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Through-bolting the Cutless Bearing Housing


I used the epoxy/glass wrap method to bring the stern tube diameter up to match the stuffing box about five years ago. Having the hose fit snuggly on both ends under two pair of top quality hose clamps is much less worrisome than the janky old set-up.

I also removed that huge mass of sealant, ground everything clean, and layed in some additional glass to provide a good backing surface for nuts and washers. The bearing housing is now properly bedded and through-bolted. There wasn't much meat left in the holes where the old lag bolts threaded in and I couldn't bring myself to launch her again that way.

For the "gunk removal" I went to an art store and got a "hoop knife" that they use for working with clay. It was still a bear, but much easier than using a straight blade.

About through-bolting, the glassing that I did was primarily aimed at filling in the "crotch" of the deadwood to create a flat, vertical area to accept the bolt holes. While I was at it I mixed up some mush and buttered the housing with release agent and lightly assembled the whole works with some mush between the housing an the hull. The idea was to put the housing directly on, and perpendicular to, the centerline of the shaft. Once it kicked, I drilled for the housing bolts and pulled it all apart again to prep for final bedding and assembly.

This is the best shot I could get. The black and silver circular blob above the tube is a bolt head and washer smeared with urethane. These act as studs protruding from the deadwood to accept the bearing housing. Future rebedding would hopefully not involve disturbing these. I chose to use urethane for this and at thirteen years it's still dry as a bone. I do removed the nuts during haulout to inspect for corrosion, so far so good. What the photo doesn't show is the tightly wound epoxy & glass tape "bushing" that brings the tube diameter up to match the stuffing box. This was a valuable project, eliminating that goofy original set-up and making the hose much more trustworthy. Seriously, for something that could so easily sink the boat, that original arrangement was crazy, in my opinion. Let me know if this creates more questions than it answers!




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