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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My old A35 has a molded-in cutlass bearing housing, not the usual bronze, bolted on setup. It looks like the fabrication of the thing involved building up glass around an 1-3/8" glass tube. It will go for long periods where it works just fine but then the set screws that hold the cutlass in will loosen, being threaded into fiberglass, and I have to tighten them up. Sometimes the whole cutlass will spin! The idea of threading set screws into fiberglass seems like a gross engineering error to me. I do not want to get into trying to adapt a stock bronze housing unless I have to. My thought is to build up the glass of the housing even more and solidly bed in some permanent, threaded s.s. inserts to hold bolts which can be threaded in to hold the cutlass in place. Indents in the cutlass bronze drilled to accept the opposing 3/8" bolts. Will also drill holes through the bolt heads so they can be seized in place.

Has anyone else had this sort of problem? Is there another fix?
 

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Master Mariner
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Have you checked with other owners of your type boat? This does not seem like good boat building practice and may be a PO 'work around'?
 

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How about installing a heavy bronze collar for the cutlas bearing. How to hold it in and to the fiberglass still eludes me. Perhaps large splines or a strap, perhaps bolts for splines. The longer the collar the better, and the harder to install. That is all I got.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you checked with other owners of your type boat? This does not seem like good boat building practice and may be a PO 'work around'?
There seem to be quite a few boats with a fiberglass bearing tube. There is not much stress happening from a 3' long shaft, rotating inside a rubber bearing. It's just the threading of set screws into fiberglass that seems to be the weak engineering. They tend to loosen up after a while, probably just from vibration. Some boats have the standard bolt-through bronze housing but in my boat, thru-bolts would be impossible to access from inside. I'm thinking a fitting like that may present more potential problems than it's worth. The glass structure as it is, is quite strong and is integral with the keel. I think that adding a half dozen layers of mat and roving with a couple of tapped s.s. pieces bedded into 1/2" of glass will solve the problem for good without a major "hack and whack.":)
 
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One of None
Hunter 34
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"Dimple" the cutless tube where the set screws go, but not so much it affects free shaft rotation?
 
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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
"Dimple" the cutless tube where the set screws go, but not so much it affects free shaft rotation?
I just changed the cutlass a couple of months ago and did put in dimples on the three set screws but they didn't help. I wound up diving with an allen wrench. I just made up some 1/4" thick 316 s.s. inserts and ground them down to 1/8" outside the 3/8" tapped center then bent them to fit the diameter. (pic attached) Will grind the old glass out to fit them and glass over heavily and this time actually drill 3/8" holes in the cutlass to hold it. Deep dimples.

I will definitely epoxy in the cutlass but will wax/polish it so it will not adhere.

One thing I did not mention is that the bearing that was in the boat when I got it five years ago JUST got worn enough to change it out. There were probably 700 hours that I put on that bearing. It loosened only once during that time and I epoxied over the set screws. That held it for a long time until recently when I think the worn cutlass, needing replacement, caused enough vibration to shake 'em loose.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Please explain?
I would not want to adhere the bronze cutlass housing to the fiberglass tube. That would likely make it impossible to get out for the next change. By waxing with some sort of mould release wax, the epoxy will not adhere to the metal surface of the bearing. The thin nature of the polished wax would minimize clearance to maybe 1000th between bearing and fg tube. It would be great if just the rubber inner surface of a cutlass could be replaced by drilling out the old and inserting a new one. Then the housing could be permanently affixed and just the rubber replaced when worn.
 
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