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Is my driveshaft strut bent?


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Is my driveshaft strut bent?

Here is the short version - 2002 Wakesetter VLX - I noticed my strut bearings were shot when switching my prop a few weeks ago, which wasn't too surprising because they're probably old. When I took the shaft out to replace the bushings, I noticed that the shaft coupler was not aligned with the v-drive very well. I was hoping it was just because the bushings were shot and not holding the driveshaft straight. First I replaced the bushings with the vesconite versions, then I checked the drive shaft and coupler for straightness (see my other post here about that) and they are straight. I then put the shaft back in and put the coupler on and pulled the rubber hose for the seal off the log so I could see if it was centered - the shaft is off to the right about 1/8" and low by about 1/16" when facing towards the back of the boat. I can lift the driveshaft up and over, but it snaps right back when I let go. It's also touching the side of the shaft log on the right. See the attached pictures:

IMG_1130b.jpg

IMG_1129b.jpg

First of all - is there any adjustment in the bolts that the strut attaches to the boat with? Can I loosen them (replace the sealant), straighten it out, then re-tighten? Of course, this would only help with the side-to-side distance.

Second - Is this a lot? I know they are supposed to be centered and aligned, but I really don't know if this is way out of spec or not. This is my first v-drive, I came from the out-drive world.

Third - Can the strut be bent back, or do I need a new one?

I'm pretty sure it's not the driveshaft - I can turn it by hand and the spacing doesn't change. We haven't hit anything (that we know about), but we bought the boat last year and this could have been a pre-existing condition.

Here it is from the back, I can't tell that it's bent from this angle:

IMG_1139.jpg

 

Any ideas? Or am I spending money on a new strut?

Thanks in advance!

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The engine/transmission/Vdrive align to the shaft log and strut not the other way around.  Check your mounts and make sure they are not loose.  If that pic of the shaft log is with the coupler and flange together you have some alignment issues.  You need to get a feeler gauge and check.  From it picture ls you appears off (assuming everything else is good ie strut and shaft) 

Start with these...

 

 

 

Edited by RedWakesetterVLX
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22 minutes ago, RedWakesetterVLX said:

The engine/transmission/Vdrive align to the shaft log and strut not the other way around

Thanks for the feedback - I think I need to clarify what I'm asking. I know the engine/transmission/vdrive is what you move to align up to the shaft, what I'm trying to decide is whether my strut is bent and needs to be replaced so that I don't align my engine to a non-centered shaft. I have not adjusted the motor to the shaft yet because my driveshaft is touching the side of the shaft log and I think the strut might be bent a bit. If I were to move the engine to match it right now, it would be a lot of moving and I don't think that's right. That's why I asked if one can straighten the strut (either by bending the strut itself or re-aligning how it's attached to the boat) or adjust the struts alignment with the shaft log so that the drive shaft is centered in it, or if the strut just needs to be replaced.

If you look at about minute 1:04 in the Shaft Alignment Part 1 video that you shared, my shaft is NOT centered in the shaft log like the one he shows. That's my concern.

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Yes, you can straighten the strut on a press stand.  You may need to get creative and have a good eye for what needs to be pushed where.

You can align the strut to the shaft a bit when you reinstall it.  If you haven't moved the engine and it was aligned before, the strut will probably allow enough motion to center it.  I had to move my engine about 0.030" after I reinstalled my strut.

 

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1 hour ago, amacbean said:

Thanks for the feedback - I think I need to clarify what I'm asking. I know the engine/transmission/vdrive is what you move to align up to the shaft, what I'm trying to decide is whether my strut is bent and needs to be replaced so that I don't align my engine to a non-centered shaft. I have not adjusted the motor to the shaft yet because my driveshaft is touching the side of the shaft log and I think the strut might be bent a bit. If I were to move the engine to match it right now, it would be a lot of moving and I don't think that's right. That's why I asked if one can straighten the strut (either by bending the strut itself or re-aligning how it's attached to the boat) or adjust the struts alignment with the shaft log so that the drive shaft is centered in it, or if the strut just needs to be replaced.

If you look at about minute 1:04 in the Shaft Alignment Part 1 video that you shared, my shaft is NOT centered in the shaft log like the one he shows. That's my concern.

