Thursday, December 5, 2013

Clamp Tite Tool For Your Projects

I explained how I use a special tool to seize rope in the making of eyes, in this blog here.
This tool however is so useful for many other application that I thought it worth putting in a link to their web site and a video here of how it works.
I've personally used it, in place of hose clamps; to join two hoses of different sizes together ( place the small hose inside the larger hose and place the clamp wire around the the larger hose to bind the hoses together), and many other uses.
So check out their web site here.
Also here.
Enjoy the video.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Projects Assessed

As I look around my boat, I see a lot of projects that I have written about, and thought it about time to write about what has worked, somewhat worked, or failed, for some of my more "controversial" projects.
These are in no particular order and itemized with links to help create some order. If there is a project you have seen here with "svSolace" as one of the tags, and you would like feed back on that project, just comment below and I will add it to the list. Here's a start with 10 items.

  1. Davit support written about here. Still holding up and supports the davit arms well. Works very good.
  2. Sanitation lines using polyethylene pipe written here. Works as expected. Odors from this hose are so far eliminated. I will in the future replace other sanitation hose with the polyethylene as I am able to procure it, in other parts of the world. I'm currently cruising and so not everything is available to me as I go from one country to another.
  3. The hot modified BBQ written about here. Its been nearly three years with this mod. The valves on the burner have needed a disassembly from time to time to lubricate and make functional again. Also the BBQ plate needs a clean from time to time. Best done ashore. Great mod and still does great steaks!
  4. Chain stripper modification can be read here. It works. Very pleased with it.
  5. The rudder shaft seal upgrade. It has been three years now with this mod. It's as water tight as the day I put it in. Works extremely well.
  6. iNavX, the affordable chart plotter. I've been using this for just seven months now. But it is almost indispensable. I use it for both daily planning, and for navigation along the way. Mostly used in conjunction to my Furuno by providing another chart to compare .
  7. Using the iPad with iNavX and connecting to the network with an iMux. I installed the iMUX at the same time iNavX came onto my boat. I must say that I have had difficulty getting a connection at times, and sometimes it drops the connection. It is installed in a cupboard, and so I intend to install it outside the cupboard and hopefully this will help with the connection issues. But once the connection is made, everything works, including the AIS data, and autopilot control.
  8. Our solar panel mounting can be read here. The mounting system works well. But we are in an area  of the world where there is very little wind. So at the moment we don't put our panels up to charge the batteries as we use to, because we motor everywhere. That should change as we move into another ocean. On the negative side, one of our stanchions holding the railing for the solar panels has been bent and the base mount has had the weld cracked and bent also. We put this down to a very bad sea state in which we were beam on to some very big waves that hit the side of the boat. No damage to the solar panels, but enough force to bend the stainless mount. Consider this if you put two panels on each side. We will get the stainless fixed when we haul out and put some extra gussets in the base.
  9. A fuel filter monitor can be read here. Works as stated. Very effective at telling when to change the filter. I would recommend this small device. Also, it's not very expensive.
  10. An inspection window for a holding tank can be read about here. I put this in because the tank sender unit use to clog up every so often, and I didn't like having to take apart to clean. Now the window works good, but it also need to be unscrewed and clean about once a year. No disassembly required, but still not a pleasant job. I think this holding tank monitor is probably the answer.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sewn, Seized Eye for Rigging

Sail Delmarva has covered a topic which I had heard about but had never had the chance to try out. I love the idea and actually have had very good success with a similiar idea. You can read about that at the end of Sail Delmarva article here on sewn/seized eye. Besure to click over to Sail Delmarva's site for other great articles on boats, sailing, and boat products. Without further ado, Drew starts out with a prologue......

Can't Splice Old Line? Try a Sewn Eye.

Splicing is the gold standard for forming permanent eyes and joining lines; unfortunately used double braid generally lacks the flexibility required for splicing; the cover won't open and the core won't slide. Knots are a standard solution and work in most cases; yes, there is some loss in strength, but lines generally die from chafe and I can't remember having one fail at the knot, other than in testing. But sometimes there simply isn't enough space or a knot will snag. 

Seizing is traditional and just as reliable as ever. I've seized a dozens of eyes over the years and never had a failure. I helps if you cover them for UV and chafe protection, but if the seizing is double layer like the old days, the outside layer is the UV protection and the inside layer holds the load. But seizings are long and stiff and can hang up, since the tail is neither covered nor tapered. So occasionally I use a hybrid sewn/seized eye. This isn't an idea I dreamed up, it is an old one that I read of many years ago in theNew Glenans Sailing Manual. They also speak of stropes, the precursor to soft shackles.

