Monday, May 6, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.6

Universal M25 XP Clean up

I know, this is Day 7 since we started the project ( not including weekends ) but I'm taking it easy and only working 3 hours each day.

 Luckily we went down the boat today. The Divers were doing their thing cleaning the hull below the waterline. 

I say 'Luckily' because if you have been following our progress you'll know that we removed the engine last week. So when the divers checked the prop, they happened to move it forwards, didn't need to be much, a 1/32" movement would and did cause the PSS to leak like crazy. As I boarded the boat I noticed that the main Bilge Pump was running, just for a few seconds, but it repeated! I guessed the issue and so quickly opened the cabin, climbed into the aft berth and moved the propshaft back towards the stern and so stopped the water ingress. No big deal, and our Solar system could easily manage the power draw - but if it was still running overnight the pump could possibly run out of power.  

But, as I said, we were there and it only took a couple of seconds to stop the water coming into the boat.
Note! Next time tell the diver's company not to move the shaft or better still, tie the shaft aft.  Duh!

Here's where I started the cleaning. I had sprayed the gearbox with soap liquid before the weekend and wiped it off, this is how it looked first thing this morning.

I'll post pics of those two labels later.

So the gearbox and bell housing is sitting on some cardboard.

Step 1 ( today ) spray the gearbox and bell housing with more soap spray. Let it sit for a few minutes and then agitate the soap with a small paint brush.

Here's the result after wiping it down with a wet cloth.
If you click on the image so that you an zoom in, you'll be able to view the labels.
by the Oil filler it reads "Oil Grade "A" Auto Trans Fluid". By the Gear Change lever it reads " R.H. Prop - Lever Up - --> Reverse 
<-- Forward

Several areas of the engine and Bell Housing are bear metal, the paint has brushed off - obviously that was due to the method of paint application.

I cleaned them off with a bristle brush and cleaned them as best I could.

I read somewhere that this Bell Housing is an early version as there is no radius between the vertical back of the housing and the top, sides and bottom of the housing.  The newer versions have a radius of about 1/4" to 3/8" 

I also noted that there are castings on the sides of the engine where the aft feet could be attached ( the same system as the Front feet ) but on our engine ( probably all of the Marinized Universal engines ) the feet are part of the bell housing. That moves the aft engine mounts much further aft.

I followed the same process on the rest of the engine. Looks so much better, not perfect, but I'd give it a **** .

The top of this pic shows the engine bay, my first attempt at cleaning that area. This is the first time I have been able to get into the area at the back of the engine bay. 

I was done by this time so we cleaned up and headed home.

Tomorrow I'll take my portable shop vac to the boat to help get the loose bits from the sides of the engine support stingers.

Also, I have to find the torque settings for the hex cap bolts that hold the damper plate in place. I know they are 5mm x 25mm hex cap bolts part number. 

I looked up the part number for the hex cap bolt, it's a 298458M5 x 12 Capscrew Din 912 and looking that up on Google I found that the torque is 10Nm. So I ordered a new Torque Wrench.

EPAuto 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (20-200 in.-lb. / 2.26 ~ 22.6 Nm.

Should be here in a few hours ( tonight ) 

$30 plus tax. Gotta love Amazon Prime.

Plan for tomorrow:- Assuming the wrench arrives, We'll go down to the boat and finish the cleaning of the engine bay and complete the installation of the new Damper plate - an easy day. I doubt the Spray Paint will arrive in time, so that will have to wait till Wednesday, then it's paint, have lunch somewhere while the paint dries then reinstall the engine.  I'll arrange for Greg, the Mechanic, to come to the boat on Thursday pm and we'll get the alignment done. Friday we should be ready to go for a sea trial.

Moving along.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.5

Day 6 Planning- Cleanup after removing the engine

Looks and Feels bad today
Thinking about how it will look 
Just clean it and smile

Last year ( 2023) our PSS - Prop Shaft Seal - began to fail and was spraying salt water into the area beneath the Aft Berth and aft of the engine.  That probably explains the amount of grot and  corrosion in the area of the Gearbox and Heat Exchanger. If you click on the image on the left, you should be able to zoom in on this photograph that shows our engine moved out of the engine bay and rotated 180ยบ to grant access to the Bell Housing and Gear Box.