I see.  It seems you have a pretty good grasp of your working with.  It’s hard to tell from the pics...if it were me I’d go ahead and replace the strut if you think it’s off then do your alignment.  It could just be rally out of alignment ands that’s why it’s so off in the shaft log and the strut is good. 

Edited by RedWakesetterVLX
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*Update*

After a few hours looking at the strut alignment, the strut, the shaft log, the driveshaft, etc. we've come to a conclusion - the strut is not bent. It appears that the previous owner must have hit something pretty hard at some point, and there was a repair to the strut attachment area of the hull. Whoever did the repair did a nice job on the fiberglass and gel coat (the gel coat is a slightly different color which is how I figured out a repair had happened) for the most part, but when they installed the new strut, they didn't quite get the angle correct longitudinally to the boat. It doesn't take much error at the strut to be off 1/8" at the shaft coupler end. I removed the strut (which, unfortunately, looks like it was installed before all the gel coat had completely cured...) and it looks like I will be able, just barely, to re-attach it at enough angle with the tiny slop in the mounting bolt holes to get it installed at a not-quite-correct but ok_ish angle to be at least not touching the side of the shaft log. At that point I think I can then adjust the engine to the prop shaft correctly. It's not the perfect or even the most correct fix, but it's what I'm going to try first. I may end up taking it in to be fixed correctly at some point if this doesn't work. I think that the whole time I've had the boat (almost two seasons) the prop shaft has not been aligned correctly, which caused the wear of the strut bushings, and the shearing of the brass key in the shaft coupler (see my other post about this). I suspect that whoever did the repair re-attached the strut, put the shaft in, saw it was off a bit and just forced it over to the engine enough to keep the shaft off the edge of the log. Not surprising really, I've found a bunch of other mechanical stuff after the sale that wasn't kosher but that I didn't know enough about to find during the pre-sale. 
 

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On 9/7/2020 at 11:56 AM, UWSkier said:

Did your shaft come out without dropping the rudder? 

No, I had to drop the rudder. It wasn’t off far enough to miss the rudder, but it wasn’t centered either. Although my trailer is newer and I could drop the rudder without having to jack up the boat or slide it back on the bunks. 

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6 minutes ago, amacbean said:

No, I had to drop the rudder. It wasn’t off far enough to miss the rudder, but it wasn’t centered either. Although my trailer is newer and I could drop the rudder without having to jack up the boat or slide it back on the bunks. 

Well at least you didn’t have to jack the boat up off trailer.  Might as well rebuilt the rudder now since it’s out...😂

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11 hours ago, RedWakesetterVLX said:

Well at least you didn’t have to jack the boat up off trailer.  Might as well rebuilt the rudder now since it’s out...😂

"Might as well" - I've said those words too many times on this boat project already! I'm almost to the point of "Might as well redo the interior, and maybe the exterior, and replace the power-plant while I'm in here"...

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3 minutes ago, amacbean said:

"Might as well" - I've said those words too many times on this boat project already! I'm almost to the point of "Might as well redo the interior, and maybe the exterior, and replace the power-plant while I'm in here"...

Yup many of us say those exact words.  Then you start saying “might as well” just upgrade! 

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*** Update ***

Last week we cleaned up and re-installed the driveshaft strut. It's now aligned correctly with new bushings and the prop shaft is in the center of the shaft log and not touching anywhere. Last night we aligned the engine to the prop shaft. Just like a lot of other boats that haven't been maintained as well as the could, our engine had sagged a bit and was quite low. When raising it up using the adjustable engine mounts, I discovered that all eight bolts that hold the engine mounts to the boat hull were loose! In fact, the two bolts on the front port side mount didn't even have the nuts on the back anymore! We found one of them in the bottom of the boat, but no washers or lock washers. No wonder the engine was so far out of alignment. Anyway, we replaced the missing hardware, tightened all the mounting bolts down, then aligned the engine to the prop shaft - got it to under three thousandths of an inch with a little work. We ran out of time to re-attach the prop shaft coupler so I'll do that tonight.

Moral of the story last night - check your mounting hardware for tightness if you haven't done so in a while! 

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