Tag Archives: enterprise diesels

2010 Week 22 in Review

Washington injectors, finished!

This week, OTM Inc finally finished rebuilding the injectors for the Timber Heritage Association‘s Estep yarder. Two of the three operate well, but the third has a smashed tip that I hope they’ll order replaced soon. In the meantime, all three injectors look great!

Enterprise injectors, begun

Martin from Hatch & Kirk is working on a new injector nozzle for a G Enterprise, so we dug up one of our spare heads to check the spray angle and tip depth into the cylinder.

Martin and I also disassembled four injectors from the Maris Pearl, then inspected, reassembled, and tested each. It turns out that even though they were leaking, three of them were within specs. The fourth was ruined and it’s a good thing we changed it out: the pintle had been badly scored, possibly from dirt. We’ll discard the worn parts and save the rest for spares.

Lightship 83 Request for Proposals

In the office, we’ve made a bunch of revisions to the draft Request for Proposals for the Lightship project. Hopefully, it will go out on the street soon.

Work on the Arthur Foss

OTM Inc is assisting Ocean Bay Marine in buttoning up the Arthur Foss. We’ve decided to pull the tarp and seal up the wheel house as best we can with the funding available. This will bring the work on the wheel house to a good stopping point, but not a finishing point. We hope to tackle it again next summer with renewed funding dedicated to the project.

Work on the Maris Pearl

Meanwhile, back on the Pearl, we’re looking for water leaks in the engine, as it seems a few cylinders are leaking water into the base – not enough to turn the oil milky or anything, but still a few drips when it’s cold (none when it’s warm). It looks like we will be changing out some cylinder heads soon.

California Planning

In future news, OTM Inc is planning a trip south to see the Portola and the Sobre las Olas. We got a request to perform an engine survey for the Portola, in addition to doing a few repairs and acting as engineer for a few trips. A potential buyer who obviously has really good taste fell in love with the boat and wants some technical advice and assistance. I’m looking forward to seeing her out cruising again, so I hope the sale works out.

While in California, I’ll do some more work on the Sobre, another beautiful heavy-duty yacht. This ought to be a fun trip. Details soon.

OTM Inc, the educators

For years, we at OTM Inc have been using heavy-duty diesels as training aids to people new to diesels. Our collaborative high school classes have won high praise, and now we’re working with The Anchor Program to design more educational opportunities for those interested in engines and boats. More on this later.

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2010 Week 15 in Review

OTM Inc spent another week cleaning and painting the Maris Pearl‘s Enterprise diesel.

I hope the end is in sight.

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2010 Week 14 in Review

OTM Inc spent this week cleaning and painting the Maris Pearl‘s Enterprise diesel.

Really. That’s all we did this week.

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2010 Week 13 In Review

This week, we’re still painting the Enterprise diesel on the Maris Pearl. Most of the engine is green and we’re highlighting the big E on each base door in silver, and polishing all the explosion door spring retainers.

That’s right – explosion doors.

An explosion door is kinda like a pressure relief valve. The door is designed to open if the pressure behind it is too great this is relieves the pressure before breaking anything. In the case of an explosion in the crank case, the doors would pop open against the springs and let out the fire and smoke.

In the event of a crank case explosion, the doors are designed to keep personnel safer by relieving the pressure on the opposite side of the controls and to keep the other doors from blowing off. But this is still a serious situation.

After an explosion, the oily mist that was part of the cause will then be in the engine room awaiting another ignition source and the crank case will often explode more than once if the conditions are still present. After an explosion, the crank case could be left with a slight vacuum, then draw in fresh air again through the crank case vent, thus charging the case for more excitement.

The most recent heavy duty crank case explosion in heavy-duties (the Washingtons, Fairbanks-Morse, Atlas-Imperials, and Enterprises that I work on) that I am aware of was in the John Knox. According to witnesses, the first sign of trouble was a giant explosion. The crew investigated and found a melty rod bearing; they replaced it, but then again, boom.

