Float Aligning Cutlass Bearings

2010 November 26
by Chris Brown
120' Intermarine with mis-aligned cutlass bearings
Float aligning a cutlass bearing in a strut

In past posts we sea-trialed a 120′ Intermarine and observed a bad vibration with the vibration analysis expert and took a video of the obvious problem as seen on an aft cockpit table.

The vessel was hauled for a full running gear inspection and repair.  What we found was not uncommon based on the vessel’s history – she had run aground.
Both shafts were bent over 0.065″ on the propeller end which is fairly extreme.  This in itself would cause serious vibrations but that was not the whole story.
After running through an Optical Scope analysis it was clear that both the strut bearings and engines needed an alignment.
This vessel had cutlass bearings in the struts that were float aligned.  The process is cover in more detail in a technical article.  As a refresher, the bearing has clearance in the strut barrel and room to align without removing the strut.  In the picture above you can see the clearance between the bearing and the strut barrel. 
Damming a float aligned cutlass bearing in preparation for injection

Once the bearing is set in place the ends need to be dammed with material in preparation for the Chockfast injection.  Chockfast will fill the void around the bearing for a permanent set.  A properly aligned cutlass bearing should be set for the life of the vessel if you keep it off the bottom.

The running gear is now reinstalled, the props spin easily with one hand and we are waiting for another successful sea-trial.
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