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Old 05-09-2010
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Replacing Catalina 38 Cutlass Bearing in water possible?

Hi,

Of course after replacing the engine, now I have found that the shaft won't turn and dove under to investigate and found that the cutlass bearing has gone bad (plastic is extruding un-uniformly from each end). My question is, has someone replaced a catalina 38 cutlass bearing while it is in the water? If so, which direction did you pull the bearing off?

I figure you can pull the prop off and then pull the bearing off aftward. Or, you can pull the whole shaft aft 18" and pull the bearing off of the shaft forward. I am a pretty skilled diver so working in the water is not a problem, but I am sure there are pluses and minuses for each method. Obviously, the best way would be to pull the whole boat.

It is a 1979 Catalina 38.

Aloha,
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Old 05-09-2010
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before you start diving... maybe the new engine is badly aligned? You may be able to get through the season if you play with the alignment. Just a guess mind you...
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Old 05-09-2010
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I generally recommend haulng the boat if you're going to end up messing with the cutless bearing at all. It will be much simpler to deal with any issues that come up and you don't risk sinking the boat.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Thanks for your recommendations. Its not an alignmnet issue as the transmission is not connected to the shaft.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Out of Water

If the shaft isn't connected and the cutlass bearing is badly damaged, you MAY be able to do it in the water, but why take the risk? The cost for pulling the boat is probably <$500 versus in excess of $30K if the boat is sunk. If you do it in the water and something goes wrong, it may be hard telling your insurance company how the boat sunk and getting them to pay on a claim. Also if the bearing is that badly distorted, I doubt you are going to be able to easily pull it out without cutting it, which means, you need the shaft out of the bearing.

Disconnect the flange from the shaft and leave the shaft tightend in the SB. Pull the boat. Yank of the prop, pull the shaft, and then cut out the destroyed CB. Replace CB, shaft and prop, and center in stern tube on the hard. Launch, attach flange, align, connect, go.

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It is actually a somewhat common practice to do this sort of job on commercial vessels but I don't know of anyone who has done it on a private sailboat. The first time I saw a shaft being removed while the boat was in the water, I was definitely nervous but for guys that do it professionally, they have it figured out. The reason that they need to do it is larger boats can only be hauled using marine railways or drydocks which are unbelievably expensive and can only hold one boat at a time so they are often full.

For your boat, it would make a lot more sense to haul. To pay someone to do it would be more expensive than hauling most likely. If you are really comfortable diving and it is in a strut, if you support the inboard end of the shaft and do it without pulling the shaft, the chances of sinking your boat are very low but it will be a complete pain. From your description of the bearing though, it sounds like the shaft needs to come out.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Catalina 38 National Association

I have no answer for your question, but there is an active C38 group and message board. Pardon me if you already know if this.

michael
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Old 05-12-2010
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Speaking as a working diver, when clients ask me about doing this, I tell them to haul the boat. It can be done in the water (and taking the right precautions, sinking is highly unlikely) but knowing what a PITA this job can be on the hard, doing it in the water only doubles or triples the time and effort required. It's your dime, but jobs like this have a way of growing into big headaches, especially if you've never done it before and extra especially underwater.

Do yourself a favor and haul the boat.
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Old 05-12-2010
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It probably took me a total of 6-8 hours to replace my cutlass bearing and that was on the hard. I had to take the rudder off and cut the bearing out with an inside out hacksaw blade. No fun.

Now it was my first time so I was slow but it was not an easy job. I dive but would never attempt this in the water.
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