Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hand Cranking the Engine

I ran the engine today for the first time since the test start I did immediately after the rebuild. Started right up and I let it run about 15-20 minutes. Out of curiosity, I decided to try out the hand crank since the engine was well warmed up. Started up pretty quickly, but I think it's only because it was warm. I'd hate to see how it would go if the engine was cold.

It's quite a work out trying to start it manually. I had to take breaks between attempts.

After several failed attempts, I was able to start it a second time, and more attempts after. Like I said, it's a work out. Heart beat pretty hard while cranking this engine.

But, I got it working. I was able to get the third start on camera.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Took some time off from work to catch up on some boat projects. Today I decided to take a break from the boat work and borrowed a kayak the marina has and went paddling down the fairway. It was bright, sunny, and windy. Great day to be on the water. I enjoyed myself. Even found a fender washed up on some rocks.

Only lasted 1 to 1 1/2 hrs but it was a nice break.

looking towards the jetty's leading to the Chesapeake

view of Harrington Harbor North

view of marinas from the jetty

me enjoying myself.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Paying Attention

I tend to chat with other sailors on IRC online. I noticed something on my mast and figured I would share a picture of what was obviously wrong. I didn't notice it before because the mast has been under the boat, just inside the vertical supports holding the boat up and this issue was on the inside. Apparently, the marina in Kentucky put the standing rigging on the wrong side of the tang.

Well, one of the regular chatters noticed other things. One I had an idea about but another I wasn't really aware of. The part I had noticed was the clevis pins being a bit too long. The part that was mentioned to me is that the clevis pins are also too narrow, leaving a gap in the tangs. With the length and size of the clevis pins, I'm being told that it could wear everything out faster, even causing the holes to become elongated and/or bending the clevis pins. Either of which isn't good. So, I went back to the mast and took these other pictures to get a better view of the pins. 

Seeing them again, it does look like I may have to readjust some things. I replaced the standing rigging myself but used the same clevis pins that came with the boat. Since I've had the boat, the standing rigging hasn't been under much tension/stress.

As I look closer at the mast and think about other projects while taking a break from the current project (fuel tank related), I look at the electrical connectors that run the lighting and feel that these should be replaced as well before using the mast again. I'm on the hunt for connectors that could be used. At the same time, I'm looking to replace the RF cable running up the mast. It's RG-8X and probably 35 years old as well. I'm looking at using two types of RF cable for my refit. Since the RG-8X is a narrow cable, I'll probably stick with something just as narrow. I'm now looking at LMR-240 Ultraflex to run up the mast since it'll still be fairly lightweight. From the mast step and down into the boat, the cable is thicker and since I'm rerouting the RF Cable inside the boat, I'm going to go with LMR-400 Ultraflex. All of this together will give me a much lower signal loss than whats here now getting more power out to the antenna. Being a ham radio operator for the past 20yrs, I should know how to improve the RF system. But doesn't hurt to see what others say. :-)

mast lighting connectors

Plenty of other work to take care of in the meantime. But this is something I'm looking/planning.


Monday, June 6, 2016

It's Getting Hot in Here

Getting hot on the boat lately. The with I'm doing on the boat now requires a tyvek suit which is making it feel hotter. Decided to install an air conditioner in the forward hatch to cool things down. After a day of using it, I'd have to say that it's better than nothing. While it's only marginally cooler, it does help make it more bearable inside.

Looking at using this only as my refit continues during the summer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I may not have posted in a while, but believe me, I've been BUSY. Not going to go too far into it, but the current work on Rhapsody involves fiberglass and requires me having to wear this:

Now, it's warming up a lot lately. I put a small thermometer on the boat to see how warm it gets. The last couple visits have seen 84F/29C inside. Wearing that Tyvek suit and full face mask, and not having much of a breeze through the boat, it gets toasty. While I'd like to keep the boat from having too much "stuff" on board, I'm thinking an AC unit will be very handy. It's a consideration at least, to make it more comfortable while I continue my work on the boat.

By the way, things are a bit disorganized, but for good reason... Isn't that supposed to happen during a refit anyway?

I haven't used the dodger that came with the boat (yet). When I was looking at the frame and the spare hardware left by the previous owner, I didn't see anything that could be used to mount anything. So I took a piece of the frame that bolts together and the picture below, and went to West Marine to find the right size I needed. Got the sizes sorted out for what I needed and hope to put it all to use as the boat gets closer to splashing... (don't ask when, I don't know yet).

Sometimes, it helps to take a break on the foredeck and imagine how it would be anchored out somewhere away from it all.