First I remove about 1 1/2 rope diameters of core. This will allowed the end to be stitched down to create smooth taper. The New Glenans Sailing Manual calls for 3 1/2 to 4 rope diameters of core and I've got 4 1/2 diameters without counting the taper.How much stitching is enough? Most whipping thread is about 50- to 60-pound test (I use 90-pound Kevlar, just because I have it), and doubled that suggests about 25 stitches on each side to reach 5000 pounds. Sure, it is not loaded in-line, but most of the load (about 65% in testing) is actually carried by line-to-line friction, just as in a seizing. Also remember that due to friction of the eye around the shackle or fitting, the free end is only carrying about 35% of the load. The results is that the stitching is only carrying a working load of about 1000*0.35*(1-0.65)=122 pounds and a line failure load of about 610 pounds (assuming 5000 pounds for aged 1/2" Stayset); not nearly as demanding as you would guess and as usual, the splice is stronger than the line. The stitching is scattered so that some are in every part of the core.After stitching I add 2 seizings for good measure. The throat seizing is the important one, as it keeps the first row of stitches from getting over loaded.Then cover it with something for UV and chafe protection. Heat shrink is fast and nice. tape works too, if you check it annually. Webbing would be very good in some severe applications.

The New Glenans Sailing Manula only calls for 3 1/2 to 4 rope diameters and I've got 4 1/2 diameters without counting the taper.

Just the money saving trick I need today. Just recently I needed a 75-foot sheet for a new bit of rigging and I had a perfect bit of double braid salvaged from a halyard that had suffered chafe in one spot. I particularly enjoyed this lower cost (zero) solution since I am not completely certain of the final rigging. Spending money is bad, but spending money on something you might decide to change is worse.

Sooo, how strong is this? Click on over here to read about Sail Delmarva testing of the sewn and seized eyes

 Now on Solace, we use the seizing to make an eye with wire and a very clever tool we bought from a boat show in the USA. It was there that we saw demonstrated, many uses for this wonderful device. making an eye was one of them. In fact, we use this on the Genoa Halyard now. I've checked it several times, and with high tension, it shows no sign of breaking or slipping.
Demonstrated here is just one seizing to make an eye. We usually use four with a thimble to help form the eye. We then wrap the wire in self wrap tape to protect the wire.

Here to the right you can see the tool ready to cinch down the wire to form the seizing.

To the left is the finished product. We usually use four of these to seize for an eye.

To the right, the eye is starting to be formed. By the time you get four of those on, the eye will be as  strong as any that has been spliced.  Be sure to cover the wire with  with something for  chafe protection. Heat shrink is fast and nice, tape works too.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Water Pump Impeller Replacement on Mercury Outboard

Mark Corke has just recently posted about an outboard water pump service. It is reproduced here on this blog, but I encourage you to go over to his blog site to read the whole story. Mark also has excellent blogs on other boating projects and topics of interest to boaters. Well worth a click to read it at the source.
Read it at Mark's site here.
After Mark gives an introduction to the project at his blog site, the project is outlined below.

The engine that we serviced was a 1996 115 hp Mercury hung on the back of a aluminum Starcraft of a similar vintage and the pictures refer to that but all outboards are very similar and although the pictures may not look exactly like what you have the sequence will be the same.
 I took the pictures as Adam Conte at Portside Marine in Danvers, MA serviced the pump. Working thoroughly and methodically he did the whole project in less than an hour so a competent owner should be able to do the job from start to finish in under two hours.

