Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's the little things that count

Well, we seem to have a plethora of "little things" to deal with and every one of them decided, more or less, not to cooperate.

The picture above is our solution for matching the existing throttle cables to the new carburetor. It should have been easy to hook up the old cables but it wasn't, due to the fact the new Edlebrock carb is a different shape and has a different mounting arm than the old Quadrajets.  Even with the old carbs, these cables were stiff and very sensitive. The throttle levers went from idle to wide open in just about  60 degrees. Our solution, after thinking about it for a while, was a 2-inch 14-20 stainless bolt and three locknuts. With this modification, the throttle cables now operate smoothly and the distance from idle to full throttle is now about 120 degrees. Much better. Glad we didn't rip out those four cables and replace them, thinking that was why they were so sticky.

Looking at the photo as we write this, it looks as though we should add some stainless flat washers and we'll do that as soon as we can.

Also on the list of little things was filling the heat exchangers. There is no water nearby in the shed so we lugged down two plastic gallon jugs of water so that we could mix the antifreeze in and fill the exchangers with a funnel and a length of plastic hose that we put together this week. Even that didn't cooperate. One of the plastic jugs collapsed in the cold and began to leak.  We got one heat exchanger filled but not without slopping water all over the place.

We put the flame arrestor on the newly installed starboard carb and the hose that runs from it to the valve cover was too short. No problem, just buy a 3-ft. length of 5/8" hose, cut it in half and that was done.

Then there's the fuel line. The steel line from the fuel pump is 5/16" but the fuel inlet to the carb is 3/8". That's not going to work so we're off this week in search of a 5/16" fuel fitting for the inlet to the carb.

We mentioned in a previous post that we wanted to get a shorter belt for the alternator so that alternator pulley  wouldn't be so close to the new exhaust hose. We went shopping for a belt 1/2" shorter than the old one but could only get one 1" shorter.  We bought two at $15.00 each, hoping we could get them on.

Since it was on our list of little things, we attempted to install that belt on the starboard engine. It really didn't want to go on, even with the alternator all the way down on its bracket. But it did, finally go on. We used a small prybar under the alternator to get that belt nice and tight. That fan on the alternator is now several inches from the exhaust hose so we're happy. Not looking forward to putting a new belt on the port alternator since the mounting bracket is a lot harder to reach on that side.

Before we left the boat on Saturday, we mounted the new carb on the port engine.

Now that we know what issues we'll have to deal with, connecting the cables should go quickly.  Yeah, right!

That funny color on the top of the flame arrestor isn't rust but some odd reflection. We'd never install a rusty flame arrestor.

On Sunday, we wired the electric chokes, electing to connect the +12 Volt side to the ignition connection on the distributor dropping resistor.

It was really time to figure out how we were going to connect the fuel inlets of the carbs. We re-read the Edelbrock installation instructions. Indeed, the marine carb fuel inlet is to be connected with 3/8" flexible fuel line but the steel line from our fuel pumps is 5/16."  Turns out that Edelbrock supplies a neat little adapter with a ferrule that connects 5/16" metal fuel line to 3/8" fuel hose.  You can't find fittings like this at West Marine or at your local auto parts place.

It's not really connected in this picture but this is what it looks like.

We installed one of these fittings on the port engine and will do the starboard side next weekend.

Tasting some hydraulic fluid

If you've been following our blog, you may remember that our upper steering helm failed some time after the boat was blocked up for winter storage.  We only noticed that the upper helm had puked out hydraulic fluid on the floor of the fly bridge when we uncovered the bridge to check on something.  While we did the work on the carbs and the exhaust system, we also searched the Internet for companies that repair Hynautic helms. Considering that literally thousands of Silvertons use the Hynautic steering system, it was odd that we could only find one company, in Pinellas Park, Florida That did that work. Their website offers lots of information, drawings and instructions on Hynautic and Teleflex helms, steering cylinders and reservoirs.

