Sunday, 29 April 2012

Three Months..

It's the end of April already, nearly three months since I last posted... so no progress on the blog, but at least there was some in the real world. I'm beginning to worry that there might be a danger of a Dorian Gray-type aspect to this blogging thing- if I blog, perhaps nothing will happen on the boat, and vice versa.

Anyway, I did guess, based on previous form, that I'd rarely get down to Anetka, so I enlisted the help of Ben, who has spent a few days in the wet recesses of the engine room bilges scraping out the grease and black stuff accumulated over 40 years. Well done him. In anticipation of the arrival of the new motor, we decided to concentrate on the area that will form the new, shortened engine room, so the new lump could be craned in and positioned roughly in its final resting-place, without the need to get underneath it again. So I took out most of the old rotten steel piping from the bilges, and also removed all the old electric wiring from the area (there'd obviously been an electrical fire at some time in the past, judging by the large black area of crispy paint on the ceiling above the cable tray- I decided that I couldn't trust the remaining cabling, so I'll be renewing all the wiring in the future. I isolated all the circuits from the mains inlet and chopped it all up in situ with a grinder to aid removal (the cable has a steel sheathing so is really stiff and impossible to pull through holes.) With most of the fiddly bits out of the way, Ben could get in with a wire brush on a grinder and clean everything up, ready to paint. I imagine that only those who have owned a boat will understand the pleasure to be had looking at freshly painted bilges, after years of pretending nothing exists below the floor plates.

Here's some rubbish phone pics of the progress:

Ben doing sterling work

Engine room ceiling

wiring stripped out
old bilge piping removed

3 coats of International primer later

Nice! The angled section is where the original engine's flywheel was
I also heard this week that my new engine is almost ready to be dispatched to me- I actually paid for it in January, but there has been a series of hitches, mostly related to the fact that it's a brand-new fully-electronic job which was originally destined as a marine auxiliary engine. The diesel-specialist firm I'm getting it off have had a bit of a learning curve with regard to the electronic side, they assumed their Cat man with the laptop could just pop over and reprogram it to the power/speed settings I calculated that I need to suit my prop (Dave Gerr's propeller handbook is great for this), but it turns out that it needed its ECU flashing with different software, since whenever it was turned off and back on again, it decided it was still a 60Hz generator and ran at exactly 1800 rpm. Anyway, I think it's sorted now, having been flashed with the propulsion engine software. I bought a PRM 4:1 gearbox and R&D drive plate from Lancing Marine, which I sent to the diesel guys, who mounted it on the engine and painted the whole thing in Caterpillar yellow for me. I asked them to move the fuel and oil filter positions too, to make access easier (they were in a handy position for a generator, but not a propulsion engine sitting between the beds.) Anyway, the delay hasn't been a problem, since I wasn't ready for it. The base engine is made in the Perkins factory in the UK (model 1106), and is sold by them as a the Perkins Sabre propulsion engine for leisure (up to 300hp) and (in de-rated form) commercial use. The same unit is marketed by Caterpillar as the C6.6 auxiliary marine generator engine at 275hp.

With the imminent arrival of the Yellow Thing in mind, I spent a few hours last week undoing all my previous hard work and unbolting the highly-accurately aligned Rolls Royce I fitted a few years back but never plumbed in! This was a lot easier than installing it, taking only a couple of hours to remove the flexible coupling (I'm selling it with the engine/gearbox), and splitting the Twin Disc from the engine to make removal from the boat easier. I then took the turbocharger off the Rolls since it's in a vulnerable position right on the end of the manifold, and I didn't want it to catch the engine room cover as it's lifted out.

unbolting the flexible coupling
Twin Disc split from Rolls Royce
new PRM1000D4 gear and oil cooler

new marine Caterpillar C6.6 / Perkins 1106
with lick of paint, gearbox removed for testing engine

My first ever New Engine!

Hopefully my next post will involve a crane..