Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Repowering Project Days 6 and 7

Fort Pierce

Well, we made the deadline to be ready for Bud Taplin, but barely.

Tuesday morning we went to buy some paint and to check our mail back at the marina in Vero Beach. Then we returned to Tarwathie and painted the engine compartment an appropriate battleship gray. It is cleaner than ever. One more major job to do to be ready for Bud. That is to remove the old propeller shaft.

A man named Jeff passed by and stopped to look at our old engine sitting on the ground. He asked to buy the exhaust water loop header, saying that it would fit his Perkins 4-108. I told him that I wouldn't sell the parts because I was trying to sell the old engine for $300. I had a previous quote from Trans Atlantic Diesels up in Virginia. They said that they would pay $300 to $500 including freight depending on how complete the engine was. I called Fort Pierce Diesel and asked if they wanted to buy it for $300. The man there said that they would get back with an answer by Thursday.

Last Saturday when Ed and Steve were here we disassembled the Max Prop. It all worked fine except the last piece. There is a hub that presses on to the end of the shaft and mates with the key in the keyway. We tried and tried and we couldn't get it off.

So when the painting was done I hopped in the car and drove to the nearest NAPA auto parts store to buy a gear puller. They had two sizes, a two ton and a five ton size. Since two tons sounded like a lot and since space between the end of the shaft and the rudder was very limited, I bought the smaller one. That was a mistake. Libby and I fiddled with an hour with the gear puller with no success. Finally I overstressed it to the point that a bolt hole on the puller pulled itself out of shape. The gear puller was broken.

At the end of the day, Jeff called about the motor. I told him that I wouldn't have an answer by Thursday.

This morning we started fresh. I returned to NAPA and bought the five ton puller. Once again, Libby and I tried and tried but we couldn't budge the hub. Every time we applied maximum pulling force one of the gripping arms would hop off. I even tried to heat the hub with my propane torch, but it didn't help. Finally, we gave up and I asked the boatyard for help. They said OK but since everyone was busy it would take some time.

I worked on other chores. I put in new control cables for the throttle and gear shifter. I put in a new copper foil grounding plane between the antenna tuner and the master grounding plate on the outside of the hull. The route for this copper foil let through the engine compartment so now is the time to do the work.

After lunch Jeff came by. He didn't want to wait so he had $300 cash to buy the engine. I was happy with the deal and was surprised at how easy is was to sell it.

Finally around 16:00, just before the end of the day, a boatyard guy came by to help with the propeller hub. I showed him what we tried and the difficulty we had. He brought over an acetylene torch. We put tension on the hub with the 5 ton gear puller and then he applied the torch flame. It worked. In less than 4 seconds the hub heated enough to break free. Now the old shaft is off and everything is ready for the new engine and Bud Taplin's arrival tomorrow morning. Like I said, we made the deadline, but barely.

The picture shows what our propeller looked like after hauling it out followings two months in Marathon. The hull was covered in slime but no barnacles. Both zincs that I replaced 10 weeks ago were nearly used up. Beware of warm salty waters when it comes to zincs. They get used up faster than you can imagine.

Repowering day 8

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