Here, you can see I still haven't replaced the panels behind the nav. desk since replacing the chainplates. Oh well... Other priorities right now. Anyway, I am looking to move the VHF from the companionway to just above this desk. I got a new VHF, a GX1700 with internal GPS, along with a remote hand mic. The VHF will go to the nav desk, where the remote mic will go somewhere near the companionway or in the cockpit which has the same display as the radio itself. No chartplotter, for now, even though that's on the list. Just one less thing to mess around with for now.

Anyway, behind the nav desk, there's space behind it for storing some things. I decided to mount a barrel connector for attaching the RF cable from the radio. While more connectors between the radio and the antenna is not necessarily a good idea, I wanted to have a connector mounted somewhere in case electronics were to be swapped without having a huge cable pig-tail.

Plenty of other things being planned and I have been asked by several people if I'm looking at getting the boat in the water this year. Right now, I can't say that I'll be able to. It would be nice though. The work I'm doing now needs to be done right the first time. There's no do-over's here. I'm not expecting to be sailing this year, but if I can get the current project done this summer, then I'm sure I can get the other projects taken care of and on the water about middle of next year.

Don't hold me to it, but just an idea of what could happen.

Maybe after a while, I could turn this from a refit blog into a sailing blog, as it was intended. I'm happy I have the support and encouragement from others who are looking forward to seeing me out on the Chesapeake Bay.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Engine Test Start

As shown in my previous post, I put a lot of work into my Yanmar 2GM. Here's a clip of me testing the engine in the house garage. Once I got it going, I went through 4 or 5 buckets of water. I was having fun running the engine for the first time since taking it all apart. The engine was shaking so much that it was trying to walk across the garage so I had to stand on the support I made trying to keep it in place. I had the water strainer from the boat in line because it just happened to have the right hoses for the water pump to run cooling water. Vice grips was used for throttle to keep the RPMs up.

Here's what I did to the engine:
  • new head gasket
  • new thermostat housing gasket
  • new thermostat
  • new temperature sender
  • new rear zinc cover gasket
  • new.... lots of copper gaskets
  • new exhaust mixer
  • new steel fuel lines
  • new steel oil line
  • cleaned up the valves with lapping compound
  • auto shop did a hot cleaning and milled / smoothed the valves side of the head
  • new rear zinc w/packing (packing didn't seem to be used before)
  • new cooling hoses
  • new fuel filter
  • new fuel pump
  • painting with VHT engine primer and paint
  • cleaned out layers of rust from the exhaust port
  • cleaned out built up carbon from exhaust valves (pretty much clogged)
  • new valve stem seals
  • JB weld the exhaust port to smooth out the surface for the new exhaust mixer/gasket
  • cleaned out clogged cooling passages (mineral buildup and lots of debris)
  • replaced both pistons after finding one had a crack
  • cleaned out the oil pan
  • replaced oil pan gasket
  • cleaned surface rust around the block
  • cleaned up most of the rust from the flywheel
And gave it a lot of time and patience it desperately deserved.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Engine Rebuild

Since buying Rhapsody, I've only ran the engine a total of around 10-15 hrs. With a disconnected hour meter showing 716 hrs., Total engine hours is around 730-740 hrs. Everything seemed to work fine with it, mostly. There were times it would have a sluggish start. I figured it was because I needed to bleed air out of the lines...

As they say with boat work, it'll take twice as long and cost three times as much. Well, in this case, it holds true as this took a LOT longer than expected. Just remember, with what you're about to see, was a working engine when I pulled it out.

I originally planned to change out a few rubber hoses, replace zincs and clean up some rust. As I started to take things apart, I discovered something else that needed some work and that cascaded into somewhat of a rebuild. Not a lot of space on the boat to do this kind of work. I drained the oil then I started taking a few things apart that I could take back to the house to work on when I wasn't visiting the boat.

Flywheel after transmission was removed

Started off taking the head, starter, and transmission off. At the house, I continued dis-assembly of the head, laying out all the parts to keep track of where they go. This stage brought on all kinds of new discovery. This engine, while it worked, probably could have died at any time. This was not well taken care of in the past. Rust, mineral deposits, carbon build up, and more. One of the studs holding the exhaust mixer was so rusted through, there was no effort to break it off when trying to loosen the nut. 

difference between old and new exhaust mixer

The water ways were well built up with deposits. The cap that holds the zinc on the head wouldn't come off, so I took the whole cover off with some difficulty and found out it was so built up, it was completely blocked, nothing left from the zinc, and the deposits were holding onto the cover tightly. There was plenty of deposits by the thermostat housing too. You could see the layers as if it were the Grand Canyon. It took a LONG time to get it built up like that.

