While many have historically praised rubber and nitrile rubber marine bearings, Vesconite Bearings, the maker of the no-swell Vesconite Hilube polymer, has seen ship repairers increasingly turn to its product.
Such was the case in June, when one New Zealand repairer, who has traditionally only used rubber bearings, requested Vesconite Hilube for two sailing yachts.
The client requested two propeller shaft bearings for the first, and a single bearing for the second, informs Vesconite Bearings’ Eddie Swanepoel.
Sized for 1¾ and 1½-in. shafts, they form part of Vesconite’s ready-to-fit range, which includes 170 ready-to-fit-sizes in imperial and metric sizes, he says.
Long-life Vesconite Hilube has several advantages over its rubber counterparts, which typically include a rubber insert with a naval brass or phenolic outer shell.
The first is its price since typically they are considerably cheaper than rubber bearings.
The second is its lack of noise as it exhibits no squeal at low speed, a benefit particularly appreciated by trolling fishermen.
Clients have also commented that it lasts longer, with one client reporting that the material has lasted five years longer and another reporting a ten-year longer life.
In addition, many are favorably impressed by Vesconite’s ease of installation and removal. This is because, while rubber bearings may need to have their brass outer shells cut and bent inwards to remove them, Vesconite Hilube can be easily removed with a bearing puller.
“Removing a rubber bearing with a brass shell can take two hours to half a day,” comments Swanepoel.
“Most repairers are set up to do this, but enjoy the time saving and the ease of using Vesconite Hilube,” he says.