S/V Grizabella
Brain droppings of the boatstruck


I call this picture "Four Singing Frogs."

Several of the water passages were completely plugged. And certain areas of the jacket (particularly behind cylinders 3 and 4) were packed with a stinky, greasy, gritty, cruddy gunk. YEcccchh.. I'm amazed any water at all could flow through the engine. This really makes the case for fresh water cooling, I think.

I poked a long, skinny screwdriver through the small holes and dug around to try to scrape out some of the gunk, and blew compressed air in there to blow it out.

I opened up those holes and it started to look slightly better. A lot of crud came out.

All in all, an extremely productive weekend...


Sunday, January 30 - the work of disassembling the engine continued...
First I figured I'd lighten the load up a bit by removing the reversing gear housing and the reversing gear.

Once the cover is off, the whole reversing gear assembly lifts right out, leaving a big empty space at the back end of the oil pan.

I set the assembly aside in a box for safe keeping.

I borrowed one of my neighbor's engine stands and he helped me get the block mounted on the stand.

That made it much easier to remove the oil pan (that's a big heavy sucker, too!).

Which left the engine with a naked bottom!

The really nice thing about the engine stand is how it allows you to easily flip the engine over.

Which made it easy to remove the valves.

I ran out to WalMart and bought a bunch of cheap Glad containers to keep everything organized.

I'm also putting small parts (like all the nuts and bolts and stuff) into Ziploc bags and writing on them with a Sharpie to identify where they go.

Off with its head!
03/01/2011, Henrico County, VA

So I'm finally getting around to updating the blog after pulling out Grizabella's Atomic 4.
After driving around with the engine in the back of my truck for two days, on the morning of January 29, I whacked together a quick little dolly for the engine to sit on and slid it down two 2x10s out of the truck and onto the dolly.

I previously had broken off one of the thermostat housing studs, so I started with getting that out. The other one had come out without too much fuss, but the broken one was being recalcitrant. I used my MAPP torch, applied copious quantities of Kroil (magic stuff, that), heated it again, etc., then grabbed the broken stud with vise grips, started twisting and ... it cracked and crumbled.

I finally managed to work the head loose enough that I could wiggle it slightly back and forth and gradually got it high enough that I could pivot it on that one remaining stud past the valves and spun it around until the stud came loose.

With the head finally removed, I took off the starter:

Took off the flywheel and flywheel housing, water jacket side cover, valve cover, distributor and water pump.

I scraped off the gasket remains and dug around in the various water passages, which were pretty full of crud. I was dismayed to find a couple passages completely blocked.

But overall, everything actually looks to be in excellent condition, considering it's a 27 year-old, raw water-cooled engine. But I think it spent several years on the hard and actually has not had a whole lot of use, relatively speaking.

Thankfully, the cylinders look to be in very good condition - no holes or anything!

Here's how it looked after a couple hours of disassembly:

And that's where the work stopped for the day...

Heart Surgery
Cold, rainy and dreary day
01/26/2011, Deltaville, VA

I decided to go ahead and pay the boatyard to use their crane and experienced guys to hoist my engine out, rather than figure out a DIY solution. I figured this way, if something bad happened, it would be theirs and not mine, and since my time is pretty limited anyhow, it would be much quicker - and safer - than trying to rig up something using the boom or a home-built scaffold or whatever.

Today was the only day they could fit me in other than two or more weeks away, and I didn't want to lose the next couple weekends to get to work on the engine. So I had to play hooky from work and hang out in the cold and rain. It is a pretty miserable day today.

Anyhow, on with the pics -

Last time I went up and worked on the boat on the hard (which was my first time working on her on the hard), I brought a 6' stepladder, which turned out to be insufficient, so this time I brought a 12' folding ladder, which worked perfectly (although it was cold and rainy).

I took measurements off the engine and very quickly cobbled together this little cradle out of scrap lumber:

I had to wait around for a while, but the guys finally came over with the crane and they moved so fast, I hardly had time to snap any photos.

And here is the engine compartment, looking very much like a bloody, empty tooth socket:

What a mess. Water, oil, mud, gunk.... blecccch.

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me cleaning up all that mess.

But -

I have a line on a practically brand-new Volvo diesel engine for chump change. I need to do some investigating, but it might be worth the switch, particularly in terms of potential future resale value. Most knowledgeable sailboat shoppers prefer a diesel engine to gas, and a 20 year-old Volvo diesel with low hours would be a better selling point than a 40 year-old rebuilt Atomic 4 with unknown hours.

Much research to be done...

A Little Woodwork for a Classic Plastic Boat
01/26/2011, Richmond, VA

One of the many projects I've got on tap to get done before re-launching in the spring is to replace the ugly old plastic laminate-covered plywood engine box. I'll be replacing two components - the fake wood-grain plastic laminated plywood bulkhead that makes up the front of the engine box, shown here:

I'm also going to replace the lid of that box, which is even uglier - it's a hunk of plywood covered in very battered and worn white plastic laminate, like an old diner counter.

My goal overall is to get more of a classic wooden sailboat feel to the interior, so I decided to build a frame-and-panel bulkhead to replace that ugly, battered brown thing. I will be painting the new one off-white, and I also will make a new lid out of some 40 year-old, air-dried, rough-sawn black walnut that I've had lying around for about five years, which I'll varnish.

Since the frame-and-panel bulkhead is interior woodwork, is going to be painted off white, and is not structural, I figured it didn't really matter too much what kind of wood I used, as long as it wasn't something that was totally not rot-resistant. I took a 2x10 that I'm pretty sure is Douglas fir and ripped it and re-sawed it to make the frames and panels. I figure I'll soak it with some clear penetrating epoxy and then paint it really well, and that should be more than adequate.

Unfortunately, I used my cell phone to get these pics and the pictures looked o.k. on the cell phone screen. Now that I see them here, I realize they look pretty bad. I'll be sure to use my digicam to get some better ones of the next steps and the final finished product.

Anyhow, here are the parts and pieces showing the joinery:

And here it is dry-fit together:

Right now the frame is overlong on all sides. I will treat all the parts with clear penetrating epoxy sealer, then paint everything and then glue it all back together. I will trim it to final shape using the old one as a template, but I'll do the final fitting in the boat with a sharp block plane.

On the Hard and Disconnected
01/09/2011, Deltaville, VA

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Boat U.S. towed Grizabella to the Deltaville Boatyard, who hauled her and blocked her. All of this occurred while I was at work.

So today I headed up there to check out the situation and start the work needed to pull the engine.

The picture above shows her port side; here's her starboard:

Om the hard, starboard

Here's the battered old engine and its battered old engine box:

Engine before

And here it is after I removed the manifold, bulkhead, batteries, and battery box and disconnected everything from the engine.

Bulkhead gone

I also removed the bolts connecting the output flange to the prop shaft and the engine mounting bolts. So there's nothing left holding the engine in - it's just sitting there, waiting to be hoisted out, which I'm hoping to do next weekend, but it's looking like that nasty obligation known as "work" might get in the way.

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