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The Party’s Over

Well, only for six months or so. Looking back at this past season time blurs for me. It came and went so quickly. The weather did not always have our interests at heart, and when it did my family could not always take advantage of it because of other commitments. But when we did get out we had a great time. Other than the fuel return line breaking, and then the dock helper at the restaurant pulling the boat in tight on the dock while I was backing in and having the water tank vent shear off.
But we were able to get out with our friends on our boat, and we reconnected with old friends when they bought a boat and ended up at the same marina. We rafted together at Robins Island and caught up on old times and what our kids were doing, and just had a good time talking with each other.
As I get Keeper ready for her long winter’s nap, I am already planning some maintenance projects to help keep her running well during next season. The end of season oil change is first on my agenda. I have the filters and five gallons of oil in the shop, all we need is a decent day to get to work. Before I winterize her engines I am going to flush them both with Rydlyme, a bio-degradable de-scaler that works so well in cleaning out the internal cooling passages of salt water cooled engines. I used it a few years ago and was amazed at how well it cleaned the heat exchanger and aftercooler cores. In fact, after I had such luck with it the techs at the marina tried it on a generator that was so clogged up, seawater could not flow in it. When they were done it was flowing freely and no longer overheating.
The biggest project I want to tackle is the exhaust pipe on the port engine. This is something that has bothered me for some time but I never came up with a good idea on how to solve the problem. The issue at hand is this, after exiting the turbocharger the exhaust gas is mixed with cooling seawater and travels down the pipe to exit the boat. If you take a good look at the pictures that are accompanying the article, you should be able to see how level the exhaust pipe is after leaving the exhaust elbow. I don’t think it really helps get the seawater away from the turbo efficiently and I believe this is one of the reasons I had a port engine turbo failure some years ago. If any water sits in that pipe while at anchor and the boat gets rocked by a passing boat’s wake it could easily surge back into the turbo. It may not damage the turbo right away but in time it will cause corrosion leading to failure.

So my plan is to lower that pipe and that will take a bit of work and a little luck too. Looking at the attached pictures you can see just how tight the area is around the exhaust pipe, the sea strainer and the hatch lifter. To create an angle for the exhaust pipe to drain better I first have to change the orientation of the hatch lifter motor. The attached picture labeled “hatch lifter motor” shows the hatch lifter on the starboard side with the motor on the forward base of it. The port side is identical, it is just below the exhaust pipe. In fact, there is about one quarter of an inch clearance between the two of them. To make room to lower the exhaust pipe there I will have to rotate the base of the hatch lifter ninety degrees. I have seen other people with the same boat mount the hatch lifter upside down. That may work for gas engine powered versions but not with the diesel exhaust set-up I have. At the bottom of that hatch lifter is a round stub about an inch or so long. It has a hole cross-drilled in it that a pin goes through to enable the lifter to tilt back and forth as it raises and lowers the hatch. I hope to be able to loosen that stub and rotate it the required ninety degrees. If not I will drill a second hole across the stub allowing me to rotate the hatch lifter into position.
If that works I can move to the next problem. That is the water outlet at the top of the sea strainer. This seems to be a fairly straightforward fix. I can loosen the four nuts holding the top onto the strainer and rotate the top one hundred and eighty degrees. This puts the sea strainer outlet on the aft side of the housing and gives me more room to lower that pipe. I already have a longer length of suction hose and new gaskets for the strainer housing.
If all this goes as planned then the next step is to lower and fit the exhaust pipe. There still may be a clearance issue with the marine gear oil cooler but if needed I can move the shaft cooling line attached to that. I will lower the exhaust elbow slightly after cutting a section out of the main exhaust pipe. I have a length of the correct silicone exhaust hose to insert there. The last part to need modification is the exhaust elbow at the engine room bulkhead. I believe I will only need to cut and re-fiberglass that to gain the correct angle to complete the project. I have to remember, measure twice and cut once!
It may seem like a lot of work to correct something that I have lived with for many years but in the end, it makes the boat and engines more reliable. Plus, if I can extend the life of an expensive turbocharger and not have to replace that it is worth it.
I have been watching anything I can on television with boats involved just to see all the types of vessels out there. In the meantime enjoy the winter, plan any work you may want to get done and be ready for a spring launch!