1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Propeller Shafts (part II)

It took a whole day to patch up the tent after the recent wind storm, and “cobbled together” is about as high a compliment as I would give to that Frankenstein structure now. The bottom line is, the tent’s days are numbered…in, like, single digits. But Tent Model X–the next one–will be a winter tent, which means it needs to be as narrow and low as possible to reduce windage and snow load should we see a blizzard this season like the one that nearly destroyed Tent Model VIII back in 2010.

Buuuut, if the tent is going to get real narrow, then all of the equipment under the scaffolding needs to go back home, and that includes my Miller Trailblazer 280NT welder. Before that beast goes anywhere though, we had to finish welding in the strut barrels for the prop shafts. I can’t finish the engine install until that job gets done, and I’m NOT going to put that off until next spring.

Collets center the shaft in the strut barrel

Collets center the shaft in the strut barrel

A fellow with a hydraulic cutlass bearing press came out and popped the stuck collets from the strut barrel that caused this job to stall a few weeks back. Problem No. 1 solved.

Ironically, if the collets hadn’t stuck and messed up my schedule, the tent would have already been swapped out for a new one. It’s always something…

Flexible spool gun nozzle solves tight access problem

Flexible spool gun barrel solves tight access problem

With the straight barrel that came with my Miller Spoolmatic 30a, there was no way to weld inside the intermediate Vee struts. But my new fabricator had a flexible barrel on one of his shop guns that fit mine. Now we could weld up all of the strut barrels. Problem No. 2 solved.

Next, we fired up the Trailblazer 280NT and got to burning wire…0.035″ 5356, to be precise.

Given that we’re working with 40 year-old metal that’s been in some rough service, the results are very good.

Seven passes filled the vee

Seven passes filled the vee

This time around, the collets slid right out!

Cutlass bearings have a good fit in the new barrels

Cutlass bearings have a good fit in the new barrels

Brand new 1-3/4" shafting is almost ready to install

Brand new 1-3/4″ shafting is almost ready to install

The next (and last) step for the shaft install will be to send them out to be machined for the couplers and props. In retrospect, I should have had them machined when I bought them. But at the time, my previous (incompetent) mechanic/welder/machinist was going to do the machining here after positioning the engines. Ah well, it is what it is…

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Tent Model X

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