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Michigan boarder

'94 Echelon play in drive shaft?

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Michigan boarder

Well there goes my weekend. I was pulling a couple of seaweed strands off of the prop yesterday and the prop seemed to spin easy. Grabbed and pushed side to side on it and the drive shaft has some serious slop in it, like probably .020" at least. I assume there is/was a bearing in there? The last time we used the boat was last weekend. I do remember it making a little noise when we first launched it, but then it stopped after like 15 seconds and ran fine all day long. I assumed it was just the packing was dry or something. We wakeboarded, cruised around, etc. without any noise or anything.

How do I fix it? '94 Echelon Lx.

Edited by Michigan boarder

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Raeden

Sounds to me like your strut bearings are worn out. I just had the same issue with my boat. I ordered the bearings from skidim and repaired it myself. I'm not sure if your boat is the same but, It really isn't that difficult at all. I removed the strut cut a groove in one of the old bearings and carefully pounded it out. The I found a socket that fit perfectly in the strut so I could hammer out the other bearing with ease. Before I installed the new bearings I put them in the freezer for about an hour, they then fit in the strut fairly easy. Do a search and you will find some really good info on this. Good luck! Hopefully your back on the water soon!

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jkendallmsce

There is a very well done video on Youtube that shows in detail how to remove and install new cutless bearings.

You actually removed the strut from the boat??

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Raeden

Yep. It wasn't that bad. 6 bolts. The biggest pain was cleaning the silicone from the surface of the boat and hds box.

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Woodski

Strut bearings worn out. The other option is to have the boat slightly askew on the trailer so the rudder can drop down, then you can remove the drive shaft from the boat. Either way works just fine. I would recommend replacing with the white vesconite bushings made by OJ, they are lower friction and work well, also available from SkiDim. After you replace you will need to align the engine so there is no additional load on the new bearings.

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Michigan boarder

Thanks guys, sounds simple enough. I'll take another look at everything and figure out which route is easiest.

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jkendallmsce

Still can't quite figure out why it is called a cutless bearing, when it is not a bearing at all.....but everyone says cement truck, and its really concrete truck, with cement being one of the ingrediaents of concrete???

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Michigan boarder

I'm going to drop the rudder. I have lift equipment avaiable to lift the back of the boat by the eyes and drop the rudder down.

Regarding the rudder - there is some play there too. Like 1/8" side to side and 1/8" front to back. That is measuring the bottom of the rudder while pushing on it in different directions. Is this too much, should it be rock solid (reference Vettesetter's recent post)? I grease it annually, but that was in the spring.

Woodski - how do I align the engine? I did see the white fittings you referred to on Skidim.

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85 Barefoot

You actually might not need to drop rudder but you do need to get the shaft out. If you want to use skidim awesome slide hammer you will need to drop rudder tho. I second the white plastic ones. Align the engine first by seeing if its out of alignment. Shaft and output coupler should line up within .003". Test that with a feeler gauge. Remember to line it up with the natural angle of the shaft through strut not letting gravity pull it down. If it out of alignment then it's a process of loosening the tensioning bolts on engine mounts and adjusting. A litle hard to describe but you'll see how they move up and down.

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85 Barefoot

Still can't quite figure out why it is called a cutless bearing, when it is not a bearing at all.....but everyone says cement truck, and its really concrete truck, with cement being one of the ingrediaents of concrete???

should be called a bushing

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Michigan boarder

You actually might not need to drop rudder but you do need to get the shaft out. If you want to use skidim awesome slide hammer you will need to drop rudder tho. I second the white plastic ones. Align the engine first by seeing if its out of alignment. Shaft and output coupler should line up within .003". Test that with a feeler gauge. Remember to line it up with the natural angle of the shaft through strut not letting gravity pull it down. If it out of alignment then it's a process of loosening the tensioning bolts on engine mounts and adjusting. A litle hard to describe but you'll see how they move up and down.

Thanks 85, I will do this when I get into it.

Any thoughts on the rudder? Is 1/8" play in each direction, measuring at the bottom of the rudder, too much? Should it be rock solid? (Please say no).

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Woodski

85 BF did a good job on the alignment description, and as he noted, make sure you don't just let it droop on it's own weight, most likely you won't have to adjust the vertical height much at all, if any. There are 4 engine mounts that are threaded with jam nuts on top and bottom, you simply loosen them to move that mount up or down to adjust the height. You will loosen the 4 coupler attachment bolts and keep one "snug" and use a feeler gauge at 180 degrees and check the gap both horizontally and vertically. If greater than .003" you will need to adjust the height or rotation a bit to bring it back in alignment. Notice on the mounts you can do both vertical and lateral movements to basically move the engine around as needed.

