Leaving Antigua, W. I.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Close to the Finish LIne

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fitting the hose to the exhasut
With the engine in place, we were able to find the right spot for the new seawater strainer and mount it.  We finished plumbing the seawater intake, and connected the shift and throttle cables.  We installed and plumbed the new vented loop in the seawater line to the exhaust elbow.  We pulled the battery cables back into place and connected them, as well as finishing the plumbing of the exhaust system.  We added oil to the crankcase and the transmission, and coolant to the cooling system.  We turned the key, and the engine purred to life instantly.  It is amazingly quiet compared to its predecessor, even allowing for the new sound insulation.  We checked that everything was working properly, and shut it down to 
3" hose into the muffler
wait for our turn to haul the boat out and draw the propeller shaft. 

Meanwhile, we can put our living space back in order.  We've been camping out among all sorts of cartons, lumber, and hardware for the past two weeks. 

The end is in sight.  Once we get the shaft and prop in, and the yard gets the bottom painted,, we should be happily back at anchor in Simpson Bay lagoon,

And out of the muffler

Hoses to water heater (Top), and
 modified throttle linkage

Seawater strainer, with
 shut off valve, in engine compartment

Oops!  The shaft won't reach.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In with the New

While we were waiting for epoxy to cure during the work on the engine beds, we did a few smaller jobs, such as installing the new exhaust through-hull, and routing the exhaust hose, which at 3 inches in diameter and 10 feet long, reminded Bud of his experiences wrestling with alligators in his youth.  We also mounted the new muffler and assembled the new seawater intake system.  We installed the new instrument panel, and ran the cabling for it.  We finished these things on Sunday afternoon of our first week.

On Monday, we finished painting the engine space and installed new sound insulation material, and booked some time on the crane for Tuesday.  On Tuesday, while we waited for the engine to be delivered from the distributor's shop 100 yards away, we re-mounted the fuel filters and tidied the boat a bit.  Late in the afternoon, the engine was delivered.  After uncrating the engine, we warped Play Actor around to the crane, lifted the engine off the shipping pallet, and set it on the beds.  Everything fit as expected, so we warped Play Actor back to the working dock and did a preliminary alignment.  We marked the rails for the holes to bolt down the new engine mounts, and used a hoist from the boom to shift the engine forward, giving us room to drill and tap the rails for the 12 mm mounting bolts.  Once we finished drilling and tapping the rails, we set the engine back in place and bolted it down, pending a final alignment when we get the new propeller shaft in place.

Out of the crate

Hooking it up

Down the hatch
On the beds

Just right

A little that way

Marking the mounting holes

Moving the engine out of the way

Drilling and tapping the mounting holes

Rebuilding the Beds

Lower 1.5" thick filler block test fit

With the old beds cut away to allow for the thickness of the new steel engine rails, we are ready to begin reconstructing the beds.  We will cut teak filler blocks to go in the top of the old, hollow bed.  We will glue these blocks into the cavity at the top of the bed with thickened epoxy.  They will replace the structural element that we cut away at the top of the hollow bed, as well as providing a base to which we can lag bolt the steel rails. 

Sliding in upper 1.5" block, test fit

After thoroughly cleaning and degreasing the inside of the old beds, we sanded them with 50 grit sandpaper to provide "tooth" for the structural epoxy.  We then cut pattern blocks from pine to test the fit, before cutting the teak.  Once all of the cutting and fitting was complete, we epoxied the teak filler blocks in place.  When the epoxy had finished the initial cure phase, we fit the rails temporarily in place and tested everything with the engine template.  We had to do some minor trimming to get everything in alignment.  We drilled the vertical flanges of the rails for lag bolts, and bolted the rails in temporarily.  We tested the fit with the template again, and then removed the rails and waxed their under sides, to prevent epoxy adhesion.  We gave everything two coats of white paint, to brighten up the engine space, and then we put a generous coat of thickened epoxy on the contact surfaces of the beds, and pressed the rails down into the epoxy before it started to set up.  This gives the rails a nice, even surface upon which to rest, and prevents them from rocking on any little high spots.  We bolted them in place through the vertical flange.  Once the epoxy cured, we tested the fit again, and then put in the vertical lag bolts for each rail.

