Thursday, January 4, 2024

Replacing our Hot Water Tank

Replacing our Seaward Hot Water Tank

Our Hot Water Tank was leaking when we pulled Eximius out of the water at Playboy Marine in Fort Lauderdale. Was it the piping or the Tank?

I Could see water dripping from the front bottom edge of the tank ( The face where the heating element electrical is located.) But it could be from almost anywhere, so time to pull the tank.

I removed the access door and frame on the port ( inboard ) side of the galley in order to maximize the space for tank removal.
The tank has 4 pipes connected, two to the front for the Hot & Cold water and two at the back for the Supply and Return of the coolant from the engine coolant pump. I had to disconnect the mid line pipe connections of the coolant pipes in order to drain some coolant into a bucket. Then I could disconnect the Coolant pipes from the back of the tank, it's virtually impossible to capture that coolant so I let it go into the bilge and pumped it out with a hand pump into an empty bottle.

Disconnecting the Hot & Cold pipes was easy but disconnecting the electrical supply not so. I had to cut one of the wires as I could not reach down to the terminal near the bottom of front of the tank.

The Tank is held in place with 4 screws into a wooden base beneath it, easy.  I had to unscrew the water pump from it's mounting in order to be able to slide the tank out. I say 'Slide' but in reality it took ten minutes to manipulate the tank into a position that it would come out of the galley structure.

I brought the tank home plus the bottles of the coolant/water mix that I pumped out of the bilge before leaving the boat at the dock.

Seaward S-700 Hot Water Heater

After dinner, with the tank at home, I removed the Stainless Steel outer housing. All of the fiberglass insulation between the housing and the tank was sopping wet. It took about 30 minutes to get the housing off then another 10 cleaning up the outside of the tank. Now the bad news! It looks like the tank has corroded near the central weld that joins the two ends of the tank. 

Of note, I found that the previous owner of the boat had the tank repaired at some point, his name and phone number were written on the tank.  Not sure when it was repaired but I decided to bite the bullet and replace the tank.

Looking online I found the identical tank ranging from $577 + tax+ shipping from several vendors, some had free shipping but slightly higher prices.

Kuma 6Gallon Hot Water Heater

I also found another brand for $414 inc Shipping & Taxes. It looks almost identical but with a couple of key differences.
The housing is Aluminum not Stainless steel, the Position of the Cold water inlet is several inches from that on the Seaward, but other than that, looks the same unit Size and all.

The new tank 'Kuma' arrives on Wednesday 12/272023. And we are heading out on the boat on 12/29/2023 for the new year's eve cruise.

So now the question is: Do I leave the tank out till after the new year and just bypass the coolant pipes and the Cold-Hot pipes so that we can run the engine and have water pressure for the weekend trip - - or Do I install the new tank as soon as it arrives - AND - what if it doesn't arrive.

Here's my plan. I'll cut the old Cold - Hot pipes out and replace them with longer pipes and then put elbows on both of them and a bypass pipe ( PEX ) between them - That way we can have water pressue and I'll remove the rubber hoses from the ends of the coolant supply and return and then put a bypass hose between them.  So if the new tank does not arrive, then I can simply fill the coolant tank on the engine, run it to burp any air out of the system and we can be on our way. If the new tank arrives on Wednesday, then I just need to remove the pass hoses and cut the cold/hot pipes to the correct length in order to connect them to the tank, then remove the coolant bypass hose, connect the pipes to the coolant supply and return to the tank, and then top up the engine coolant tank and burp the engine and we're ready to go.

It's a plan.  I'll go down on Tuesday and install the bypasses.

Meanwhile, what do I do with the old leaky tank and that nice Stainless Steel Housing????

I'll post an update in the New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Installing Bougerv Fridge Freezer

Installing a 12V Portable Car Fridge Freezer

We're planning on a six week cruise to Georgia ( or at least as close as we can get dependent upon the weather. ) in April 2024 and wanted to increase the amount of cold storage we have aboard.

The Bougerv CRPRO25 26 Quart 12V Portable Car Fridge Freezer looked like it would big enough for holding quite a bit of cold or frozen food/drinks and not too big to exceed the space we have on the boat to keep it secure.

It arrived on time and was easy to setup and test.
We loaded a few bottles of water, plugged it in to a 110v outlet at home, turned it on and let is sit. 

