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Strut Alignment Procedure

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 2:33pm
It’s not clear from your description if you’re still missing the point- it seems quite possible that you are.

Due to the give in the strut bearing, it is very easy to move the shaft (at the coupler end) around significantly. It will sag low under its own weight. You need to assess the concentricity of the shaft/log while the shaft is positioned such that it is spinning easily in the strut. If that last sentence did not make sense, read it again until you do (you wouldn’t be the first to miss this very important point). If you miss it, anything done after this point is time spent dialing in potentially massive misalignment.

When evaluating shaft to powertrain alignment, again, the shaft needs to be in the position where it spins freely. Some people like to find that spot and lock the shaft in place (with some support to prevent it from sagging). I prefer to constantly turn it by hand (spinning via the shaft itself or the coupler). If it doesn’t want to turn by hand, it is not aligned in the strut. The reason you don’t install the bolts between the faces when aligning is because it is very easy to move that shaft position to the wrong place, and the bolts just make it that much easier to keep it there. It also screws up the face to face measurement. The inner engagement on the couplers is enough to keep the faces in the ballpark as you measure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Duane in Indy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 2:43pm
My mounts needed the 15/16" wrench. Harbor Freight is about the cheapest. You may need to play with both the front and back to get right. I like to pull the shaft back out of the trans coupler and rotate 180* and then pull it back into the coupler and double check the clearances again. The shaft will normally flop around a bit because of cutlas clearance   Sounds as though you are getting close.

edit: Typed too slow. Tim explained it better
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pedricd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 2:53pm
I second the 4200...although others say you can get 5200 off with a hot wire.

I did this without the bolts, I recommend the same. I pressed the coupler together by hand, check tolerances, pulled apart the couplers, rotated the prop shaft by hand a bit, push back together and check again (I did this several times). You should get consistent readings, which confirms that everything is true (shaft etc). That's step one to make sure the shaft is straight. If you haven't done so already make sure you transferred the collar on the shaft from the old to the new so it cannot slide out of the boat if it snaps while driving.

Now for aligning the motor: I would start by concentrating on the rear mounts, make small adjustments, push the coupler together, check it, and repeat.

It's hard to tell from here, but it looks like you need to drop the back-end of the motor a bit. Start there, again small nudges check... once you get the hang of it it is not too bad.

I also agree with the others, make sure when you are pushing the coupler together that the shaft is in it's "natural" and freeist position vertically in regards to the cutlass. You should not be forcing the couplers to connect they should just slide together (while having to lift the shaft slightly to neutral).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 3:02pm
Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:



Here is how I measured parallelism between the 2 coupler faces.

Top-.       0.015"
Bottom- 0.009"

Do you think I'll have to adjust both front and back mounts or can I just lower the back mounts to make up the 0.006" difference.?

Thanks

Cole,
Yes, you will need to adjust the height of both the fore and aft mounts. If you adjust just say the fore mounts or just the aft mounts, it changes the height/center line of the trans coupling and in turn that changes the height of the prop shaft. You need to keep that "happy spot" where the prop shaft turns freely in the cutlass.

You're getting there!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by TRBenj TRBenj wrote:

It’s not clear from your description if you’re still missing the point- it seems quite possible that you are.

.


Yes I understand it. Throughout this entire process I thought it was strange that the video (8:30 mark) showed the alignment being checked with bolts in place. My thought was that the bolts prevent the shaft from going to its happy place. That part of the video was what I was going off, against my intuition, before you guys ripped me to shreds for testing with the feelers with the bolts tight.

I spent about 3 hours getting the strut bent and shimmed to get it to where it is. It is as close to perfect as I could get it. The shaft spins the most freely while in the center of the log. I can push it to the side or let it sag down under it's own weight, but I can feel the resistance growing as I deviate from the center of the log.   I have it supported with a wood block that I cut a V notch in, it allows me to spin the shaft freely by hand while staying concentric in the log, while preventing sag caused by shaft and coupler weight.

In my case right now the natural position of the shaft coupler is in line with the trans, meaning the bolts do not hold it from going up and down or side to side. I understand what you mean by being able force it in to place. When my old shaft and strut were bent and I unbolted the coupler, the shaft side moved over half an inch. These issues have all been addressed and remedied. I spent about 3 hours bending and shimming the strut to get it to this condition.

