Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 9

Fort Pierce

Phew. Today (Friday) has, been a long, been a long, been a long day.

We started first thing in the morning. This is our last day of Bud’s help and all day long obstacles and emergencies popped up. I had to slap them down as fast as they arose. It made me feel like a project manager again working on the Virtual Bidding Project at NYISO, when I had to slap down obstacles so fast that I felt like tennis practice.

  • We stopped at Inlet Hardware, the only real hardware store within miles. We needed 2.5 inch 3/8 stainless bolts. Home Depot doesn’t carry stainless bolts. Inlet hardware was a tiny store but luckily they had the bolts we needed. We needed 7 of them and they had exactly 7 left in stock.
  • Bud said that we would be ready to lift the motor in within an hour, so I checked with the boat yard. The fork lift parts were in but not installed. It would not be until afternoon that we could lift the motor. Oh no! If we lose half a day we can’t finish.

  • We did what we could. We knocked out the fiberglass to expose the shaft log and pulled the log out.

  • We burnished the stuffing box fittings and I repacked it with new flax and stuffing box lube. (Cruisers be aware. You need stuffing box packing on hand.)

  • The drill that we borrowed from the boat yard yesterday disappeared overnight so we couldn’t borrow it today. Bud and I hopped in the car and drove to Wal Mart to buy an electric drill, and a grinder, and a grinding wheel, and a grease gun and grease. We had to also stop at Home Depot before finding all the things we need. It bothers my tightwad nature to buy power tools for one-time use. However, there is no place to store such tools on Tarwathie, so keeping them is out of the question. The shopping trip took about 90 minutes.
  • Bud finished drilling and bolting down the aluminum adapter plates for the motor mounts.
  • We used the grinder to grind down and smooth the area around the shaft log in the stern. This makes room for new epoxy to mold in the shaft log after installation is complete.

  • We removed the motor mount brackets from the rear of the engine and installed to Westsail 32 custom brackets that Beta supplied with the motor. One of the brackets didn’t fit right. Either the bracket design or the motor design had changed. We used the grinder to cut out a 3/4 by 3/4 inch notch in the bracket to make it fit. That cost us a half hour.

    Bud called Beta Marine and gave them a few choice words. He has several other Betas in the pipeline for Westsail installations. Beta promised to mount the brackets in the factory and to make any modifications necessary so that Bud wouldn’t have to do that in the field.
  • After lunch we really were ready to lift the motor in. It took us 3 hours to be ready not 1 hour. I checked on the fork lift status and Horary! it was fixed just that minute. Within 5 minutes the driver brought over the lift and we started the lift. So as it turned out, the broken fork lift truck didn’t really cause us much actual delay.



  • The process of lifting in the new engine was similar to removing the old one. Nothing was exactly straight forward. It took three of us (me, Bud and a boat yard worker) about 30 minutes of fooling around, pushing, pulling, twisting, and coaxing the heavy thing with a come along to get it in place. Along the way learned that come along in Spanish sounds like come along in English.

  • At this point the motor was sitting on the mounts but the mounts were not fastened to the underlying adapter plates.

  • The next step was to align the motor and shaft. This is where Bud’s special knowledge came in . We temporarily bolted the shaft to the motor using the shaft coupler. That made the shaft a very long extension pointer. We maneuvered the motor to center the shaft through the open shaft log hole in the stern. The shaft is one inch in diameter while the shaft log hole is four inches in diameter, so there is room to maneuver. We wiggled left and right, and we adjusted the nuts on the forward motor mounts to adjust tilt until the shaft passed through the center of the hole. We also had to add half inch aluminum shims under the forward mounts. To double check, we got down on the ground and pushed the shaft log on to verify that it indeed slipped easily around the shaft and into the hole. When that was done we could say that the motor and shaft were in perfect alignment.

    Ah so. I had been wondering how that was accomplished. Now I know.

  • With the alignment possible we marked the places to drill holes for the motor mount bolts with a magic marker. Then we lifted the engine again. This time, the fork lift was gone but we rigged a sling over the boom and used a come along to do the lifting. It worked fine.

  • With the motor dangling in mid air, we needed to drill and tap two holes for each motor mount. That work was slow and hard. Bud did the first two. It took a lot of muscle to turn the tap in those big 3/8 inch holes in the aluminum place. Bud got tired out so I said I’d do the rest myself. Bud said, “OK but be very very careful to not break the tap.”

  • You guessed it. I drilled and tapped three more holes fine but on the fourth the tap snapped in half, leaving the tip in the hole. Oh what a klutz I am. I felt terrible. Worse, I was fearing that my screw up would prevent us from finishing the job. It was nearly 17:00 already.

  • The first remedy was to obtain a replacement tap. I called Inlet Hardware. They said, “Yes we have one but we close in three minutes.” I was much more than three minutes away. I jumped in the car and drove as fast as possible to the nearest NAPA auto parts store. When I got there and told them I needed a tap, they said no problem. Unfortunately, it turned out that they had every possible size of tap except the one I needed. I jumped back in the car in search of another store. I found an Advanced Auto Parts store and asked them if they had a tap. At first the guy didn’t understand. He though I needed a tool to remove a stubborn bolt. After much talk and searching I found a whole tap and die set of tools on the shelf. I bought the whole set. There was no more time to screw around.

  • Back at the boat, Bud finished drilling and tapping the last holes. He wouldn’t trust me to do it any more. Just about sunset, we lowered the engine onto the mounts and bolted it down. THE HARDEST PARTS OF THE ENGINE SWAP ARE NOW COMPLETED!

  • That leaves only a little work for tomorrow. We have to remount the shaft on to the engine, this time including the “motor saver” between the couplings. The motor saver is a plastic device designed to act like a shear pin. If we wrap a lobster pot line around the propeller when at high RPMs, the motor saver will give way instead of over tourqing the engine crankshaft. That way is saves the motor from being ruined. Then we recheck the alignment one more time, tighten down the mounting nuts, bolt in the shaft log, put new epoxy around the shaft log and we’ll be done.

Bud is a great guy. He originally had plans to fly home today. Then he was going to leave Saturday morning. Now he’ll stay to work with me tomorrow morning and try to catch a late afternoon flight home tomorrow evening. In the meantime, he is going to visit Viking Rose, a Westsail 42 in Vero Beach to look as some things for Dick and Penny. They’ll then drive Bud back to the airport.

Remaining for me to do after Bud leaves is to hook up the engine. Fuel lines, water lines, electrical, and exhaust all have to be fitted and installed. I think I can do these things, but I also think that we’ll be busy for another week here up on the hard.

Ironically, last week the boat yard was a stickler for the rules. Nobody from outside could help me or even climb up the ladder on the boat. Only the yard workers or approved local contractors could help. I agreed then on the understanding that the yard could supply the needed workers on Thursday and Friday this week. Surprise, now on Thursday and Friday all the workers were busy and not available. On the other hand, nobody seemed to notice that Bud and I were doing the work without their help. I feel sorry for Bud, he is really too old for doing such strenuous stuff, but he is a real trooper and the job got done.

Dick and Bud At The End of the Job


Repowering day 10

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