15 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Very hot
Adrian dropped by this morning, after I had been working for an hour or so. I will post some photos of the work so far, but you'll admit that it's not much in comparison to what needs to be done.
The engine is too high, higher than the propeller shaft, so alignment between the two can't be done. Last year, we paid Adrian's assistant to fly to Raiatea and take all of the critical measurements needed to fabricate a set of motor mounts that would eliminate this kind of problem. Those measurements were sent to Beta for fabrication. Were the measurements wrong? Did Beta fabricate incorrect mounts?
It just doesn't matter at this point. The problem is on top of us and we've got to get on with things. After discussing things with Adrian, we've decided to buy a cordless Makita "Saws-All", a battery-powered saw that will make the work move much more quickly. We hope that we can get the work done, get the bed made with metal and more epoxy resin and begin to complete the task. Whatever the actual nature of the reason is, we've got to move.
For those tool-lovers out there, get this: I bought a Makita LXT-SPT, 18V reciprocal saw. The price was US$350, very high. The crazy part is that the battery and charger were another US$100 each! I bought both metal blade and wood blades for the saw, and the total was in the US$630 range. Holy smokes!
We took the bus into town, US$2 for each of us. It was a nice, new air conditioned bus, very comfortable. We were dropped in downtown Papeete, an area that we knew well, and had no trouble finding the store, an Ace Hardware, of all places, owned by Sin Tung Hung (known by its initials, STH). I've posted a funny photo of the nice guy who helped us.
We'll begin anew tomorrow. Wish us luck.
Here's where we stand.
12 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Well, hot...
We found that the vertical alignment of the engine and prop shaft/coupling was off by 10 mm: that is, the engine is 10mm higher than the center of the prop shaft, and the with the shaft centered in the stern tube and the motor mounts all adjusted as low as possible. We had lowered all four motor mounts as far as we could and still couldn't reduce the difference. We are forced to cut into the stringers (the large wood, epoxy-covered engine supports) to lower the engine since we can't accomplish it with the motor mounts. We decided to add another 10mm to that distance to ensure that we'd have enough play, so we'll remove enough material from the stringer to reduce the engine level by 20mm: a bit more than 3/4-inch. Back to the drawing board...
We removed the engine, with great care, and it's sitting/hanging in the salon. Part of the weight is on some 2X4s we bought and cut, and part is supported by the chain hoist still hanging from the open overhead hatch. We're simply moving too much to trust the 2X4s to be stable, so we've been forced to leave the chain hoist in place. Damn! If it begins to rain, we'll have to pull a tarp over the overhead hatch.
On Sunday, I'll begin the laborious process of removing 20mm=2cm=0.79 inches: a bit more than 3/4 inches. I've had experience with this kind of thing on this boat, and the epoxy that we have is "well cured", shall we say. The little oscillating saw will have a tough time, so I might resort to drilling a series of holes along the cut line to remove most of the epoxy, then using the saw. I'll liberally dribble water on the saw blade to keep it cool and to turn the epoxy dust into mud rather than a white film on EVERYTHING in the boat.
This is a very depressing finding so far into the process, but not unusual, I guess. It's just another hurdle of money and time. We'll get there.
We ended that frustrating day with a "Rock the Dock" party on the dock near us. It was great fun to be among so many cruisers from all over the world. Steve, from Liward, and his wife, hosted the party and Steve provided great oldies on his guitar, accompanied by a local musician, Tanya, who contributed guitar ukulele, and a great voice. Conni and I danced and sang along, and interestingly, the non-US/Canadian cruisers also knew all of the music.
Progress from 10-11 July
11 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Very hot
10 July: Wednesday is Adrian's boat watch day and he spends the day going from boat to boat and providing housekeeping chores: we have the day off. Between the heat and the long days of work, it's exhausting when it's day after day, so it's nice to have a day with no scheduled work.
We met Dave and Liska from S/V Vagabon (sic) (home port Seattle) a week ago as they were walking the docks one night. They made the crossing from Puerto Vallarta to Nuku Hiva just this season and were plagued with bad equipment failures that soured their willingness to continue: a common end to many voyages. They decided to sell their Island Packet 34 and head home, so we spent a few hours last evening with them, consuming a bottle of champaign that they'd earmarked for a successful crossing celebration. They said that now it'll celebrate the hopes for a successful boat sale, and we hope that they are. They're very nice people and each group took to the other quickly. Dave, a nurse practitioner by trade, had worked in Alaska for various native corporations and oil companies for many years so was drawn to our "Anchorage, Alaska" home port emblazoned on our stern. He has some terribly funny but poignant stories to tell about being the medical person in many Alaskan bush communities.
