Boat Yoga

Boat Yoga is a real thing. And no, it is not serenely listening to someone guide you through downward dog, the warrior, or a Sun salutation. It is bending, contorting to reach at full stretch while being upside down, sideways, or in a full body twist in a stuffy engine compartment, reaching the stud to slowly turn the nut on the bolt. All the while hoping and praying the nut does not slip out of your hand and enter the gates of hell, otherwise referred to as the bilge.

I’ve been doing a lot of boat Yoga lately. And I am here to tell you …I don’t like it much.

When we arrived in Australia we had two big projects in mind. One, redo the cooling system on the Perkins, and two get rid of the holding plates, divide our refrigerator and freezer into three compartments. Since, we’ve added a third job, redo our lazy jack lines on our new stack pack so we can easily rig our full boat awning. That, will be an interesting project.

Since we are on limited contact here in Australia during the Covid crises we’ve focused on the engine. I do the yoga while W/ provides the serene commentary. She also is the tool gofer. I watched the Trans Atlantic Diesel (TAD -not TED) video a few times familiarizing myself with what to do. We ordered the gear and paid duty to Australia. From the office we schlepped it to the boat. Stored in the boat we’ve been walking around it for a few weeks. W/ said it is time. Get to work Dave. 🙂

Our trusty Perkins with the original header tank.

Examining what I needed to do, I thought this would be a good time to repaint the engine. Lewis and Alyssa repainted their engine on their Island Packet. How hard could it be? What a horrendous, good choice. Horrendous because while we have better engine access than most other boats (say under 70’), it is still close to impossible reaching every spot.

I started by removing the old cooling system components. That involved draining the coolant out of every piece, unbolting it, and removing all the hoses. Some parts I missed finding the drain cock and coolant ended up in the engine sump. New Yoga move; cleaning the engine sump. Sans coolant, I began removing parts. We stored them on the aft deck. I was expecting the install to go well but just in case I wanted a fall back. It would have been an ugly fall back cleaning and re installing them.

Once they were off we washed the engine with a degreaser. Again more water in the engine sump and again more of the yoga pose “Sump Clean out”. To clean the sump we first used a small oil change pump to pump out as much liquid as possible. Then I laid on my belly and reached as far as I could with a rag for the rest of the water. Then again on my belly I reached with a wet spirits rag (not the drinking kind) to clean up any oily scum left behind.

With the sump clean we put on two coats of etching primer. The boat smelled like a paint shop. We put the primer on and then ran away. Two coats of primer took approximately 6 tries to complete it all. Again; once again I was reaching under the engine to the full extent of my limbs and rolling primer across the bottom of the engine pan. Then we did each side front, back, and top. W/ mixed and I painted and we both cleared out of the boat when finished. Epoxy primer is nasty stuff.

Once primed I was able to install a couple of pieces of the new cooling system. I would add, then paint. If I put it all on at once then I wouldn’t be able to paint the hidden areas. Getting the Perkins paint color right was a wee bit of a problem so we opted for Ford Blue- close enough.

Add a part, paint, add a part paint. This alone took a couple of weeks.

The Bowman Kit from TAD installed few hitches. But, there were two gotchas. I’m close to the end of this project. All the large pieces are on and I’m completing the raw water system. I needed a pipe wrench. Yeah, I didn’t have one, had not yet needed one on this boat. Now I needed to remove the outlet nipple on the raw water pump. TAD had sent an elbow to install. Bunnings provided a new pipe wrench, after giving them some money. After removal I tried to fit the elbow. Oops. No room to rotate it. Now I need to loosen and rotate the pump to add the elbow. The problem was the bolt / nut on the pump had rusted so badly I couldn’t get a wrench on them. Yes, I’ve had a little drip on the pump for the last year or so.

Once removed the pump screamed at me to rebuild it. With some colorful

Rebuilding the Jabsco Pump

language aimed at the boat gods I was able to get the 4 nuts to the pump gear off. Then I could remove the entire assembly. I could now add the elbow. Remember the leak. Now is a good time to fix the Jabsco 10970 pump. And that was a fiasco.

Ok, I needed to take it apart. Dummy me. This next mistake cost me some extra dollars. I went to the Yanmar / Volva shop and the owner said he would help once I got it apart and had the kit to put it back together. He never indicated what I needed to do to get it apart. Well, I thought the pump had cup seals like in my last engine. Not so! I took the impeller out and expected to slide off the Jabsco shaft from the pump housing. Don’t try it! The screw up will cost you almost a boat buck ($1,000). I could not take the pump apart with the tools I had on the boat. A machine shop could. I took it to machine shop and they kindly put it on a press and pressed out the shaft from the pump. Great! I had it apart and the inner pieces were a mess. Next I had to find the parts to order. The mechanics out there will already know how I screwed up!