With the engine out and accessible for cleaning and some general love, I hope to be able to clean up the grot, remove any corrosion and apply fresh finish before putting the engine back in it's hole.

Went to the Dollar Store and purchased 6 various scrubbers and scouring pads, that with a bottle of Dawn power wash dish spray, should make a quick job of cleaning the outside of the engine and gearbox.  

As mentioned in my Haiku it just needs a bit of cleaning.

I tried a small area of the bell housing using the dish spray and it came up really easy.  

I also purchased a couple of cans of high heat Gold Engine paint. The plan is to clean the engine then wash it down with Acetone then a brass wire brush. Clean again and degrease and finally spray most of the engine surface with the High Heat Paint. I'll read the instructions on the can before I get to that point.

My hope is that we can get that far during Day 6 ( Monday May 6th 2024 ), it might take till the end of day Tuesday to get that far.

Assuming ( I know! ) that we finish that clean up by Tuesday - we'll let it cure overnight and start replacing the engine into the engine bay on Tuesday/Wednesday morning.

With the engine sitting on it's feet, on the mounts, I'll call Greg the Mechanic and will wait till he arrives before starting the alignment.  Greg will by my supervisor giving me the instructions so that learn to do the alignment for the next time.

So, that's the plan. If you have any advice or criticism then please leave a comment. I read all comments and delete anything that is unpleasant especially spam from website promoters. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.5

Day 4 - Lifting the M25-XP Engine

This is the target!
The Universal M24-XP Engine Damper Plate

It connects the Flywheel to the Gearbox input shaft, the springs act a shock absorbers between the engine - a 3 pot diesel - to the Gearbox which likes to have a nice smooth input.

Prior trips to the boat this week involved removing the Starter, Alternator, Heat Exchanger and all of the hoses and electrical connections to the engine as well as the Throttle, Gear Shift and the engine shut of cables. 

Today after getting the boat setup for the engine removal, I disconnected the drive shaft coupling and removing the 4 engine mount nuts that were holding the engine down.

To lift the engine, I put a 4"x4" piece of wood across the cabin companionway just aft of the cabin top winches. Then I setup a 500lb chain hoist from the wooden beam to the engine.

The Beam was just forwards of the center point of the engine lifting line, so as the engine raised off of the mounting bolts, it shifted forwards. I noticed that there was still an electrical ground cable attached to the top of the heat exchanger mounting plate. Also, I had not disconnected the Raw Water discharge hose attached to the Oberdorfer pump.  They were quickly removed.

Now, lifting the engine an inch or so higher, it swung forward clearing the support stingers, this was working out a lot easier than I had imagined.

I had removed the rug from the deck in front of the galley to the Head door but Peggy said to put it back, we'll replace it and it would be better to protect the floor.

Now that the engine was vertically clear of the engine mounts,  I used a heavy hammer to move the support beam forwards thus moving the engine much further forwards.

We had put some puppy pads between the stringers to catch any drips from the open hoses.

With the engine basically out of the 'Engine Bay' I felt a lot better about the process.

Before lowering the engine, we put a square throwable cushion on the rug beneath the engine and lowered the engine so that it sat on the cushion. 

Despite the smile on my face, I was amazed at how grotty the back of the engine appeared. The gear box looks as though it is covered in a thick grime. In fact it was so thick that the white labels indicating the gear lever movements and the type of gear box oil were not even visible - I didn't know they were there until I sprayed the gearbox with detergent and wiped the surface off.

I'm guessing that the spray from the failing PSS late last year was the cause for the grot on the back of the engine and probably the corrosion on the heat exchanger plate.

At this point the engine is out and supported by a 3 line attachment to the chain hoist, It's sitting on the Red cushion but the bell housing nuts and bolts are not removed.

I first slackened the bolts with a manual wrench. Then we cut out a piece of cardboard and made 10 holes in it to hold the bolts. I used the new cordless socket wrench to remove the bolts and nuts from the housing.

