Sunday, December 28, 2014

Heads off but first, the water pump

We had a great Christmas and spent some time together cooking and laughing. Time well spent, as far as we're concerned.

This weekend we went back to the boat. We'll be lugging down all the new parts, each of which seems to weight at least 50 lbs. The new heads and the exhaust manifold are in boxes, which makes handling them a little easier. The intake manifold doesn't have box so getting it up on the boat will take some careful effort.

As we cleaned up the mating surfaces and got ready to mount the outboard head, we took a look at the raw water pump for that engine. We've never changed an impeller on it in the six seasons we have had the boat and it pumps seawater just fine. However, when we bought the boat it had two replacement pumps on board and, since the pump is (relatively) easy to get to with the upper end of the engine disassembled, we decided to install one of the new pumps. The old pump was a Sherwood and the new one a Jabsco, but they appeared identical.

Its worth noting that these pumps are expensive - $380 each - and it isn't possible to simply change the impeller as you would with most seawater pumps. You can buy a rebuild kit but to use it, you must remove the pump and the pulley, which is pressed onto the shaft. All the more reason to replace it now, which we did. If we have time, we'll do the port engine as well.

Of course, we got to learn all about how Chrysler went about mounting the pump. It has a bracket that  bolts to the circulating pump with two 9/16" brass bolts. The pump mounts on the top bolt and the bottom one slides along a slotted arm so that the drive belt can be adjusted. Sounds good but it wasn't easy. We laid across the top of the engine (mating position, kinda) and reached down under the front to extract and then reinstall those two bolts.

We got it mounted okay but couldn't push the inlet hose back on. Then we removed the new pump completely, coated the inside of the inlet hose with dish washing liquid and forced it in place. Eventually, that worked. Elapsed time about two hours. Doesn't look like we're going to do this for a living.

Before we left on Sunday afternoon, we spent some time cleaning up the mating surfaces on the inboard exhaust manifold that we've decided to keep. It really doesn't look bad at all and since we're  basically cheap New Englanders, we'd really like to re-use it. But, now we wonder.

We're going to give this some thought. It's one of the last things we have to replace so we have some time. $350 for a new one is a half a tank of marine gas. Doesn't sound so bad when you think of it that way.

We've added some video. We've started narrating and while Bill looks like an old vagrant, it does add a dimension that old videos didn't have. Now all we need to get him better lighting, cleaner clothes and more hair.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Heads off

The thermometer in the cabin must have been off because it felt a lot colder than 34 degrees when we arrived at the boat on Saturday.  But, we were there, determined to get the cylinder heads off the engine this weekend. Our little electric heater cranked the temp up to a nearly tropical 40 degrees in no time and we were ready with a large hammer and pry bar to get those heads loose.

It really only took a couple of taps and the inboard side head came free. We had been worried about lifting it but it was really quite easy. We had drained that side of the engine but we still got some antifreeze in the cylinder bores, all of which we got out.

The inboard head really didn't look that bad but the problems are with cylinders 5 and 7 and those are on the other side.

Love  those Puppy Pads for soaking up the grease.

Then we tackled the outboard head, (the one closest to the hull) the one more difficult to reach. It came off, too, and we set it up in the cockpit. (We have better muscles than we thought we had.)

The photo isn't very clear but you can see the rusty #5 intake valve.

The video will show it more clearly, but this is the cylinder with  just 95 lbs pressure. The combustion chamber is also full of crud. The head gasket doesn't look bad but the exhaust manifold on that side might be where the water was getting in. That manifold doesn't look all that good and as part of this project, we're going to replace it.

We've lined up all the old parts so they can be taken off. We're going to wrap them in old towels to make them a little easier to handle but getting them from the swim platform down to the ground should be cute.

We've also been busy after work during the week cleaning up the intake manifold and the two valve cover gaskets, all of which were rusty and coated with crud. We stripped, primed and painted the valve covers and they look like new.

The mounting bolts and washers got the same treatment after we mounted them on a piece of scrap plywood to protect the threads.

The intake manifold was a lot of work. First, we sprayed it with degreaser and flushed that off with a hose. Then we hand-scraped the remaining rust and crud off, and finished it off with a wire wheel. After masking, we used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer before the final Rustoleum Sail Blue.

Frances says that I'm a nerd for doing all this extra cosmetic work but I'd rather put clean engine parts back on than take the lazy way out.

We're down to mounting the new heads. We took everyone's advice and will replace not only the head bolts (that must be replaced, as we understand it) but all the mounting bolts and washers on the exhaust and intake manifolds.

That effort started us hunting for bolt sets for the Chrysler 360 engine. The usual suspects such as Summit Racing had them but at a price that we thought was way out of line. Then we remembered our last engine rebuild project more than 10 years ago when we went to Bolt Depot in Weymouth, Mass. for what we needed. Bolt Depot is a real, family operated retail store and they had every Grade 8 bolt we needed on their beautiful website for less than $30. They are going into our boat maintenance folder as a great source.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Waiting for winter

The weather has been excellent and when we left the boatyard on Sunday, it was warm and clear. Before we left, we took some still photos of some of the boats, most of which were covered in shrink-wrap,

We know many of these boats, having been here, at least in the winter, for almost 30 years. And we knew their owners and their propensity for Budweiser.

