Daily Archives: February 8, 2009

2009 Week 6 in Review

Work continues on the Catalyst

This week at OTM Inc, we overhauled the Catalyst‘s injectors. This process includes striping the injector down, inspecting all the parts, lapping the valve with very fine compound, inspecting the seat, cleaning out the tip, reassembling with new or good used packing, flushing the injector after each part is installed, checking holes with low psi test fluid, setting the spring to barely hold 4,000 psi of test fluid, taking two full turns on the spring screw, checking for leaks, then installing Dan’s patented Washington torque-method spring-tester to make a last very fine adjustment to the spring pressure. I didn’t manage to take pictures of the process this time, but here’s a picture of when I adjusted the injectors last year:

One of the Catalyst's injectors in the Washington injector test stand

I set all the injectors to 30 foot-pounds using Dan’s test stand setup. This equates to just a little tighter than the operation manual recommends, but more importantly they’re all exactly the same.

We also overhauled the Catalyst‘s snifter valves. These little valves are different from the Atlas equivalent, since they only have one valve for both manual-opening and pressure-opening. On the Washingtons, a lever pulls the valve off the seat, compressing the spring that holds its valves closed while running. The Atlas one has the pressure release separate from the manual valve.

I also made shims for under the rods to control piston height, though I needed some help from Ballard Sheet Metal.

Tugboat Party at South Lake Union

The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society held this month’s meeting at South Lake Union on Sunday. Instead of the usual dinner-and-a-speaker, they had five old classic tugs come to South Lake Union for the public to step aboard and tour. In addition to the Arthur Foss, the Freemont Tugs Dixie and Blueberry, the Henrietta Foss, and the Elmore came down to blow their horns.

The event was in celebration of a new photo book Tugboats on Puget Sound, written by local historians Chuck Fowler and Captain Mark Freeman. The authors gave a nice talk about some of the photos they put in their book, but really everyone was down for the tugs. The Society had a record turnout – more than 275 people came for the lecture, many of whom came aboard the tugs on the wharf.

I was aboard the Arthur Foss, running the engines and making people smile. I saw a lot of old familiar faces, including Robin Patterson, Dee Meeks, and Tim Beaver from Global. Dan even came down – though he said that he deliberately missed the lunch.

We also finally got some good pictures of the Elmore up:

Atlas-Imperial diesel engine in the tugboat ELMORE

The Elmore is a really neat old boat. It was built in 1890 with a steam engine, then in 1921 it was repowered with the very first Washington-Estep diesel engine that rolled off the assembly line. It burned through that one in a decade or two, and the owners upgraded to a new Washington – then the same thing happened again and they put a third Washington into the boat.

Sometime in the 1960s, they pulled out the latest Washington and put a nasty high-speed Cat into it. The Meeks bought her in 1990, and then the Cat’s crankshaft broke. The Meeks, wonderful people that they are, pulled the Cat and all its systems out and had Dan install a 4HM763 Atlas-Imperial in the Elmore:

Atlas-Imperial diesel engine in the Tugboat Elmore, courtesy Old Tacoma Marine Inc

The Meeks are really great people who take good care of the boat and its engine. This weekend, they were out with their US Coast Guard Auxiliary crew, getting people into the engine room and talking about the boat. My only regret is that we didn’t manage to film the Atlas running – the timing didn’t quite work out. Next time!

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