Tag Archives: valves

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 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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2010 Week 3 in Review

More work on the Maris Pearl

I’m still working on the Maris Pearl‘s reversing mechanism, trying to track down parts for it. I’ve been working with suppliers and calling collectors and engine owners I know who have spares. The Westinghouse controls rarely need attention, so there’s not a lot of information available on these units. It’s taken some extra time to search it out.

Winter Work on the Thea Foss

The Thea Foss‘s twin Atlas-Imperials are getting some attention this winter. The boat’s engineer worked with Dan to remove all the valves, start valves, and injectors out of both engines, then I spent a lot of time this week disassembling and cleaning everything.

As you remember, this process involves disassembling them each, putting them in a solvent bath, flushing the water jackets, sand blasting and another solvent bath, flapper the guide, and wire-wheel the stems.

2010 M4 Party

The big annual art and music event that OTM helps sponsor now has a not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, so make your donations out to Shunpike, with M4 mentioned as the program.

This year’s show will be the 10th annual, on May 1st. The steering committee is planning furiously, and it’ll be even bigger and better than last year (always our goal).

Working on the bow thruster

We got the new parts and tools to fix my good customer’s bow thruster, but still got caught inadequately prepared. I had to run out in the middle of the job to get more parts.

I also had a problem with my dry suit: the neck seal was too tight. Apparently, this can cause Carotid Sinus Reflex, when your neck seal presses against the carotid artery and makes your brain think your blood pressure is too high and lower your pulse rate to compensate.

The symptoms can include nervousness and a shortness of breath, which at the time I attributed to being out of practice from not diving enough. While it is true I am a little out of practice, the nervousness and shortness of breath were actually due to the neck seal. I’ll replace this before next week, in time to dive next Saturday at the CWB.

Despite all this, we still got the bow thruster fixed right up.

Boats for sale

The Pacific Sunrise is for sale. It’s a sweet boat with an Atlas-Imperial 6HM1125 diesel, and is going for $75,000.

The Island Champion is also for sale. She’s a great boat with a Fairbanks-Morse 35F14 diesel.

Bonus! Mention this ad and get a free OTM Inc T-shirt with your purchase!

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2009 Week 46 in Review

It turns out you can’t take diesel injectors on a plane. I showed up to Kenmore Air on South Lake Union with three boxes of Washington parts to take with me to the Catalyst in Friday Harbor. I have flown these parts back and forth a few times already, but today the rule is interpreted to mean “any part that might have come in contact with oil is not allowed on the plane.” This would rule out my clothing and possibly parts of me, too, but rules are rules (today, at least), so a drive, a ferry ride, and about six hours later I finally got to the boat.

I installed the injectors first and timed them, so that I could easily clean out the cylinders through the valve cage holes. Then I reinstalled the valves, kerplunking them all for a tight fit.

Once I started up the engine and it was running nicely, I helped Bill deliver it to Jenson’s Boat Works in Seattle. It was a great trip, a beautiful night cruise, but one injector was erratic (sticking open) and the temperatures were going up and down – I’ll look into this next week. I also found two valves leaking around the cage; this will probably resolve itself once the new squishy gaskets I ordered come in.

Other than that, the engine ran great.

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2009 Week 44 in Review

Work on the Catalyst parts

This week, I worked some more on the Catalyst‘s parts in my shop. To replace the bent valve, I called up Safety Seal in Texas, since they’ve made valves for the Catalyst before. They happened to have four valves on the shelf from when they first machined them up, five or so years ago. What a deal – I bought all four.

Then, I reassembled the valve cages. Each cage has nine parts (not counting the removable nose that we never take off), and once all the parts are cleaned, assembling is fun and goes really quick.

Then I reassembled the injectors. Each injector has 24 parts, plus an extra packing ring if desired. This time, I installed Viton packing, which will allow biodiesel to be run through the engine. I hope it works.

My River Chronicles: A good read

I finished Jessica’s new book, My River Chronicles. It’s a good read – you should pick it up for yourself.

The book has several stories that take place while running old boats up and down the Hudson River. It’s got great descriptions of how Jessica got to know boats, boatmen (boatwomen), the river, and history, all from the engine control station while watching the dials. Reading it makes me feel like I’m hiding out in the engine room, bullshitting with Jessica and other engineers so we don’t have to hang around deckhands.

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2009 Week 42 in Review

New gaskets for the Catalyst

First up this week at Old Tacoma Marine Inc, we ordered gaskets for the Catalyst‘s valve cages from Omni Packing & Seal Co. They don’t many take orders for the “sandwich gaskets,” which were originally asbestos with thin copper shielding surrounding the asbestos, because it takes a long time to make them and they’re expensive and one-time-use only. They are true to the Washington design, though, and they seal really well, so it was worth the extra time and money.

Sending out the guides

The Catalyst‘s engine was originally rated to run at 450 rpm. It’s been overloaded for many years, but now the new owners are committed to returning it to the 1932 specifications. This means unloading the engine to the point where it can be run at 450 rpm without overloading the engine.

To achieve this, it’s best to ease into it by catching up on the maintenance: as the engine is sped up, problems that go unnoticed at 350 rpm become critical at 450. A common problem is too much clearance in the cam follower guides, due from wear. The signal for service due is a knock, made by the follower hitting the guide at cruising speed.

To service the cam follower guides, you send them out to be honed straight and round. Then you have the cam follower (not the roller, but the crosshead like part) built up using flamespray, then ground down to leave .0015″ clearance. Then you put it all back together and start testing.

Suck, Squeeze, Pop, Blow

We got a funny shirt from Whitworth Marine, reminding everyone that all four-stroke diesels need to do is suck, squeeze, pop, and blow.

Check out Whitworth Marine Services, you East Coasters.

Grinding Catalyst Valves

The Shop’s valve grinder machine can handle any valve from Washingon, Atlas, or Enterprise, and seven boring hours later, we have 13 out of 14 Catalyst valves ready to go.

Unfortunately, one valve was bent, which lead to lots of investigative inquiry. It turns out that the valve seat depths vary on the Catalyst from cage to cage. Without getting into blueprints, we chose to make all the cages extend the same length as the shortest one, which was .425″ from the gasket surface to the bottom.

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2009 Week 41 in Review

This week at Old Tacoma Marine, we cleaned all the Catalyst parts we pulled off last week. We broke them all down, then put the oily parts in the hot tank with a heated lye solution and an agitator for a few hour. Then we washed the parts off with water and then with solvent, and then some of them got blasted with glass beads until clean and others got wire-wheeled and the brass got polished.

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