Cutlass Bearing

Engines, Drive trains, Propellers, Steering, Ground Tackle and other mechanical system
F32Circle
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am

Cutlass Bearing

Post by F32Circle »

Pardon if I’m submitting this twice. No experience posting a photo.

I have no knowledge or experience with cutlass bearings, but there is something just at the forward end of the strut on my F32, that hasn’t been visible in the previous 7 years I’ve owned the boat. Looks like a thick black plastic tape or seal that was around the shaft inside the strut, and that is now working its way out, and cracking. What is this? Does it need to be replaced? Can it be just left as is, and allowed to probably fall out completely? I don’t detect any play or looseness as the shaft passes through the strut.

Thanks for any help.

Image
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

Tmack
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Rye NH USA

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by Tmack »

Hi - your photo did not come through. I'd be interested in seeing this, please try again. You probably need to resize it smaller.
Tom
F32 "TnT" Hull #11
Rye NH USA

F32Circle
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by F32Circle »

Thanks Tom. Yes the photo resolution is too fine and I cannot manage to post it.
If you PM me or give me an email I’ll forward it to you.
Dale
Dmr118@att.net
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

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GeoffSchultz
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Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by GeoffSchultz »

You don't need to replace the cutlass bearing as long as you're willing to have it fail (at probably the most inconvenient time possible). Based upon your description, it's clearly in the process of failing and it's just a matter of time before it does. When it does fail, your prop shaft won't be supported by anything and will bang around inside the strut, probably causing a lot of damage. This is a classic case of pay-me-now or pay-me-a-lot-more-later.

-- Geoff
BlueJacket
1997 Freedom 40/40
http://www.GeoffSchultz.org

F32Circle
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by F32Circle »

Thanks Geoff. So that black material is the actual bearing or bushing, not some superfluous filler or seal (like I might have wishfully dreamed?). I imagined a cutlass bearing being some piece of elegant bronze hardware.
Sounds like a project for the yard crew.
Is a cutlass bearing replaced by removing the shaft?
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

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bobr
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:05 pm

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by bobr »

Dale,

The black stuff is probably the rubber on the inside of the bearing, which is a metal sleeve that is pressed into the opening.

I had to take the shaft out when I replaced it on my prior boat. Big job as it was in a skeg, not hanging from a strut. The yard didn't want to touch it.

The yard will have a tool. They might be able to do it with the shaft in.

I agree with Geoff that the time to do it is before it fails. Not sure if it will give you any warning, mine had some play so I figured it was time.
Bob R.
1995 Freedom 35 (Pedrick)
"Liberty"
Old Saybrook, CT

F32Circle
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Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by F32Circle »

Thanks Bob and Geoff. I certainly subscribe to the wisdom of preventative maintenance.

I found some informative video on UTube. It appears that changing the cutlass bearing in a strut without removing the shaft is, whenever possible, the modern form of surgery. It requires a special tool set and some particular care, as well as removing the propeller.

In my case the propeller is a three-blade MaxProp. A very clear UTube on removing and reinstalling one shows that procedure is not simple, and special care is required to avoid mis-assembly upon reinstallation.

The alternative of removing the shaft may require first removing the rudder, so that approach is not particularly appealing either.

I will check again for any sign of play in the bearing and if none is detectable, I may wait and re-evaluate at the next haulout.
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

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GeoffSchultz
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Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by GeoffSchultz »

The black stuff that you see working out is the ribbed plastic material which is on the inside of the bearing. It holds the prop shaft in place. It has channels that allows water to run alongside it and cool it. Do not run the engine with the prop shaft spinning outside of the water. Don't ask me how I know...

Personally I have never seen a cutlass bearing replaced without pulling the shaft. This is not a minor job, but I've done it twice myself and have had it done by a yard at least 2 times more. However, when you're doing this, if should also replace the shaft seal, as it probably needs to be done too. Once you've pulled the shaft, it's time to do any other maintenance like this.

Pulling the shaft can be a difficult job, as things are frozen together. Most yards have a thing called a slide hammer, which they clamp onto the shaft and there's a heavy weight which slides along it and persuades the shaft to come out.

Removing/installing a MaxProp isn't all that bad. Just carefully disassemble it, record the settings and photograph it as you take it apart. If there's excessive play, send it in to have to refurbished.

-- Geoff
BlueJacket
1997 Freedom 40/40
http://www.GeoffSchultz.org

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JohnReinagel
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Location: Suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by JohnReinagel »

Personally, I would not gamble by waiting until next haul out if you are already seeing the rubber working it's way out of the bearing housing. The bearing assembly itself is a single piece consisting of the outer housing, often bronze, and the bearing itself which is a special hard rubber; they should not be separating. It seems to me that failure is imminent in a short period. If you decide not to replace it, I will certainly hope for yours and the boat's sake that I am incorrect.

I have changed one cutless bearing (my only one, without removing the shaft) on my Cal with a home made fixture that I made from 2 - 1" thick aluminum disks, some stainless tube and threaded rod. It wasn't a horrid task but I'd be lying if I said it was easy.
John


1984 Hoyt F32
Hull #53

sforgey2
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:02 am
Location: San Jose & Ft Lauderdale

Re: Cutlass Bearing

Post by sforgey2 »

I have replaced my cutlass bearing twice with only removing the prop. The rubber bushing holding it in was nearly gone. The yard said that they do this all the time, especially during bottom painting haulouts (we are in the water 365 in Florida). It only cost $50 plus a $110 bearing.

Don't wait, they dont get better over time and the vibration is problematic at best.

The biggest issue I have had was replacing the prop strut, which I had to have custom made and installed. Neither cheap nor fun as no one had the dimensions to create one from, despite my best attempts to track it down.
Scott Forgey
Girlfriend
Freedom 32 Hoyt #85

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