We started Week 17 with a whirlwind tour of Northwest Washington heavy-duty diesels. San Juan Island has at least one engine from each of the major manufacturers that I work on: Washington Iron Works, Atlas-Imperial, Enterprise, and Fairbanks-Morse — and that’s not even counting the boats in nearby Bellingham and Anacortes.
Cannery Tender David B
First up was the David B, one of OTM Inc’s regular clients. Following the party, we hung out with owners Jeffrey and Christine to recuperate in the sun:
We also took some pictures of the engine, a 1929 Washington-Estep:
We used to think that the David B’s engine was the oldest remaining Washington, but since then we’ve “discovered” two older engines (the Kodiak Maritime Museum’s and the Waimea Sugar Mill Camp Museum’s). That doesn’t make it any less awesome, though, since it’s still the oldest Washington installed in a vessel.
We would have stayed longer with Christine and Jeffery on the David B, but we had a ferry to catch to San Juan Island.
Before hopping on the ferry, we stopped by the tugboat Quail in Anacortes, just to see how she looks these days (she’s been for sale for a long time) and take a few pictures. We hadn’t called ahead for an appointment, so we had to look through the portholes to see the engine.
While I was taking pictures, an older gentleman strolled up and also started taking pictures – several from the same spots I shot from. I said “It’s a good looking boat huh?”
He looked up at me from the view finder. “Until it sinks,” he said, and went back to taking pictures.
I hope a prospective owner who wants to cruise often finds out what a great boat the Quail is.
Valve problems on the Catalyst
After a long ferry ride, we arrived in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Bill from the Catalyst has been having problems with his air compressor and asked me to come up and take a look before they start their summer season.
The Catalyst’s main engine-driven air compressor hasn’t been pumping air. While the boat (like any other air-controlled boat) carries an auxiliary compressor, it’s much nicer to use the engine-driven compressor while underway, as it’s quieter and uses energy already produced.
I inspected the air compressor and found the problem in the outlet valve. I took the head off and lapped the valve a lot, but couldn’t get the pattern I wanted. There was a spot near the outlet pipe that was not contacting at all. I started to think that corrosion or something like that cut into the seat. It took me a while of messing with the valve before I noticed that one of the flutes that guides the valve and blows air by was rubbing on a little bump in the bore that it rides in. I ground down the bump and touched up the flutes. I got good contact on the seat with just a little more lapping. I pressure-tested the compressor but then had to leave before turning on the engine and really testing it, but Bill later called and said the compressor has never pumped so much air for him.
Valve problems on the Oswell Foss
Captain Jim and his wife Sue use the boat to cruise around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Lately, its main start valve has been leaking, so they asked me to come by and take a look.
I thought the valve probably just needed some adjusting, but I needed to lap it a bit, too. The pilot valve will need to be replaced soon, but fortunately the owner has lots of new spares – an important commodity if you’re going to keep an old engine going.
The fishboat Vivian
Next up was the Vivian, also in Friday Harbor, a seine boat that’s been for sale for a while. Last week we got great news while tracking down the current owner to get a tour: the boat just sold to Max from Portland. This is great news for the heavy-duty diesel engine world, since Max intends to cruise in the boat (more on that subject later).
The Vivian is powered by an Atlas Imperial 4HM1125 with a 10 ½ inch bore:
The advertisement we saw circulated called it a “P 155” engine. I asked Dan what “P 155” meant, since I’ve never seen that kind of number associated with an Atlas before. Dan said “Any fool knows what a P 155” is. Ha ha, Dan. I waited and eventually he told me that whoever wrote the ad must have taken the information from the manufacturer’s plate. The “H” in the abbreviation for “horsepower” must have been worn off or obscured, making the plate read “P 155” rather than “HP 155.” At least this confirmed that the engine is a 4HM1125, since that model does indeed produce 155 horsepower. Dan also said that its serial number of 12479 dates its manufacture to around 1943.
As a fishboat, the Vivian is a very bare bones vessel. As with most workboats, there isn’t much else aboard other than the equipment needed to do its job: a hull that doesn’t leak (much), an engine that runs, and the rig for fishing. There’s very little else on board, but that’s part of her charm:
New owner Max plans on to haul her out for inspection and maintenance, then bring her home to Portland for more work in preparation for a South Seas expedition. We hope to hear more from you, Max, and maybe some pictures of a great old Atlas cruising the Pacific.
Roche Harbor Generators
After finishing up with the Oswell Foss, we headed up to Roche Harbor on the northern end of San Juan Island. The Roche Harbor Resort used to be a company town for the Tacoma & Roche Harbor Lime Company, which produced lime for cement and other applications. Parts of the lime production used to be powered by stationary Y-model Fairbanks-Morse diesel generators. These are still on the site, though they’re showing the age and the weather:
The generators, a two-cylinder and a three-cylinder, haven’t been worked on in years. I’ve contacted the resort’s manager in the past to ask about restoration or programming plans, but he’s been non-committal. I think it might be time to bring that up again, though.
For now, they’re an interesting feature in the middle of a fancy fancy resort and spa:
The Roche Harbor Fairbanks-Morses were the last stop on our heavy-duty tour of Northwest Washington. After that, it was back to work.
An Update on the Maris Pearl
Back in Seattle, I replaced the Maris Pearl‘s block heater element and the oil cooler’s sight gauge. I also drained the oil cooler to tighten the oil line, and picked up the fuel pumps and injectors that I had machined. The project is starting to wrap up — we’re set to leave for Alaska on May 14th. I’ve got lots to do before then, so I’ll wrap this blog entry up and get back to work.