This time when the crew investigated, they identified a cause: one of the main bearing shells was left out during recent main bearing work. The missing bearing allowed oil to squirt out before it could reach the rod bearing and piston. The red hot rod bearing helped turn oil droplets to fine oil mist by heating and whirling the little bit of oil that did reach it. That rod bearing was likely the ignition source, though a dry piston could be part of the equation, too.

Base explosions like this have claimed lives and burned ships, so be sure your engine is carefully serviced and kept in good running order. Keep the engine room clean and free of oily rags, keep flammable things away from the explosion doors, and be sure the spring doors are operational to relieve the pressure if there is an explosion.

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2010 Week 10 in Review

We spent this week working on the Lightship project in the office, putting together the Specifications and Requirements documents for the Request for Proposals. We have plenty of specifications and requirements, but the hard part was fitting it into the Department of Transportation’s format. Since the project is funded by a federal grant, we have to use really long templates and try to figure out where all our information goes. I feel like we’re making good progress, but we are two weeks into it and a month behind.

Work continues on the yarder injector

I also spent some time this week on cleaning fitting all the parts of the Washington injectors for the Pacific Yarder in California. Once I got all the parts to fit interchangeably and the packing sized, I lapped the stems to the tips, which were really beat up. I hope they work. I sent examples of the tips I need to a great machinist in Colorado to give an estimate on making some new tips, because I think they’ll need them soon.

Painting on the Maris Pearl

We got the word this week to paint the Enterprise in the Maris Pearl. It’s been a cartoony light green forever, but the owner made a request for a “heavy-duty green” that led us to try out Rustoleum’s dark hunter green. I think it will look nice.

It’ll also let me get a good close look at the engine while I’m prepping.

Pacific Fishermen Shareholders

The annual Pacific Fishermen Shipyard shareholders’ meeting was this week. It went well and as always the sea food was amazing and plentiful. It sounds like the yard is doing well and everyone’s hopeful for a grant to help build new competitive equipment.


Insurance is a big concern for maritime businesses, and it is very expensive and misleading. I have heard insurance requirements misquoted all over the place and to meet my needs, I’ve misrepresented my position, too.

There are so many insurance requirements that they will sometimes overlap or conflict with each other to the point that businesses who can’t afford the effort to sort the laws out just say “It’s not applicable to us” and move on, underinsured or in some cases overinsured.

OTM Inc recently completed an annual audit with the underwriter for our USL&H policy and learned that workers on "pleasure vessels" of any size can be insured by Labor and Industries at a much lower rate (unless it’s in a shipyard). This new law saved many businesses a lot of money but here’s the rub: OTM Inc is required to have USL&H insurance for only a few jobs a year, so we only pay the minimum premium of about $3,000 a year. Now I also have to pay Labor &amp Industries premiums for the time spent on pleasure vessels and museum vessels. I can’t pay any less to USL&H because I am at the minimum so the new law actually costs OTM Inc more.

Well, you can’t please all the people all of the time… all you can do is under-report, argue , read the fine print, and file a claim.

Enterprise Engines for sale!

Russ at American Pipe sent me an email this week; he has six model DSM-6 Enterprise diesels for sale. They’re all identical and according to the mechanic on site, could be run today.

If you want one (and you know you do), contact Russ at (661) 987-5868 or russ@americanpipe.net. Then send OTM Inc an email to let us know what you’re doing with your brand new old engine.

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2010 Week 6 in Review

This week I had to give up and put a slow bell on the reversing mechanism until I find a piston shaft and hub. Just as a precaution, I visited the Dominion to see if they have a Westinghouse reversing mechanism. Maybe they can help engineer the one for the Maris Pearl1.

A Thanks for Shilshoal Marina

Also this week, we took the Maris Pearl to the Shilshoal fuel dock where we used their bilge pump-out service – a very economical way to get rid of oily bilge waste. Thanks, folks – we hope to keep using this service for years to come.

A visit to Brady’s Atlas-Imperials

I visited Brady on Whidbey Island to take a look at his two Atlas-Imperial diesels. He has a three-cylinder model we estimate as from about 1923 – making it one of the three oldest Atlas Imperial diesels that I know of. Even better, it will run again: very little stands in the way of Brady reassembling the engine and running it.

