Posts Tagged ‘Perkins 4-236’

We’ve Been Busy

Monday, January 13th, 2020

We have been busy. I know the blog doesn’t show it. ( I am rectifying that situation.) Two huge projects have slipped by. I’ll post them in the front of the blog for a week or so then put them in the correct chronological order.

The first project was upgrading the cooling system on the trusty Perkins 4-236. Alex from

Perkins 4-236

Project Bluesphere and Steve on NorthStar had made the change; and they liked it. I knew we would be spending time in Australia, friends from the states were planning on visiting, and we have friends in Brissi.

I ordered the kit from TransAtlantic Diesel (TAD) and waited for its arrival. The kit with shipping and duty came to about 6k USD. Additionally when installing I broke the cooling pump and needed to replace it.  Here in Australia that too cost close to a boat buck ($1,000).

While waiting on the Bowman Heat Exchanger Kit to arrive we began preparation for the refrigeration change. In the end we were not “happy” with our holding plate system installed 20 years ago.

I identified some of the issues in an earlier post. To recap: The system was loud. The 1/2 hp motor turning the compressor would wake people up. It was right under our sea berth and made sleeping on passage next to impossible when running. We needed to manage the time so we both could get enough rest. It was water cooled and the pickup wasn’t in the best position in the boat. The water pickup was slightly aft of the beam. Much over 6 kts we often would end up air. The cooling would get an air lock and the system would stop. I then needed to purge the pump in the engine room while we were on a roller coaster ride across the deep blue. There must have been a hundred tubing connection through out the entire system. I was spending more time then I wished chasing down leaks. That and once found and eliminated we needed to add refrigerant. In places like the US, R134a is easy to find. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry auto store sells refrigerant. Here in QLD Australia, the only way to get refrigerant was to hire an AC shop to come check out the system and then top it up. At $250 bucks travel time plus an hourly that would get expensive, whew, glad that is over. Then, the boxes were so large W/ had difficulty using anything on the bottom. That space became a waste. The plates too took up a lot of room in the boxes making organization difficult. And finally, I never achieved the hold over I expected with the three plates. Thus the decision was to re-do the entire system. Remove the holding plates and add evaporator plates. Remove both compressors, the water cooling system and the plumbing. The search began for replacements. The destruction / construction would begin when we had the new system here in boxes. And the engine cooling system completed.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

Fingers Crossed….Success!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

In the a.m. I was able to get the 1/4″ SS all thread. I also looked at replacing the strainers but the installation will be a little problematic. I had till 10:30 to decide as it takes me 30 minutes to walk to the store. I’m sure they wouldn’t close if I walked in a minute before and wanted to buy the $400 strainer.

What I was waiting to see mostly was could I get the one I had repaired. I started by removing the broken studs. It was much easier than with the header tank. I do think they were brass studs because for the most part they crumbled. I drilled a good part of them out and then attempted to use the easy out again (smaller size). All that did was tear more of the stud out and I was concerned about tearing up the threads on the fitting so I stopped. Then I grabbed the tap to clean up the threads. Being cautious to make sure it starts correctly and doesn’t change any of the current threads I slowly worked it through the holes. Bingo. I tried the new all thread in each hole and they functioned properly. If worse came to worse I was going to drill through the holes so I could run the all thread through there and just nut the bottom. Fortunately I didn’t need to do that.

With that done W/ set about to clean the bronze pieces. We heated up some Vinegar and dipped them in there. That wold get rid of any of the corrosion on them. We also cleaned up the gasket (just in case I bought some rubber gasket material.  With all that accomplished I was able to reinstall the strainer.

I liberally doused the threads with Loctite and screwed them into the bottom bracket. I then put some Teflon tape on the drain nut and on the center toggle bolt carefully fitting both items. The top nut most always seems to leak so this time I tried a Cu washer thinking I would get it to seat. I had it all back together and opened up the seacock and removed the clamp on the hose to the dripless stuffing box.  Water slowly entered the bowl, rose to the top and seeped out the center bolt seal.

I take it back apart and find a rubber washer we had in the spares and use it in place. I reassemble it and tighten it back up; remove the clamp, open the seacock and bingo. A little water fills in and then it stops.

In all this process I had checked my email and both my super people had given me hints. One was to check for a bleed screw on the coolant system (I can’t find it and there is only a place where I could have imagined one) and the other said to run it up with considerably more rpms.  I ran it at 1500 rpms and it still was getting a bit too hot. We shut the engine down and waited a couple of hours. Then I ran it up to 2,000 rpms and the temp went to 180, then 190, then close to 200 and settled there. I checked the engine temps and the coolant tub and they were all within the good zone. As I came back out to the cockpit W/ said the temp was going back down.  She settled at about 185 F.  FANTASTIC! We are in business.

