Monday, March 31, 2014

Putting things back together, except the bilge blower

Before we can move on to our next exciting project, we needed to devote some time on Saturday to cleaning up the disarray left by the installation of the new water heater and the hot and cold water lines.  That includes reinstalling the bilge blower (or so we thought) and remounting the port engine's coolant overflow bottle, both of which had to be removed to get the new water heater in behind the port engine. We'll also have to make the AC power connections to the new water heater.

Not everything was completed on Saturday because we had to leave early, but we'll finish those things on Sunday.

We'd love to fill our water tank and run some water through all that new hose but we just can't trust the weather. The way it's been going, it could freeze again.

Frances gave instructions to photograph both sides of the v-berth so she could determine where the new reading lights should go and we did manage to get that done.

About a month ago, we looked at reading lights at Defender and were amazed at the prices. Some of them were over $100 each and we didn't think even those looked all that great.  Frances picked out a light from the West Marine catalog and we ordered them through the marina from Port Supply. Not exactly a style leader but they are powder coated, have an on-off switch and 24 LEDs. At $25 each, they should fit our reading needs nicely.

We don't have 12 volts available in the v-berth except above the headliner (which we have no intention of removing) so we'll have to run some wires from the lower steering station, up forward and have them exit right behind the light. At least that's the plan.

Pesto on Saturday Night
We left the boat a little earlier than usual on Saturday so we could get cleaned up before leaving for a meeting with our A-dock neighbors. Our meeting spot was Willington Pizza, a place fairly convenient to everyone. We're not really pizza lovers but the pizza at this place is among the best we have ever had.  It was packed (as it probably always is on a Saturday night) but that didn't stop 22 of our fellow boaters from catching up and enjoying some good Italian food.

Naturally, we had to shoot some video of this event. Sorry it's noisy but we left the volume up because that's the way it sounded. Just right as far as we're concerned. It was great to see everyone again.

Frances also shot some stills and we've included all of them here except one, which was a shot of the back of somebody's head.

Sunday: We fight the bilge blower
On Sunday, we went back to the boat but try as we might, we couldn't get the bilge blower back in place. Whoever installed it must have been a lot more flexible than we are because we couldn't come close to reaching the spot where screws and washers mount it to a piece of plywood that is screwed into one of the deck cross members. But, we have a solution, and we brought the bilge blower back home so we \could fabricate a mount that will work. The bilge blower will go in next weekend, for sure.

We've put ourselves on the list for an April 29 launch. That's a week later than last year and if the river doesn't flood, it should work.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

You know it's really spring when...

...they begin to put the docks back in. Saturday was about 50 degrees with the wind blowing like stink from the west, but the wind wouldn't bother us where we were going. The evil water hoses were waiting.

We remarked to Rob, our next boat neighbor in the shed, just how little we had accomplished over what seemed to be a long winter. Anchor pulpit, some take-home refinishing projects and the water heater. Some of what's left on the list just may have to wait.

We've gotten the two new water hoses from the water heater all the way forward and now we're under the galley sink. Working under there is really difficult but we're not complaining. We love planning and executing boat projects even if we do go home walking a little funny.

We made the connection for the hot water under the sink and since that involves a "T" fitting, we also took the time to snake the hot water line forward to the head. This water hose has a mind of its own so we fastened in down with a couple of clamps. Once the hot water gets to it, it will relax.

We can't tell you how glad we were to see the end of that hose appear under the vanity in the head, exactly where it should be.

It must be spring because we also began to put things back where they belong on the boat. We put all the stuff away that is stored under the lower steering station and actually brought a few tools home. We even powered up the Shop Vac to suck up some of the stuff that this project left behind.

Sunday: The end is in sight
Sunday was cold again but we drove to the boat with new energy. We could finish this damn project today if everything went right. We left on Saturday afternoon after not being able to make the cold water connections under the galley sink. On Sunday, those hoses slid on immediately. Guess we were a little tired on Saturday. We next reconnected the sink drain. That had been removed a month ago to get access to faucet fittings. With everything connected, we cleaned up all the stuff that had accumulated on and under the counter and moved on to the head. The galley looked as though no one had ever been there. We even remembered to leave the fridge doors open a crack.

We had a vague idea of what to expect in the head. We spent a good deal of time in there a couple of years ago installing a new toilet, holding tank and pump-out fitting. 

The door to the storage area under the vanity in the head is actually a little wider than the one under the galley sink and we knew that if we followed just the right sequence, we could lie on our back, slide in under the vanity and then by turning, get an arm under there too. Doesn't that sound like fun? We'd rather have a wisdom tooth extracted but we were so close to getting this project finished we just gathered some tools and went for it.

