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The original Reuben Trane built boats had sleeved holes in the mast at the tabernacle, to prevent wear. Over time, the steel mast bolts and pins in the tabernacle tend to wear against the mast, and without some kind of reinforcement, the holes become elongated in the direction of the load, elongating the i softer aluminum mast and creating a loose joint. If this isn't fixed, the mast can move back and forth, putting even more load on the joint.
One of the best- although not simplest- fix is to redrill the holes and insert an aluminum or stainless steel sleeve or bushing. Reuben recommends finding a piece of aluminum tubing that is a slip fit over the bolt or pin, and then drilling a tight hole in the mast that matches the OD of the tube, so that a press fit is sufficient to hold the tube in place.
A good interim fix is to unbolt and reverse the bottom mast stub, so the load on the mast causes the tabernacle pin to bear on the opposite side of the worn hole. This reportedly can really tighten up the mast (thanks to Joe).
Jim Brown offers another good fix:
On my ex-94 Peep, the holes in the mast and tabernacle were worn and allowed some slop. I just clamped the mast in the most upright position, and with a sharp new 1/2" drill, drilled through both mast and tabernacle together. Then used a 1/2" aluminum rod, chamfered at both ends for easy insertion, and drilled at the ends for spring clips to keep the pin in place. The spring clips were secured with a short length of small line to keep them from being lost.
It is vital that the pin fit the hole snugly. Too small a pin allows a point load on the aluminum mast, which will wallow it out quickly.
The use of an aluminum, rather than steel, pin lessens the problem of the hard steel pin wearing away the softer aluminum mast.
I have done this. The "stub mast" as well as the tabernacle was bent when I bought the boat, and through my own efforts during my first SWS Spring Cruise, I managed to bend them even more.
Heating aluminum to straighten it is generally not a good idea, so the tabernacle was straightened in a hydraulic press by a welder that I know. He put it in the press and left it in there for a couple of days. If you stub mast is bent, chances are your tabernacle is bent too.
I replaced the stub mast in 2001 by looking up an aluminum tubing dealer in my area. I bought a piece of structural tube 3" OD x 0.125" wall thickness. The outfit cut it to length for me. The tubing I bought was 6061-T6 aluminum. 5086 alloy is the stuff they build boat hulls out of. Since my boat is not left exposed to salt water all of the time (it sits in my backyard far inland from the ocean), the 6061-T6 alloy seemed fine to me, and it has worked out well. I did the drilling for the mounting bolt to the step and also for the tabernacle. While I was at it, I sleeved all of the tabernacle and mast bolt holes with 1/2" x 0.058" tube (read Ken Murphy's advice on mast bolt hole cracks in the Hensnest archives) and ran some 60 grit sandpaper around the outside of the stub to make it look like the mast.
Cost? $32.12 for the cut tube, about 15 bucks for the 1/2 stuff, and an afternoon of labor.