Preparing to pull the engine

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Back to Home ... s/v Stella Blue home ... Repower Page ... Projects

October 2005 --

Here's the beast. It looks a *lot* cleaner in this picture.
It's a Perkins 4-108 with a Hurth V Drive.

I have come to trust this engine, and I really like the power and the torque curve. So why pull it?

The way it's installed in my particular boat forces me to stand on my head in the lazarette to bleed the engine, and burn my hands. There's no way for me to bleed it without squirting diesel everywhere. One of the motor mounts is severely rusted, and most hoses are original. Replacing them would be a real bear of a job, because the engine is a very tight fit.

Most of my sister ships were commissioned with
three cylinder Yanmars (30 bhp) which I believe is too light for this boat. I'm not sure how a Perkins 4-108 ended up in here. Perhaps it was a factory option. This engine has 50 bhp, which is far too much. (I've been told that it's really more like 40, but all my manuals say 50.)
It's important to have enough power to make headway through a strong headwind and strong chop, or to get out of the mud. I've been stuck in the mud, and really appreciate the Perkins power, but I think something smaller would be fine.

The heat exchanger is corroded, and I can't change the zinc for fear of ripping the fitting off the exchanger. Sure, I could replace the heat exchanger, but it's just one more thing.

In the front I have a 100A Ample Power alternator, which was added without resizing the belt and wheels,
so the belt slips and screams when the alternator is under heavy load. If I tighten up the belt to stop the screaming, I risk damaging the engine and alternator bearings. If I keep the engine, I'll need to replace the pulleys.

And it's so darn big and heavy that it makes the entire area tough to work in. The exhaust mixing elbow comes within 1/2 inch of the cockpit sole.

If I only wanted to sail around the San Francisco Bay, I'd live with all of this and just nurse the systems along, or have it rebuilt and refreshed. However, I'm preparing the boat for Mexico (at least) and I just don't want to worry about this. Engines have come a long way in the last 25 years, and I can get a lot more room, and save some weight, with a new engine sized properly for my boat.

Besides, now that I'm done pulling wire through here, I really want to fasten it all down neatly and properly.
The wiring is not ABYC compliant at the moment.

This is a Walbro electric fuel pump. I love it.
I couldn't bleed the Perkins without it.

It also can be used to clean up the fuel, by pulling the fuel through the Racor and just dumping it back into the tank. This pump cycles my entire tank through the Racor
in two hours. When I first bought the boat and had an enormous amount of crud in the tank (from sitting derelict for so long) I ran this pump for about two weeks straight, and had to take the Racor off and disassemble it twice to clean it.

I have a series of "diaper dams" running the length of the boat. They work well. I also use them as filters around all the limber holes.

In the winter, if I don't have the awning up and it rains heavily, the cockpit sole leaks from the rudder post and pedestal, right onto the fuel tank, and then the whole mess overflows and I have fuel everywhere.

It's time to make this go away.

I'll need to pull the engine to get the fuel tank out.

That means removing this bulkhead,
and getting everything out of the way.

The bulkhead turned out to be pretty easy to remove, once I figured out that the sound reducing foam was taped over everything and made it appear permanent.

Here's the *real* reason I'm getting into this now.

This is a picture of the diesel tank compartment, looking down from above. The tank is sitting in a puddle of fuelish stuff.
The tank has been leaking for some time, but miraculously it is a very slow leak and evaporation seems to keep up.
Every time I take the boat out I have to take my oil changer vacuum pump and suck all the fuel and crud out of this area, so that it doesn't run all over the bottom of the boat when I'm heeled over. I usually do it before guests arrive.
That's really not optimal.

The leak is getting worse, and I'm worried that I'm about to dump 35 gallons of fuel into the bilge.

I'm just tired of messing around with it.

Once that bulkhead was out of the way,
I could pull the old Raritan water heater.
This thing has been leaking for years,
but I've lived with it in anticipation of this project. There wasn't any point in replacing it
if I was just going to have to rip it back out.

I sure am glad to see it go.

The Walbro made it very easy to empty the tank prior to pulling it.

It ran the fuel through the Racor and into a jug, and I made new friends at the marina by giving away free fuel.

Yuck, what a mess.

Now I can finally get to some old disconnected wire that's been hidden down here, and rip it out.

I'm going to put another Blue Seas battery box here, and relocate the water heater.
But that is months away.

