11 January 2009

Really final touches

The Repowering Project: Days 34-38 (Monday 5 to Friday 9 January 2009)

The astute reader will note a gap in proceedings between this post and the last. Engineer and mate returned to Melbourne for Christmas, came back with a friend and went sailing, enjoying all that new power. Friend returned to Melbourne on 4 January, and the engine project resumed to do those last few jobs which didn't actually stop us sailing but which need to be finished off.
We'd survived a few days away without having the hot water connected to the engine, using our small petrol generator to drive the electric hotwater system a couple of times. But getting it connected was a priority. The engineer was putting it off because he feared it was going to be complicated - according to the Yanmar manual, if your tank was higher than your engine, you needed another small header tank to trap any air bubbles, something we hadn't had with the Perkins. After thought and study of the diagrams from Yanmar, and the diagram of the internal workings of the hot water tank, the engineer decided that the actual heat exchanger was only marginally higher than the engine, if at all, and that he could just connect up without any additional installation. It was a two person effort to lead the pipes round the tank for connection, but otherwise a straightforward job.

While the engineer was considering the hot water problem, he and the mate had measured and cut the soundproofing to go on the back of the companionway steps. With this and the cutouts on the back of the hatch covers glued and fastened into position, the engine was noticeably quieter. Moving the companionway steps, always a heavy lifting job, now requires even more effort as it has several extra kilos attached.

The engineer feared that the old splitter system (the thing that delivers power to both banks of batteries and also ensures that the batteries are not over-charged) would not work properly with the Yanmar alternator, and on our trip down the Channel his fears were confirmed. He invested in a Piranha power management system designed for 4WD, and once fitted, this solved the problem and also made all the battery wiring simpler.

Another job deemed not essential for the first trip was the fitting of the safety switch to prevent the engine from being started in gear, but this finally got done (had to wait until it stopped raining so that the engineer could work in the lazarette to finish it off).

So, much has been done, but there are still a few small jobs left...
  • Having simplified the wiring considerably, the engineer is planning to make it even better by getting a terminal post which can be used to connect in the anchor winch motor more elegantly.
  • Engineer and mate measured and cut the last two soundproofing panels to go above the day-tank under the cockpit floor. The engineer managed to fit one before the glue fumes got to him - the other is still to be fitted.
  • In the old Perkins days, there were two pushbutton switches located near the throttle which allowed the anchor winch to be operated from the cockpit. These had to be removed to make way for the Yanmar panel, which has all the instruments together. We planned to fit something new where the old tacho was, as there is currently just a hole there, and found an appropriate sized switch panel which almost completely covers the hole. We still need to get a suitable switch as we want a sprung switch, rather than an on-off switch, fit it to the panel, fit the panel to the hole and connect it up.
  • And there is still some work to be done to fasten cables and pipes to make them more secure and avoid chafing.

But of course there are still things left to do. It's a boat, isn't it?