We run it for about 30 more minutes and to be sure after we shut her down again and wait a couple of hours we run it again for an hour to make sure. It will take us about an hour to get to the anchorage and we don’t want any emergencies in the airport control zone nor the channel between the reef.

Clean Installed Perkins 4-236 Header Tank

Clean Installed Perkins 4-236 Header Tank

It’s almost too good to be true. The temp rises up to 175 and stabilizes there. The book says the engine temp should be between 160 and 190. So we are on the money and in the money. We celebrate by W/ dragging me out to a Pearl shop she’s found something she likes. It doesn’t matter. I’m on cloud nine; after 14 days of working on this project we’re whole again. Boats not broke, and I’m not broke. People talk about sympathetic pregnancies; I have sympathetic boat symptoms. But no more. I’m whole again.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

What a Night !

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

When there is only one road with a large log across it I think about how to clear the jam before I can rest. Any situation that is slightly beyond my understanding demands serious thought and my body and my brian will ensure I give it that thought. So it was with the Perkins.

Everything is back together and we’ve been adding coolant. We have all the coolant. We fill up the header tank, run the engine till warm,  the thermostat opens up and the coolant enters. We add more coolant and repeat the process. We’ve run it now 3 times and for the most part the engine now has it’s full compliment of coolant.  As afternoon approaches we figure to run it again like we’re moving. Run it for an hour to make sure everything is “hunky dory”.  W/’s out window shopping and I’m the one left to check it all out.

I start it up and the engine comes up to temperature fine. I get the infrared temp sensor out and check the sensors on the engine and a couple of places on the block. Not bad a little warm here and there but not hot. I return to the cockpit to see the gauge climbing towards 200 F.  Not good but I”m thinking it will drop back soon. It keeps rising slowly. About 15 minutes into the run the Hight Temp alarm starts beeping. DAMN!

Immediately I shut the engine down and my brain goes into 4 wheel mode. Every neuron firing and all demanding to do so at the same time.  I go through the check list, enough coolant, yep, enough raw water, appeared to be so – the raw water alarm did not go off – but I should check the strainer. OK, I’ll do it now; that ought to quiet my brain.

I get out some more paper towels; one of the most valuable things on a cruising boat, and open up the strainer. Yep, some stuff is in there but not what would appear to be enough to restrict the water flow. I clean it anyway.  That done I return to the engine room to put it back together. It’s a PERKO strainer and I’ve never liked it but never had the inclination to replace it. It works. There is one large toggle bolt that runs down through the strainer and screws into the bottom. I have to line it up for 6″ and pass it through the bottom of the strainer and tighten. Eventually I get it lined up and tighten. Open the seacock back up and remove the clamp on the hose feeding the dripless cutlass.  Water flows into the strainer,  I don’t believe that is suppose to be happening but I don’t think much off it. Water seeks it’s own level so I don’t worry; but as it rises towards the top of the strainer it begins to seep; or should I say flow out into the boat. Damn! I investigate and find that the bolt holding the one side of the strainer is broken. I shut the seacock,  clamp the hose and begin to remove the strainer. The bronze (or maybe red-brass or maybe even brass) bolt has parted where it enters the threads holding the bottom of the strainer.  DAMN.

I bring the parts to my work station; W/s galley sink, and begin to clean more and start to disassemble the other bolt. Without any real effort; instead of rotating and coming out, it too snaps at the point where it enters the bottom piece. Ok, I know we have some SS all thread so I could cut some replacement bolts. I go and check. I find it; but, it is not the correct size. I take a break. I’m dejected. I get some ice water and some comfort food; Oreos, and sit in the cockpit.

W/ arrives and I hop off the boat to pull it over for her to get on easier. She’s smiles; I’m frowning.  I explain the situation to her and she tells me that she saw a lot of SS all thread yesterday; guess where, Ocean 2000.  Fortunately tomorrow is Saturday and I’m convinced they are open at 8 am. Till then we are back to NOT normal. The boat engine does NOT work.

Fortunately the generator still does and all the boat systems do, we don’t have to move yet, we did pay for the marina till Sat. And too the Marina manager informed us that if we need to leave Sunday consider that his gift so we are good through Sunday.  Tomorrow I’ll hike to Ocean 2000 and be there when it opens.

Tonight I’m thinking of what I need to do and how to do it. I also email my shore side support and tell them of the situation. Knowing there is a 5 hour time difference I don’t expect to see anything till the am; if then. They do have a life besides answering my emails.