Luckily there is a Jabsco dealer down the road. I took the pump to him and we ordered the parts. Next week (yes another week passed) I received the kit and some of the instructions on putting it together. BTW, Jabsco’s exploded diagram is; how can I say it politely- crappy. Gordon (the Jabsco dealer) suggested I use Loctite 515 – for the rubber seal. I like that stuff. Yet I didn’t like how the seal set. It was crooked in the pump. If I was of average intelligence I would have stopped right there. I would have questioned someone more knowledgeable. You can tell I didn’t. I greased up the shaft (another error) and slid the other parts on. Put the impeller in and the cover back on. Time to install it on to the engine.

I put the gasket sealant on and then spoke with the boat gods. I was not pleasant. Getting the gear lined up with the housing and the four studs was a cluster…… . Finally it was on and snugged down. The elbow fit perfectly the connection TAD provided didn’t. I needed to add a length of hose.

This was only the second gotcha I’ve found in the kit. Finding US imperial hose in a metric country is not my idea of fun. Eventually I found some that would work. Not exactly what I wanted but I remember what the Stones Said; “You don’t always get what you want, …. You get what you need”.

With the pump installed the raw water system was completed and tomorrow I would test it. I don’t like testing things in the afternoon. If something screws up I’m working in the evening trying to fix it. That makes a mess in the boat, W/ is not happy and I’m beyond tired and cranky. So I wait. Tomorrow came and I opened the seacock letting water into the engine. Almost immediately, the engine passed water to the engine sump. Oh were the boat gods ears ringing then. I close the seacock and need to remove / redo the pump. I am not happy.

Time to call in the big guns; my shore support team; Mike and Dirk. Using WhatsApp I contacted them and then we did a video chat. They helped me get it all apart and the diagnosis was that something at the bottom of the pump was amiss. The rubber thingie ought not be hanging on the shaft out of the pump. Time to take the pump back apart. There I discovered my mistake in choosing a lubricant.

I couldn’t get the shaft out of the mechanical bearing. To do so I used a rubber mallet and lightly tapped the shaft easing the parts off. (If you believe “lightly” tapped I have some swamp land to sell you!) The water proof grease I used gummed up the parts already and that is why I needed to tap it out. Tapping it out broke the surface of the ceramic bearing and I would need to replace it. As the gods are now getting back at me I couldn’t replace just that bearing, I needed to buy an entire new kit at $150 AU.

Once apart and cleaned up I took the entire pump to the Jabsco dealer. In all hubris I told him that it looked like the rubber piece was missing something. I was wrong again. I ate my words. The pump was missing something. When we had it on the press and pushed the shaft out I broke off the bottom bronze flange of the pump! I would need a new pump. The pump alone new in Australia is $1,200. The body which is what I needed is about $700 plus AU. Gorden thought he might have a used one he could clean up and sell me. He did and I gladly paid the $200 he charged for it. Now another week passes by, awaiting the next kit shipment.

I have the new bearing kit, the new pump body and am putting it together. This time I clean the shaft and use no lubricant. As long as the pump has water in it I am told all will be fine. My shore support team informed me of the recommended lubricants: glycerin or liquid soap. Anything water soluble . Next to install on the engine. This time, instead of putting sealant on first I make sure to align the gear. Then I add sealant and still struggle a bit to get the gear housing aligned and on. This time the process was much easier.

Now get this. When I removed the pump the second time I put four nuts on the platform for the aft head. That was about a 7-10 days ago. I’m putting the rebuilt, painted housing on and look for the nuts. I can only find 3. THREE! I guess the gods were paying me back. W/ and I search everywhere. We check the engine sump, we search the head floor, we search the engine room floor. We check the socket used to remove the nuts. The nut remains hidden. This is an imperial bolt with fine thread. I am in a metric country. I don’t have much hope. Luckily there is a serious Nut/ Bolt store 10 minutes from here. Oh… Happy Day! They have them. I buy a couple nuts and lock washers. Who knows if I will need an extra.

Once installed we are again ready to test the raw water system. I open the seacock. Water enters. Looks ok. W/opens the after hose that cools the shaft log. No leaks. Well not with the pump. I am getting a little water out of the top of the old…. old raw water filter. I have ordered a new raw water filter From Amazon. (Note: three weeks later I look for my order and Amazon cancelled it and never informed me- May the gods spite Amazon) The old strainer is a Perko and they don’t even show parts (gaskets) on their website anymore. To check the contents and clean the strainer I need to empty the entire bowl with water. What a PITA. So I’ll wait a bit and deal with the weep later when the new strainer arrives.

At this point all new hoses are also on the engine. New exhaust elbow, new exhaust hose to the aqua lift muffler, new raw water hoses all the way around. Things are looking good. The engine paint indicates to wait 5 days before running. That I’ll do. At that time I will need to flush it with a couple of fresh water rinses and then add new coolant. Once completed; we’ll crack open a bottle of champagne. This has been one DAMN BIG project!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Comments are closed.