Worn cutlass bearing? etc


27 Jan 2002
How much play is acceptable in a cutlass bearing . The setup is on a flexable vectus coupling and to the prop through a P bracket. When I move the shaft from side to side i can JUST feel a slight bit of play , is this normal or does the bearing need replacement?
If this is the case I have to remove the coupling all the pinch bolt screws are corroded in and need drilling out ( heat and oil havent shifted them ) and is it then normal to replace the stern gland while your at it . I think it dates back to 1989 and has done 2000 hr.
Do I just leave well alone until vibration is a problem ?
All suggestions appreciated.


4 Dec 2002
You are likely to be able to feel a SMALL amount of movement even with some new cutless bearings. Its a case of how small is small? If you do decide to replace the bearing you should find that it is possible to remove it from the P bracket without having to remove the shaft.


Active member
20 Mar 2004
Nr Plymouth
Beware of trying to remove the bearing with the shaft in-situ. Whilst this can be done as has been said, the problem is avoiding scratches on the shaft exactly where you don't want it i.e. where the cutless sits! A friend of mine has just done this on his boat and, despite getting two 'shells' that fitted exactly around the shaft and successfully removing the bearing, it was quite clear that the shaft had been damaged. He then removed the shaft and it now looks like a re-metalling or replacement job!

I'd bite the bullet and take the shaft out IF the wear is excessive, and from your description, this doesn't appear to be the case. 2000 hours is immaterial. I have just replaced mine after 20 years, and that, only because the shaft was out as part of a major refit.

You will also find that, whatever the cutless bearing material, a slight swelling occurs after immersion for a while, reducing or eliminating the play. If you check the movement immediately after lifting, you would see what I mean. You do not need or want a tight fit anyway.

Frankly, i'd leave it alone.



New member
30 May 2001
One persons loose fit is another mans tight fit.
Suggest you look at the manufacture's website
Countrose who are in Leeds. They explain what to measure and what is allowed for immersion expansion.

If your shaft has even wear down in way of the Cutlass bearing shaft they will supply an undersize bored bearing for you ( or they did last time I needed one)

Finally three points,
You will need to remove or drill out the locating grub screws in the P bracket
I prefer Brass shell bearings as they are more robust to remove
It is easy to remove the bearing with the shaft in place providing some care and thought is taken.
Best way is to use two half sections of correct diameter pipe sawn lengthways with a knocking knob welded on. Place each half over the shaft, few taps on the knobs and hey presto she's out in less than 10 mins. Biggest hastle is normally getting the prop off and reseating it on the taper.
Last time I changed Ronhilda's in the CI after a submerged lobster pot rope pulled the bearing half out of the shell, it took me one lunch time from prop off to prop on whilst the rest of the crew snaffled all the Salad lunch!!