But, time passes and we still have our boat here for the winter.

Sometimes, when we leave, we take pictures of the boats in storage. Most will live again next spring. Some are owned by a bank that probably shouldn't have made the loan in the first place and some others will never see the water again. Those are the boats that are seeing the last years of their life. We think about how much fun people must have had on them; how many kids learned to steer at that now discolored helm; how many people caught and bragged about their big fish from that deck.

These old boats have memories and as hard as we listen, they never give up their history. One can only imagine...\

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Removing the head bolts the hard way

How would you like to find these 10 bad boys in your bed? Three lengths, depending on where they go. It took us about an hour to get all 10 out, We used a 6-point, 3/4" socket on a 16-inch breaker bar and we have to say that they were difficult to bust loose. Our bet is that they've been in there since this boat was built.

We began by taking off the rocker arm assembly from the hull-side of the engine and stashing those parts away with everything kept in the same order. The pushrods - actually all of the valve train parts - looked fine and quite clean.

We also removed the alternator and a couple of other cooling hoses that will get in the way once we pull those old heads off.

When we got down to those inboard head bolts, our morning friskiest faded fast. Those bolts are hard to get off. Next step is to get a longer breaker bar or, failing that, a quick change of underwear. We really don't want to walk funny for the next week.

We're also going to have an issue with getting the old heads off and the new heads onto the boat. The heads weigh about 35 lbs. each and we're going to have to get some help picking the old ones up to the cockpit, then up to the deck and then down a ladder to the ground or to the swim platform, where they can be taken off.

Sunday: A bigger breaker bar does it
It's amazing what happens when you use the right tool. We bought a 25-inch, 1/2-inch drive breaker bar at Harbor freight on our way to the boat.  $12.95 well spent. The remaining head bolts gave up without any issue. Size does matter, it seems.

We also disconnected lots of little things that were bolted to the heads such as the dipstick tube, the lifting rings and the box that contains the engine circuit breaker. Once the heads were completely disconnected, they didn't exactly jump of the block. We pried and tapped but no, they aren't going to come off without a fight. We'll put some muscle behind it next weekend and see if we can get them off.

Yes, this is taking a while
We know that some of our dock mates could change these cylinder heads in a weekend or less but unfortunately, we can't. We captain a desk all week, thinking of amazingly effective promotions for our clients. On Saturday morning, we put on our old clothes and headed to the boat. We haven't swapped heads in more than 15 years so we've gotten a little stale (and older). Don't worry. We'll get this done.

In the meantime, we post these blogs and their associated videos, which we enjoy planning and editing. No Academy Awards, but it still helps us keep up with how video is done these days, and of course, for those of you who know us, it's a way to keep in contact over the winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A really good vendor experience

We just ordered about $500 worth of manifolds and gaskets for our cylinder head replacement project. Obviously, we shopped around for price and availability and settled on Lighthouse Marine in Riverhead, New York

We did that for several reasons. First, this is a real, second generation business with a warehouse full of marine parts. We've been there and liked the way we were treated. Second, the guys behind the counter know what they are talking about and those same guys are the ones you get when you order parts by phone. Finally, what's not to like about an Internet marine supplier that also owns a very nice marina? It's right down the street from their store.

We ordered today using the Internet because we had all of the part numbers ready. Since Lighthouse is on Long Island, we'll get the parts tomorrow and the shipping cost was $20, pretty reasonable given that the manifold we ordered weighs about 35 lbs. alone.

I received an acknowledgement from Greg, the company's business manager, within 5 minutes. A few minutes later, Greg called me. He was concerned about the head gaskets that I had ordered. Was I sure that I wanted these Chrysler NOS head gaskets? I said that I thought I did, given the description.

We discussed the possible differences in what he had and what I needed. Since by then, I was at his website, he gave me another part number, a Fel-Pro head gasket set and I looked at it. I pointed out that the application for that Fel-Pro gasket set was for 7.4 liter Ford engine and not for my engine, a Chrysler LM-360.

There was a short silence after which he said, "Our description is wrong. This Fel-Pro gasket set is for a Chrysler LM-360." He went on to say that the Fel-Pro gaskets were the "gold standard" in gaskets and they had never had any problems with their customers using them.

The Fel-Pro gaskets cost a little more so we revised the order to cover that.

Our point here is that this is the way buying marine parts on the Internet should work, but rarely does. It would have been easier for Lighthouse to send us the wrong gaskets and then play around with us getting an RMA to send them back.

But they didn't. They examined our order, found a problem and called us to resolve it. That's what happens when your supplier knows boats and values the relationship.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Installing new cylinder heads - Progress on a cold weekend

We're glad that we don't do this for a living because if we did, we'd starve. We know that people do jobs like this every day but we have to re-learn a lot, given that we haven't changed marine cylinder heads in about 10 years and even then, they were familiar GM V-8 engines.  This time, it's a Chrysler 360 V-8 and there are some differences.

