Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Improving Engine Access

Better Engine Access on Eximius

The Engine is located beneath the Companionway Steps on our Catalina 34. This picture shows how the steps are really in 3 pieces.

The lower two steps (that's the piece with the Documented Number) The Top two steps which are held in place by the two clips that are attached to the Companionway bulkhead.

The center piece, not really at step, more like a hood, or top cover to the engine bay.

To get access to the top of the engine, the top two step piece has to be lifted out of the way after releasing the two rubber grips where they sit on the top of the lower steps.

Then the Hood has to be lifted out. And that's the pain.

I saw where someone had put a hinge on the back of the Hood so that it could be lifted from the leading edge and tilted back to the companionway bulkhead.

Searching around I found these stainless steel hinges with removable hinge pins. They allow the Hood to be raised up and removed if needed. If I'm just checking the coolant fluid level or the Air Filter, the Hood just needs to be raised out of the way, but if I'm tensioning the drive belt, or doing an oil filter change, then the Hood has to be removed.

Hinge is really nice quality and the style keeps the Hood away from the bulkhead behind it.

Another great find on Amazon, here's a link to the hinge.

This shows the center section in the closed position.

I have installed small cleat on the front face of the panel and a Stainless Steel Strap on the bulkhead above where the panel hinges upwards - a simple line is attached to the strap and turned on the cleat to hold the panel open.

The hinge pins are held in place with ss ring pins, but I'm waiting for the Retaining Clips Stainless Steel Fixing Pins to arrive from Amazon.

Here's a pic with the Panel in the Raised position, it's a whole lot easier to swing the panel up and secure it, rather than lift it out and put it somewhere while I work on the engine.

I'll replace the plastic cleat as soon as I get the ordered handles (2 for another project)

Meanwhile, this works great. I had to replace the Alternator after a repair and while at it, I replaced the Raw water pump. Not having to deal with the big Hood Panel in the cabin or out in the cockpit made the job a lot easier. Especially as I made several trips from the Cabin to the Cockpit which would have required either balancing on the top of the engine or replacing the Hood. Being able to quickly lower the Hood in order to step out of the cabin made the work go a lot quicker and safer.

See you on the Water.

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