The rest of the day, we took on light but important chores. With Conni's extremely valuable help, we completed the reinstallation of the forward dorade vent that was dislodged by a bucking dinghy during our trip from Raiatea to Tahiti. Hopefully, it'll hold. Since the fiberglass had several pieces missing when it was dislodged, I had to re-glass several sections and wait the curing time. When done, there were a few hours of sanding, then Conni and I drilled holes, caulked the ring, and re-assembled the entire thing. It wasn't a difficult project, but required some time to complete.
A northeast wind was blowing, and pushing Wings directly into the damned quay. Grrr... We burst one fender in the slamming, and it was not a restful night. The seas were rough and we got NO sleep at all, so awakened a bit grumpy and tired this morning, 11 June. Walking around the boat was like doing so during a crossing: take a step only while holding on to something.
12 July Adrian and a third helper arrived at the usual 0800. The helper, Gabriel, is from Patagonia. Not a trained mechanic, he knows how to be helpful and he made several breath-holding dives to make measurements on our prop shaft.
Today's big task was to ascertain whether we should shorten the prop shaft to account for our new engine position and the large coupling. Moving the engine back and forth and side to side to try and center it was accomplished, and then Gabriel took one of his many dives. In the end, with Adrian, Conni, Gabriel, and I working on the task, we finally ascertained that we needed to remove 3-inches of prop shaft in order to remove the keyway at the inside end and we could accomplish that while allowing the propeller hub sufficient distance from the strut, and with enough clearance for the propeller to turn with clearance with the hull. If we were wrong, we'd have to have a new propeller shaft made here: not ideal. Adrian used an angle grinder powered by our Honda generator, and I turned the shaft by hand and after a half-hour of patient work, we were done. We cleaned the cut end with my flat file and some fine sandpaper, slipped on the coupling, and voila, we were done. It was quite a day's work.
We also removed several hoses that were new 35-years ago. The exhaust hose removal required all three (Gabriel, Adrian, and me) an hour to remove it was so stiff and hard to follow, but it's now on the dock with a few more choice pieces of ratty old hose. We also began to re-assemble the engine so that we could get a good feel for the fit. Unfortunately, I had to cut our cabinetry a bit to accommodate the heat exchanger, but lucky for us, I have an oscillating saw that was a great help. Now, we can slide the engine as far aft as needed for the transmission flange to meet the new coupling. Later, I'll smear the cut wood surfaces with epoxy to waterproof the cut wood, and perhaps add some paint. The engine sits well back from the engine compartment front and we think that we'll be able to fit the remote oil filter, siphon break, and coolant reservoir. You know what a siphon is: with it you can remove fuel from a fuel tank into a tank sitting lower, as long as the hose is full. On a boat, you can pump water overboard but if the output port is under water, a siphon can form and seawater will fill the boat. A siphon break prevents that. They're simple, cheap, and totally effective. We also think that we'll have space to install the expensive and extremely efficient sound insulation that we bought with the engine. It's three-layer stuff: closed cell foam, aluminum sheet, and lead sheet, so it'll reduce engine noise dramatically, we hope.
Tomorrow, we'll make some final measurements and remove the engine from the stringers in preparation for final placement. I'll clean the damned bilge...again, and we'll epoxy any areas that need it. With the engine out, all of this will be much easier. We'll have things ready to replace engine for final fitting. When that's done, we'll start connecting fuel and electrical connections, and work on the control panel.
We're about 65-70% complete, I'd guess. Conni says that we have about 32 more days here, so we should have a few weeks to play when we're done.
09 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Hot and humid
It's been surprising hot and humid, with no breeze, and even with our fans, we spend the day dripping sweat onto our work. Even the locals have been griping about the heat.
Our work slowed today since the engine is in the boat and it's all fitting and figuring. We've arranged to have all of our exhaust, raw water (that is, sea water used as a coolant), and fuel hoses replaced and that work on top of the engine installation. We imagine another 1-1/2 weeks here.
Today, we spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with a scrap yard that accepted (after some negotiation) our old Nanni block. The deal is that they sign an FP Customs form that we duly delivered the engine for destruction and made no profit from it. The owner wasn't there, so we'll have to return next week. To ensure that they "remember" our dealings, I took many photos of the staff and our engine being removed from our van with forklift. They gave us US$10 for the block and parts. Our driver, a Marina Taina worker named Georges, and Adrain, we treated to cheeseburgers, fries, and Orangina at a local Chinese "Snack" or open-air cafe.
