How to replace an all-rubber cutlass bearing

We spent a week running after mechanics to help us remove the cutlass bearing, were strung along and advised impossible solutions until Christian finally decided to build a make-shift pusher himself: only 2 pieces of wood, 1 piece of steel tube, 2 threaded bars, 4 big washers and 6 nuts were necessary to makeshift this ingenious gadget!

When we replaced our cutlass bearing 3 years ago in Tahiti the only model available was all-rubber (nitrile). We didn’t think it was a bad idea at the time, but would never buy one again–the damn thing turned out to be nearly impossible to get out again as it simply bounced back whatever we tried to bang against it (with an array of ever-growing hammers)… We tried several contractors here at Vuda marina, but they all put us off to the afternoon/tomorrow/tomorrow, never showed up or insisted that we had to remove the shaft (a very complicated procedure on Pitufa that would require dismounting not only the aquadrive and gearbox on the engine side, but also the skeg on the outside!!). Soon we had half the yard discussing our problem and heard advice from freezing the rubber with dry-ice, via melting it all the way to cutting off the P-bracket and welding it back on.
Finally Christian decided to tackle the problem with his Mad-Max engineering approach that has often proved successful in the past when makeshifting repairs underway. Going through our lockers he found the necessary material and quickly improvised a cutlass-bearing extractor. Once in place he slowly tightened the nuts along the thread, gradually increasing the pressure of the steel tube on the rubber. The nuts seized twice on the threaded bars, the wood nearly cracked, but suddenly the resistance was gone and the bearing started moving! Once it was loose, he could hammer against the tube and push it out on of the P-bracket. Then he cut it open with a hacksaw and we could push in the new bearing!

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