As I removed the Bolts we put them into the cardboard and marked the board with the clock position as well as indicating anything special. ie. Some of the bolts screwed into the housing, others were nuts & bolts (N) and other were removed from the front edge of the housing (R) while all of the others were removed from the gearbox side of the housing.

The nuts were put into a separate container.

Once the bolts were removed, the bell housing is still held in place, there is a 'Pin' on the back of the engine that engages with a hole in the bell housing.

The housing is lose but need to be wobbled off of that pin.

I'm guessing the bell housing and gearbox weigh about 15lbs. It was easy to wiggle the housing off of that pin and lower the housing to the cardboard covered floor.

At last! first sight of the Damper Plate.

It's held on by 8 allen key bolts and came off in just a few minutes.

As soon as it was off we could get a close look at it's condition.

There was very little damage to the plate however, the springs do rattle around in there holders and the edges of the spring holders were showing ware.

Shaking the damper plate we could clearly hear the springs rattling and my understanding is that there should be no movement of the springs within the plate.

Ok, time to clean up and get the replacement.

I had reached out to TMI in Fort Lauderdale whom had confirmed they probably had the replacement plate in stock.  So, let's head down there.

We needed to lockup the boat. The engine was sitting on the cushion and was pretty stable but I wanted to remove the chain hoist. Lowing the engine so that the weight was off the hoist, I was able to lean the engine onto the side of the engine bay portside bulkhead.  Then I could remove the hoist.

We put all of the tools away, locked up the boat and headed to TMI.

Once we found TMI, GPS was not a big help but a phone call to them was answered by clear spoken lady and she gave us directions.

In the store they quickly found the new plate, it's identical and does not rattle!!!

With the new plate in hand and my credit card $133.75 lighter, we headed home to clean up.

Today was a good day! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.4

Day 3 - Temporary Engine Stand

As mentioned, the plan is to hoist the engine on our next trip down to the boat ( Should be Thursday May 2nd 2024 ) and then move it forwards to provide easy ( Ha! it's a boat! ) access so that we can remove the bell housing and then remove the Damper Plate on our Universal M25-XP 3 pot diesel engine.

I'm going to make a couple of engine blocks ( to act like stringers ) to support the engine when it's out of  it's normally comfy engine room ( Ok, so the engine sits beneath the companionway steps = Engine room )

Basically they will be made from two pieces of 4"x4" wood for a base and then additional 4"x4" blocks on top to support the engine mounting feet, this way the engine should be high enough from the cabin floor so that the sump does not sit on the floor and solidly enough that I can work on the engine.  

The plan is to disconnect the prop shaft coupler from the back of the gear box, then with a line through the two lifting eyes on the top of the engine, I'll use a chain hoist to life the engine ( 1/4Ton hoist > 300lb engine )  Then when the engine is above the level of the top of the engine mount bolts, I'll drag the support beam that is resting on the rails alongside the cabin companionway hatch so that we ( Peggy & I ) can lower the engine onto the temporary engine blocks.

At least, that's the theory.

Once on the blocks, I'll detach the bell housing ( it will still be connected to the Gear Box ) 


After continuing my research about how to change out the Damper Plate, I found that the aft feet of the engine that connect to the motor mounts are not attached to the engine block but are attached to the bell housing ( or Flywheel Housing as it is known in the USA ) 

That means that when I separate the Flywheel Housing from the engine block, the engine will not be supported at the back end and the gearbox & Flywheel housing will not be supported at the front end.


Ok, how to deal with this.

I cannot leave the engine suspended as that means we'll be unable to easily get out of the boat - the companionway will be blocked by the Chain Hoist and support beam, it's asking Peggy a lot to get out via the V-Berth hatch - not easy even when the V-berth is empty  - it's not! All of the gear that was in the Aft cabin is now piled up on the salon seating and in the V-Berth.  

Searching the web, one owner used a fender to support the engine. Another owner used a block to support the front of the flywheel housing when it was detached from the engine block.

