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Old 05-11-2004
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Flange failure

This last weekend, the flange connecting the shaft to the v-drive on my Pearson 323 failed. Closer inspection showed that the shaft had parted at the flange having sheared all three flange bolts.

Just prior to the failure, I smelled something hot in the cabin. It might have been the fluid in the v-drive. This was the first outing of the season and I don''t think I wrapped anything on the prop but I suspect drag on the shaft as a possible cause. I might note that the shaft was free-wheeling during the tow back to the marina although it was making a ''clunking'' sound as it turned.

The shaft and cutlass bearings were replaced only two years ago. I assume that the flange and bolts would have been replaced as well. I hope they are not the problem.

I am awaiting an opinion from a nearby yard about whether the boat should be hauled for inspection before re-connecting the shaft.

Does anyone have experience or thoughts about this problem? Should I ask for a haul out even if the yard doesn''t think it''s necessary? Can anyone think of a reason for the failure other than the 20 years of age on the v-drive? Is this a big repair?

Thanks for any responses.
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