Zinc cover

thermostat cover is green

behind thermostat

backside of thermostat housing

Front size of thermostat housing

valve condition

piston condition

In addition to these pictures above, there's also plenty of rusty areas to go around. I have various wire brushes either for a dremel or for a drill to get those parts cleaned up. While I have these parts at the house now, I plan to get the rest of the engine off the boat to bring to the house to continue the rebuild. I'm also putting together a shopping list that will go into the rebuild. Lots of gaskets, hoses, pipes and more.

8 January, I got the marina owner and one of his workers to help me out getting the rest of the engine off the boat and into the back of my truck. Started to clean off the top of the head and carbon off the pistons. They were starting to look better, but found out an issue with the aft piston.

front piston

aft piston, with a nice crack in it

Since finding a crack in the piston is a fairly major issue, that means more things are coming apart and more parts need ordered.

For the time I'm working on the block, I placed the engine on a furniture dolly that I can wheel around as needed.

I got both pistons out. The forward one wasn't too bad. Just a bit of carbon buildup above the first ring but that looks like it would be considered normal for a piston. The cracked one I took out first though. When I first looked down the side, I thought the crack only went down to the first ring but then I noticed a crack between the first and second ring that ended up being a broken piece. I then noticed the crack went down to the pin opening that holds the piston to the connecting rod. The crack could also be seen from underneath. One person told me he is surprised that there was still any compression in that cylinder with how this piston looks. Both will be replaced so they start off with the same wear on them.

Lots of issues found on this engine. Some surprising and some expected.


Cleanup phase

With all the deposits that have built up in the water ways, I looked into how to take care of it. I came across a product called Rydlyme. Other boaters have used it to run through their engines or heat exchangers to clean things out. I decided to order a couple gallons of it and tested it out on a couple smaller pieces.

So that picture of the thermostat housing above shows the first piece I decided to try out. After about half an hour, it looked like this.

After some additional cleaning with the dremel wire brush, it looked a whole lot better. I was even able to get the temperature sender off, with lots of effort. Let's say a 2x4 was very helpful to get that thing off. Here's how it looked. The wet part was degreaser as I'm still working to clean it up at this point.

Another small piece was the zinc cover, as pictured above, it was heavily blocked and actually took longer for the Rydlyme to dissolve the build up. After a while, I was mostly satisfied with how it turned out and went to using the dremel again to get the hardest stuff off of it. At this point, I still couldn't get the cap off that the zinc was screwed into, but still, the Rydlyme made a BIG difference.

After dipping the head, the waterways came out nice and clean after a couple hours of soaking.

used lapping compound for a better seal

valve condition greatly improved.
Dropped off the cylinder head on 4 Jan, and picked it up a couple days later. I only had them do a hot tank cleaning and worked on the valve surface. I didn't have them smooth down the exhaust side. I figured I could try doing that part myself. The guy at the shop said I could try using JB Weld to fill in the pitting.

This thing really looks good now.

At this point, I started to clean up the exhaust port. I did a little sanding with 80 grit sandpaper just to see that there was an even surface with the sides. Next, I got some JB Weld, recommended by others, to fill in the low spots where it could be sanded down for a smooth surface where the new exhaust mixer and gasket will get a tight seal. After I sanded the JB Weld, I saw there were still some low spots, so I did another mixed and laid some more on top to fill it in.


JB Weld applied

Sanded smooth

Finishing phase

Started doing some painting on a couple small pieces at first. The paint I used is VHT Engine Primer and Paint Enamels from Autozone. These are rattle can types that I've read good things about. I wanted to paint the engine a brighter color, so decided to paint it yellow. Then thought a few other items could be painted a contrasting color and went with orange for those pieces.

Started off with the air intake fitting that connects to the head. A few shots of grey primer then a few shots of the top coat of orange.

The thermostat housing is part of the head and the rest of the engine, so that got coats of yellow.

Thermostat cover

backside of thermostat cover

Air filter housing

Still a few more pieces that need some work but they can wait for now.



Rocker spacing setup completed

matching the orange with the oil filter was completely unintentional

Below pictures show the engine, mostly completed, mounted on 4x4's and just about ready for testing.

And, as of 26 March, the engine runs again. But I'll reveal that in the next post. :-)

Now, it'll be ready for the boat once I have a new fuel tank installed.