I knew it was a problem, but it had to fester until I could get charged up to deal with it.
Rebuilding the whole rig was a major deal for me, and repowering is going to take the same effort.
I'm not exactly charged up, but it's time.

In retrospect, this was a good thing. It would have been bad to leave fuel in the engine
when it's just sitting on a bench somewhere.

So if I ever do this again (oh right) I'll shut down the fuel lines first and run the engine out, then pull the hoses and drain coolant, then remove the wires.

I did something really stupid, but it worked out okay.
Here you can see where the mixer elbow was attached.

To dump the coolant, I pulled a hose and stuck it into a bucket, and then figured I'd push the Start and Stop buttons at the same time to turn the engine over a few times and pump out the coolant.
To my horror, the engine started up, because I'd already snipped the wire to the Stop solenoid. (See the Red Wire in this pic.)
Since I'd already pulled the exhaust mixer and hose,
it was belching black smoke into the main cabin.
I really felt like Homer Simpson.

With diesel exhaust blasting right into my face, I considered unbolting the air filter and sticking a rag in it,
or finding a wire to jumper from a battery to the solenoid,
but the fumes were too strong and I had to get outside.
Just as I was starting to panic, I realized that I'd disconnected the fuel lines and it was just running on whatever was in the engine.
So I opened the throttle (still connected) so the engine would run clean. It took about three minutes to die,
and never got up to operating temperature.
(I grabbed the exhaust manifold and it was barely warm.)

Fortunately I hadn't drained the oil yet!

I covered all the fuel connections
with plastic, to keep dirt out.
Someone may want to buy this engine, though it would need some cleanup before I'd put it back in a boat..

This is still going to be a real bear to pull out,
but I'm really looking forward to having
the entire area under the cockpit sole shipshape.

I'm not looking forward to actually doing it,
but it will be nice when it's all done.

It's going to be a long winter.


I pulled the starting battery and one of the house banks, as they'll be moving around. This meant cutting a lot of wire ties and making a mess.

The great news is that I can finally reach the original wiring harness fasteners up under the cockpit sole, and I'll be able to tuck all this wire up where it belongs, fastened securely every 12 to 18 inches.

I left the oil filter on,
to keep dirt out.

Gee, with everything finally ripped out of here, this engine is much easier to access. It was fun to actually see some parts of the engine that I've only been able to work on by blindly feeling around.

I had Barry from Svendsen's over to check everything out before we towed the boat over to haul out the engine.
He said I'd have to rip out the counter tops.
That was a job, and I had to saw away the left half, because there was no way I was going to remove
the entire shelf.
The Main DC Ground bus is bolted onto it.
When I reassemble it,
I'll put a small teak batten over the seam.
That'll keep companionway drips away from the panel, too!

I had to make something
to step on when entering the boat.
Otherwise that first step
would be a real doozy.

I think it'll be like this for the next six months, so I wanted something good.

This is 3/4" plywood,
with 2x4 blocks on the inside edge
to keep it from moving.

This is just
cheap foam pipe insulation, wrapped over the teak trim
so it doesn't get ruined.

From here on out the pictures are just for me, because I need something to refer back to when planning the new engine installation.

I need to make sure that the new engine and V-Drive will align properly on the existing stringers.
To do that, I need to figure out the vertical distance between the transmission coupling and the engine mounts, and then determine the like distance
on the new engine.

If there's a difference, it means that the new engine/tranny will need to move horizontally on the stringers to accomodate the new geometry.

If it has to move forward (right, in this pic)
I'm screwed and will need a new prop shaft.


I can't move the mounts aft
(to the left, in this picture) because as you see these stringers have a big stupid bump in them that will raise the engine up.

I don't want to have to grind
the old stringers off
and glass in new ones,
but I will if necessary.

I have a bunch of thinking and measuring to do. These pics might come in handy for that.

I didn't get one that has this angle and actually shows the end of the shaft, so I'll have to go back and take some more.

Looking down on the starboard forward mount.

I think I need to go take a bunch more pictures and stick them here to refer back to.

Brain Flash! -- It just occurred to me that it would be smartest to store this thing in the corner,
and when the new engine comes in just put them next to each other and make the angles and engine mounts line up. The cost of storing this engine for a few months,
vs. the cost of paying someone to design the mounts all over again from scratch at $XX per hour,
makes the decision to keep the engine around for a while a no-brainer.