View Full Version : Shaft and Rudder Seal Questions - 1935 Richardson Cruisabout

03-31-2012, 04:03 PM
I am wondering if anyone has a step by step procedure, and perhaps some accompanying photos, of how to properly evaluate the bearings and seals in my propeller shaft and rudder shafts on my 1935 Richardson. I do not know when it was last serviced or adjusted, and I don't have extensive experience evaluating either, so any direction would be appreciated.http://s1211.photobucket.com/albums/cc428/stangusso/

03-31-2012, 05:20 PM

Beautiful boat, well kept. Congratulations!
I'm not completely sure, but I believe that your propeller shaft has a stuffing box inside with replaceable packing. And a bushing or cutless bearing outside.
If so, the only concern is if the shaft has been scored, which would tend to leak, or the packing is old and not effective as it should be. The packing can be relatively easily replaced and the shaft can be visually checked.
As for the rudder shaft, usually they have some sort of bushing, and possibly a stuffing box as well.
Check for any side-to-side play and to be sure the stop ring has not worn and allowed the rudder to drop enough to effect its' operation.
Good luck. :) Others will undoubtedly be along with more advice.

wizbang 13
03-31-2012, 09:09 PM
The life of the cutlass bearing and stuffing box packing is directly related to the engine alignment.
If the shaft is hitting the cutlass bearing at an angle, it will wear an oblong shape into the round rubber part. At low rpm, the shaft will likely "wag" around in the oblong hole, making a thumping sound, which usually goes away at higher shaft speed.
So, one might replace the cutlass bearing frequently, and it feels nice n tight in the hole, but is not really working corectly, cuz now it is forcing the engine itself to wag a bit.
making sense?
the rudder tends to be not so important, it is not spinning round millions of times at high speed .
For good alignment, loosen the stuffing box hose clamps and slide it forward and be sure the shaft is centered in the "tube", in addition to aligning the engine. It is easy to have the flex drive bolts and coupling seem aligned, but the shaft is rubbing the inboard end of the tube.
Then again, this is best done out of water, where with a woodie, the whole kit and kaboodle can move when she is launched.
It is a conundrum.

04-01-2012, 07:45 PM
Tang, Your boat will likely have a stern bearing at the back end of the prop shaft, it will likely be a water lubricated rubber cutless bearing in either a stern bearing housing at the back end of the keel/stern post or in a strut, the first inspection involves looking at the front( if visible) and back ends of the bearing to see if the shaft appears to pass 'straight' through it, if so, the next test is to lift the prop up and down to see if there has been significant wear in the bearing, slight motion is ok, great big clunk, might indicate that it, or the shaft, is too worn. If all appears ok thus far, the next check will be so spray a little soapy water in the bearing and roll the shaft over, generally a well aligned set up will roll over pretty easy with the leverage of the prop. If any of these initial tests indicate trouble, then it would be wise to engage the services of an experienced drive line guy to help you sort out where the problems are and what the best solutions likely are.
The rudder, experiances very little wear, so likely just wants the packing gland loosened and a finger full of grease applied and tightened up and back to work... Cheers, Steve/BT

04-02-2012, 12:02 PM
Your questions have been well addressed avove, so I'll just say ..........Beautiful Richardson!
I'll bet she uses just about no fuel at all with that nice little diesel!

Lew Barrett
04-02-2012, 03:42 PM
You've gotten good advice here, but I will throw in my 2 cents anyway. You mention "seals" of which the only piece that could be reasonably construed as such is the stuffing box/packing gland unless someone has previously installed drip-less shaft seals (Aquadrives, for example). This is uncommon but not unheard of on older wooden boats. Everything else, apart from the stuffing box/packing gland component is probably external to the entry point of the shaft and will refer back to the advice given for checking external bearings and alignment.

To repeat, the issues related to alignment and cutlass bearings (or "cutless"...the spelling can go both ways as it is actually a trade name for the Duramax style bearing that "does not get cut") have been well addressed. If your concern is the ingress of water through the stuffing box, then let us know as the packing and adjustment of them is easy to explain. Repacking the stuffing box, even in the water, is not hard. A determined owner with no more than modest mechanical skills can get it done with a bit of coaching. The biggest impediment to repacking the gland is usually a matter of access. Conversely, a standard issue stuffing box that does not drip is also a problem as the drip is required to cool the bearing. The question of how much dripping is wanted is one for discussion.

If your concern is excessive dripping then, the problem is simply solved as long as the shaft is not scored (per jackster) and your alignment is within spec per boattruck and wizbang. If you are experiencing vibration and/or noise, then the complications escalate according to the remedy required. Another voice in the chorus of "nice boat!"

04-03-2012, 07:18 PM
Excellent information. Thank you everyone. One final question...How do I select the correct size flax for my stuffing box? And thank you nedL, she is a gorgeous boat that just needs some love, and she uses less than a gallon per hour of diesel. The previous owner used to refuel her once a season at 80 gallons.

04-03-2012, 08:13 PM
You need to subtract the diameter of the shaft from the inside diameter of the box to get the size.
Either 3/16"-1/4"- 5/16" or 3/8", probably.
3 or 4 precisely cut rings, offsetting the joints.
I like the PTFE teflon impregnated stuff. So maybe you will not need to have a drip.