 Here's how to do it.
The first step is to drain the oil from the gearbox. Unscrew the drain plug with a large screwdriver and the oil will start to run out. Make sure that you place a suitable pan under the motor to catch all the old oil. Unscrew the upper oil level plug too which allows air into the gearbox and ensures that all the oil is evacuated. There are small washers under each screw head which often get stuck in the threads, if they do not come off with the screw you may have to pick them out with a small screwdriver or other tool. Let the oil drain as you move onto the next step.
Loosen and remove the nuts that hold the lower unit in place, almost all outboards have four nuts holding this in place. A socket will not fit so use a ring wrench to give good purchase on the nuts which will almost certainly be stiff to undo.
 The lower unit should now theoretically be free but in practice it almost invariably sticks and will need a few taps with a soft mallet. Do not hit the flange cavitation plates at the sides or they are sure to break, a few taps on the after end of the gearbox unit as shown here are acceptable however.
 Once a crack opens up the battle is won and you can insert a broad screwdriver and carefully pry it apart being very careful not to damage the castings of the mating surfaces.
 Lift the unit clear and place it on a suitable bench or jig designed for holding it. They service outboards everyday at Portside marine so had a proper jig on hand which is ideal but you may have to prop it upright in the corner of the garage, it works but is just not as convenient and you will be working at floor level.
With the unit clear of the top half of the outboard leg we can get to work on the pump proper. The first thing to do is to slide off the seal which sits atop the pump housing. 

Unscrew the bolts that hold the pump housing in place. We needed an impact wrench as this pump had not been serviced for some time but a ring wrench will work in most cases. Avoid using an open ended wrench, if you round over the bolt heads you will have a bad day for sure.

Separate the housing and slide it up the shaft. You can see in this picture that the bottom plate is coming off with it. We need to remove this plate also so if it stays stuck in place you may need to pry it up very carefully.

All in all the pump was in pretty good shape, all the vanes on the impeller are intact. Note the old impeller on the right next to the new one on the left. The vanes should be straight, they develop a set to them after they have been in the pump for several months.

 Before reinstalling the pump clean up all the mating surfaces to ensure that there will be no leaks. A sharp razor blade can be used to scrape off the larger bits of old gasket and sealant, then some fine emery paper will get rid of the remainder. Wipe down with some clean rags when you are finished. Everything should be clean and bright.
Clean out the interior of the pump housing checking to make sure that there are no score marks or gouges, if there are water may leak past the vanes of the impeller and the pump will not work as efficiently as it should. If there is any doubt as to the condition of the housing then it should be replaced.

In addition to the impeller all the parts that are required for a routine service; gaskets, O rings and seals are included in the kit.

After cleaning up everything reassembly can start. Smear on a little gasket cement. Adam swears by Permatex Form a Gasket sealant liquid but any other proprietary brand should be fine.

Lower the gasket into position making sure all the holes line up. The gasket is asymmetrical so if something looks wrong you may have it upside down.  Next install the new bottom plate (shown) that comes in the pump kit, we used a little more gasket cement before dropping this on.

Install the smaller gasket which seals the joint between the top and bottom sections of the pump housing. This gasket has a neoprene bead built in so no cement is required or should be used.

Install the new key which sits in the flat on the shaft.

Then slide down the new impeller making sure that the key-way in the hub lines up with the key previously fitted.

A little glycerin or dish washing liquid makes getting the pump cover on that little bit easier and provides some lubrication for the second or two until the water gets into the pump and lubricates the vanes. Do no use oil or silicone which can attack the composition of the impeller and lead to premature failure.

Slide the housing down and ease it over the vanes as you twist the shaft in a clockwise direction with the other hand. This bends the blades and allows the body of the pump to sit fully down onto the base plate gasket.

Reinstall the bolts and tighten them till they are just snug.

Slide the new seal down over the shaft until it just rests against the pump housing.

A setting tool is included in the kit and this is pushed down on top of the seal and does double duty of spreading it out and ensuring that it is not compressed too much. With the seal thus set the compression tool is then removed.

Smear a little engine spline coupling grease onto the top of the drive shaft.

Then a little more on the gear shift coupler which should still be on the gear shift shaft inside the leg, it is a fairly loose push fit so it may have fallen off onto the floor if it is not where it ought to be.

Refill the gearbox with the correct oil. Note that contrary to what you might expect the oil is forced in from the bottom until it comes out of the upper level hole, then both screw plugs can be replaced with a new washer under each. Portside marine service lots of engine so that have a big tub of oil but the average DIY boater is more like to use the oil that comes in squeezable quart bottles but the technique is exactly the same.