It quickly went down to below freezing and we soon had a few frozen bottles of water.

I was pretty sure it would fit sitting on the seat at the front of our Aft Berth and we set it up using the hold downs and some webbing for our trip up to Lake Boca over the Oktoberfest HISC Cruise.  We set the temperature to 45ºF and left it running for the long weekend. It easily held all of our 'bottles' and 'jars' that would normally go into our regular freezer/fridge aboard. That made a huge difference to our cold storage. My only disappointment was in my choice of the size! I would have gotten a bigger unit as it would fit in the same space. But that's a minor disappointment. I'll not lose any sleep over it.

The only issue with it being mounted on top of that seat is that we lose storage space and access to the small storage locker beneath the seat. So I figured that if there was a shelf mounted higher up, then we could put 'stuff' below it and also have access to that locker.

I came up with this design ( sorry it's not 3D ) 

Shelf Construction

Plan is to make it from Marine Ply, finished with epoxy. 
The shelf will be supported by a brace screwed to the bulkhead another along the seat back and a triangular brace below the aft end of the shelf.

The Fridge Freezer will be strapped down with webbing straps on either end. 

I did notice a voltage drop indicated on the unit's digital display, I'll check the wire gauge of the supply to the 12v outlet. It should be at least 10awg ( I use the BoatHowTo ABYC Wire Size Calculator

Then I had a thought! Would it be worth it to make the shelf removable.
If it were, then either hinge it upwards against the seat back or just lift it out and stow.
The hinge option will not work. The angles are not 90º
To make it removeable, I would hinge the aft edge support brace to the underside of the shelf.
To much complexity for my woodworking skills, so it' going to be fixed.

Ok, plan  done.
  1. Make a template as the shelf is anything but rectangular
  2. Cut a piece of ply for the shelf and the three support pieces
  3. Hot glue everything in place to check fit - adjust a needed.
  4. Coat everything with an Epoxy resin.
  5. Install
  6. Make straps to hold down the fridge/freezer.
Made the hot glue gun templates in about 30 minutes today. There are 4 parts:-
  • Outboard Support 
  • Aft Support
  • Forward Support
  • Shelf

I cut the support pieces from a piece of ply I had in the Garage and sanded them down - a quick trip to Lowes Hardware for a piece for the shelf. 4' x 2' x 1/2" ply.

The Outboard support piece is not cut to length, I'll do that after the Forward and Aft support pieces are screwed into position.  Talking of securing the supports, The forward support can be secured using SS screws into the wooden bulkhead between the aft cabin and the galley, but the outboard support is fiberglass, so I'm going to use nut rivets & screws.

Making progress. My templates didn't account for the angles where the pieces meet but I have them all marked out and ready to cut. I could get to this during a short ride from the Marina where Eximius is on land right now but splashes on Tuesday. 

That happened!

We splashed from Playboy Marine at 0800 Tuesday December 19th. We had Patagonia Marine Services paint the bottom and apply a fresh coat of PropSpeed - as always, they did a great job, the Teams down there always do. 

From Playboy marine, we slowly motored up the ICW to Lake Sylvia, I was checking the new Packless Shaft Seal ( PSS ) for leaks. There was a leak - just a drip every minute or so, from the Vent Hose connection. Also the vibration was higher than normal, looks like my alignment was not as good as I thought. 

Anyway, I was able to install the new BougeRV Fridge Freezer Shelf in the Aft Berth. My woodwork would not win any awards but it's very functional. 

The design is longer than needed for the 26Quart unit we have, but I figure, if we ever replace it we'll get a larger one.

The 12v power outlet will come up from the seat locker behind the seat back and the unit will plug in, hopefully no need to drill a hole in the shelf.

The shelf is plain plywood right now, but I'll take it out after the New Year's eve cruise and give it a coat of epoxy with White pigment.

The unit is held down with 1/8" braided line right now, but I'll make some webbing straps with plastic buckles.

As mentioned, there's room below the shelf for a couple of boxes, either provisions or tools, I always need more space for tools!

Another deciding factor for the position of the shelf was where the lid would open. 

There's plenty of room for the lid to open up and swing back against the bulkhead. 

I'm really pleased how this worked out. 