This was straightforward work, but we spent a lot of time on the beds, because of the fitting, measuring, refitting, re-measuring, and waiting for epoxy to cure.  This phase of the project took 4.5 days, which was far more than we had planned.  At this point, we are ready to set the engine on the beds.


Both pattern pieces in place

Rails set in epoxy bedding

4 Lag Bolts in place
Ready for the new engine

Out with the Old

On Monday, February 7, we moved Play Actor from our favorite anchorage in St. Martin to the work dock at the Island Water World Marina, where we plan to do the engine replacement.
Engine in the galley

We immediately removed the old, unsuspecting Volvo from the engine compartment and set it on the cabin sole near the galley, using a hoist rigged to the main boom to lift and move the 800 pounds of iron.  We've done this a number of times over the years, for various maintenance activities.  Tomorrow, we'll warp Play Actor around to the crane, and lift the old engine out of the boat for the first time in 32 years.

It's out!

Tuesday morning, February 8
As planned,  we had the boatyard use their big crane to lift the engine out our companionway and off the boat. It took about 30 minutes, including moving the boat back and forth using warps and muscle power.  Now we have some heavy cleaning ahead of us.

So, here's a look at the old engine, just before we removed it.  Not bad looking for 32 years old, is it?  Runs well, with only 5,000 hours on the clock - less than halfway to the first rebuild, more than likely.  What a shame we can't get parts for the transmission any longer.  We'll miss seeing that massive flywheel, and the three individual cylinder blocks. It's easy to see why the new engine weighs only about half as much as this one, and it's about 2/3 the size.  The extra space in the engine compartment will allow us to move the raw water strainer into the engine compartment.  That means  that cleaning it will no longer require unloading the cockpit storage lockers for access to the storage space under the cockpit where the old sea strainer was located. 

It will be a real pleasure to have maintenance access to everything by just removing the engine cover at the foot of the companionway ladder.  Changing impellers in the fresh water and seawater pumps on the Volvo was a three-hour job.  Looks like about 10 minutes on the new engine

The Volvo Engineering Drawings were wrong…
Years of grime

With the old engine out of the way, the propeller shaft looks much lower compared to the engine beds than we expected from the Volvo drawings.  This is a worry, as it means we will have to lower the beds more than we expected, and there may not be room to cut them down enough before we hit the hull.  While thinking about this, we spent the day cleaning years of grease and oil from the sump and thee beds.  We removed the old instrument panel and the wiring in engine compartment.  The old vented loop, and the shelves from the lockers above engine had to come out as well.  The old engine had a 5/8 inch seawater intake line, and the new one requires 1 inch, so we have to replace the vented loop and do the carpentry required to fit the new vented loop into the space above the engine. 

Bed on the left has been cut down already.
After several hours of scrubbing, we put the engine template in place.  As we suspected, it sits far too high on its mounts to match up with the propeller shaft coupling.  Did the Volvo drawings lie?  Yes!  A quick measurement of the old engine reveals that the rear mount brackets are a full two inches higher relative to the crankshaft than shown on the drawings.  Unfortunately, there was no way to measure this with the old engine in place.

We cannot cut down the engine beds enough to install the new engine with Yanmar mounts, which we are determined to use, as shorter mounts alter the geometry of the engine such that vibration will cause dynamic alignment problems.  After some study, we decided to slide the new engine forward about 8- 1/2 inches.  Because the line of the shaft is at a steeper angle (15 degrees) than the new line of the beds (8 degrees), that makes room for everything to work, but we will require a new propeller shaft.  This will add some time to the project, as it will necessitate a haul out to do the shaft work, but this will also allow for machining the new coupling and shaft in a lathe to ensure that they run true, which is always best when replacing a coupling, and it’s time for new antifouling paint anyway.

Shaft extension

After surmounting this problem, we made a temporary shaft extension to allow aligning the rebuilt beds with the engine template, so that we can proceed with the engine installation without the new shaft.  With the template in place, we marked the old beds and began cutting away the top portion.  After some experimentation, we decided to use a Fein Multimaster instead of our big angle grinder to do the cutting.  The Fein makes almost no dust, and is much more precise than the angle grinder, although it's not quite as fast.

Good Bye!

The shape of the old bed


One rail in place temporarily

Top down of the cut down beds

Cut down beds

Aft end of Port side bed.

Template in place after beds are cut down