Raised Coolant Tube 1:

Raised Coolant Tube 1:

I can’t sleep. I think maybe it has to do with the coolant tube I raised. It could well have an air lock in it.  I’m a wee bit concerned about the raw water strainer. Can I get the correct size all thread?  Should I look to purchase  a new raw water strainer? Often I can be penny wise and pound foolish. Is that what I’m being here?  I need to check to make sure the impeller is fine and hasn’t fallen apart with blades restricting the water flow. If I can I’ll stop at the plumbing store to see if I can get a single bushing for the thermostat and move it closer to the engine then I can lower the coolant tube back to it’s original position.  All this is running through my head like tires spinning on an icy road. I need to slow down.

I climb out of bed and write down  “check the impeller”. I’ve found if I can write things down before bed my brain will stop spinning that wheel. I still can’t sleep, I get up and find a fitting the size of the sensor and the bushing; I put the two together for tomorrow so I can show the plumbing store and explain in my limited – almost non existent French.  Another wheel quits spinning. I go back to bed. Finally I fall off to sleep. Four hours later I’m awake … spinning.  How long I don’t know but eventually I get back to sleep.  By 4:30 am  I’m awake again. I roll over, again roll over,  and finally decide I don’t want to wake W/ so I just get up. At 7:30 am I’ll be leaving anyway to the store. I get up and prepare for the day, full of hope, dealing with my anxiety, wanting to move but knowing it’s foolish to try and we are after all in a good spot to do what we need to do.  W/ rises early too; mainly cause I’m up. She makes breakfast which helps distract me and by 7:30  I’m on my way. It’s only a matter of time. I tell myself it’s nothing like what Escape Velocity has to deal with; it’s only a thermostat replacement. They’ve had to deal with replacing their mast in a foreign country.  But it doesn’t matter, my brain doesn’t care at this moment what problems others have; only that I’m responsible for the mechanical functioning of this boat and right now it’s broke, and I too feel broken.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

Patience is NOT my Name

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

I’m not a patient man. It is amazing that I can be a sailor; really! Sailing is different however, there are things you can do while sailing, read, think, watch the world around ya, listen to the sounds of a boat moving through the water. Sailing is mezmorizing in many respects.

Working on an engine is not mesmerizing in any respect. I have 3 of the 4 bolts out of the header tank. The 4th will not budge. It’s been 3 days now, I’ve soaked it in PB blaster, I’ve warmed it with a heat gun (being advised to not use a torch to it I didn’t), I wiggled it, I’ve pulled it, I’ve wedge both sides up from the engine pan and finally I’ve devised a clamping system that put upward pressure on the tank and pushed the bolt downward. I’ve tapped with a hammer over a 1,000 times sending small vibrations to the entire thing hoping the PB Blaster will soak in a little farther and loosen it up. Any moment would be good but alas; I observe none.

I take a Micrometer tt and measure if it has moved any. All my readings are less than 1,000th of an inch. The difference I attribute to not having the Mic in the same place and same attitude every time. It just isn’t moving.

Thinking about what my shoreside support team has said I look closer at how I might be able to cut the bolt. There is a gasket there and I think I can clear it out with a Japenese saw ( a really thin saw) that I can finagle between the header tank and the fitting.  I’m successful here and it seems I have a clear path to the bolt.  I grab my handheld hacksaw and see if I can work it in place.

I remove more stuff.  The hose that is in the way does not want to give so I take a utility knife to it. That removed I take apart the hack saw and reassemble it so the blade can reach the bolt with the back on the other side of the fitting. I have already wedged this side of the tank up hopefully giving me some extra room for the blade to cut the bolt and not the header tank nor the fitting it sits on.

I begin the task of push forward and sliding back. Hacksaws only cut in one direction and the push cuts while the slide cleans the blade. I can’t get any oil on the blade where it is at so I go slow. 100, 200 strokes; I count to ease the boredom. I feel I”m making progress but there is no way to know. The bolt is hidden and I’m only guessing. I press on.

Somewhere before a 1,000 pushes of the hack saw; oh, I lost count and started over a couple of times, the tank pops free. No more blisters and a great deal of relief sweeps over me. I sit there a moment and then tell W/ it’s out.

Thermostat Housing on Perkins 4-236

Thermostat Housing on Perkins 4-236

I remove the header tank and check the thermostat then climb out of the engine room to stretch.  I return with the camera to take pictures – need to put the new thermostat in the exact same way.  I still have two jobs left. I need to remove the stud from the header tank and remove the threaded

Stud is Still Stuck

Stud is Still Stuck

portion from the fitting on the engine. I attack the threaded portion first.