As for the rudder, you can actually shove the boat over to one side of the tailer and the rudder should fall to the ground and miss the trailer guard. I was fortunate that when my rudder was sloppy, I simply went to Tractor Supply and got some big diameter stainless washers and shimmed the rudder up as it does ride on the tiller surface as I remember. I cleaned up the shaft a bit with emery cloth. I can't remember if I got some bushings to replace but if I did they were nothing very special. Do you have a steering hitch, or need extra grunt to turn (left if I remember correctly). That will go away when you do a rudder tune, makes the steering much nicer. Don't overgrease the rudder as too much grease can make them lock up. Also, check the heim fitting at tiller, that allows some wheel slop when it wears out,

While you are at it, you might think about the dripless shaft seal, they are quite nice, and the bilge is much drier. . .

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Michigan boarder

Thanks Woodski.

Both you guys, I appreciate all your help. This site rocks, there's no way I'd be tackling this otherwise. I plan on a disassembly this Sunday.

Steering isn't bad under power, but not 1 finger. More like 4 loose fingers on the wheel. On the trailer steering is effortless. I greased the rudder last night, and the play didn't change much. There is just enough play to make a clunk when I put pressure on it from one side to another. Great suggestion on the washers, I'll figure that all out when I remove it.

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Michigan boarder

I briefly worked on this last night. I jacked the boat up off of the trailer with a car jack and a piece of hardwood to spread the load, very easy. Rudder came down no problem, plenty of room.

post-8942-0-15107900-1347886050_thumb.jp

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Michigan boarder

Looking at the shaft, I don't understand how it comes out. I understand that I need to remove the 4 bolts here, but how will that remove the coupler flange and allow the shaft to slide out thru the strut? And the nut further down just turns off until it is off completely? Just looking for advice before I take it all apart the wrong way.

post-8942-0-91538200-1347886254_thumb.jp

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85 Barefoot

You will either expose another nut by undoing the 4 or you have one of the "older" type that is just in there by "pressure" in which case need to remove the allen set screw, put a socket between shaft and tranny coupler then REATTACH the drive shaft coupler using the 4 bolts and then "squeeze" the shaft out. Other option is a slide hammer. I have not removed a shaft with a conventional log, only dripless so I'm frnakly not sure what needs to go on there

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Michigan boarder

Now that I have a place to work on the boat, I'm finally digging into the projects.

I went the route of removing the strut. Since that is the part that I am changing out the bearings in I figured it made more sense. Took about an hour to get 6 bolts out and a razor blade skimming up and under the strut and tapping from the top until it broke free. Here are the bearings. The lower one was in really rough shape, the upper looked OK, just worn down on the inside.

post-8942-0-14059200-1366073148_thumb.jp

post-8942-0-98966200-1366073158_thumb.jp

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Michigan boarder

More pics (in case anyone wondered what these look like).

post-8942-0-81748700-1366073219_thumb.jp

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Michigan boarder

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Michigan boarder

So, while removing it the screwdriver slipped and hit the gel (of course). Poked a hole in it. Literally a hole, there's nothing behind it, like an egg shell. What do you guys recommend as a good fix?

post-8942-0-86639600-1366073467_thumb.jp

Edited by Michigan boarder

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Michigan boarder

Also, here's the bottom of the strut. So I pull it down, and find 1 washer between the strut and the fiberglass....just one, in the farthest upper right hole. Should I put it back up there? Either someone smarter than me knows that it needs to be there, or someone sloppier than me goofed up. Thoughts?

Edit:top of the strut, not bottom.

post-8942-0-99760800-1366073621_thumb.jp

Edited by Michigan boarder

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martinarcher

Nice work. With a coupling that has been mated as long as ours I always wondered if it would be easier to remove the strut than press off the coupler with a socket.

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martinarcher

So, while removing it the screwdriver slipped and hit the gel (of course). Poked a hole in it. Literally a hole, there's nothing behind it, like an egg shell. What do you guys recommend as a good fix?

I would get a good fiberglass patching material with strands of fiberglass in it that will make a strong structural patch. I'm surprised there is nothing under the gel there. There certainly should be. Can you feel inside to see how big the void is? I would expose the void and fill the whole thing. If it is under the strut and will be siliconed, leave it at that. If it will be exposed to water, I would hit it with a thin coat of gel.

OK, I would gel it either way, but I think the silicone would do fine if you don;t have any gel and it's under the strut.

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Michigan boarder

Lastly, here's the view of the shaft. It is off to one side. So I do not need to worry about that until I replace the cutlass bearings and bolt up the strut again, correct. Do that and then break out the feeler guage, and as long as it is within tolerance, I should not worry about how it goes into the hole, right?

post-8942-0-00987400-1366073929_thumb.jp

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Michigan boarder

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