When we left last week, we had the outboard starboard exhaust manifold up against the water tank and hanging from two studs.

We decided to think about how to remove it and during the week came up with a nautical solution that worked perfectly. It involved putting a dock line through the manifold and then suspending it from a crossbar. That took the pressure off the those two remaining studs. The result was that we got that outboard manifold off. Then we could move this project along a little.

It took another hour to remove the two valve covers. These things might have been on there for 30 or more years and it took some patience to finally get them off. They looked good inside, however. No sludge, so we'll clean them up and reinstall them when we finally get the new heads installed.

The intake manifold bolts (all 12 of them) came out but if we hadn't had the offset box wrenches that we bought at Harbor Freight, we 'd still be down there trying to do it with straight box wrenches. The angle of the bolts was really hard to reach and using sockets was out of the question.

With the bolts out, we tried to get the manifold off but it wouldn't budge. By then, we were cold and tired and we've learned in the past that it's sometimes better to quit and try again another day.

It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do because when we arrived on Sunday, we used a small crowbar to tap around the edges of the manifold. It began to move a little and we were able to lift it right off the engine.

We took the carb off (should have done that first) and put the manifold in the car so we could take it home and scrape the old gasket material off and clean it up a little.

Since we were on a roll, next we removed the rocker arm assembly and the pushrods from the inboard side of the engine. We laid all of those parts out by the numbers because they are supposed to go back into their original positions.

After we get the inboard head off, our plan was to begin on the other head but now think that's not the best way to do it. It appears that a better way is to replace the head on in inboard side and reinstall the rocker arms, pushrods and valve cover as well. That will keep debris out of that side of the engine and give us some practice before we begin the outboard head. That outboard side is up against the water tank and will be much more difficult to do. We'll approach that one knowing exactly what wrench to use and that will be helpful since getting that head off is going to require doing things at least partially by touch and feel.

Here's some of what it looked like this weekend.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Installing new cylinder heads - Exhaust manifold removal first

After enjoying a great Thanksgiving and working the next day, on Saturday we were ready to tackle the removal of the inboard starboard exhaust manifold. Last weekend, we started on this but managed to round over one of the six bolts that hold the manifold to the cylinder head and we didn't have the required Allen key to remove the adapter from the top of the manifold. Hey, it was the first day of a new project and it took us a while to get everything on the boat we needed.

Saturday, we were better prepared.  During the week, we visited Harbor Freight and bought an inexpensive set of 3/8-drive, six-point sockets. We own hundreds of sockets but not many of  the six point deep well variety.

Once on the boat with all of the lights hooked up, we tried the manifold bolt with the rounded head and the six-point socket backed it out immediately. We had to disconnect a couple of water lines and the manifold was ready to come loose.

Chrysler marine exhaust manifolds have three mounting points (unlike GM small block V-8 manifolds that have four). Chrysler also uses studs on the forward and aft-most manifold mounting points and three-inch long bolts on the four others. That makes sense because you can remove the bolts and then the nuts on the two studs and then pull the manifold off, sliding it on the studs.

One tug and the manifold came loose and we slid it out and off. From its outward appearance, the manifold didn't look bad. In fact it looked very good. We shined a light down into the ports and there was absolutely no rust. In fact, except for some carbon, it looked almost new.

We have no idea when these manifolds were last changed but from the look of two mismatched washers on the mounting bolts, these manifolds weren't original. Our engines are cooled in such a way that only a 50-50 percent mixture of antifreeze and water ever passes through the manifolds. Seawater is used to cool the heat exchangers and the exhaust elbows. That means that they should last a long time.

If the other manifold looks this good (and we bet it will), we'll save about $630 by reusing them.

The match between the manifold and the exhaust elbow is made through an adapter. It uses a block-off gasket to keep seawater out of the manifold.

We've brought this adapter home and will clean it thoroughly and re-use it.

 Ugh! on Sunday
On Sunday, it was 45 degrees, plenty warm enough to get that other riser and manifold off. Having done the inboard manifold and riser on the inboard side just yesterday, the outboard manifold went pretty quickly until we ran into a major snag.

After disconnecting the water hoses, we easily removed the riser. With that gone, we tested the studs on the ends of the exhaust manifold to make sure that the studs didn't unscrew when we removed the nuts. They didn't, so we took out the other four manifold bolts. Getting a wrench in there so close to the water tank took a little stretching but they did come out. You can see  how close the water tank is in this picture.

Next, we slid the manifold out away from the cylinder head but before it was free, it came in contact with the fiberglass fresh water tank. We tried moving the tank, but it's up against the hull so it isn't going anywhere.

We didn't notice this until we looked at these pictures while writing this blog post, but that manifold appears to be cracked. We can't wait to look at this in more detail when be get the damn thing out but whatever we find, that manifold is going to the Dumpster.

Here's what it looked like when we left on Sunday afternoon... one manifold hanging from two 3/8" studs. Looks like we'll have to cut them off.

We would liked to have been able to get that manifold off so we can begin removing the intake manifold but looks like we'll have to stop and deal with this first.  But, it's a boat, so nothing goes exactly as planned.