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Cutlass Bearing R34

Posted: 7 Dec 2009 - By: Malcolm (& Julie Fry) Denham
We seem to get through cutlass bearings on Liberte.  I have checked the shaft alignment and redone it so it is perfectly in line.  I used to use the large rubber Stuart bearings but Fairway Marine seem no longer to be in business.  I recent years I have used a standard 1.5"OD by 1" ID brass with inner rubber.  I believe the problem is a heavy engine (Bukh DV20) with a rigid shaft on flexible engine mounts with very little give in the cutlass bearing.

One (expensive) option I have been considering is a Halyard thrust bearing mounted to the hull with CV joint shaft to the gearbox.  It will just fit in but will be very tight.  My concern is taking 12" out of 32" shaft and replacing with a very stiff CV jointed shaft may increase the chance of torsional vibration.  This arrangement should also considerably reduce the noise.

An alternative is to use something like a Fenner Flex coupling with lots of rubber which would give some flexibility and hopefully reduce noise. Having measured the housing of the coupling it will be very close to the hull. I have tried to fit a R&D coupling but the bolt holding the flange to the gearbox prevents me fitting it.

Has anyone used either of these options or do you have any other good ideas as to why cutlass bearings are wearing out?

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