The first step was to pull the old hoses off the underside of the faucet. Much easier here because we could actually see the fittings. We loosened the hose clamps and naturally, the hoses wouldn't bulge. No problem. Score them with a utility knife and off they came. See ya in hell, stinko old hose!

Then we cut the new incoming hot water hose to length, slid on a new hose clamp, gave it 30 seconds with the heat gun on high about two inches away to soften the hose end a little, then flip over, slide back under the vanity, and push the hose onto the faucet fitting before the hose cools. Tighten the hose clamp and the hot water is done. 

Funny how you get good at this stuff right at the end of the job.

The cold water side needed a "T" to supply both the faucet and the toilet but that went almost as easily. We collected our tools and closed the door to the vanity behind us.

Before we left, we crawled back down behind the port engine and connected the hot water line to the water heater and screwed the water heater itself down. We needed one short pipe nipple to connect the cold water supply line, which we seemed to have forgotten. We'll install that next weekend and make the AC electrical connections. We'll also reinstall the bilge blower and the engine's coolant overflow tank, both of which had to be removed to get the old water heater out and the new one in.

We love boat projects but this one took a lot longer than we intended because of the cold weather.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The water hoses slink on

Well, our cozy little cabin on the boat is a mess. Running these water lines has necessitated keeping the hatch on the storage area open and that's in the way. The fridge had to be slid out and that makes it impossible to open the doors under the sink. But, the radio still works so we can listen to NPR while we work, so that's some consolation.

Saturday's accomplishments won't seem like much but we did pass a milestone. The new hot and cold water hoses are now under the galley sink. Not connected yet but they will be soon.

We began by installing the new galley faucet. That meant that we had to slide the fridge back under the counter so we could open the cabinet doors under the sink. Our arms are just long enough to reach the nuts that hold down the faucet.

We reused the adapters from the old faucet that transition from residential pipe thread to barbed 1/2-inch hose but, remembering how difficult they were to remove, we connected a 10-inch section of new 1/2-inch water hose to each one before we mounted them to the new faucet. We used our heat gun to soften the ends of those hoses, slipped them into the barbed fittings and tightened a #6 hose clamp on each one. They will never, ever come off. Those 10-inch sections of hose will allow us to install the "T" fittings on the new hoses down where we can actually see and reach it them.

Then it was time to once again pull the fridge out from under the counter so we could run the water hoses behind it and into the area under the sink. The fridge doesn't slide easily and we're pretty sure it gets heavier as the day wears on.

Again using our heat gun, we ran the two hoses along the plywood partition behind the fridge.

Even on a relatively warm day like today, that hose has a built-in curl that won't quit unless we apply some heat and even then, it isn't exactly installer-friendly.

We'd love to re-route what we have captioned the "Evil AC drain" that now dumps lots of water into the bilge during the summer. There is no under-deck access to the end of that hose and we don't know if we could fish a new length of hose from there all the way forward to the shower sump, which is where a lot of boat manufacturers put it. The plywood floor you see here is glassed in, so getting that up won't be possible.

We have a lot to do as it is, so maybe this won't get done this winter, but we'd love to fix the evil drain.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

After a couple of cold weeks, back to the plumbing

We got a break in the weather; warm and sunny for a change. On Saturday morning, we collected all of our stuff and headed to the boatyard to see how far we could get with the new water lines. Luckily, we had made a plan because snaking the two new lengths of stiff 1/2" water hose under the cabin floor wasn't going to go quietly.

We began by cutting off the remaining lengths of old hot and cold water hose. We would use a completely new route for the new hoses. Then we removed about 7 ft. of old cold water hose from where it exited the accumulator tank and ran to the old water heater and through a "T," to the galley and the head. We didn't remove the hoses from the fresh water pump, or the dockside water connection. All of that was replaced when we installed the new water pump.

All of this old plumbing is mounted on a plywood bulkhead that runs across the boat behind the engines. It might have been neat when the boat was built in 1980, but now there are numerous cables and wires that were zip-tied and taped to that length of cold water hose. We cut all of those clamps and ties away. We love that part!

Our new cold water supply hose would exit the accumulator tank and split using a "T" with one leg going across behind the port engine to supply the water heater, and the other going back behind the starboard engine to meet the new cold water supply hose that will run to the galley and the sink.  We made up this series of fittings with the help of our trusty heat gun and then crawled down behind the starboard engine to install it.

We cut off a 7 ft. length of new water hose and ran that over from our new "T" to the water heater. That gives us cold water to the water heater

OK, now the difficult part. We have to snake both a new hot and cold water hose under the cabin floor. We have access to that space under our lower steering station but it's a long way aft to where these hoses have to go. Our solution was to tape both the hot and cold hoses to our boat hook, which, when collapsed to its shortest length, just fits down in that small space. Then we lengthened the boat hook a little at a time until, when it was fully extended, we could poke the hoses through the little opening into the engine space.

