From my numerous posts on this by now folks know I had a shaft seal
leak along with heavy black smoke. Shaft turns a little stiff by hand.
I just spoke with the local mechanic
who has the hydraulic gear
to press out the cutlas bearing and replace. He said - logically I think - that the shaft almost never gets bent in the middle, meaning between the strut and the stern tube. If it was a bent shaft it would likely be aft of the strut since the prop being grounded would exert its force back there. (I have not grounded aft by the way). The only other way it could be binding is if the strut itself was now misaligned. Mechanic
says he'll be able to tell that also by the way the cutlas bearing rides on the shaft.
So we can measure shaft runout without removing it. I still plan to have the alignment checked / redone so that I'm confident we're still in spec. I don't see a need to replace the shaft seal
at this point - it looks OK, but I did have that leakage problem.
If we pull the shaft I will take it to the local shop to check for trueness and polishing. Would still have to align whether I remove it or not.
So what do you think - pull the shaft completely or not? My inclination is to leave it in IF the runout checks good with it installed as-is.