By 1300, we were back aboard and we began our work for the day. Our decision was to put the new and very much larger coupler on the inboard end of the prop shaft and have Adrian (who was diving under the boat) push the shaft inward until the coupling touched the flange at the transmission's end. Having done so, he measured the distance between the propeller inner end and the propeller shaft strut. With that done, we had an idea that the shaft needs softening by 3-1/2-4 inches. Maybe. I think that we need more measurement, but it's a start.
We know already that the configuration of the beta is different enough from the old Nanni that we'll have to modify some cabinetry, most in a minor way, just some areas removed to allow parts to protrude where the old counterparts did not. I don't relish removing wood, but if done carefully, it was an expectation. To accomplish the cutting, I've got an oscillating saw, although it's 110VAC, fo course, and won't operate on the 220 VAC/50Hz. To run the saw, we usually use an inverter, but when I located our, it has rusted to failure: a West Marine product. A marine product simply should't rust away, in my opinion. We had trouble with the Honda generator last year, so it wasn't my first choice, but now we had no choice. Out it came, and after an hour trying to pay 700 XPF (US$7) for a gallon of gasoline, we were up and running.
As you can see, we accomplished much less than the hours might suggest. Tomorrow, Wedneday, is Adrian's boat watch day, so we're off work. Hurray!
In and Out
08 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Hot
We arose at 0700 this morning and began the work of preparing for moving the boat to another location, a side-tie for using the forklift to extract and place the new engine aboard. We added some fenders and dock lines and were ready when the marina work boat came to move us. The move was necessitated because we need to side-to a dock that's stable enough to support a forklift and engine. A side-tie means that we're tied to the dock with the side of the boat against the boat, so a forklift can more easily reach across from the dock to lift or lower an engine. In our temporary berth, we were "Med moored", eliminating any chance of a forklift being able to reach the boat.
We were placed across from the fuel dock, directly in the main entrance channel to the marina: lots of traffic. Adrian arrived and we went to the new Beta. We knew from our experience with the Nanni removal that we had to strip the engine of many external parts to make it light enough and narrow enough to be dragged from the companionway to the salon, and we convinced Adrian that the better place for this was while the engine was sitting on the pallet. And so it was and we began.
Adrian brought his day-labor, Ralph, to help. Both were working furiously to remove parts: water pumps, heat exchanger, air filter, alternators, for example. Still, not as many were removed as for the Nanni, and we paid for that later in damaged interior wood
A short word about this Beta. As Adrian says, most engines are made for sale and not for maintenance. Beta has obviously spent effort to design an engine that's easy and clean to install and maintain. The fuel feed and return lines are both mounted side-by-side and within easy reach. There are only TWO electrical connections: one hot, one ground, for everything! What ease and simplicity! The transmission is hydraulic, can be used commercially so it's durable, uses the same oil as the engine (wonderful, no ATF to cart around!), and has its own small heat exchanger for cooling the oil. The engine fuel system doesn't need to be bled, there's an engine oil removal pump that doubles as a transmission oil removal pump. Hold a jug under the pump spigot, give a few pumps, and dispose of the oil. Easy maintenance means that it'll be done more often. We purchased a 120A alternator so charging batteries will be much more efficient. The air filter, oil filter, and secondary fuel filter (the one on the engine, not the primary fuel/water separator are all disposable and can be purchased third party, reducing maintenance costs, and certainly improving performance. As Adrian says, Beta is as close to an "open source" engine as is available. All maintenance parts are easily available third party.
After the Beta was reduced in size and weight, we returned to the boat to ready the Nanni for removal. First was to slide it to the companionway to make it available to the forklift removal. Sliding a 300-pound engine along the floor, even with three sweating guys doing the work, is no easy task and we barely finished before lunch break was called. The Nanni was still on the floor just in front of the companionway stairs, so we set a similar system At 1300 hours, everyone returned and we began again, and the forklift arrive with our Beta dangling from the extended forks, still attached to the wood frame on which it was shipped. The forklift had been fitted with an extra-long extension that allowed several feet of support to extend over our companionway. We used Adrian's chain hoist connected to the forklift extension to hoist the Nanni onto the battery box under the companionway, then the forklift completed the task and pulled it out of the boat and it set gently on the dock.
We removed the Beta from its frame, and as it dangled in the air, we removed the motor mounts, narrowing the engine considerably. The Beta was raised on the forklift and set into the boat. Since I mentioned the problem, you know that it was a most frustrating experience to slide the much heavier engine from the companionway/galley to the salon and engine well. By 1600 hours, the engine was sitting on its mounts on the stringers. We called it a day.
