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Thread: E 27 busted shaft & bent strut!!!

  1. #1
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    E 27 busted shaft & bent strut!!!

    hello ericson folk! i am new to the site and purchased a Ericson 27 last summer. "Tangerine" is a beauty and my daughter and i have been enjoying her on the chesapeake bay. here is my conundrum... i was motor sailing back to havre de grace one late afternoon when the engine (universal diesel) started to rev up and down and then finally i lost propulsion all together. (this happened in less than a minutes span) long story short, i just pulled the boat and found this... the shaft is snapped in half right outside of the thru hull and the strut is bent up towards port side. there was no sound or vibration to give me warning of hitting something or wrapping a crab pot etc..
    last season before i bought the E27, a boatyard replaced the srut (custom made), shaft, motor mounts and cutlass bearing. the work i found completed on the engine was shoddy at best. i found one of the motor mount nuts laying in the bilge, many crucial wires not attached ( glow plug power etc).

    i have it hauled out in havre de grace and there just so happens to be another E27 right next to me. i noticed that this other ericson has a much shorter strut (41/4 to the center of the cutlass) as opposed to the almost 6" to the center on mine from the underside of the hull. i'm trying to understand how this new shaft etc failed and if it has to do with poor/ improper installation . Help!!! i have pics and will try and post.

    thanks in advance!
    mic
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  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    My best guess as to what happened is that the boat bore down on something like a submerged log that bent the strut, and the engine soon (a few minutes; perhaps the engine cycling up and down was the point at which this was occurring) worked the shaft to the point that it fatigued and snapped.

    I would suggest having an insurance adjuster look at this. Are there any signs of impact on the propeller--nicks, bends, etc.?

    I could see how a grossly misaligned engine could, over time, fatigue a shaft to the point that it breaks. However, I think the vibration of such a misalignment would drive you crazy long before the point of breakage. How is the cutless bearing? If it were worn after being installed for just a year that would be a good sign of misalignment.

    I don't see how a misaligned engine could bend the strut like that.

  3. #3
    Principal Partner treilley's Avatar
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    My guess would be that the strut is too long creating a bend in the shaft which when rotating fatigued the metal at the through-hull. The shaft finally broke and the natural tendency for the prop to pull to port caused the strut to bend to port.

    This is a huge stretch and I agree with Tenders that the vibration would be unbearable.

    The other point is that for the boat yard to fit that strut they would have had to raise your engine significantly just to get the shaft to mount to the tranny, exit the through-hull and then go through the strut. This should have been an eye opener to any half decent mechanic that the strut was incorrect.

    Now assuming they did this and were able to align all the components, maybe the mount nuts have backed down just enough to create a small bend in the shaft which would occur right as the shaft exits the hull. You have even the slightest bend there and the heat generated would easily cause that shaft to break under load and the prop would pull the strut to port.

    Is the other 27 the same vintage? Same engine and tranny? Same engine mounts?
    Tim R.
    Living aboard in Portland, Maine
    TKR on a boat Blog
    Boat Projects and Photos
    -----------------------------------------------------

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your replies, I'm heading to the yard this morning to do some further investigation.
    I will check the other Ericson but i believe it's a 76. atomic four
    Mine"Tangerine" is a 73. universal diesel.

    I didn't notice any damage to the prop.

    I have the original owner who is a good friend coming with me today to try and help solve this mystery. I'll have my laptop along, so if i come across any new findings, I will post.

    Wish me luck!
    Thanks
    Mic

  5. #5
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    Back in 1998, I purchased a new bronze prop strut for my E27 made using the original pattern from Marine Hardware in Redmond, WA. It does look like yours is far from the proper dimensions. I have sketches showing the dimensions of the original and of the installation configuration if you're interested.

  6. #6
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    " I have sketches showing the dimensions of the original and of the installation configuration if you're interested."

    Thanks Walter. That would be extremely helpful. I had the strut bent back to what we thought were the original specs but when I tried to install it, the angle ( port/star) is slightly off. There happens to be another E27 next to me on the hard. There shaft is much shorter but they also have the original Atomic 4, I have the Universal Atomic diesel ( kubota). Do you think my strut was made to accommodate the new diesel?

    I spent the weekend re mounting the strut, shaft and engine and trying to align everything. What a JOB! 3 friends, a fair share of beer and we are close, but no cigar. I am out of adjustment on the engine mounts to accommodate the angle of the strut.

    Drawings would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again.

    717 341 3053
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  7. #7
    Principal Partner treilley's Avatar
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    I still think you have the wrong strut.

    Your Universal diesel should have been a drop in replacement for the A4. The stern tube should also dictate the proper angle.

    I am not sure how well machined the inside of the tube log is on your boat but you should be able to insert a tube that is just a little less than the inside diameter of the log. This should show you where the strut and engine alignment should be.
    Last edited by treilley; 07-20-2009 at 07:54 AM.
    Tim R.
    Living aboard in Portland, Maine
    TKR on a boat Blog
    Boat Projects and Photos
    -----------------------------------------------------

  8. #8
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    I would agree with wrong strut. The position of the hole in the strut should be based on alignment with the shaft log, which is glassed into the hull. So, unless the shaft log was removed and repositioned, which would be extremely unlikely, the strut should match other E-27s. If the shaft were removed, you should be able to sight through the strut to the shaft log and see it all in alignment. Sounds like what you had was the wrong length, which would create all sorts of load issues as the shaft log and strut wouldn't be in alignment, and who knows then how the engine alignment was in relation to all this.
    -David
    Independence 31
    Emerald

  9. #9
    Contributing Member I
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    e27 strut

    Sorry to hijack your thread, but I will eventually need a new prop strut for my '78 e27 also (long story). Having a heckava time finding the part. Walter, is there a chance you could upload your specs/drawings to the site? This would be very helpful!

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