Reinstall the lower unit onto the leg, it helps a great deal to have a helper rotate the engine by hand a little to get the splines to mesh. Then replace the nuts and washers that hold the two parts together, there are torque settings for these but Adam does them up so they are just snug. As long as you don't swing on the wrench it is difficult to over tighten these. 
With everything back together the job is complete. We ran the engine in a barrel to make sure all was well. You can use muffs on the water pick up but the pressure of the hose tends to force the water into the engine, running it in a barrel ensures that the suck from the pump is correct. Note that there should be a healthy spout of water coming out from the telltale in the engine housing.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Field Overhaul of Sherwood R10870G, R50G, R30G Raw Water Pump

I had replaced my raw water pump some years ago and I finally managed to get a pump repair kit. I didn't have a fancy workshop with press, but instead had to make do with the tools I had on the boat. Here is how I set about reviving this old raw water pump.
First I removed the four bolts holding the cover plate on and extracted the rubber impeller. You can remove the impeller by using  needle nose pliers, holding an impeller blade opposite each other. Gently pull, alternating sides till it slides out.
Then I moved to the pulley end and undid the two screws holding the bearing and seal body to the main body.

Once the bearing body and shaft has been removed, remove the seal assembly. This will necessitate removing a small circlip on the shaft. Now remove the two woodruff keys. I use a pair of side cutters and gently grip at the base of the woodruff key and lever up. Be careful not to damage the shaft.
There is a woodruff key for the pulley and one for the impeller.

Remove the large circlip which sits in front of the bearing and drive out from the opposite end. Be sure to protect the end of the shaft from damage by using a sacrificial block of wood. The shaft is now free of the bearing and seal body.

Now, after removing a small circlip in front of the bearing, I used a bearing/pulley puller to pull the bearing off the shaft.

Puller with added socket on end of shaft

As the bearing came down the shaft, I used a small socket between the end of the shaft and the puller, to facilitate the last little bit to get the bearing off. You can see that in the picture to the right.

Now, replacing the seal surface is as simple as pulling out the old one with ones fingers and placing in the new one with a gentle push with the fingers. White side of seal (running surface) goes opposite the bearing and towards the sprung seal assembly.

In getting ready to reassemble, I cleaned off the matching surfaces of old gasket and proceeded to make a new one. For some reason my kit did not include this gasket. You can see the impression of the cut out to be, made in the gasket paper to the left of the pump body. Careful use of scissors and a hole punch made this easy work.
Now for assembly.....
First, I used a fine wet and dry sand paper to rub off all rust, nicks and burrs that were on the shaft.
With the one circlip on the other side of the bearing which was not removed off the shaft, I used this as the guide to which I would drive the new bearing on the shaft to. I used a small spark plug socket which was just the right size to slide over the shaft and seat against the inner race of the bearing. Using gentle taps with a hammer, I drove the bearing onto the shaft. It is important at the start of this, to make sure it is on square to the shaft as you make the first taps with the hammer. I finished with a piece of stainless tubing I had, to drive the bearing up to the circlip and then placed a new circlip on the other side of the bearing which keeps the location of the bearing on the shaft at the exact point needed. At all times, the force must only be applied to the inner race of the bearing. If you drive the bearing on using the outer race of the bearing, damage can be done to the bearing before it is even put to use.
Now place the shaft and bearing assembly through the bearing body and drive the assembly into the body by now driving on the outer ball bearing race. Small taps with a sacrificial block of wood and hammer will drive the assembly in till such time as you can now place the large retaining circlip which keeps the bearing/shaft assembly inside the bearing body.

Finally for the shaft, place on the spring loaded seal arrangement, compress the spring and place a new circlip to retain the assembly against the running surface. This can be seen assembled in the photo to the right.
With the gasket between the interfaces, present the bearing body to  the pump body and secure with the two threaded bolts. Mine were somewhat rusty, so I took the opportunity to put two new ones in with anti seize used on the threads.
Replace the two woodruff keys.
I didn't replace the cam inside the pump body: my kit had the wrong one and the old one was still OK. Also, I didn't replace the carbon bearing in the end of the cover plate. That was also OK, and while the carbon ones are easy to remove by breaking out from the recess, that can also be the demise of the new one when replacing; if one is not careful. These should be a finger push fit when done right, but heavy hands can also break these carbon bearings. Mine was OK, so I decided best to leave alone. After all, I'm not in a location where spares are easy to come by.
I leave the impeller out of the pump body until I'm ready to put it into service. I've seen too many pumps come off the shelf with impellers with distorted blades, just because they have been sitting in one spot inside the pump for many years.
The end cover was placed on the pump and the four retaining bolts finger tightened. Now it is wrapped in plastic and ready for the next time I have to replace the raw water pump due to leaking.
Hope that helps with your project.
Kit about $150 verses new at about $400. Time, about four hours.

