2008 Week 50 in review

Work continues on the Catalyst

This was the third week that I spend filing and sanding the Catalyst‘s crank journals. It takes me about a day to get each journal cleaned up enough that I like them, so I’ve been spending a lot of time down in the crank pit.

We got the main bearings back from St. Louis Bearing, and they look good. We’ll install them next week. The new piston rings I ordered from Safety Seal also arrived, but I haven’t had time to inspect them yet.

I got the wrist pin bushings back from Asco (which, you’ll remember back in Week 50, I had honed in preparation for flame spraying), so I took all six wrist pins and six of the cam followers out to be flame-sprayed at Flamespray Northwest, down in South Park. Flame-spraying is a process to build up a coating over a metal part and then grind it down to a precise size (Wikipedia has a pretty good article on it here). I have stuff flame-sprayed when it’s worn down and needs a little more material to fit right.

The wrist pins needed to be built up a little to fit the newly-honed bushings in the rods. The Washington book just says that the wrist pin clearance should be one-thousandth of an inch for every inch of diameter, since the book was written to cover many sizes of Washingtons. The Catalyst‘s pins are two-and-three-quarters of an inch, so I told Flamespray to grind them to between two-and-a half and three thousandths of an inch, and the followers to two thousandths.

The cam followers needed to be built up a bit, since both they and the guides they ride in are a little worn down. It’s really important the that the followers and the guides fit together tightly, since a bad fit can make them break. The lobe on the camshaft will kind of slap the follower every time it comes around, and the fit of the follower in the guide is important to transfer the energy quickly to up and down motion. Side-to side momentum can build up if there’s too much clearance in this set of parts, and this force can break the guide. We reamed out the guides to make them straight, then had the cam followers flame-sprayed and ground down for a tight fit.

I also honed the cylinders with a ball hone. This is quite a work out, plus we use brake cleaner so it’s pretty fume-y – and this was just to clean up the cylinder a bit, not to fix any tapers or deep scratches. First, we tie a bucket under the cylinder to catch all the grinding gunk:

Using a bucket to catch slop while cleaning up the CATALYST''s cylinders

Then, I stand up on the engine with a ball hone attached to a drill motor, while a helper (in this case, Captain Bill) sprays brake cleaner into the cylinder. The ball hone has lots of little grinding stones mounted on wires that spin around and cleans up the cylinder liner:

Ball hone used to clean up the CATALYST''s cylinders

The honing has two phases. First, I run the ball hone up and down pretty fast to clean up all the scratches in the liner, while the helper sprays solvent in to wash away cut material and grit. Then, I slow the drill motor down to make a 45-degree cross-hatch all over the liner surface. If the liner is just polished smooth, oil doesn’t really adhere to it and you don’t get enough lubrication between the piston rings and the liner. The cross-hatch pattern helps hold the oil against the liner walls so that the piston rings glide up and down without actually touching the liner. If everything is aligned perfectly, the engine can run for years without any friction between the rings and the liner, and the cross-hatches will be perfect when you inspect them.

We finished honing all the cylinders in just a few hours, then cleaned them really well with solvent and hot soapy water. We finished up by oiling all of them, so they’re all ready to be re-assembled when we get the other parts done.

New Years cards from OTM Inc

Old Tacoma Marine Inc’s annual 2008/2009 New Years cards are in the mail!

New Year's card from OTM Inc

If you don’t get one, send your address and we’ll put you on the mailing list.

Show your concern for the Bristol Red Salmon

Lia and I hosted a Red Gold gathering at the house, where twenty concerned citizens came to eat Bristol sockeye and watch the documentary Red Gold projected on the basement wall. We passed around Aquavit, generously provided by Pacific Fishermen’s Doug Dixon.

Red Gold is a good conversation starter, though it doesn’t tell the whole story (but what does?). I really hope that progress on the mine can be slowed and that more people get involved in the discussion. I wrote Alaska’s senators about it, and I hope some of you write those who can call for more investigation into the plan. Addresses for the Alaska senators are here on the United States Senate website.

It must be the holiday party season

Speaking of Pacific Fishermen, they invited us to the 56Th annual Fishermen’s Night, hosted by the Norwegian Commercial Club. I love this event, since it’s another great Ballard seafood feast. We ate almost our weight in king crab, oysters, pickled herring, fried cod, shrimp, and gin. The food was amazing and probably 80% of Ballard’s wealth attended.

A couple days later was Jensen Boat Works’ holiday party, which we attended with the folks from Catalyst and Newt. It very nice to see the community that Jensen’s Motor Boat has built. Anchor was there in spirit.

On Saturday, the folks down at Lake Union Park hosted “Holiday Spirit at Lake Union Park.” They had a lot of activities for kids and families on the old boats, like ornament making and kids choir recitals. The Arthur Foss the kids’ favorite because of the giant Washington… Okay, no, it was the gingerbread tugboats! Diana helped dozens of kids smear frosting and stick gumdrops on the cookies, the boat, and their parents. It sounds like a lot of fun, and everyone I’ve talked to says they had a blast. Next year, maybe OTM will set up a booth with engine-shaped fruitcake to give them some competition.

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1 Comment

Filed under programs, repairs, washington iron works, week in review

One response to “2008 Week 50 in review

  1. Wow what a great project. My fiels is airplanes but I do love old machinery no matter what it is. I think it is great to have a company like BRM that manufactures these brushes here in the USA I can order from them without the guilt of sending my money overseas. Keep up the great work.

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