It turned with the header tank attached so I had relative confidence in the bolts removal. I first tried the cold chisel and found a little stub of the bolt sticking out. I tapped it to loosen it and after 5 minutes felt I was getting no where. On to the alternative path.

I grabbed the drill, found the easy outs (they are tapered hardened steel bits with a very coarse reverse thread that when you have a good size pilot hole you can twist – they will then bite into the bolt and thread it out), found the correct size drill bit for the project and setup to fold myself into a position I’m not use to, then attempt to drill a straight line.  As in most work on the a boat there is not enough light. I have installed two lights in the engine room but it could use for more, more specifically some spot lights. Fortunately W/ comes to the rescue.

She’s able to hold a light on the spot I’m drilling and we begin.  I drill a bit, clean and oil the piece to cool the bit and at a bit of lubricant for cutting.  Clean, oil, drill, repeat. I have to be careful; breaking a drill bit in this would cause a good size problem and I would need to then remove another piece from the engine and take it to a machine shop. I’m damn glad we didn’t start this project in the more remote islands.  Eventually I  get the hole deep enough in the bolt that the Easy Out can work it’s magic.

Easy Out with Stud Removed

Easy Out with Stud Removed

I slowly put the Easy Out in and begin to rotate it. I have a small open end wrench on the tool and it begins to bite but the bolt isn’t turning. I am very cautious here. Again; breaking the easy out in the fitting will result in much, much more work.  I stop and change tacks. I need a larger Easy Out and fortunately I have one, having needed it years ago on our other boat. I check what size pilot it needs and redrill the hole.

I insert the Easy out and twist; slowly. This time I see movement in the cut bolt. Yipee! I silently chortle.  I continue to turn slowly and the bolt continues to move. After another couple of minutes it is out. Whew!  Next I grab the tap to clean up the bolt holes. I oil the tap and run it; run is a misnomer, I slowly walk it down the bolt holes cleaning up all the rust and accumulated residue from non use. They clean up fine and I’m left with one thing to do – get the stud out of the tank. Then we’re ready to reassemble.
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

FRUSTRATIONS

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Frustration raises its ugly head when work time becomes greater then the expected completion time. Since launching we’ve been playing dodge ball with this emotion and doing our best to readjust our time expectations. The main engine elbow is in

Perkins 4-236 Waterneck OLD

Perkins 4-236 Waterneck OLD

and 99% complete.  The water neck which sends water to the exhaust line via a loop and vacuum break was on the list to be fixed and so while working on the elbow I replaced that fitting too. With the

Waterneck Studs next to New

Waterneck Studs next to New

water neck while on the hard I figured I would make the switch in the water. Bad idea. Unbeknownst to me the neck sits slightly below the waterline so I needed to shut off the main engine raw water intake and clamp the water line that cools the dripless stuffing box. After some discussion on the CS-BB  bulletin board about the exhaust elbow I’m now going to add some fiberglass exhaust tape to the dry part of the fitting and hose clamp it in place, then once a year or so I can inspect the fitting and hopefully be forewarned of any potential issues.

Perkins 4-26 Exhaust elbow and mixer

Perkins 4-26 Exhaust elbow and mixer

The cost for the unexpected exhaust elbow: $350 bucks plus some misc parts. All told,  just shy of $400.  That’s counting taxis and various acutraments at Garcia’s, the sole best store for mechanical gear and tools in Colon. The cost of the water neck fitting I purchased in the US was approx $250.  We almost had a problem in that I never explicitly explained to the machine shop that the input and exhaust lines need to be adjusted for to run  parallel  to each other. However they were close enough.  Close enough with the hose on the hose is able to make the slight change in direction and not chafe on any other part(s) of the engine.  That single job took about 10 days from start to finish.  It was not on our list at all and a total surprise.

When you are in your home waters it can be so easy to  complete a project and know roughly how much it will cost, but once you’ve left for foreign shores  the price goes up and the days multiply. I expected the elbow to be close to $200 (Rob on Akka felt the same) and I was expecting 1 to 2 weeks. So our time frame wasn’t bad but the cost was double. With that job completed  I’ll look for picking up parts to be spares and never be in that specific bind again. From the main engine we moved on to the generator.

I now have 2 exhaust elbow setups for the generator and so when in the middle of the Pacific at some lovely atoll, should there be an issue I’ll be able to do a complete switch out. Sweet. That will be our goal when we leave here – that mostly anything that has broken in the first 4 years will have a complete drop in spare.  Other cruisers tell me that is the surest way to never have an issue with any specific part again. Either way; I consider it a win, win situation.