Then we crawled back behind the starboard engine, cut the tape to free up our boat hook, and pulled the new hoses into the engine space. One hose went to the "T" on our accumulator tank (cold) and the other (hot) across to the port side to where the water heater will be mounted.

The photo shows a work area that isn't very isn't neat but all that cable shown below the accumulator was eventually cut back and mounted properly.

Next we have to move inside the cabin and route those two hoses through that bulkhead and then back behind the fridge and to the galley sink. This space under the lower steering station will be our home for a few more hours.

The admiral attempted a new recipe this weekend..."root beer pulled pork". Tossing a pork shoulder (not recommended-use boneless loin) into the crockpot and dousing it with root beer was the easy part.  Also, the suggested slow cooking time was a bit off. We ended up cooking it for 24 hours not 7, with 2 sliced onions for flavor.  The most important factoid is that the shredding for this novice was quite labor intensive, probably because we used the wrong tools... I lobbed a couple of pork chunks into the super chopper, pulsed it a couple of times, came up with baby food consistency and quickly went back to shredding, pulling, hard labor or whatever you want to call it... I told Bill the next time he is in a restaurant and has a hankerin' for a pulled pork sammy, it's worth the $25-$40 tab.  By the way, the result was delicious and the Jack in the background is BBQ sauce, not the other kind of sauce.

On Sunday morning, fortified with that delicious pulled pork, we once again visited our winter weekend work site. The first thing we did was drill holes for the new water hoses. We used a 3/4" hole saw because that was the closest size hole saw we had and it was tad tight, but we finally pulled the hoses in.

We'll have to re-route those 12 volt cables that are now behind the hose and replace the access panel that covers that big opening at the left in the photo.

As you can see, the water hoses make a 90 degree turn to port, run along under the cabin sole and then go through another piece of plywood that forms the edge of the galley cabinet. They exit in the space occupied by the fridge.

We'll route the hoses along that wall where the electric and air conditioning lines are fastened. There is about 8" of space between the back of the fridge and that wall, so we should have more than adequate room.

We've now used the entire 50 ft. length of hose that we bought for this job so we'll have to add what looks like another 12 ft. to make it all the way forward to the head.

The final task for Sunday afternoon was to put the water heater in place. Getting it up the ladder to the swim platform and then from there onto the cockpit, used our best ballet skills but we did it without scratching that new paint.

Moving the new water heater down between the engines and then back behind the port engine to its mounting point took more effort than we thought. We measured everything twice before we began but the damn heater is really awkward in a tight space like this. We ended up using a small piece of 1/4-inch plywood balanced on top of the v-drive to slide the heater in rather than trying to lift it.

We pre-installed the fittings and the back flow valve needed on the water heater so now it's just a matter of screwing it down, and connecting the cold water supply and the hot water hoses as well as AC power. Looks nice sitting back there. I wish the fittings on that v-drive looked as good but that's for another day.

Wore out another pair of gloves today and that's fine because we got a lot done.

It certainly is nice to leave while the sun is still shining. Turn on NPR and in 30 minutes, we're home.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

We rattlecan refinish the water heater

Obligations around home kept us from the boat this weekend but we did get a chance to collect some of the plumbing parts we'll need to connect it. Turns out that Lowes has very nice brass 1/2" NPT to 1/2" ID hose fittings at a fraction of the price of Port Supply/West Marine. We also have to accommodate a new check valve in the cold water inlet side of the water heater and to make it a nice neat installation, we also bought a simple 1/2" street elbow and a 1/2" nipple.

The more we looked at the new water heater, the more we thought it would look better if it was painted to match the engines. Sure, it's likely that no one but us will ever see it but we had the paint and primer, so why not?

We took the sheet metal parts off the heater, degreased them and then primed and painted with Rustoleum. Of course, we masked all the ports and even the numerous warning labels.

Bet we own the only blue Seaward water heater on the planet.

When we left the boat last weekend, we brought home the 50 ft. of Trident reinforced water hose that the boatyard had ordered for us. After measuring, we cut the hose in half. In this weather (and probably from having been stored in a box for who knows how long), the hose was really stiff and the last 15 feet or so that were wound around the circular form inside the box was like a tightly coiled spring. We simply couldn't begin installing it until we found a way to "relax" the two lengths of hose.

After some thought, we found that we could force a length of cheapo garden hose that we had into one end of the Trident marine hose (our heat gun helped). We added a hose clamp and then connected the other end of the garden hose to a hot water faucet near our washing machine. We led the length of marine hose out our basement door and turned on the hot water, full blast. It took two or three minutes for the water to act on the hose but it relaxed completely. Once hot, we were able to coil the Trident hose in big 4 ft. loops that will be fine for installing it.

We'll begin the heater and hose installation next weekend provided the temperature gets up to around 40 degrees.