Cutless bearing removal

Whenever the cutless bearing becomes so worn that the shaft can be moved by hand, it should be replaced. Typically, this is done by pulling the shaft, loosening any set screws on the body of the p-bracket (invariably hidden by paint) and either pressing the bearing out, or cutting through the rubber and the bronze shell, then prying it out. This method is illustrated along with replacement here.

This tool, a Strut-Pro, allows you to do the job without removing the shaft. Thin pieces of metal ('collets') are mounted on one of these orange forms; by screwing them together you force the collets to push the bearing out of the p-bracket. Normally the bearing would be pushed off the prop end, but the rake to the standard C&C p-bracket forced the owner to do the job backwards; cutting the brass shell (visible on the left) off the shaft was the work of a minute. Putting in a new bearing is essentially the reverse of removal.

By eliminating the necessity for removing the shaft, the Strut-Pro turns a good afternoon's work into a 20-minute or half-hour job. The downside, says Ivan Vulicevic of C-Wolf, is that the tool costs C$700 with shipping and taxes (which sounds outrageous, but in fairness, this is an industrial-grade tool intended for service in yards dealing with boats with shafts up to 3" diameter).

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