We emailed them and got a call back within 10 minutes. The upshot of the very pleasant conversation was, "Take the helm off and send it to us." The cost would be something north of $185 and they normally rebuild and return parts within two weeks.

Since spring is right around the corner, today was a fine time to undercover the bridge and remove the helm. We brought lots of wrenches with us as we settled on our back under the upper steering station. There are three flexible lines connected to the helm and we labeled each one and then cracked the first one. Out it came. Perfect. Then we tried the second line and it came loose fairly easily. As we pulled the line out of the helm, a big drop of hydraulic steering fluid came out of the helm and hit us on the forehead. We said something like "Oh, shit!" and a second drop or two landed in our mouth. Not tasty. We slid a little to the left and opened the last line. It was good we had moved because lots of hydraulic fluid dripped out of that last line.

We brought the helm home and tapped the steering wheel off.  Here it is, still drooling hydraulic fluid. We'll pack it up this week and send it to boaterstore.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another nice day!

It's hard to believe that it's winter. We've only used the snow blower twice this year and today it was even tolerable in the shed where we store the boat.

We seemed to have caught a cold and really didn't feel like working on the boat on Saturday morning but we did anyway. Strangely, once we got on the boat and started working, the nose stopped running and we felt pretty good.

The first thing on the list was to mount the last exhaust riser. Like so many things on the boat, the last one was easy, since we'd learned exactly what tools we needed, where to apply a little dish washing liquid and how to most easily fit the parts together, while doing the other three risers.

With that done, we began mounting the new carb on the starboard engine. Our Chrysler engines have spread bore intake manifolds and the new Edelbrock carbs are square bore design so we first mounted an adapter.

Then we dropped the new carb on and started to deal with the issues we knew we'd have.

The line from the fuel pump is 1/4-inch and the fitting on the carb is 3/8-inch. We'll have to find a new 1/4-inch fitting this week. Luckily, the PCV hose and the fuel pump overflow hose matched perfectly.

Then we looked at the cable linkage. The new Eldebrock carb is very different from the old Q-Jet and we're going to have to make up a connection that will enable the old throttle control cables to work properly. We have an idea of how to do this and we'll find out if it works soon.

We also have to wire the electric choke to the ignition circuit and we would have done that but we didn't have any electrical connectors with us.

When we left on Saturday, the starboard engine was looking good.

If you look closely at that photo, you'll notice that the alternator belt isn't there. We've always worried about the fact that the alternator pulley comes very close to the exhaust hose. We're going to try to find a belt that is an inch shorter than the old one and see if we can install it and tension it properly so that the alternator fan isn't that close to the hose.

Sunday was an equally nice day and we blew off working on the boat in favor of a short road trip to Stonington so Frances could pick up some jewelry she was having repaired. On the way, we stopped at our boat's summer home, the Marina at American Wharf in Norwich. The marina is under new ownership and things have started to happen. The first thing we saw in the parking lot was a large quantity of new pavers. We poked around and it seems that they are destined for installation on the far side of the marina's main building.

Then we noticed that an old storage building next to the driveway had been taken down. We wonder if they intend to build there or make room for additional parking, which they could certainly use.

 Frances had to check out the ladies room to see if any improvements had been made there. Well, the lockers had been moved. There's still a lot of work to do in this area.

 Our friends Bob and Diane's boat was resting comfortably in wet storage.

 It always looks strange to see A-dock without any boats, but soon - about two months - the first boats will be arriving for the summer season.

In the background you can see Norwich's brand new transportation center. The top floor has no roof and we understand it was designed that way. Seeing the sky through those windows is a nice touch, too. If we'd been designing it, we would have bonded another $100K and added a roof.  We obviously don't know much about designing transportation centers.

What we do know is we can't wait to have our boat back here in Norwich, our own marine "transportation center."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Light at the end of the exhaust hose

We had business obligations on Saturday so Sunday was our only time to try to finish this exhaust system rehab project.  Unfortunately, today was colder than it has been for much of the winter, about 28 degrees in the shed where our boat is stored, but what the hell, it's winter in New England so we went to work.