Not sure how this is going to work out but instead of making temporary mounting beams I'll try the fender process.

Now I'm thinking that if I lift the engine with the chain hoist and beam across the companionway, then there should be enough  room to move the separated flywheel housing astern over the top of the propshaft coupling.

If I can do that, then I could remove the bolts that hold the flywheel housing to the engine block and lower the gear box and housing onto a fender, even enough to slide it to one side in order to access fhe  flywheel and damper plate. Next I could remove the damper plate, reattach the flywheel housing and put the engine back on it's mounts. When I get the new damper plate, repeat the process but this time installing the new damper plate.

Sounds like a plan.

It's going to be a tough squeeze, but I think I can access the flywheel housing bolts from the aft cabin and with the engine raised on the hoist, I should be able to do this.

So now I'm going to take a few pieces of 2"x4" wood to use as supports and also a 2nd hoist to take the weight of the flywheel housing. I have a small fender onboard and a hand pump so that I can deflate it before putting it under the flywheel housing and then inflate it to where I need it.

The downside of this is that it does not give me the access I was hoping for in order to clean up the engine and give it a bit of love.  

We'll see how it goes.

Tomorrow !! 

Oh, I did order some new material to replace the grotty pieces that the heat exchanger was mounted upon, that should brighten up the back of the engine.

And, as I'll be working on the flywheel with all of it's bolts a couple of times ( 10 bolts ) I indulged in a new cordless rachet tool.

It arrived less than 3 hours from when I ordered it. Both batteries are now charged up and it's ready to go.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.3

 Day 2 - Engine disconnection

Continuing with the engine disconnection process on Day 2.

Again, we limited out time at the boat to 3 hours and only just went over that limit, however, we got a lot done.

Removed the Alternator. That involved removing the Serpentine belt and disconnecting the +ve lead that connects the Alternator to the Main ( LiFePo4 ) batteries. I shut the Solar system down and then turned the master battery switch to off, disconnected the alternator cables, insulated the Main +ve lead and then turn be master battery switch on and then the Solar breaker. Also detached the Alternator Temperature sensor from the -ve connection.

Detached the Exhaust. It just took a gentle tap with a flat head screw driver and the exhaust easily parted from the exhaust manifold.

Detach the fuel hoses: Mindful that they would be full of diesel fuel, we had a disposable cup handy. The hose clamps that secure the hoses to the Primary Fuel Filter housing and the hose from the Injector return fitting were badly damaged by poor quality hose clamps, the perforations have left extremely deep cuts into the hose rubber. I'll replace them with embossed hose clamps when I put the engine back in place.

Detach the engine ground wire from the bell housing. It is held in place by one of the bolts that connect the bell housing to the backplate of the engine.

Detach the Coolant Thermostat temperature sensor and alarm from their housing.

Detach the Starter motor & Solenoid. This involves removing the starter cable ( which connects to the Stater battery ) The Solenoid cable There's also the cable that was used for the original 'Amp' meter on the control panel. It was easy to remove the two bolts that secure the starter by using two socket extensions to reach from in front of the engine back to the starter bolts.

Detach the Oil pressure switch connection. Easy using a short screwdriver.

Detach the Glow Plug power connection.

That pretty much detached everything that needs to be off in order to lift the engine.

My plan for the next part is to lift the engine out of it's normal position and move it forwards so that it can be rotated in order to work on removing the Bell housing. That will provide access the flywheel and the Damper Plate - the reason for doing all of this.

While the engine is out, I'll take the time to service the exterior of the engine, clean it up and apply some fresh engine paint. I'll also replace the primary fuel filter.

Not working on the boat tomorrow ( Wednesday 5/1/2024 )
Plan for Thursday: Protect the floor in front of the engine bay ( I know, that's pushing the concept of 'Engine Bay' :) ). I'll build a temporary engine mount in order to lower the engine. I'll use a simple 4"x4" beam with an additional piece of 4"x4" just bigger than the engine mounts.

That should provide plenty of room to get around the engine but also, it should allow me to remove the chain hoist used to lift the engine so that I can get out of the boat via the companionway.