So is it agreed that the bolts should not even be inserted when checking the face to face alignment?

I would be interested to see someone use the hotwire method on a strut with 5200 that is recessed into the hull.

When I get home I will totally remove the bolts and see if my measurement can be duplicated.

So to raise and lower the mounts I just loosed the 15/16" lock nut and then make the adjustments via the square topped threaded rod? Then retighten the lock nut when I am done?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Duane in Indy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 4:26pm
Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:

. So is it agreed that the bolts should not even be inserted when checking the face to face alignment?

When I get home I will totally remove the bolts and see if my measurement can be duplicated.

So to raise and lower the mounts I just loosed the 15/16" lock nut and then make the adjustments via the square topped threaded rod? Then retighten the lock nut when I am done?


As long as the bolts don't influence your setup then it really doesn't matter either way
Yes on the 15/16" procedure as you described
Proceed as you are, you are doing great
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 4:49pm
Originally posted by Duane in Indy Duane in Indy wrote:

Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:

. So is it agreed that the bolts should not even be inserted when checking the face to face alignment?
When I get home I will totally remove the bolts and see if my measurement can be duplicated.


As long as the bolts don't influence your setup then it really doesn't matter either way

Proceed as you are, you are doing great

Cole,
As Duane states, the bolts can stay but, they need to be loose so you can get the feeler gauges between the flanges. I'm glad you now understand the measurements between the flanges are used to check parallelism

Sorry about the video showing the flange bolts. Understand the mini seminar was at a GL reunion and we didn't want to take Alan's boat apart hence all the props I made up!! You also may have noticed I didn't start wrenching on his engine mounts!! Keith also restricted me to 20 minutes!

BTW, speaking of GL, are you considering it? It's sure convenient for you.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 5:11pm
Ok thanks. I should be all good then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 5:13pm
I understand Pete’s point on the bolts, but highly recommend you remove them while doing the alignment.

I constantly re-confirm that the shaft is spinning freely while checking the parallelism of the faces. A few quick turns and a re-measure of the spacing will confirm that your readings are accurate (and not due to some imperfection in one of the coupler faces or radius).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 7:35pm
Got it. Is there an easy way to get pics onto here off an iPhone? I can show you guys the aftermath of the impact that has led me to join this forum and go through all this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2018 at 9:23pm
I have always had to email my pics to my personal computer and upload them on this site from my PC. If there is a short cut to this method I am all ears.
While spinning the shaft and checking alignment I always put a small amount of lube on the two faces to reduce drag and help them mate consistently.   I have used WD40 it worked.
I removed my strut which was bedded with 5200 without too much issue.
I banged in some wood door wedges and they popped mine off.   
I keep a very sharp gasket scraper in my tool box for cleaning up head gasket surfaces.
It took the old 5200 right off my fiberglass quickly.
I used my wire wheel to remove the 5200 still on the strut.
I put it back on with 5200 because I did not see the big deal cleaning it off.
Like you I had to work to get the strut in the happy place. Sanding the strut mount face to a better angle helped and even then I had to add washers to get where I needed.
Maybe it was the right tool available that helped.
The prop guard on my trailer worked well to mount the magnetic mount dial indicator to verify the prop shaft was true.
Glad you have almost completed it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 1:31pm
I am happy with where my strut is and I really do not want to pull it and re-set it right now. Last night when I put the boat back in the garage I noticed some of the water that I drained out of the block/exhaust was dripping out of the strut base. It looked like it was coming down the shanks of the fasteners, I used a good amount of 5200 when I mounted the strut last year. Has anyone had any luck sealing it up from inside the boat without pulling the strut and starting over?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pedricd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 1:44pm
Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:

I am happy with where my strut is and I really do not want to pull it and re-set it right now. Last night when I put the boat back in the garage I noticed some of the water that I drained out of the block/exhaust was dripping out of the strut base. It looked like it was coming down the shanks of the fasteners, I used a good amount of 5200 when I mounted the strut last year. Has anyone had any luck sealing it up from inside the boat without pulling the strut and starting over?


