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Monday, April 24, 2017

Un-wiring and revealing

Having decided that we'll fully rewire, it's so much easier to tidy up the engine compartment. Just pull through the wiring we're going to keep - mostly the antenna cables and other instrumentation, and then tear out everything else. Max came and helped me extract as many cables as possible without slicing them, so we've got good long runs to reuse, and then we tidied everything else. There were quite a few completely redundant cables, not connected at either end...!

That done, the bilge and engine compartment were a very dirty big hole ready to be cleaned up. A day's work with scraper, detergent, wire wheel and elbow grease makes quite a change. I've also cut away some of the plywood sides to expose the fuel tanks, we'll keep doing more of that and tidying up until we can be sure of the condition of everything and start rebuilding.

Before.....and after

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cleaner engine, cleaner hull

Having got the engine out of the boat, now we can inspect and clean it properly before starting work. I'd built a sort of tray of poly sheet into the base, on top of the pallet, so we could wash the engine down and catch the dirty water without it going all over the yard.

So Issie got busy with the degreaser spray and and old paintbrush, while I built a little shed to cover the engine and keep out the dust and rain. All looking much tidier now. The plywood sides are all on hinges so they fold down when we're working on the engine.

The next day, my friend Adam had volunteered to help with scraping and sanding the hull. That's a seriously nice offer I wasn't going to turn down, so we cleared all the area under the hull, got out the scrapers, sander, planer and grinder and set to work.

Seven hours of hard labour later and we've made huge progress, with all the waterline paint planed off and ready for sanding, almost every area of paint on the rest of the hull scraped off and nearly half of it sanded to provide the keying for the new epoxy coat that will go on in late summer.

There's quite a lot of small osmosis blisters. They aren't a big problem except that if they grow, they might loosen the epoxy coat, so I'll grind them out and fill the resulting dimples once the hull has had a summer to dry out. Big thanks to friends on Froogal for suggesting the abrasive wheel for the grinder, which works perfectly for this job. And even bigger thanks to Adam, who just works until there's no more work to be done, and does the things that need to be done without being asked.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Engines Fly

Having cut the new temporary sunroof, a call to the excellent Maverick Crane saw Brett turn up with his rig this afternoon and in less than an hour we had the engine and gearbox down on a pallet beside the boat.

All covered with a tarp now, and I'll build a waterproof box around it then we can work on the engine on sunny days - if we ever get any - and see how much we need to do there.

And now there's that great big empty dirty hole to clean up and make all pretty again.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cleaning and Scraping

Whilst all the engine work was going on, we also got along with more of the general tidying and hull work. Max and his friend Finn came along for an hour or so and worked like troopers emptying out the deck lockers, including the deep lazerette. Lots of old, damp stuff down there. Now it can dry out and be prepped and repainted.

I also tried out some approaches to the very well stuck on paint around the waterline. Even the big belt sander hardly made a mark, but taking the power planer to it with a few very thin passes took off the many layers of paint without harming the epoxy coat underneath. It's tough work, with the heavy power tool making my arms ache, but it works and it'll be good to get that all done and sand the whole hull back to epoxy.


Just four bolts and up she comes. Or maybe not. The engine mounts support 1000lbs of Mr Ford's best ironwork, with four large nuts holding it all down. We pieced together enough extension pieces to the socket set to reach down the two and a bit feet and leant on the ratchet.  Nothing moving. Add a long piece of tube to the ratchet handle and lean on it a lot more. Creak, click, movement. And more, and the first nut is off.

But the second wasn't so easy. Eventually it moved, but it spun the whole stud, we'd sheared or shifted the stud on the engine mount. Now, these mounts will all be replaced anyway, so that's not too bad, but how to free it all up? The mount itself is bedded onto the stringers with two bolts, so we set to it and pulled those. Which worked fine, so on we go, and pulled all the hold-down bolts so we could lift the engine, mounts and all. And lift she did, an eighth of an inch with each crank of the chain hoist.

A pair of come-alongs helped us slide the hoists forward along the lift tubes as we went and inch by inch we got the engine up and onto blocks in the saloon. A little more effort and we had the gearbox separated too, and it's time to think about what next.

The options are to leave it here, work on the engine and drop it back in. Sounds sensible, which is why it's been plan A. But really, I want to degrease and wash the engine, take lots of stuff off and replace, then reassemble and repaint. It means turning the saloon into a workshop for a while yet. And there's so much else to do in there.

So plan B is to get the engine out and off the boat. We get in and out through the companionway hatch. It's not all that big. The engine is smaller than the hole, but only just, and only if you lift it out on end. The opportunity for disaster is significant.

Overnight, I devise plan C. Plan C is actually pretty simple. Cut a bloody big hole in the roof and lift the engine out with a crane. As it happens, the coachroof has some solid structural supports just far enough apart to let the engine come out between them.

We took a core of the roof to see what it was, 1/4" fibreglass, 5/8" ply then another 1/4" glass. That's a lot of strength, and plenty of thickness to lay in new plywood and glass when the engine's back in. So we took the circular saw and sliced ourselves a new hatch. Brutal, but effective.

All we need now is a crane.....