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orientalnc2010 03-28-2010 04:43 PM

cutlass bearing replacement 31
I'm afraid that my cutlass bearing needs replacement, fortunately the boat is on the hard and I have 2 months to launch.
I did search the archives for the topic but only found discussions related to cutlass in struts which I have done before. Having the stern tube and the cutlass arrangement the PSC crealock 31 uses is new to me.
Could those experienced DIYs please share their experiences with me.

bjung 03-28-2010 05:54 PM

Thanks for asking! I will have to jump through the same hoops this year, and hope to learn from the responses.
PSC 31 #83

lsbrodsky 03-29-2010 04:47 AM

I had the bearing replaced twice on Asylum. The first yard had to drop the rudder, pull the shaft, and then removed the bearing. Nasty job. Expensive
However, Deaton's in Oriental, NC did it a few years ago and was able to pull the bearing out around the shaft and with the rudder turned had enough clearance to to simply pull the prop and slip the bearing out. The set screws that hold the bearing are exposed, you remove the set screws and use picks in the holes to free up the bearing and slide it aft. Frankly I was amazed at their skill in getting the bearing out without removing the shaft.
In my opinion, PSC did not do a great job of designing this for easy owner removal. But I was relieved to see that a good Yard could get the job done easily.

stevemac00 03-29-2010 06:58 AM

It seems like it has to be replaced frequently. Mine has never been replaced. Would you venture an estimate to how many hours on the engine between replacements? I'm contemplating a several thousand mile trip this year and I'd rather replace it before going. I checked it last week by rocking the prop side to side and it had almost no play which seemed good.

lsbrodsky 03-29-2010 07:11 AM

Actually, the second time I replaced it was preventive, not necessary. I am surprised Bernd needs to replace it again. Replacement depends greatly on alignment and whether your prop is balanced(that is, did not hit anything). I was working on well over 1000 hours before the second replacement. I would guess that keeping it wet, without a seasonal dry storage, is good for its longevity.

stevemac00 03-29-2010 07:27 AM

Wow! Now I'm really stumped. I'm in Lake Michigan so it's only in the water 4-5 months/year. I think I have something around 1500 hours on engine. I might have the yard examine it but sometimes more harm is done by disturbing these things.

Good we have this forum. I sure learn a lot of information.

JohnRPollard 03-29-2010 07:34 AM

Some time ago, a Crealock 34 owner, Dave Pomerantz, posted detailed instructions on how he replaced the cutless bearing on his boat. He did not drop the rudder, but was able to extract the old and install the new bearing with everything in place. As far as I know, the procedure would be identical for a C31.

You might be able to search in the archives to find Dave's post.

On longevity, I'm surprised to hear Steve needs a new bearing already. Maybe ours was replaced at some point by a previous owner (although I found no indication in the maintenance records), but we've never had to replace it.

lsbrodsky 03-29-2010 07:48 AM

The standard has always been whether you have any wiggle when firmly trying to move the shaft outside the boat. If it doesn't wiggle, you don't need to replace it, so it is said. I really will never know why my bearing had to be replaced the first time. The boat had been on an inland lake for 2 years and then I had it shipped by truck to Long Island Sound. In my first yard period after moving, it was clear that it needed to be replaced. Maybe things got out of alignment in shipping or maybe when the boat was initially trucked from the dealer in Chicago to my lake.
However, when I had the engine mounts replaced and an alignment done professionally, I decided Deaton's should also just replace the cutless bearing. They have a finite life, but I don't know what it really is under ideal conditions. I will say that if I were going on a long trip and had a couple of thousand hours on the bearing, I would want it replaced. But, I have always been a believer in preventative maintenance and replacement.

wsmurdoch 03-29-2010 10:01 AM

The push the bearing out with bits of pipe instructions are at

Ours was removed by cutting two small notches in the tiny part of the bearing that was sticking out with a hack saw. A bearing puller was used to grip the notches and the cutlass bearing was pulled out. The mechanics cut a groove in the replacement bearing on a lathe before reinstalling it to make it easier to do next time.

Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes

orientalnc2010 03-29-2010 06:56 PM

Thanks all for the ideas. I'll report back once all is squared away.
My first instinct is to pull the prop and pop the cutlass from the inside out with the PVC pipe method.

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