Why not pull the bolts, put some sealant in the holes from below, and put the bolts back through? Just try to cram a bunch in there... it'll be a mess, but if you really are leaking there it would be worth it to me before I yanked the strut and started over... I'd use 4200 for this since I'd be afraid of the 5200 on the threads... Also are you sure that is the source and it is not running from some other spot (bilge drain or rudder?)?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 2:01pm
That's a good idea. Thanks. Yes I am sure the leak is from there. The rest of the hull was dry. I guess if I support the shaft/prop I don't have to worry about the strut base moving if I pull the bolts out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pedricd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 2:04pm
Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:

That's a good idea. Thanks. Yes I am sure the leak is from there. The rest of the hull was dry. I guess if I support the shaft/prop I don't have to worry about the strut base moving if I pull the bolts out.


If you have to support the prop/shaft for fear of the strut falling, then the strut was not bedded properly and then I would recommend pulling and re-bedding the strut. After pulling the bolts that thing shouldn't go anywhere or move at all without a lot of effort to pull it.... especially with 5200
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FLCaptain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 2:53pm
I just called General propeller in Fl. They can laser align my strut for parts plus labor on the bushing and check my shaft. If the shaft is in spec they can mill it for true. If it’s out they will make me a new double taper and reuse my coupling. So after reading this whole stress load of work I’m going to pull mine this weekend and drive it down. I’ve got a 1979 that I bought with a clearly grounded prop. I’m honing to try this out and let you know how it works out.

Btw I agree with earlier posts about strut castings. My 79 strut is ugly. It’s clearly thinner on one side than the other.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 3:25pm
Originally posted by FLCaptain FLCaptain wrote:

I just called General propeller in Fl. They can laser align my strut for parts plus labor on the bushing and check my shaft. If the shaft is in spec they can mill it for true. If it’s out they will make me a new double taper and reuse my coupling. So after reading this whole stress load of work I’m going to pull mine this weekend and drive it down. I’ve got a 1979 that I bought with a clearly grounded prop. I’m honing to try this out and let you know how it works out.

Btw I agree with earlier posts about strut castings. My 79 strut is ugly. It’s clearly thinner on one side than the other.


Nice! Sounds like a good deal, hope it works out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 3:51pm
Originally posted by wiscofoot wiscofoot wrote:

Originally posted by FLCaptain FLCaptain wrote:

I just called General propeller in Fl. They can laser align my strut .


Nice! Sounds like a good deal, hope it works out.

Cole,
Understand the laser alignment is for the strut only. It pinpoints the centerline of the log and then can go forward to the trans shaft center. Actual engine alignment still has to be done the old way with feeler gauges.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 4:35pm


Yep. I'm guessing that since they are a prop shop they will be able to help him work the strut true if needed. Hopefully they don't charge him an arm and a leg for it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FLCaptain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 7:00pm
I’ll keep you posted. I’m weighing a 40 yr old boat with an ugly cast strut and the shakes with a new prop. So I’ll take all the suspects to them and see what turns up. Here’s the case:

1. New 13x13 factory prop done on purchase by the local “Nautique” shop who won’t touch boats over 1995 so I’m on my own. So sad.
2. Clearly a factory strut bushing.
3. Clearly a “backed In” prop. Hence the redo. Think it was backed into sand. Not a scratch on it. Not unusual in Florida.

Gonna sent the whole kit to general after reading this thread bc I’m no engineer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2019 at 7:43pm
Gary,
You are taking the boat to somone who will be able to fix the problem. General Propeller knows their business. Sorry to hear about the place that wouldn't work on a "old" boat. Guess they don't know that even new boats have props, struts and shafts. My .02 cents are that General will find a bent shaft aft of the strut from the grounding. They should also recommend a modern CNC machined prop to replace what sounds like a hand worked cast prop.

What's your concern with the "ugly" cast strut? To this day, they still use those "ugly" cast struts! What are you comparing it to?

BTW, there are several shops in the Orlando area that would be happy to work on your boat.


