Cutlass Bearing

Cutlass Bearing  Replacement

In order to remove the rudder (it slides forward as well as down) we had to remove the prop shaft.

Rudder Lift

Once the prop shaft was out, there was the cutlass bearing staring at me . . . you know how it goes.  After much searching on the internet I decided to go with Vesconite Marine Bearings.

Of course to install a new bearing you must remove the old bearing.  The old bearing was bronze with a rubber core.  There were two set screws (places for 3) that had to be chipped out of the fiberglass and removed first.  After trying a number of approaches we decided to cut the bearing out with a sawzall.  Important to go slow here, make one cut and bend inward to free bearing.  If you see white dust you are cutting the fiberglass tube!

Bearing_CutBearing_OutFor the record the shaft tube was exactly 2 inches in diameter, and the prop shaft is 1.25 inches in diameter.

New Vesconite bearings only come in a 2 1/4 diameter and are 6 inches long.  The old bearing was 5 inches long.  New Vesconite bearing below.


This meant a trip to the local machine shop to have the bearing machined to 2 inches in diameter.  We also decided to cut the bearing to 4 7/16 so that we could use a puller if the bearing ever needed removed again.  Machined bearing below, shown with a sliver of it’s pre-machined state.


Installing the new bearing was much easier, just lightly pound it in.   We installed two set screws by drilling two holes in the new bearing and tapping them to match the screw threads.  New bearing installed below – notice set screws . . . now need to fiberglass it in.


Bearing with fiberglass repair.


Before reinstalling the propshaft Randy double checked that the transmission coupling would slide back into place.


Randy Neiman guiding propshaft back into hull.


2 thoughts on “Cutlass Bearing”

  1. Hi
    I really like your write ups. I currently own a Hans Christian 33 and done most of what you’ve done, new engine, prop, shaft, etc…..the difference is that you had yours fixed in the States, me in Puerto Rico
    Anyway I’m seriously looking at a Mason 44, but the engine location and how darn tight it fits in there scares the crap out of me!! How do you get around it, oil change, belt, etc……other then that awesome sailboat!!

  2. Thank you for posting this. My Mason 44, Morning Star, also has a cutlass bearing at the end of its life. I plan to sail this coming season and then replace it in the fall. So far everything with this great boat has been easier than expected due to the high quality, but I was worried about this job, you article has helped ease that worry. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mason 44 – Don & Betsy