Aquagen Exhaust side complete

Aquagen Exhaust side complete

The exhaust side of the generator is in,  for the most part new plumbing and a new Aqualift muffler, new hose to the  muffler and all secured. The only gotcha there was that the mixing elbow on the exhaust pipe wasn’t aligned perfectly and I had to move the shelf for the Aqualift muffler.  Over all that job went rather smoothly. In the process I cleaned as much as I could, Ospho’ed any of the areas with rust and then sprayed high temp Silver paint on the engine. She looks ok, not as good as new but better then she had been. With the generator exhaust elbow spitting mists of salt water for the last 6 months of our time cruising Panama the engine wasn’t looking pretty.

Once I had exhaust side together I began to work on the water maker side. We received a new; much heavier bracket from Aquamarine for mounting the alternator. I had sent Dan (owner of AquaMarine) the old alternator bracket so he could match the critical measurements; but he insisted on sending me the new brackets with the tabs and insisted on me taking it to a welder in Panama to get it, as he said “perfect”. That cost alone was an additional $65. Thirty dollars for the welding and $35 for the taxi trips and translator. Yeah, we can talk some Spanish (we did go to Spanish school) but we didn’t want any misunderstandings and working with a local who can make sure the communication is correct and the work completed when indicated is worth the extra bucks. Rudi (my chauffeur and translator) had arranged for the work to be completed that same day but in the pm. My marina ride left the city at  a little past 11…. am. The following day I would return to Colon and Rudi would pick it up and join me at the bus stop in Colon.

I was on the bus at 8am and called Rudi when we crossed the Panama Canal Locks. It was then that Rudi told me the part wasn’t finished yet. Later he explained that the electric was out in the afternoon (a frequent occurrence outside of Panama City) at the shop and the piece could not have been welded. The machinist indicated he would have it ready by 9 am the following day.  As 9 came and went I began wondering if indeed I would be receiving the piece today. Not to be too disappointed Rudi shows up a little after 10am.  Then he took me to; of all places, Garcia’s where I picked up some more parts. Of the dozen fasteners I received 10 worked. One nut I was lucky enough to have discovered, didn’t spin on the bolt!  So back the girl went to get the correct nut. And of the nylon washers I received all were in a group. The group looked perfect yet the following day upon installation one washer had a much larger center, so large it wouldn’t work.

So here I go again, back to Garcia’s, back to get more supplies and another day we’ll finish the HP pump and alternator. In the mean time I figured I could at least get everything mounted and lined up. I had the high pressure (HP) pump out and on the table ready to set the Amptech Alternator on it. Bringing the alternator out of the engine room where she’s been lying for 6 months I noticed the armature wouldn’t turn. Why I hadn’t noticed it a week ago when I started on the bracket I didn’t know. But now I notice. I take it up to the work area and put a wrench on her. I can turn the nut holding the serpentine pulley but can’t turn the armature. DAMN!  Ok. Another piece of the puzzle broken. Call Roger in Panama City and arrange with him to have the alternator taken to a shop there for a total refurbishment.  Then I’ll install and check it out and I’m going to buy a drop in replacement for that item too. Luckily some other boaters we met a year ago here live and work in Panama City. Bob was nice enough to haul the alternator to the city where Roger will pick it up and take it to the shop. We already have a back up alternator, we have one on the main engine and one on the generator but I’m feeling like when we’re in the Pacific I don’t want to be trying to fly one in. It is EXPENSIVE in the middle of that HUGE ocean to move supplies and who knows where we’ll be when we need it.

OK,  the Aquagen is only partially complete, on to other projects.  We ordered enough varnish for 2 years from Signature Finishes. We also included Paint and some supplies, then had it sent to the freight forwarder we use; Airbox Express. Good news is it got to the forwarders Miami address promptly, bad news is Airbox Express wants  $550 + dollars for paperwork and then we need to pay shipping and duty on top of that. No matter how one tries to make cruising a moderate endeavor it just isn’t. The cost of getting the material here will be about the same as the cost of the goods. We’ve hired Roger (our Panama City Chauffeur / Interpreter) to help. So far we’ve not made much progress.  Really, we’ve not made any progress. Roger sent me an email address to contact at Airbox which I did. I emailed her one week ago and have not had a response.

And so it goes. Damn good thing we don’t have to leave here by a certain date. Damn good thing we can tolerate Shelter Bay Marina, the Restaurant and the cost. Damn Good thing I say….

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share