It's convenient being right inside of the door of the Aft Cabin.

It really does not remove any space from a guest that might use the Aft Cabin

It's mounted beneath the LED lamp so it'll be easy to see the contents.

Just what we needed.

I'll get the power setup before our NYE cruise.

See you on the water.


Friday, December 15, 2023

Replacing the Bilge Pump

Replacing the powered Bilge Pump 

It was working ok but it's 8 years old and due to be replaced.

We have 4 bilge pumps onboard. 2 manual, this one - non-automatic 2000 GPH 12v and our Dry Bilge Pump.

The main one, this one, is 8 years old, and it's just time to replace it.

The hold down clips ( those two red bits on the sides  above the base ) had broken a while ago and I had replaced them with Zip Ties.

When testing the Bilge pump before leaving the dock, I noticed that the 'Manual' operation did not work. Automatic worked fine, so I figured there was a wiring issue somewhere but it could wait till we got to the Haul Out Yard at Playboy Marina.

The replacement was easy:- 
  • Dry the bilge so that no water would get into the screw holes when the base is removed.
  • Cut the wires from the old pump close to the Butt Joints in the wires from the control switch. 
  • Cut the Zip ties to release the pump from the base. 
  • Remove the 4 screws holding the base to the bottom of the bilge.
That's the demolition complete.

This wiring diagram was from the site but it's basically the same as the one included in the installation sheet that came with the Bilge Pump.

Our wiring is slightly different. The join in the wires from the pump and float switch are actually on a Terminal Block that is behind our electrical panel at the Nav Station. My reason for doing that was to move the join from the bilge area.

With the old pump removed I spent a few minutes cleaning up the bottom of the bilge, it's pretty shallow on Eximius compared to some other boats. It cleaned up pretty good and I was able to remove the old 4200 sealant from the holes and applied some fresh 4200 to seal them.

Screwing the base back onto the bottom of the bilge and seeing the sealant squishing out was reassuring. 

I cut back the old wiring close to the original heat shrink tubing and slid some 1/4" Heat Shrink tubing over the wires. Then I crimped Blue Butt joints onto the supply wires. Next I slide a larger Heat Shrink tube that was long enough to extend pass the ends of the butt joints over the whole assembly. With that done I just needed to crimp the pump side of the butt joints onto the pump wires and use my heat gun to shrink the tubing to completely seal the wiring joint.

I knew that the wiring to the pump was ok as the old pump ran when I operated the float switch, so the issue had to be in the wiring from the electrical panel to the terminal block. I opened the panel and straightaway could see the spade terminal on the Manual side of the switch had pulled off. Pushed it back onto it's terminal and tested the pump on Manual - works. Operated the float switch - works! All done.

The issue with the spade connection on the switch is just another reminder that I really need to work on that electrical panel. One more reminder!  It's on my to-do list and just moved up a notch.

Pump working - next job on the list - Packless Shaft Seal ( PSS )

Getting close to being back in the water.


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Replacing the Prop Shaft Seal

Replacing the Shaft Seal on our Prop shaft

While searching a the water leak ( turned out it was from the hot water tank ) I noticed that the PSS Shaft Seal was showing it's age. The boat was out of the water, we're delayed from splashing for a few days to the weather so I bit the bullet and ordered a replacement shaft seal.

 This is what the new one looks like ( currently shipping NDA from Defender ) $302 = $352.05 inc. Shipping & Tax.

The currently installed Packless Shaft Seal - PSS does not have the barbed water fitting which ensures that the inside of the fitting is water lubricated.

I looked up the size in the Catalina 34 Owners Manual. The shaft is 1" and the shaft log in 1 5/8" OD 

The PSS part number is 02-100-112

The total cost from Defender was about the same as just the pre-tax cost from WM. 

The Old Packless Shaft Seal 

That photo shows the Prop Shaft, the Packless Shaft Seal ( PSS ) and the flange that connects the Prop Shaft to the Gearbox. 
Note the black line on the below the PSS, it extends 360º around the inside of the hull and under the deck of the aft cabin. That's splatter from the old PSS! Basically the PSS is failing ( it's at least 8 years old). The sealing surface between the flat surfaces of the rotating stainless-steel rotor and the stationary carbon flange eventually wear and then the seal fails, it's not a sudden catastrophic failure, it just wears out.  PYI ( Manufacturers of the PSS ) state a 6 year maintenance schedule. Ours is at least 8 years old!

