The new shaft is in, the engine is in, and it’s time to install the new cutless bearing. First we disconnected the shaft from the transmission and slid it two feet or so aft.
We coated the shaft as far as we could reach with glycerin, then slid it a foot back inside the boat, being very careful to not touch the clean fiberglass/epoxy tube the bearing had to fit into. We ran a thick bead of 5200 (edit: should have used a less permanent 4200, BoatLife, or Sika-something) polyurethane caulk/glue around the leading edge of the bearing, and started it into the shaft tube. We added more 5200 around the bearing as we pushed it into the boat, maintaining a rotating ring that stuck to the brass and coated the bearing as it entered the tube. The sealant will both center the bearing in the shaft tube and help keep it in place.
A few taps with the two-pound sledge and the bearing was in. I’d say the fit was about right – tight but smooth. We could hear the bearing seat on the last tap. It rang like a bell.
Once the 5200 has set up, we’ll clean up the drips and use a little filler to build up the surface to something nice looking. Then we’ll use a drill and put a small conical hole (not thru) in the bearing sides (where the small hole are just forward of the aft end of the keel). We’ll install pointy set screws into the holes, fixing the bearing in place until the next owner feels like working on it.