The Freeman bronze propeller shafts are still made by the original manufacturers using the original lathes in England for Freeman Cruiser boats. Please note that these shafts are not suitable for other boat makes. New propeller shafts are usually available to fit the majority of standard Freeman Cruisers that need replacing, with several of the options held in stock.
If you need a new propeller shaft please check the shaft fitted to your boat and do not assume there is a 'standard' for each model of Freeman as there were differences along the way during manufacturing.
It is generally a wise idea to check the propeller shaft is running true when the boat is out of the water. A simple visual check for signs of wear, particularly near the P-bracket where a 'ring' of wear can appear and any bend, which can be caused by hitting the bottom, can help to highlight any bad oscillation. You may wish to consider changing the Freeman Cutlass Bearings and Freeman Cutlass Bearing Grub Screws at the same time.
Many underwater components are covered by marine insurance so it is a wise idea to check your policy details to see if you are covered for accidental damage.
Freeman Cruisers originally left the factory with underwater fittings, such as the propeller shaft, rudder, and P-bracket all made from the same material, manganese bronze, referred to as bronze. This meant that there would be no conflicting material types underwater on the boat, which is a great help in the prevention of electrolysis damage.
Electrolysis is a type of corrosion that can occur in metal parts that are in contact with water, particularly, but not limited to, saltwater environments. When a boat is in the water, it creates an electrical circuit with the surrounding water, which can cause a flow of electrical current. This current can cause metal parts, such as propellers, shafts, rudders, and other underwater fittings, to corrode rapidly, leading to damage and eventual failure. A mixture of metals can exaggerate the issue and where heavier metals are used, such as stainless steel (i.e. a stainless steel propeller shaft), it can lead to the corrosion of your softer metal components, for example, your bronze fittings (rudder, P-bracket, etc.).
Electrolysis on a boat can be caused by several factors, including galvanic corrosion, stray current corrosion, and microbiologically induced corrosion. To prevent or minimize electrolysis the use of the same material for your underwater components can greatly reduce corrosion. Likewise, techniques such as installing sacrificial anodes can help too depending on your cruising habits. Performing regular inspections and maintenance on all metal parts is also crucial.
Overall, electrolysis on a boat can be a serious issue that can lead to significant damage, safety concerns, and expenses, so it's important to take steps to prevent and manage it.
|Usual Freeman Options (do check your exact propeller shaft before ordering, do not guess!)||Freeman 22 Mk1||Freeman 22, 23, or 26||Freeman 26, 30||Freeman 23, 24||Freeman Variants|
|Diameter||1"||1 1/4"||1 1/4"||1 1/4"||1 1/4"|
When checking and working on the underwater gear it is important to disable the engine so that there is absolutely no chance of it starting while you work on the gear.