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Bent prop shaft & strut


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I have an older Malibu that I finally smacked a pile of rocks, smoked the prop and bent the prop shaft and the strut. I already have a new shaft, strut, prop, and packing and am getting ready to change it all out. What sucks is that we keep the boat in storage at the lake that happens to be 150 miles away and I am wondering how big a job this is. I have a prop puller, no prob, I already have the couplers separated and know how to get it off the tapered shaft. I see that there are screws that hold the strut to the bottom of the boat. Can somebody tell me if those screws just go into a stringer, or are they bolts that go all the way through the hull? Do I need to pull the fuel tank out to get to them? When installing the new strut, does it get silicon? How tight does the packing nut need to be when I install the new packing? And, any other tips you may have would be greatly appreciated.


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The newer boats struts are bolted through, not sure about your age boat.

Should not need to remove the gas tank, assuming your arms are long enough.

Strut gets silicon.

Adjust the packing nut in the water to drip once every 10 seconds in gear at idle.

Be prepared to jack the boat up off the trailer and drop the rudder in order to remove the shaft.


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Thanks Chris,

I will either strech my arms or put the kid in there because I just filled the tank and I dont want to take it out.

As for dropping the rudder, since the strut is bent the shaft will slide out past the rudder. Would I be able to put the new shaft in place, then slide the strut on and bolt it in place to avoid removing the rudder? Or is it easiest to just remove the rudder?


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The bolts for the strut are bolted all the way through. On the inside of the boat under the rear seat, you will find a bracket that holds your rudder cable guide. The bolts that hold it to the bilge are the other end of the strut bolts. Good luck and take your time.

You might be able to do what you said with pulling the old shaft out with the rudder in. I don;t see why you could slide the strut onto the new shaft and then guide the shaft into the boat around the rudder and then bolt up the strut. Should work and would certainly save you quite a bit of time. You shouldn't need to even reach under the tank that way. I've done a rudder rebuild without jacking up the boat or pulling the tank. I've got a 34 page how-to doc if you want it PM me your email addy and I'll send it over. If it helps it is worth it, but hopefully you don't have to pull the rudder.

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If you decide to go the pull the rudder route, which is the way I ended up doing mine since I was rebuilding the rudder packing at the time, one word of advice. The boat will most likely need to be offset on the trailer for the rudder to drop out the bottom. Usually, there is a scrape guard along the centerline of the trailer keeping the rudder from falling out the bottom. Not difficult, but you might need a couple of people to either slide the boat over, or go and reload it on the trailer in the offset position. As mentioned, the rudder strut can also be removed. FYI, the shaft did not clear with the rudder in and the strut still bolted in place. The rudder is very easy to remove and once out, a good time to clean and apply fresh grease and replace any marginal components.

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Thanks for the tip Woodski, same suggestion as martinarcher so I will go get my boat and just do all of this while I am in there. If I have it here in my shop I can sling the back end and drop the rudder. Doesn't seem like it should be a big deal if it is here where the tools are. I will post as I get into further and let you know how it is going.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, just a follow up here mostly to say thanks to everyone who posted suggestions, opinions, and tips, I ended up using some of everyone’s.

I did decide to bring the boat home and do the repair here at the shop, and I am glad I did. Once everything was out of the way the access to all the strut bolts, (nuts) was no problem. Since everything was out and the rudder shaft was easily accessible, I decided to go ahead and repack the rudder. I did have to lift the back of the boat about 4 inches off the trailer to drop the rudder, and the packing change was very easy. The removal of the bent shaft and strut took maybe about an hour so that didn’t seem to bad. Installation of the new shaft and strut took maybe another hour or so but the alignment of the couplers took me a couple. I would have them aligned within the .003” spec and as soon as I would tighten down the top lock nut, it was out again. I finally got it by leaving the top and bottom nuts tight, then loosen the top one a hair and tighten the bottom one. Next time around will probably only take 20 minutes. Anyway, took it back to the lake last weekend and what a difference. I believe now that the strut was bent since we have owned the boat. It always clunked when it went into gear, not bad, but just a little clunk. Now, you can’t even feel it go into gear. Nice and smooth, both forward and reverse. I did mess with the packing glands and did the whole 1-2 drops every 10 seconds thing, seemed good for a while but I noticed that I had to keep backing the nut off because it wouldn’t leak. I suppose I just need to keep checking it for the next several times that we go out until if wears in.

Anyway, with the proper tools it ended up being a relatively easy project largely in part to the posts from the people on this forum. Thanks again to all.


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