Tag Archives: lightship 83

2010 Week 24 in Review

This week, OTM Inc got back aboard the Maris Pearl to get ready for some serious engine work. We organized the tools on board and cleared out a space in the shop, then we worked late one night to move the two spare cylinder heads into the shop and pull them out of the crates.

We also brought all the spare valves and jewelry from storage to assemble the heads. The new valves and new seats looked great! We did do a bit of lapping so we could easily see where they meet.

Thanks to Ed Ehler at EMS Marine for use of the forklift – we would have had a terrible time loading the heads with out it.

Then, we bought three head gasket kits from Brunner enterprises. They have a lot of Enterprise parts on the shelf, but be sure to look up the part numbers before you call. At the end of the week, we moved the boat to Ballard Oil, took on fuel, stripped down the number one head, and pulled apart the oil filter

Lightship Request for Proposals

This week we also finished up some details on the draft Lightship No. 83 Request for Proposals for Phase One Construction Activities, and sent it off to the state DOT for a final look-over before we go to press.

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2010 Week 23 in Review

This week at OTM Inc, we worked on the Request for Proposals for Phase I Construction Activities of the Lightship No. 83 Rehabilitation Project. A lot of the RFP is based on the Preliminary Engineering Assessment OTM Inc performed three years ago, but there’s still plenty of information to discover for the open bid process. First, we determined the power and lighting requirements, and worked on the language used to explain that there are no Disadvantaged Business Requirements for this project but we still encourage them to participate. Boring office work.

We also began assembling a bid for Northwest Seaport to provide nautical archeologists to survey and document all aspects of the Lightship including (thanks to Nat) all the systems. The team will need to start right away and most will be brought here from out of town, so there are some logistics to figure in to the bid.

Nautical archeology is an interesting trade. Often they work underwater to document the ship, but they also document ships that are floating and in parking lots. They focus on the hull shape and rigging, then cargo. Then they continue to ask questions and look for answers.

Many of us trying to recreate boat parts or replace missing custom parts have been junior archeologists all along by asking “what used to be here?” and “why was this here?” Also, when we are issued a cabin on an ancient ship and we see tie off points over the bunk we thing “what is this?” Then, in really rough weather, we think “well, this is a good spot to tie myself in.”

Or here’s another: you find a pile of broken matchsticks under the wheelhouse windows. You might clean them up – unless you have ridden out a storm and realize they wedge the window to keep it from rattling. There are millions of things like this that archaeologists look for and will be looking for as part of this documentation project.

I found a nice piece on This American Life about nautical archaeology. Check it out here.

So readers, what are funny custom things on your boat that archeologist in 500 years will have a hard time figuring out?

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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 12 in Review

The green giant

The green engine paint for the Maris Pearl was a hit and the brighter lights make the engine room feel bigger, so we’ve gotten the go-ahead. We’ll clean and paint and clean again and see how much paint sticks and paint again until it’s done.

It sounds simple, but I see this as a commitment to a new color and a plan to maintain the color, rather than a one-time “paint job.” The engine will always shed some paint, so occasionally it gets touched up and after working on it, I always touch up the chipped parts and the new parts.

Update on the Lightship No. 83

We’re still working on the boiler plate documents for the Lightship RFP. They say it shouldn’t be hard, it’s all in the manual – an 800-page document.

Clear space!

With the Washington injectors for the Pacific Yarder sent back to California and an hour or two spent mopping the floor, my bench and the space around it is all clean. It’s good to have the shop clear – even though the void will fill up quick.

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2010 Week 11 in Review

Painting on the Maris Pearl

Last week we got the go to paint the Enterprise in the Maris Pearl; this week we started prepping it.

I did a bunch of cleanup first, just so some paint would stick, then I emptied a few rattle-cans of Rustolum’s dark hunter green paint on the engine to test the color. It’s a little dark, but it fits the requirement of being heavy duty and awesome. I’ll change out all the lights for more wattage next week and see if the extra light will be enough to go with a dark green engine. It’s important to consider these things when the engine takes up about 700 square feet of the room.