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^^^What Pete said👍
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2019 at 1:23pm
When spinning the shaft in the strut while trying to align everything I sprayed a little WD 40 into the strut bearings. It was faster than spraying frequently with water to keep it lubricated and it lasted longer than water.   I would not do this in the off season and let the boat sit for months with WD 40 on the strut bearing/cutlass.   It may cause the rubber to rot.   My Cutlass happens to be the plastic type so I did not worry about rot.

I read this thread and I see where a few people already tried to point out the importance of your shaft mating to the transmission with no bolts installed.
This is important as it allows you to spin the shaft while mating it to the transmission.
It allows you to measure your alignment quickly, just pull the shaft up into place and measure.   It will stay where you put it. As long as you dont force the feeler gauge in and cause it to move but a .001 feeler gauge has no real strength so in my experience the shaft does not move.   Check the mating surfaces all the way around to see if your feeler gauge goes in. If it goes in with the .001 size try .002, if that goes in try .003 keep trying larger ones till you know how large your gap is.   You do this so you can track your adjustments as you try to get it perfect.
When you start moving the engine mounts you will see your gaps change, you will quickly learn how much change you get with small adjustments to your mounts. Remember the mounts will move in and out as well as up and down, you will probably need to adjust all directions to get it correct.   I have used a ball pen hammer to encourage stuck mounts to move in or out as needed, again a little lubrication into the adjustment slot will help your cause.
I think I got my tranny coupler down to .0015 being my widest gap and called it good.
At this point you should be able to rotate your shaft while holding the tranny coupler from turning and measure again getting the same measurements.
This will tell you the couplers are faced well and not bent.
With the plastic/Delryn strut cutlass bearing the prop spins freely with 1 finger and very little pressure.   I know the rubber cutlass bearings will have more drag than that.
The proceedure takes time but is not hard. Plan on spending 4 hours on it and celebrate if you get it done in only 1 or 2. Don't go into this thinking you can do it in 20 minutes.
Good Luck
Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SNobsessed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2019 at 5:35pm
Just another way to do it - I would put a .003 feeler in the tight spot, then finger tight the closest bolt to hold it in. The you have both hands free to check the other 3 points of compass. Just add .003, so your max gap is now .006. You can spin it to see how the gaps vary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2019 at 3:43pm
So it's that time of year again. Rivers are flooded and I hit a submerged log doing 41. Glad I got the A.R.E. shaft so there will be no threaded rod homemade puller headache.

I am trying to avoid paying anyone to do any work I can do myself. This strut was bent back into shape last year so I'm thinking there is some stress fatigue already.

1. Does anyone have a strut they'd sell me? It's a 4 bolt, and it is slightly recessed into hull, I have the model number somewhere

2. Any advice for straightening it myself? (Beyond Pete's technique of using old shaft to coerce it) Details around heating it up...do I work it while it is hot? How hot? I may have an anvil somewhere in the barn.

I saw the bottle jack jig someone else used, looks nice but I don't have a welder...could maybe get creative and build a jig with fasteners but that starts getting pricey.

3. What have you guys paid for a replacement double taper shaft without any other accessories? My work has a good relationship with a local machine shop, wondering if they would be any cheaper than Elbert/A.R.E....probably not worth the hassle.

I added the red triangle into the picture to show the approximate angle the strut is bent at. It doesn't appear to be very "twisted", I should be able to get the twist out of it but the bend at the bottom of the web where it meets the flange is pretty serious.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2019 at 4:24pm
Cole,
You sure did the job on that strut!! Considering how bent it is, I would worry about it's integrity if straightened. Go for new.

Stay off the Fox until all the spring junk is gone.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyweed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2019 at 5:58pm
ewww....yeah..I'd ditch that strut and get a new one. That baby is bent!
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That’s almost as good of a job as my wife did on our Signature Edition





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wiscofoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-25-2019 at 10:18am
Originally posted by 8122pbrainard 8122pbrainard wrote:

Cole,
You sure did the job on that strut!! Considering how bent it is, I would worry about it's integrity if straightened. Go for new.

Stay off the Fox until all the spring junk is gone.


It was the Wolf this time Pete. I think I'm going to keep it parked until I head back up to our neck of the woods next month. Any recommendations on procuring a new strut?
1976 Martinique
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