We left the boat last weekend with the port outboard elbow installed. We couldn't do any more without more 3-inch exhaust hose. Today, 6-feet.of new hose was waiting for us when we got to the boat yard so we sawed off a 23-inch piece, coated the inside of the hose with dish washing liquid and this time, also the hose fitting on the elbow.  That made a big difference and the hose slid onto the elbow with a minimum of persuasion.

Here's what the exhaust adapter looked like before we mounted the elbow. There is a block-off gasket between the manifold and the bottom of the adapter so no cooling water flows through those four ports around the edge. Only the center is open for exhaust gas.

There's another gasket between the top of the adapter and the exhaust elbow that we put on after taking this photo. We would have liked that upper gasket to also be a block-off style but as far as we could find, there's no such gasket available. 

Oh, in case you're wondering, we did remember to take that hunk of paper towel out before mounting the elbow.

Then we picked up the entire elbow and hose assembly, slid it onto the inlet of the muffler and dropped the elbow down on the adapter mounting studs. We found mounting the first elbow on the port engine last weekend somewhat time consuming but as we repeated essentially the same assembly sequence on the inboard side of the port engine, we knew exactly what to expect and it went much faster.

Now the difficult work on the port exhaust system was finished. It was cold but we were on a roll.

 Trying to make everything look good too, so we even lined up the blue stripes on that very expansive Triden exhaust hose.

Next, we started on the starboard engine by literally knocking off  the elbow and adapter from the inboard side of the engine. With that elbow gone, we'd have greater access to the outboard elbow.  We disconnected the exhaust hose at the muffler and whacked the outside elbow until it came off. We threw that over the side to join its mates and went to work on the old adapter.  It's held onto the manifold with four Allen-head machine screws.

Luckily, whoever put these old adapters on used a thread lubricant of some kind and we were able to use a conventional Allen wrench to get them out. We used a wrench on the end of the Allen wrench and finally I had the last of them out.

The adapter in this picture looks somewhat funky but there's no cooling water running through that point so whatever rust there was, wasn't from that.  Anyhow, with the mounting bolts out, the old adapter was knocked off.

There were very few people at the boat yard but we had a visit from our friend Brian and this time he brought his Dad. They are also owners of  Silverton 34C that's a lot new than ours. It's fun talking to people who know and understand boats. We're looking forward to seeing them next summer once our boats are back in the water.

Back to our exhaust system,  a look down inside the manifolds showed that they are in pretty good shape. You have to love closed cooling systems.

Next we mounted the new adapter and then the elbow with the needed 22-inch of exhaust hose on the outboard side of the starboard engine. With two elbows under our belt, this one went smoothly.

By the time we got this far, it was getting really cold in the shed. Next weekend, we'll do that last exhaust elbow, add fittings at the front of each elbow for cooling water and the exhaust rehab will be finished.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ground Hog Day

Last Thursday was Ground Hog Day and from what we read, the little bugger saw his shadow so we can expect six more weeks of winter. Fine with us. We still have lots of things to do and if everything works out, in six weeks we'll be ready to go back into the water.

When we arrived on the boat on Saturday (this was after hooking up our compressor and blowing up 15 promotional footballs for an upcoming Monster Jam performance), there were our engines with the heat exchangers installed and all the hoses back in place. Hope we never have to do that job again.

That's tape over the intake manifolds. The new carbs won't go on until the exhaust elbows have been changed. No use risking damaging new $350 carburetors. And, as luck would have it, the exhaust elbows and the gaskets and adapters came in today, already painted Chrysler blue.

To really finish the cooling system portion of the job, we needed to install the Coolant Recovery Bottles. We didn't have those before and when the coolant heated up and expanded while underway, it would puke out the overflow tube under the pressure cap.

We mounted the recovery bottles on pieces of 1/2-inch plywood and fastened those to a fiberglass lip that runs across the boat just behind the heat exchangers. It was great fun lying over the batteries between the engines and drilling pilot holes through the fiberglass with one arm, but it worked.  We routed the plastic overflow tubing from the heat exchangers to the bottom of the coolant recovery bottles.