Step 1. Remove the hose clamps.

There are Four clamps, two hold the aft end of the bellows to the shaft log and two hold the bellows to the carbon 'Stator'  

The old clamps were of the perforated type, so they went straight into the garbage.

Next I removed the two set screws from the Shaft coupling, I figured that it would be easier to remove them before separating the flange from the gear box drive flange.  It was, but it was not easy! The set screws had Square ends rather than hexagonals, so the only tool I had that would grab them enough to allow unscrewing them was a 14" Pipe Wrench.  There's not that much room down there and access is for really small people! It took nearly and hour just to remove those two set screws.
Once they were out, the connection to the gear box was easy.

Getting the coupling off of the prop shaft was not pretty! There was not enough room for me to use my three leg puller between the end of the shaft and the gear box, so I had to resort to applying a Sudden High Impact Tool - Hammer! striking the aft end of the coupling. That took another half hour. It finally came off and I was able to remove the shaft Key.

I cut the bellows, removed the 4 set screws from the Stainless Steel Rotor of the PSS and was able to pull the rotor off of the front end of the shaft.

Time for a clean up. Basically I used Soap liquid to wash down the whole area and lots of shop paper towels. 

Preparing the shaft for the new PSS involved sanding it with wet-n-dry paper. I stared with 80 Grit to take off the edges of the key slot and the concave dimples where the two set screws grab the shaft and to ease off the dings caused by my heavy hammering getting the coupling off.  Then it was more sanding using 220, 600, 1500 and finally 2000 grit W&D paper.  

I tested the fit of the SS rotor by using the old one, a light film of dish liquid on the shaft and the O-rings of the old rotor and it slid nice and easy over the shaft, not catching anything.

Next I cleaned the outer surface of the shaft log, just a couple of minutes with 220 grit paper and a washdown with soapy water. 

Now everything was clean and smooth. I scrubbed my hands to ensure I didn't get any contaminates onto the shaft or the new PSS. 

Easing the two aft hose clamps on the new PSS Bellows, I slid the bellows onto the shaft log. PYI advise not to push the bellows to far onto the shaft log however, the build the shaft log does not allow for the bellows to go that far, so no issues there. 

I rotated the PSS bellows so that the hose barb on the forward edge of the bellows pointed upwards. Then I tightened the clamps around the bellows at the shaft log end.

Wiping down the face of the carbon Stator and the Stainless Rotor, and then applied soap liquid to the shaft and the inside of the new Rotor. The new rotor fit nicely over the smooth prop shaft and was slid down to the Stator end of the PSS.

I cleaned up the Shaft to Gearbox coupling and slid that over the end of the Prop shaft ensuring the key was correctly positioned.  

The old bolts from the coupling were showing signs of thread damage, I purchased four new nuts and bolts and spring washers. I used the new bolts to attach the coupling to the gearbox tightening them just enough to make a snug fit, I'll check the alignment when the installation is complete.

With the coupling installed, I gently tapped the end of the prop shaft from the outside to get it fully inserted into the coupling, mindful of the fact that it applies pressure to the gearbox.  With the shaft now correctly positioned, I installed the new set bolts. ( I had also purchased new bolts to replace the square ended screws) to secure the coupling to the shaft.

Now that the shaft was in it's correct position, I moved the Stainless Rotor aft to touch the Carbon Stator and measured from the front edge of the Stainless Rotor to the aft edge of the bellows = 7 1/16".
With the set screws inserted into the Stainless Rotor but not touching the shaft, I compress the bellows by pushing back on the rotor until the distance changed from 7 1/16" to 6 5/16" = a compression of 3/4" as prescribed. 

All done except for the ventilation hose. I stopped by ACE hardware and picked up about 12' of 3/8" ID reinforced hose. I have clamps on the boat. 

Hose installed at the PSS and ran back below the Aft water tank then up to the Stbd side under the combing. No loops in the hose in order to prevent syphon back down the hose.

The hose is zip tied to the existing hoses that run from the aft locker and tank area to the under sink area.  Getting into the aft locker is getting more difficult, I'll have to practice some more boat yoga.