Finishing the yarder injectors

Also this week I finished the Washington injectors for the Pacific Yarder in California.

The set-up was easy, but the pressure-balance system seems to put much more force on the stem than the spring-balance. When they open, the pressure drop does weird things to how it closes too. See, the pressure-balanced Washington injector has a hydraulic cylinder on the top of the stem and a small spring to seat the stem when there is no pressure. When the fuel pressure comes up, the hydraulic cylinder forces the stem down. When the pressure is high, the force on the stem seems excessive and more difficult to open. The problematic part is that when the valve opens, the pressure drops, the force on the stem decrees, and the valve does not snap closed as quickly.

This makes timing sloppy, and there’s not really a way to predict how to make up for this sloppiness. It’s a neat idea, but it’s crude – and was only used for a little while. The spring-balanced injectors replaced the pressure-balanced injectors pretty early in the Washington line.

Update on the Lightship No. 83

We’re still working on the Lightship #83 Request for Proposals for Northwest Seaport. I attended a contract writing class at the Department of Transportation, which was useful but also raised more questions than it answered. The regulations involved in this project are very difficult to figure out; worse, they’re buried in road and bridge-building regulations.

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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 9 in Review

Work continues on the Arthur Foss

This week, we finished resealing the Arthur Foss‘s number four cylinder head, with lots of help from The Anchor Program.

Every year the Arthur‘s engine gets better and easier to work on. The last five years of classes and some very involved maintenance has gotten all the parts freed up and we’ve acquired more of the tools required to easily accomplish repairs and maintenance. The engine sounds great, too – when running unloaded and slow we still have every cylinder firing.

Preparing for Engineer for a Day

Nothing focuses a group like urgency.

I began work with the Anchor Program on Tuesday to prepare the Arthur Foss the fireboat Duwamish and the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park for the annual high school Engineer for a Day class on Friday. The class teaches kids from the Ballard Maritime Academy about marine engineering and goes from the Arthur to the Duwamish to the steamer Virginia V to learn about each system. Like Arthur, the class gets a better every year.

With TAP’s help, we got all the engines running on both the fireboat and the Arthur, despite dead batteries, broken fuel lines, and dirt and grime everywhere. We had the main and both generators going on Arthur and both generators and the three mains on the Duwamish all going. It was great!

TAP also helped us get the wharf cleaned up and the fireboat pressure-washed and the tug scrubbed. Thanks for all your help, guys – we’ll have more work days like that soon.

High school on the wharf

On Friday morning, three engineers stood on the Historic Ship Wharf next to three historic ships open and inviting with eight diesel engines warming up for class. We were more prepared to day than the previous 3 high school classes down here.

For the fourth year, our Ballard High School class got to experience a marine engineer’s work and realize that the is the same even when the engine room is wildly different. They visited a reciprocating steam plant, a direct-reversing diesel plant, and a diesel electric plant all in the same day visit. They prepped and started up many engines throughout the day to give them the full experience and demonstrate how to operate the engines.

We did have one setback: the starter in the fireboat’s main generator went out, so the class exercise was a little limited, but part of why we hold the class is to exercise the equipment and try to find problems before they become larger issues. I would call the class a great success and we’ll fix that starter soon.

Work continues on the yarder’s injectors

We kept working on the fuel injectors diesel yarder in Eureka. This is the part of the job that is hard on the hands and fairly boring, since I insist that all the parts thread together interchangeably and entirely. It’s common for parts of these antique diesel engines to distort: the threads stretch, they rust, and tips flare the mating surface. Also, years of using pipe wrenches instead of spanner wrenches and hammers instead of heat beats the parts up further. I machine and lap everything and test every part against every other part to get them all fitting right. The process is tedious but it increases confidence when assembling, since every part fits the way it should.

Work begins on the Lightship No. 83

We dove into the Lightship No. 83 project this week: OTM Inc’s first task as Project Manager is to assemble a plan and supporting documents (like charts and tables) and prepare specifications for when we request bids for the work. It’s not like hammering on the hull or tracing leaks in the plumbing, but it’s really important work and it’s great to finally start on it.

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