Westerbeke 82B four Water Pump Replacement

Rust at bottom of water pump
I first noticed my water reservoir loosing water after some hours of motoring.
A quick check of the engine fresh water pump gave me the signs that a leak was coming from that pump. The first signs that one may notice is rust underneath the water pump, which is an indicator of water leaking past the seal, and if left for long, the bearing may fail which usually gives it's warning with noise. Time to replace the fresh water pump.
The first task is to remove the four belts; two for the fridge compressor and two for the alternator. Next remove the four bolts holding the four belt pulley on. A tap with a wooden block and hammer in a forward direction, should remove most pulleys off the water pump. With the pulley removed, you can now get at the pump bolts.
New water pump and gasket
The easiest part of the job was locating my new water pump which came with a new gasket.
Undo all the pumps bolts and carefully pry the pump away from the body.

Once removed, clean up the face of the water pump housing by removing all the old gasket.
Place the new gasket on and reverse the disassembly order. I used anti seize compound on all the bolts threads. Helps for the next time it has to be removed.
Finally, tension the belts and you should be good for another 3000 hrs or so with the water pump. Also, may be a good time to replace your belts if looking worn.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Comfortable Boat Shoe

Neither a sock or a shoe, these look like they might make a comfortable boat shoe that boasts of being skid resistant. Also looks like I could use them around the house. 

Nufoot says....
"Nufoot is reinventing indoor footwear, where comfort and style coexist to make for happier feet! Made with the latest sports technology, Nufoot is water-resistant, germ-proof, anti-microbial and super comfortable as the skid-resistant soles gives you a good grip on any indoor surface. No matter where you are - in your home, in the office, in the gym, in the library, on an airplane of cruise ship."
Check them out.
 Nufoot, Diablo, Calif., (925) 743-9831.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Improved Bungee's

Like duct tape, bungee cords have been making life easier for ages, but the time seemed right to improve on the original design.The  company says this...
"With carabiner clips instead of open hooks at each end, it not only attaches to your anchor points, it locks there. Instead of elastic that loses its stretch over time, the KnotBone Bungee has a durable, high quality cord that threads through each end, adjusts from 48" to 10" in the #9 size and from 28" to 6" in the #5 size. Once you have it adjusted to the right length, secure it in place with a simple wrap-and-lock motion. They have even added small self-clipping plastic caps to the cord ends to keep them in place once you've got your load secured. No more pulling, stretching, and re-hooking to get the tension you want - job after individual job, the KnotBone Bungee stays right where you attach it, pulls securely to the exact length you need, and locks there."
 Retail price is $9.99. Nite Ize Inc., Boulder, Colo., (800) 678-6483.
Any body with experience with with this product, please let us know within the comments. I would love to get some and report on them, but getting this stuff to me while cruising can present some problems.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Desalinator in a Bottle

News Item.
Here's something that may save lives. While not yet  released for purchase, Puri is developing this amazing product that may eventually end up in every ditch bag, or even life raft.
You can read about it here
Simply, put some salt water into the bottle, pump, and the water is pumped into a separate chamber for drinking, leaving the brine water behind to be discarded.
I can't wait to see it available, and the reviews that are sure to come.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

WD40 as sticky residue remover.

Our companion way stairs are wooden with a polyurethane coating and some non skid tape on to prevent the "sliding foot".
Last time I replaced the non skid tape, I removed all the tape by sanding and re polyurethane-ing the steps.
This time, I replaced without having to sand the remaining sticky surface off.

I removed the worn out strips of non skid tape and was left a sticky residue on the polyurethane from the tape. I first reached for De-Solv-It which has been good in the past, removing sticky residue from various tapes etc. This time around, it would not budge the sticky residue. So I reached for the WD40 which I have used to remove sticky stuff off my Gelcoat deck. Once again, WD40 removed that sticky residue without any hard rubbing.
So far, I can say it is good for removing sticky residue on both Gelcoat and polyurethane surfaces. No detrimental effects. Give it a try sometime and if you try a new surface, please report back here in comments, to tell us as to it's success.
Tape for steps
The tape for us didn't come in the width we needed so we used an old pair of scissors to cut the tape to the correct width. The grit will damage a good pair of scissors!
We use a clear tape so the urethane shows through. I think it looks nicer than the black tapes sometimes available.