Q & A — March 2005
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
| Causes for cutlass-bearing wear, starter troubles, and more.
What are the causes of cutlass bearing wear and failure? J.A., via e-mail
Cutlass-bearing wear is typically related to prop-shaft speed; the faster the shaft, the faster the wear. On boats with slow-turning propellers, cutlass-bearing life can range to four years and/or 1,000 hours. Regardless of the kind of boat you have, however, your cutlass bearing will eventually wear out, so regular inspection should be part of your maintenance regimen. If you’re constantly tightening the prop-shaft nut to reduce water flow, your bearing is probably at the end of its life. If you let a worn bearing go too long and the shaft has already been scored, you’re looking at perhaps replacing the shaft as well, a considerable added expense.
My starter turns but will not start my gasoline-powered inboard. Before I call in a mechanic, is there anything I can do? R.V., via e-mail
Defective or corroded wiring may also be at fault. Make sure all battery-cable ends are free of corrosion, all connections are secure, and all insulation is intact. In addition, make sure the wir-ing is of the proper gauge to handle the load.
If after all this it’s still a no-go, you most likely have a bad starter motor that is drawing too many amps. Either remove the motor yourself and take it in to be bench-checked or let your mechanic handle the job.
This article originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.