I'll make the beam tomorrow ( Wednesday )

M25XP Damper Plate replacement Pt.2

The Plan for changing the Damper Plate

Today ( Monday April 29th ) we went down to the boat with the intent on figuring what and when we will work upon. I spent a few minutes reviewing the engine and making the plan. I'm only going to work for 3 hours each day, no point in exhausting myself and will make better progress too.

Remove the Heat Exchanger. That's 4 hoses ( I should have drained the coolant before disconnecting those hoses ) and two large hose clamps that secure the heat exchanger to it's mounting plate.

Disconnect the Throttle Linkage and Engine Shutoff link from the engine. Disconnect the gear shift cable from the gear box.

Remove the 4 engine mount top nuts.

Remove the 3 bolts that hold the exhaust pipe fitting to the exhaust manifold.

Replace the gear shift cable clamp securing screws with a matching pair of nuts and bolts so that they can be easily manipulated using a wrench and rachet socket instead of trying to hold a screwdriver on one end.  Grrr. ( worse, the two screws were a mismatched one longer than the other and one a flat head screw the other a Philips head screw ) 

Remove the heat exchanger mounting plate and clean it up, it's corroded - look for the cause.

In order to remove the stud bolts that secure the exhaust fitting to the manifold, put on a second nut and lock with the one already on the bolt, then use a wrench to unscrew the stud.

Change the Zink on the heat exchanger while it's out.

Plan for Day 2: 

Remove the Alternator, disconnect and isolate the power cable, disconnect the alternator field connection plug. Disconnect the grounding cable from the engine block and disconnect the prop.





Monday, April 29, 2024

M25XP Damper Plate replacement

Replacing the Damper Plate on our Universal M25XP engine.

After replacing the Engine Motor Mounts on Eximius' Engine, the noises from the engine also changed. I spent several hours working on the Alignment of  the engine to the Prop-Shaft, the noise from the engine at about 1200-1400 RPM was not normal. The propulsion system has always had a sweet spot throttle setting where the vibrations were minimum but now the sound was so bad that I would not feel comfortable even motoring to the end of the canal.

I called a buddy that had told me of a similar situation on  his boat a year or so ago and he graciously gave me the contact info of the mechanic that solved his issue ( alignment ).

When I called 'Greg' he responded that he could meet me at the boat at 11:00 today, WOW! anyone in South Florida knows that if a boat mechanic responds like that then you get your butt in gear!

Greg was at the dock before me and I was early - this is a really good sign.

Once aboard, we discussed previous work I have done on the engine:- Replaced the motor mounts 8 years ago, had the Injector pump rebuilt by RPM a local company, new injectors at the same time and new fuel lines from the pump to the injectors, replaced the Alternator and installed a Serpentine Belt system and External Alternator Regulator, installed a PYI PSS ( shaft seal ) and done an engine alignment, Oil and Filter changes every 50 hours of engine run time. Completely new control panel engine harness wiring.

It was time to flash up the engine. I opened the raw water thru hull valve and heated the Glow Plugs and Started the engine - she started right away.

Greg had me change the throttle settings and gear shift position a few times and increasing the RPM until the noise occurred. During this time, Greg watched the engine and felt various parts giving the engine a lot of attention.

The good news. His opinion of the engine was positive, no excessive vibration but the noise was definitely an issue that should be dealt with promptly. Greg discussed the consequence of the 'Damper Plate' failing and how it could do significant damage to the engine &/OR gearbox. So, I'm on it.

Greg provided me with the contact of a local company that probably has the Damper Plate in stock. 

We shared a few stories about our similar backgrounds in the Navy aboard Aircraft Carriers, his time aboard ending before mine began in 1964. 

I called the company and found that they do have 3 types of damper plate in stock and the best thing to do was to bring the plate from the boat to them and they would confirm which one to use.

Greg advised that the Damper Plate should probably replaced every 1500 hours. Eximius has about 7,000 hours and is 37 years old, that comes down to about 200 hours a year. We do that easily! probably more.

So, we're going to replace the Damper Plate.