I also checked the Alignment, less than 4 thou" pretty darned good.

The boat is ready to splash on Tuesday 19th of December.  

See you 'on top' of the water.


Replacing the Depth Transducer Thru Hull

 Replacing the Thru Hull for the Depth Transducer.

In February 2021, I replaced the old Airmar Depth, Speed, Temperature Transducer with the new NEMA 2000 DST 810, however I did not replace the Thru Hull as the boat was in the water.

Each time we return to the dock, I remove the DST 810 and replace it with a dummy plug. That dramatically reduces the amount of growth on the transducer - it actually stopped the 'S' part of the transducer working until I cleaned it off.

The reason for replacing the Thru Hull is simple! Water Water Everywhere and not what you want inside the boat. Pulling the Transducer out of it's Thru Hull would result in a massive ingress of water spewing up into the boat. I'm pretty good at getting the plug in as soon as the Transducer is removed, but it's still about a gallon of water and if I miss the spot, then it's a lot more.  The Thru Hull fitting that came with the new Transducer has a sprung valve inside that significantly diminishes the water ingress.

Step one - get the old Thru Hull out. The boat was on the hard for a bottom job so no water coming in :)

Getting the transducer out was not too difficult, I used my Vibro tool with the cutting attachment to cut into the plastic of the Thru Hull. 

The retaining ring nut didn't want to unscrew, did I see some 5200 in there?

I used a wrench to break off bits of the Thru Hull, had to be careful not to damage that hose, it's a bilge pump hose.

Making progress. I can see daylight.

Probably spent about 10 minutes getting this far.

Finally got it out.

peeled off the old sealant and sanded it down ( after this pic ) then cleaned the inside area.

I sanded the outside too and formed a countersink on the underside of the hole to ensure the new sealant formed a water tight seal.

Peggy was with me, so after cleaning the area with Acetone and applying 4200 to the outer flange of the new Thru Hull and on the area around the Thru Hull on the inside of the hull, Peggy held the fitting up from the outside and I slipped the rubber ring around the threaded portion of the Thru Hull protruding inside the hull. Then on went the retaining ring nut. As planned, 4200 squeezed out of the edges of the ring and, outside, the flange of the Thru Hull. That's not going to leak!

Before tightening it all down, we made sure the Arrow on the outside of the Thru Hull was still pointing forwards - not sure why - but it was perfect. Good Job Peggy.

New Thru Hull installed.
Yes, I know, it's crowded down there. 

The blanking plug can be seen laying on it's side at the bottom of the picture.
It has a yellow O-Ring, so does the Transducer but you cannot see it when installed into the Thru Hull.

The previous Thru Hull required black O-rings, slightly different in size.

Plan is to splash the boat on Tuesday 12/19 - I'll know if it seals correctly then 😉

Of course, I'll inspect it before they remove the Boat Lift Slings.  Check out my post about replacing the Packless Shaft Seal - I'll be checking that too!

See you on the water.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Replacing the Topping Lift

Time to replace the Topping Lift

Actually getting the boat out under sail for the Palm Beach Regatta on May 6th, we found that our Topping Lift was too short! While screwing up the process of Reefing the Mainsail, the bitter end of the line slipped through the line clutch and I had to go up to the mast in order to secure the Boom by securing the line on a spare cleat on the mast ( lot's of sailor terms there  - sorry ) 

The "Topping Lift' is a line that hold up the boom when the sail is not under tension. It's important, without it the Boom can crash down onto the Top of the canvas over the cockpit cabin entrance or down to the deck on either side.

The Reefing process - method of reducing the amount of sail in anticipating heavy winds - is to Stop the Boom falling when the sail is lowered, lower the sail, haul in on the two reefing lines, put the sail back up till it's taut and then ease the Topping lift.

Our problem was the skipper ( me ) forgot and didn't take the weight of the Boom before lowering the sail, so it went 'Boom!' when it crashed down on the port side towards the deck.

