Day 32 - Still in Charleston
02 May 2012 | Docked at Ashley Marina, Charleston, SC
Wed 2 May 2012
Docked at Ashley Marina, Charleston, SC
After an extremely restful sleep, we puttered around the boat until after 0900 when Vern arrived to tackle the camshaft replacement. I will give enough detail to satisfy the "gearheads", so others can skip over the next few paragraphs. Getting the bolt holding the crankshaft pulley off was the first challenge and it took almost two hours before a trip to Vern's home for an impact wrench solved that problem. Next, the pulley just pulled right off with two fingers (welcome surprise). With that behind us, we could take off all the stuff I had previously removed before the first aborted attempt, including the rocker arm cover and assembly.
We now got the gear case off exposing all the timing gears, and things were looking promising. Next, the push rods came out and kept in proper order, and then the challenge was how to pull the lifters (tappets) up and out. Fabricating a small pair of tongs from heavy wire, I was very disheartened to see that the lifters only came up so far before hitting the cylinder head. The ports were big enough to clear the pushrods, but not the lifters.
Now we had three choices: (1) abort the effort and reassemble; (2) remove the cylinder head (I absolutely refused to go down that path considering how many other things had to be removed and assessing the risk of causing further problems); (3) find a way to hold all 8 lifters in the up position while we slid the old camshaft out and then inserted the new one. I was ready to abort at this stage, but Vern was optimistic and unable to accept defeat.
We tried using fabricated wire tongs, but it was clear that the lifters could easily slip off and if that happened when the camshaft was out, I was in deep trouble. Next, we tried gluing magnets to the end of 6 inch long cut dowel rods. It looked very promising because we could pick up a fairly heavy part on the bench (galley counter), but the lifters were a tight fit with the friction of an oil film in a tight bore, so they would not work in practice.
Despite three excursions in Vern's car (two trips to the hardware store and one to his house), we were stymied. I forced the issue and started reassembling everything. I was far from dejected, just hoping that when we were done reassembling, nothing would be worse. After helping for a while, Vern left to attend to other matters and I finished the reassembly. Diane came back from a nap aboard Vern and Rose's boat, Roam-a-Lot, and helped me add back the coolant. We started the engine and all ran smoothly, so it was now back in its jury-rigged, but functional, state.
I should mention that Vern and I had a great lunch at a little Mexican restaurant during our last excursion, and Diane and Rose were shopping in town for several hours. Diane doesn't spend too much when she shops, so she found some cute outfits, and a much-needed pair of non-skid shoes, for a very low price. They, too, had a nice lunch and enjoyed their time in the city.
It is now 1800 and I have been relaxing (and typing) for 30 minutes. We will be here all day tomorrow so that we can both explore a bit, and then plan a long day for Friday. Yes, in some respects, today was a wasted day, but life is not all bananas jubilee and sunglasses, you know (private joke for Dennis). We certainly appreciate the hospitality and assistance that Vern and rose have shown us during our visit so far.
Clyde is up in the cockpit with Diane enjoying the fading daylight and within an hour we will be asleep and ready for a much more relaxing and fun tomorrow.