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Old 04-14-2017, 11:53 AM
nreeves nreeves is offline
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Cutlass replacement + shaft pulling question

I am about to pull the shaft on my 1978 Catalina 27 as I need to replace the cutlass bearing. I have read several threads and am still unsure if I HAVE to pull the coupling as well, or can I simply release the set pin and pull that way. Could someone please advise.

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Old 04-14-2017, 12:09 PM
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It is doubtful that you could get the shaft out from the coupling, but if you can, that is all you have to do. Just pull the shaft out and then you can do the bearing.

Most guys go thru hell getting that coupling off to remove the shaft. The coupling can stay attached to the engine. But, in my thinking, if it comes off that easily there might be a problem.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:25 PM
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You can certainly pull the shaft by removing the safety wire and unscrewing the little bolt over the keyway. Find and hold onto the key as you do this, or it will hide itself in dark spaces....

You'll find out after cutlass replacement if the shaft is in exactly the same axial position. I think you probably want to pull the coupling off at that time.

The shaft coupling provides larger measuring surfaces to compare against the rear engine coupling if you find you need to adjust the engine mounting position. It has a female pilot that fits onto a male boss on the engine coupling for axial position, and the two mating surfaces are measured with feeler gauges as it goes together to assure coaxial alignment.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romantic comedy View Post
Most guys go thru hell getting that coupling off to remove the shaft.
RC reminds me - I had to use a gear puller. It was not easy.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:28 PM
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I am reading a few more posts and reconsidering as I am supposed to launch in 2 weeks. How much play is acceptable? I have not noticed an vibration, but there is visible play now that I am on the hard.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
How much play is acceptable? I have not noticed an vibration
'Play' when pulling on the prop end? Classic compromise. In theory (like new), essentially zero. In practice, before you start to damage something else like the shaft. Symptoms: vibration, noises.

I don't have enough experience to suggest a number. Others will have stories of worn bearings....
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:33 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nreeves View Post
I am reading a few more posts and reconsidering as I am supposed to launch in 2 weeks. How much play is acceptable? I have not noticed an vibration, but there is visible play now that I am on the hard.
At this point it is your call. i've seen specifications as to how much play is acceptable but don't recall where or when. Depending on how you plan to use your boat will be a factor. If you are going to be away from home port on a cruise for awhile it would be a good idea to fix it now. If you are going to be near home port and mainly day sail it sounds like it could put off for now. Be aware as BP stated you may tear the shaft up if the problem becomes noticeably worse. Shafts are not cheap.....

TRUE GRIT
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:46 PM
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If you decide to replace the cutlass it can be done without removing the shaft but it takes a special tool. Might want to call around and see if anyone (boat yard, engine shop or dive service) has one you can rent.
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Old 04-14-2017, 04:14 PM
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I'm committed. Pulled the rudder, prop and coupling from the engine. My task for tomorrow is to figure out how to get the shaft off the coupling.
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Old 04-14-2017, 09:14 PM
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Way to go. Always good to fix the underwater stuff when you even think about it.

You might just be able to use a flat plate with holes at the coupling bolts. Stick a socket between the plate and the shaft. put bolts thru the holes and tighten away..
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:38 PM
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Looks like a 3/4" shaft and a lot of meat on the face of the coupling to crank on. Four bolts or three? I predict four hours, two sets of expendable smaller bolts and nuts to use instead of the threads in the engine coupling, some ingenuity with your cuss words, and that thing'll be off.
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:36 PM
nreeves nreeves is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement. I was finally able to track down the bolts i needed to work on the coupler and was able to get it off. I used a socket between the engine and coupler as I did not have enough space to attach a plate. I spent a good hour or two doing small equal rotation on the bolts. Things progressed well.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:44 PM
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Congratulations! And you'll be able to recycle a lot of those new cuss words you acquired for this job.
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:01 PM
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I used a slide hammer to pull my shaft when I just hauled out.
Removed set screw from coupling.
Good coating of PB Blaster on coupling, shaft and in set screw hole.
Went out side and pulled prop.
Attached slide hammer to shaft and start hammering with slide hammer.
Used firm blows but not hard, took about 5 min for the shaft to come out.
Tried to use bearing puller on old cutlas, wouldn't budge, ended up cutting with a sawzall making very sure not to damage strut.
Put in new cutlas.
Cleaned prop shaft making sure to remove any trace of PB Blaster before sliding though new cutlas.
Installed shaft and secured set screw.
Total time 1hr.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:59 PM
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In the homestretch on putting everything back together. I cleaned up the shaft, replaced the stuffing box pipe, and have a new indigo prop ready to go on. I need your input and feedback on two items.

1) Cutlass bearing installation. I tried tapping it in with a wooden block after freezing it, but it was clear this was not going to work. I then used a long bolt with washers and this worked like a charm (pic below). On the final push to level the bearing, the washer caught and bent the bearing (see pic). After reusing the cuss words I discovered in getting the coupling off, I went in to damage control. I was able to use a socket wrench to gently bend it back in to shape (see pic below). Any concerns with this? The rubber is intact and is far from the blemish.

2) Tips on getting the shaft back in to the coupling as I put it all together. This is the part that will keep me up tonight.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:13 AM
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Bad news: I would replace the bearing. It is out of tolerance against the shaft and the adhesive seal between the metal and the neoprene has been compromised. This leads to the neoprene separating from the bronze and messes up the shaft. Do it now while you have all the tools lying around...or do it later on Mr. Entropy's schedule and you'll have to pull the shaft out of the coupling again at the time and place he chooses. Now that you know how it works I bet you can get a new bearing in there in an hour and a half. Use a stack of washers this time, not just one or two.

Good news: getting the shaft back into the coupling is pretty easy. Clean the shaft and coupling with bronze wool and perhaps a Dremel tool, slather all including the key with antiseize, and it should fit together with a few gentle taps.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:35 AM
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I am with tenders. I do not want to guess if the bearing would be OK...I'd press this one out and spend the $60 or whatever for another bearing, and as tenders suggested spend a few more minutes making sure the washers, pressing rig, etc. align with the new bearing.

I'd hate to go thru all this and have a scored shaft or something in a couple seasons. I've done this job and I hope I don't have to do it again (at least not on this boat.) Also, you'll want to align the motor/shaft as BP mentioned a few threads up. The boat will flex differently on jack stands than when floating, so you might want to check it again after it is launched. Someone told me with prop/shaft alignment, "The tail wags the dog", which was key in helping me understand it. With the shaft centered in the shaft log, you use the forward motor mounts for gross adjustment, and the aft mounts for finite adjustment, and get your feeler gauge to read the same clearance all the way around with the two coupling faces mated (but not bolted together).
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Last edited by sastanley; 04-29-2017 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:11 PM
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Round 2!

Second time's a charm. Everything is in place and ready for launch tomorrow. I will work on the alignment once it is in the water with the mast up.

Thanks to to everyone here for encouraging me to dive in and helping me with feedback as I struggled through this. The sense of pride in actually completing it was worth the journey... and the extra $$$ I got to keep in my wallet by not paying someone else to so it!
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Old 05-01-2017, 01:46 PM
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Congratulations! Another MMI success story.
May I suggest you give us one more update once you're back in the drink and have done the alignment procedures?
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:06 PM
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I am not sure if it is just not visible in the picture but don't forget the cotter pin in the castle nut on the prop shaft!!

nice work!
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