-installing the strutt. While it is out of the water, make sure you do a bottom job. Round trips hauling the boat will run $200 - 500 depending on the part of the country your in so you might just as well take care of everything on the bottom... check for blister also.

Good Luck

blt2ski 02-24-2009 12:51 AM

Remove the rudder, a pretty simple job. Your Attalia is similar in build to my Arcadia, but all of 2' longer. Should take less than an hour to take apart and install the rudder from what I remember doing the same 2 yrs ago.


deniseO30 02-24-2009 07:02 AM

remove the rudder.. was quite amazed how easy it was. but I didn't dig the hole in the ground until the ground thawed out! (the rudder had to drop another 18" or so to clear the tube.

trantor12020 02-24-2009 07:27 AM

if you have your boat haul out, its easy for the yard to drop the rudder to fix the cutlass. while the rudder is out, clean & grease the rudder tube and shaft.

Joesaila 02-24-2009 07:32 AM

This may help.
This posts looked worth saving.... Sorry if the pixs didn't come up but you can probably find it via search.


About every one to two years, hauling out at the local boat yard is necessary to keep my boat bottom in good shape. With the help of some boating friends, and the promise of some beer and lunch, we usually do all the work ourselves. I find the planning is fun, and the work gives me a terrific feeling of accomplishment and pleasure.
This was one of those times, in spite of how well you plan things out, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
My plan was to paint the bottom and boot stripe, add a new depth finder, and remove the propeller shaft for the replacement of the cutlass bearing. For those who like to work with their hands, these tasks are not difficult ones.

With most sailboats you must remove the rudder before removing the propeller shaft. If you have tiller steering, the rudder is held fast with a bolt at the top of the rudder post where the tiller is connected. Additional bolts will have to be removed if you have wheel, stirring; these bolts are usually located in the stern where the steering arm assembly attaches to the rudder post. If youíre by yourself, place some blocks under the rudder or have a friend hold the rudder before removing the bolt. The rudder is usually not heavy, so one person can lift it. Once itís removed, you can inspect the post and rudder for cracks or damage. Also, itís easier to paint the rudder when itís out of the boat ó you can get to those hard to get at places on the rudder and the boat.

Now for the removal of the propeller shaft. The sequence is simple.

First remove the propeller (make sure the threads are cleaned with a wire brush before removing the propeller nut). Loosen the packing gland nut until it is completely off its threads. Loosen the set screw on the shaft coupler which is attached to the rear of the transmission (see figure 1). Some shaft couplers have two set screws, mine had one holding the shaft in place. I am now ready to remove the shaft. Most boatyards have a tool called a jack hammer shaft removal tool (see figure 2). Just remember this spot in the story, because this is where I should have gotten expert advice. The shaft removal tool attaches to the propeller shaft threads. The tool is a long shaft with a sliding donut-shaped weight. The idea is to slide the weight down the shaft to the end. The weight stops abruptly, thus forcing the propeller shaft out of the coupler. But if your shaft has not been removed in several years and is stuck to the coupler because of rust, the tool becomes lethal. And if you have a 200 pound friend behind it, you will realize your worst nightmares.

After a half an hour of trying to pound the shaft out, my strength gave out. This is when my big friend gave his all to the removal cause. Bang, bang, bang, slid the weight down the shaft. Suddenly the shaft moved. Again he banged and the shaft moved more. Finally we were getting somewhere.

With the excitement of the shaft moving, we both got renewed strength. One more time should do it. With a mighty bang of the sliding hammer the shaft moved a foot or more, ďbut what was that sound hitting the bottom of the boat?Ē ďAh itís probably the packing gland nut falling off the end of the shaft.Ē ďNo, it sounded larger than that,Ē I said to my friend. I hurried up the ladder to the cockpit, down the hatchway and into the engine compartment. The nightmare begins. My transmission was no longer connected to the engine. The transmission housing was broken, the transmission gear shaft was pulled completely out of the transmission and to make matters worse, the coupler, still attached to the shaft, was wedged between the subfloor and the bottom of the boat. Panic set in. Because it was on a weekend, there was no one with any experience at the yard to ask for advice, except for some other do-it-yourself boat owners. I got all kinds of suggestions. The one I went with was to cut the shaft. With a feeling of total defeat I pulled the shaft effortlessly from the boat. This nightmare cost me extra lay days in the yard, a new propeller shaft, new coupler, rebuilt transmission, and a dent in my ego.

Remember when I said remember this spot in the story? Well here is some advice from some experts I talked to. Before using the shaft removal tool, the shaft coupler should be removed from the transmission. Apply penetrating oil to the front and back side of the coupler. Also apply oil to the key way. Inspect for excess amounts of corrosion and rust. Tap with a hammer to try to loosen the rust between the coupler and the shaft. Add more penetrating oil, making sure you allow enough time for the oil to penetrate deep into the coupler. Connect the coupler back on the transmission and use the removal tool.

Remember the removal tool should only be used with light to moderate action. If this does not work, remove the coupler again and attach a wheel puller (see figure 3) to the rear of the coupler, this will force the shaft out of the coupler. If you are not successful with any of the above operations, the coupler should be cut for removal. The reason to cut the coupler instead of the shaft is purely economical. For my size boat, a 1" x 57" shaft costs $269, versus a coupler for $50.

The coupler is usually made of casts iron and can be removed easily by drilling several holes in line with the key way (see figure 4). Once this is done, use a hammer and chisel to split open the coupler. Be careful not to damage the shaft. Replace the new coupler on the shaft. Donít forget to use seizing wire on the set screw after tightening it, then put a generous amount of silicone on the rear and front where the coupler and shaft meet. This will help stop moisture from getting between the coupler and the shaft, which causes corrosion and rust. This will make it much easier for future removals and a satisfying day at the boat yard.


Tools, Hardware and Supplies

Basic hand tools (Wrenches, Socket Set, Screwdrivers)
Crescent Wrench
Channel Pliers
Wire Cutters
Wire Brush
Power Drill
Drill Bits
Chisel (steel cutting)
Penetrating Oil
Silicone Seal
Seizing Wire

PalmettoSailor 02-24-2009 10:28 AM

I don't know how the Jeanneau is designed, but on my Catalina the cutlass bearing can be replaced without removing the propshaft. There is a $400 tool that attaches to the shaft and allows you to press the bearing out of the strut, then reverse the tool and press a new bearing in. Another C36 owner just reported having his yard to the work, charging 2 hours labor.

If you are about to set off on a long journey it may be worth the effort of preemptively replacing the shaft, but otherwise, you might want to simply replace the bearing and see if that does not adequately address the issue.

If you're saying you would like to inspect the section of the shaft covered by the strut, you should be able to separate the shaft from the transmission and slide it far enough aft to allow that. That process can be a problem and was the biggest expense when I had it done to install a dripless shaft seal on my last boat, but it certainly would seem a better option than moving the engine.

deniseO30 02-24-2009 10:45 AM

[/QUOTE] There is a $400 tool that attaches to the shaft and allows you to press the bearing out of the strut, then reverse the tool and press a new bearing in. [/QUOTE]

MidL do you have a pic of that tool ??? I know the 5 C-30 owners at my YC would have scows on thier faces on seeing said pic. :D

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