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  #1  
Old 04-15-2013
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When to replace cutlass bearing

Last season, I upgraded from a fixed 3 blade prop to a 3 blade feathering max prop. I was very pleased with the feathering prop.

My shaft has some movement, just around 3/32", that is when the shaft is seated and you can push up 3/32". I am planning to put her in the water within the next 2 to 3 weeks completing final projects. It does appear that I can leave the rudder in place but will need to remove the feather prop in order to pull out the shaft. What I read about the process, looks like a lot of work...

Does 3/32" movement require replacement of the cutlass bearing?
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

I would think so, but I'm not familiar with specs on all boats. As a general rule over the years, I expect to feel some movement, but not be able to see it much. 3/32nds would seem like a lot of visibly noticeable movement.

Depending on your strut design, they make a tool that can press your old bearing out and new one back in, without removing the shaft. We had a thread on it recently, I can't recall the name of the product.

edit: Here it is: http://www.strutpro.com/
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

Sounds like time to replace... Any up and down..side to side movement is a good indication...
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

I work on the premiss that if you need to ask your self this then the answer is yes.
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

Yes,

Failure to will result in more expensive fixes later on. Make sure mounts are also right. Also if you have regular stuffing box good time to replace the rubber shaft hose if the shaft gets pulled.

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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

I went diving this weekend and this is what I found:

At the propeller I noticed that clearance between the prop and the prop strut was basically zero. Inside the boat I could see where the prop shaft had been pushed 3/4 inch towards the bow (that is where the normally 3/4 inch clearance between the prop and strut went).

I have a V-Drive so the prop can move through the coulpling forward if not restrained (it could also move backwards and fall out of the coupling).

After I had cleaned the bottom and prop a few weeks ago, I was tied to the dock and tested the engine in gear and giving it up to full throttle. I imagine when the gear was in forward the prop shaft slipped and was pushed forward. Then when I took the boat out sailing, anything above 2000 rpm had enough force to allow the prop to contact the strut.

the shaft coupling I have is called a spit coupling. The coupling is basically held to the shaft by a clamping force provide by 4 bolts. There is also a threaded hole for a set screw but none is installed. I checked the Yanmar parts drawing and they do not call out for set screws in the split coupling. But I spoke with a Yanmar tech and he said the coupling should have set screws and that is what restrains the prop shaft and coupling. Note this boat has been sailed for probably 30,000 miles and 10 years with the existing configuration.

I plan to install the set screws and then test out to see if that is where the noise and vibration I was getting above 2000 rpm was coming from.

I also plan to hull out and replace prop shaft, cutlass, stuffing box/hose and engine mounts. The engine mounts are working but they are old and rusted and should be replaced.

With a 20 Hp engine, would anyone know how much force (not torque, but force like what would be pushing the boat forward) would be on the prop shaft? Curious how much force these set screws need to hold.

Thanks for all the comments.

Below is a pic of the coupling. My coupling does have a threaded hole for a set screw, not shown in this drawing.
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When to replace cutlass bearing-3gm30_fig82.jpg  

Last edited by casey1999; 04-22-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

We advise that bearings should be replaced when clearance approaches 2.5% of shaft diameter. Clearances will be different for different shaft sizes from new. The above is clearance for a Maritex bearing, other manufacturers will have their own figures.

So a for 1.5" shaft you should be looking at changing the bearing when clearance gets close to 0.037" You have over 0.09 so way too much for a 1.5" shaft.
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

I am very glad that I replaced the cutlass bearing. Although it took me most of Sunday but it's done including removing the feathering prop and reinstalling it, polishing the shaft and realignment. When I was taking out the shaft, the rubber grooves within the existing cutlass just fell out in pieces. The compression of the shaft must have been keeping them in place. A few things that I learned is that you don't need to feel extensive vibration to realize that you need to replace your cutlass bearing. Also I was concerned that I needed a special tool that cost $700 to remove the bearing but a small hammer and round rod did the job in about 1 hour. Also it gave me a chance to check the shaft for straightness, polish and inspect any excessive wear, able to inspect the stuff box, etc...
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

Hopefully now you will not have to worry about your Cutless bearing for years to come. It feels really good to know that you have knocked off some long deferred maintenance chores and that your boat/engine/drive train are in near optimal condition.
Good for you.
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: When to replace cutlass bearing

They're not always so easy

Just finished getting mine out this weekend. I didn't have a strut pro and didn't want to drop $300. I looked at the video and the Strut Pro seemed a pretty straight forward tool, so I fabricated a tool using some doubled up aluminum plate I had laying around and some 3/8ths all thread. Cranked down on it and the plate just bent. The cutlass bearing didn't move.

Now those videos on YouTube show the bearing cranking right out so I remade the tool using some 1/4 inch steel plate I had in the shop. The steel plate bent, the bearing didn't move

OK, so I doubled up the steel plate and cranked it down and the bolts snapped! Still NO movement on the bearing.

So I undo the dripless shaft seal, undo the retaining colar, unbolt the shaft flange from the transmission, pull the shaft flange - all while bent into a pretzel behind the engine. Then pull the shaft - did I mention the previous owner had primed and bottom painted the shaft - then repainted over barnacles? So to get the shaft though the old bearing required hand sanding the length of the shaft.

Once the shaft was out the fun really began. I started by trying to knock the bearing through with a drift. No luck.

Then I scored the bearing with a hacksaw blade and tried to peel it back with a chisel. Still not moving. So I made three cuts into the bearing with a sawzall and then started peeling it out with a couple of different sized chisels. Turns out someone had epoxied the bearing into the strut.

Next weekend I get to clean try and sand the epoxy out of the inside of the strut and install the new bearing and put everything back together.

Did I mention that I hate boats?


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Last edited by JimMcGee; 05-06-2013 at 04:09 PM.
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