Ok, so the correct method for us to Reef is:
  • Take the weight of the Boom using the Topping Lift and and secure it in the Line Clutch
  • Ease the Mainsail till the Reefing points are down at the boom.
  • Tighten the two reefing lines 
  • Haul up the Mainsail to it's new shortened height
  • Ease the Topping Lift line and resecure it in it's Line Clutch.
Now, the Topping Lift line needs to be about 6' longer so that it never slips out of it's line clutch.
Original Topping Lift setup

The topping lift line runs from the cockpit line clutches, forwards to a multi line manager, over to the base of the mast and into a block where it turns up towards boom, then it runs along the outside of the boom to the aft end of the boom to another block then it turns up to a block that is secured to the wire line that goes to the top of the mast. From that block on the lower end of that wire, the topping lift line goes back down and attaches to an attachment on the end of the boom.  To lift the end of the boom we simply pull the end of the topping lift in the cockpit and that lifts the end of the boom, the line is then secured within a line clutch. To ease the boom down, we simply ease the topping lift. Got it? 

To change the line.
  • Tighten up on the Lazy jacks
  • Ease the Mainsheet ( so that's it's not trying to pull the boom down ) and the Vang ( ditto )
  • Remove the old Topping Lift line
  • Feed the new line along the path of the old one
  • Feed the new line through the Line Clutch
It's that easy. I'll time it, should take about 20 mins ( Peggy says that I think everything takes about 20 mins. )

All done. Now the boom could drop all the way down to the deck and there would still be enough line in he cockpit to take control of the boom.  We're ready for the next regatta up to lake worth.


See you on the water.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Broken boat bits

 Broke but didn't know my boat was in trouble.

We went down to the boat to clean up after a 100mile trip over the labor day weekend. Clean up included picking up the couple of things we left on the boat after the return to the dock on Tuesday, Scrubbing down the deck and resetting the Mainsail cradle cover. 

Resetting the cradle cover simply because the sail had flaked onto just the port side of the boom when we last lowered the sail. In order to sort that out, we had to raise the mainsail, it seemed it required a lot more effort, I thought that was due to the two reefing lines jamming on the boom. 

Nope! That's the first bit to break - the block at the base of the mast had broken! 
This was the new block I installed just a few years ago.

It was being used to turn the Main Halyard and the Main sheet at the base of the mast to the turning blocks on the cabin top and then to the cockpit under the Traveler & dodger.

This is how it looked when I realized the side of the block was broken. The broken piece was sitting on the deck beneath the Dingy.

Now this breakage is not a fault in production or design.

The problem was that when I installed it, I did not review how the lines lay when under full tension! 

With the Main halyard under tension, and the mainsheet tight, the block was turned at an angle that had the Main Halyard rubbing on the cheek of the block, and when at full tension ( Main hauled to the masthead ) the composite side of the block just couldn't take it and the line shredded itself on the broken edge.

Result: Replace the blocks and the  Main Halyard.
I was able to buy new 7/16" New Halyard at Sailorman in Fort Lauderdale and a pair of Seldon blocks from Nance & Underwood in Fort Lauderdale - they were about $55 each.

Back at the boat, I simply sewed the end of the new line to the end of the old main halyard and then pulled the line from out the top of the masthead and thus pulled the new line up inside the mast and back down to the deck. Removed the old line, heat treated the ends of the new line and threaded the new line through the new block, turning block and then through the line clutches on the cabin top under the dodger. It only took about 90 mins - that was because I played around with the direction that the lines went from the turning block to the new blocks so that there was no rubbing on the block sides even when the Halyard was under full tension.
Lastly, I used the excess 7/16" halyard line to replace the worn out Vang line and ran that back to the cockpit too. Now I  should install a new cam cleat under the dodger on the cabin top so that I can remove the cam cleat that is part of the lower vang line block - that way it will be easier to adjust the vang from the cockpit.

Ok, first broken bit fixed.

Next fix was not because something broke - My favorite HISC hat took a swim when we were heading down the ICW last weekend! Normally I would simply have pulled a U-turn and recovered the hat, but it was probably the busiest day of the year on the ICW - Labor Day! and just too much boat traffic to risk that maneuver for a hat - I was due a new one anyway. Luckily, our sailing club had a general meeting this past Thursday and I was able to buy two new hats - you know, one for spare!

The only other thing that needed fixing was getting our Propane tank filled - we'll go to the boat in the morning and pull that out for a refill at the local store.

Our trip up the ICW from Port Everglades to Lake Worth and back was an awesome Labor Day cruise for our sailing club and if the only issue was a broken block then I'll take that.

See you on the water.