His four-cylinder needs a bit more work, but can be parted out if it’s found to be beyond rehabilitation:

This first meeting was a great chance to take inventory and document progress on the engines, especially the three-cylinder that Brady’s working on. OTM Inc will be cheering on, encouraging and bothering him throughout the project, it’s that great.

For the rest of you with never-ending projects, consider employing OTM Inc to be the monkey on your back in case your wife is not enough: we have reasonable hourly, weekly, or long-term rates!

Olympic Display

While coming back from Whidbey Island, I noticed that the ferry had a display set up of the ferry Olympic‘s steering gear:


More Diving with Sterling

Sterling Marine Services Llc and I dove at the Center for Wooden Boats again to put more barrels under their docks.

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2010 Week 4 in Review

Valve-grinding: a team effort

This week, I finished cleaning all the valves for the Thea Foss. Engineer Ron ground the valves and observed that “the first one is fun and the rest of the 24 are boring,” which I definitely agree with. Then Vince came out of retirement and over the mountains to grind the seats, and we had a nice team to get the job done efficiently.

A visit to the Cape Cross

Later this week, I visited the crew of the Enterprise-powered fish tender Cape Cross. The engine’s running well and best of all, the boat is gainfully employed.

Dry-suit repairs

After last week‘s brush with carotid sinus reflux, diver Duane helped me replace the neck seal in my dry suit. Apparently adding a latex neck seal to a neoprene suit is pretty common, and it’s an easy process. First, I coated the sealing area with AquaSeal and let it cure, then I put another coat on to adhere the latex. Then I trimmed it and put one more bead of AquaSeal on edges, and the suit was ready to go.

Giving the CWB a lift

On Saturday, I worked with Sterling Marine Services Llc to level out some of the floating docks at the Center for Wooden Boats by installing some new barrels. Once we got we got a system down, it went really fast. Sterling Marine Services Llc has posted more about it in their brand-new blog here.

Repairs and updates on the Island Champion

I visited the Island Champion this week to isolate the overboard through-hull fixture from the engine. This is an area of excessive stray voltage, which induces electrolysis in the surrounding planks and makes them rot out a lot faster – according to our resources, it’s like nail sickness from increased alkalinity.

I installed piece of hose to separate the engine from the through-hull fitting, which disrupts (in theory) the electrical current running between them:

This should hopefully stop the electrolysis and save the hull timber a little longer.

Also, boat buyers take note: the Island Champion is not for sale anymore.

To bond or not to bond

This brings up the age old-argument: “to bond or not to bond.”

To bond, or not to bond: that is the question:
Whether less noble metals should suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous corrosion,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And insulate them. To dielectric: to isolate;
No more; and by isolate to say we end
The corrosion and the thousand natural shocks
That hulls are heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To dielectric, to isolate;

On the subject of galvanic corrosion: the way I read it, impressed current is best but anodes are easier and more common. If using anodes, quantity and placement are very important to get right and bonding or isolating is addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Some fittings below the waterline, if isolated, can take a long time to degrade, while others will need to be wired to the anode using a resistance-free electrical circuit with heavy-gauge wire, good connections, and keeping it out of the bilge water. When working with mili-volts, a loose connection is no connection: the mili-volt will not jump a gap. I think it is this sloppy wiring that causes bias in our maritime tradesmen.

More important than the bonding and anoding, boats and equipment should be inspected and repaired regularly – and repairs should be made before small problems are catastrophic. It pains me to hear folks argue about bonding while the boat is sinking. While limiting galvanic activity is important – keep it in perspective!

Update on the Maris Pearl

Meanwhile on the Maris Pearl, we’re down to just looking for the shaft that attaches to the piston in the reversing mechanism and the camshaft gear.

Who’s got one? Any drawings? Anything? Help?

Work begins on the Arthur Foss

The Northwest Seaport started their “Stop the Leaks” project on the Arthur Foss; it sounds like the first step was to take off the big rubber fender on the bow. They took a lot of pictures of it – and better yet, wrote a blog about it! Check it out here!


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