We marked the sides of the recovery bottle with the hot and cold coolant levels and added a little piece of plastic tubing to the top of each bottle, just in case that ever overflows. Looking at the pictures, we wish we had painted those pieces of plywood but for now, they'll have to be left.unfinished.

Now that we have the new exhaust elbows, we took the time to remove the clamps holding the exhaust hose to the elbows.  These aren't going to be easy to remove.

The joints between the elbows and the manifolds are rock solid, even with the mounting bolts out. We're going to have to whack them with a big hammer to break them loose.

These water fittings won't come out so we guess we'll have to replace them.

We've been thinking about how to solve our steering problem. Some time after the boat came out of the water, our upper helm started to leak. We easily found a company that rebuilds these Hynautic helms quite inexpensively but we wondered how we would be able to refill the steering reservoir with fluid once the rebuilt helm was reinstalled. The nut on the  top of reservoir where fluid is added was impossible to remove. Our guess is that someone used something like LockTite on it.

The part we were trying to remove is shown at the upper right top of the reservoir. It has a round back pump knob. Before we did anything stupid like trying the remove the entire reservoir, we consulted our Internet friends at the Silverton Owners Club. They recommended simply unscrewing the pressure gauge.  We tried that and it came right off, leaving a nice little opening through which we can add fluid once the rebuilt helm is in place.

You have to love the Internet for all the knowledge that's out there.

On Sunday, we tackled the replacement of the exhaust elbows on the port engine. With the bolts out, those two elbows weren't going to come off easily. We had previously tried prying and even kicking them. Nothing worked, so we brought down a low-tech tool from home.

 It took three whacks with this hammer and the inside manifold on the port side broke loose. Nice to see it gone. This is what the top of the adapter that fits between the elbow and the manifold looked like. Note the four Allen head bolts that hold the adapter to the manifold. Hopefully, those would come out.

 The white stuff in the exhaust port is just a paper towel that we stuffed in there to keep debris out of the engine. Next, we removed those four Allen head bolts (came out without a problem) and then applied the big hammer to the adapter. It came off with one good whack.

Once we got the adapter off, we found an intact block-off gasket that seemed to be in pretty good shape. We expected that because these engines always ran at 180-degrees, just where they are supposed to. We're only changing the elbows (and adapters) because hot seawater is injected into the exhaust stream in the elbows and that combination is really tough on cast iron. The exhaust manifolds are cooled by a mixture of 50% antifreeze and water so corrosion there is kept at a minimum.

 We scraped the old gasket off and applied a coat of Permatex Copper to the surface before mounting a new gasket and then the new exhaust adapter. We know that exhaust systems are supposed to be assembled dry but we have done them before with Permatex and have never had a leak.

With the adapter in place, we dropped on the gasket, also with a thin coat of Permetex. The studs in the photo are used to bolt the elbow down.

We were ready to install the exhaust elbow but we couldn't get the exhaust hose off  the old elbow.  The end where the hose  had been clamped to elbow was badly cracked and dry so we decided to replace all the exhaust hose. We only needed eight feet to do both engines but the boat yard only had a three-foot length of 3-inch ID hose in stock. We took that and cut a 23-inch section, which is what we needed to complete one side.

Fitting this all together was quite an exercise. We elected to put the exhaust hose on the elbow and then fit the entire thing onto the muffler. We did it this way because the muffler fitting is smooth and the elbow isn't. (The exhaust elbow hose fitting has a nasty extra 1/8-inch lip around it.) We coated the inside of the exhaust hose with dish washing liquid and forced the hose over the lip onto the elbow. Then we picked the whole thing up and slipped the hose onto the muffler. It took a little jerking back and forth but eventually, the elbow dropped onto the mounting studs and we were home.

When we left, we had the port outside done and we would have done the port inside if we had had any more exhaust hose. That hose has been ordered and we should be able to complete the entire exhaust rehab next weekend.