It's 2000 hours and we're still at the side-tie, dog-tired, but pleased with the day's work. We're far from finished, but the muscle work is done and now it's small tasks as they appear. We've seen our new instrument panel, our new flex coupling and extra parts. We've seen our engine in place and know that at some point in the near future, the thing will fire and we'll be done.
One of the hoops through which we must jump is to prove to local authorities that we've disposed of the engine as required by our "vessel in transit" status. We paid no taxes on the engine because we're simply in transit, and we're not supposed to make any money on this engine or its parts. We've been told that we need to photograph all of the parts and provide them to the customs people and we'll be clear. I do hope so. First thing tomorrow is to deal with this.
06 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Hot
We were preparing for the cleaning task by 0900. The first order of business, as mentioned, was to empty the starboard water tank. It contained water we put into it last season so it wasn't worth saving. We used the main pressure water pump, (to conserve water, rarely used these days) to pump water into the galley sink where it drained overboard. That done, we ran a spare piece of water hose from the sink spigot to the now-empty starboard tank, and transferred the water from port to starboard. That solved our major bilge-draining problem and confirmed that our port water tank has a slow leak somewhere. Our good water discipline showed since we had 70 gallons in the filled port tank, and we had, probably, 50 gallons after we transferred it.
Knee pads, headlight, some strategically-placed cardboard to keep me off the dirty surfaces, and I began the bilge cleaning on my hands and knees. I used a Carrefour glass cleaning solution as my major degreaser, and wiped clean with paper towels. There were areas that needed the services of a putty knife as well. That done, it was Simple Green and water applied with a stiff brush to complete the chore. Our little vacuum did well, but the plastic continued to disintegrate. Little will remain by the time were done, I fear. Still, the bilge is remarkably clean, considering where we began.
Why paper towels? Why not more water and detergent? Because we had to collect any water that we used, somehow, and place it in an empty plastic jug for disposal! We pledged that we'd spill no oily water into this harbor with its lovely coral and beautiful tropical fish. Less water, less mess, fewer jugs of nasty water: a simple solution to the problem.
We had received email that other Passport owners had found leaks in the bottom of the bilge, but in our case, someone had already placed a layer of epoxy over the bottom, probably to solve that very problem, so we don't have to deal with that.
It all looks much better but we've got to clean it well enough to get some epoxy paint on it, so we bought some degreaser for a final wash. With luck, that'll do the trick.
I also removed the bilge pump for cleaning. With the gunk in the bottom of the bilge where it sits, I'm astounded that it pumped anything. The automatic feature of the pump, the ability to switch on and pump water by sensing the water, hasn't worked for ages, and I'm sure that it's a wiring problem. We'll fix that, too, when we get it clean and it's ready for re-installation.
I don't remember whether I mentioned it, but the new and improved coupling doesn't use a key as our old coupling and flange did. In fact, the keyway itself can damage the new (and expensive) coupling, says Adrian. Hence, the keyway machined in our prop shaft must go away. So, we can simply cut off the offending 4-inches of shaft with the keyway, or remove the shaft and have a local machine shop fill the keyway and grind it smooth: no keyway. I'm concerned about losing the needed length of the prop shaft if we simply cut it, but the only way to maintain shaft length while the boat is in the water is to remove the prop shaft WHILE THE BOAT IS IN THE WATER! I don't know if that process strikes fear into your heart, but it does ours. One of the first rules of safe boating is, "don't make a big hole in your boat so that water pours in and sinks it." It's always made perfectly good sense to me. Adrian says that he's removed shafts with the boat in the water many times, with no problem. He places a plug in the outside and inside ends of the propeller tube and the outside one has water pressure pushing it in. Yeah, I guess. If we go this route, I'm sure that I'll be up all night, fearing the worst. More on this topic later.
I've a bit more cleaning tomorrow, using a degreaser, then on to other tasks.
It's about 2200 hours. We're both in bed, and the boat is very gently rolling, side to side. There's not a breath of breeze so we've got fans going. It's Saturday night so the Pink Coconut Restaurant and Bar has a large crowd and live music, both of which we can faintly hear in the quiet night. There are smells of diesel fuel, engine oil, and our meal of black bean and rice: perhaps not pleasant but comforting because they're so familiar. Since I'm typing and not under the fan's breeze, I'm already a bit sticky. Conni's reading a novel on her iPhone and I've got another novel about a government assassin: there seem to be thousands of them these day, more often that not, written by and featuring women. Good night.