Saturday, March 14, 2009

Controlling the situation

I need a few short lengths of #2 battery cable to connect the battery with rest of the engine electrical system. Last Sunday I drove up to West Marine to get a short section that I figured I could cut up into the lengths I needed. West Marine is clearly significantly over priced compared to other outlets; at least on most items. However, I sometimes justify the additional expense simply for the convenience of buying locally and not waiting for UPS to deliver. Well, Sunday, I stopped at West Marine and found the 18 inch cable I needed; for $43. There was no way I was going to pay that much for less than two feet of wire. And then I got to thinking about how many times I have made the drive only to be turned away because of the cost or because they didn't have what I needed. I realized that 60-70% of the time, I walk out of store without buying anything. That really isn't very convenient at all. West Marine is now dead to me. I have no idea what took me so long.

I had purchased this bracket from Moyer Marine last year. My throttle cable had been attached to a board that was drywall screwed to the nearby 'aft bulkhead'. It was a pretty flimsy setup which allowed a lot of play in the cable. This bracket mounts directly to the engine and holds the throttle cable securely in position. It looks a lot more respectable too. I had to make a quick run to the hardware store for some longer screws. The originals that came out of the engine were too short after the hefty bracket was in. This bracket is really over kill for what it does. But it works well.

Then I held my breath, whispered a prayer, and cut a new hole in my freshly painted cockpit well.

I was planning on buying a shiny new throttle lever but even from non West Marine suppliers, they seem to be rediculously expensive for what they are. I cleaned up my original lever and will mount it near the original location. I can't remember exactly where it was- I filled in the old hole so well that I can't find it now- but this is a good location to operate it and the cable has a good point to attach to- or rather it will when I build the structure it needs.

I had some luck today with my bronze shift lever. It was stuck on quite well. Some friends from the local diner recommended a place that they thought could fix me up. It was one of these places way back in the woods where the banjos play. A few quiet old guys hanging around that don't seem happy to see newcomers. A few quick words, a half nod to follow inside, and then pick my way through piles of junk and tools to the very back of the shop. There was stuff EVERYWHERE. All kinds of random stuff. A wall with at least 100 old junked starter motors, a race car under wraps, another car with the front taken off, all sorts of random car parts, boat parts, HUGE sheetmetal tools and a dusty deer head on the wall. The owner was able to press out the lever from the shaft at considerable effort. It was really on there good. And then he spent a few minutes with the shaft on a lathe cleaning it up for me. Then he refused to take my money and said come back next time with a real job. He smiled. I gave him $20. He threw it back. I gave $10 to one of the workers and I left with a working shift lever. A new one was going to cost me several hundred dollars and wouldn't work nearly as well as this one is going to.

I positioned the cable and decided that my original thought of putting the lever back towards the aft end of the cockpit wasn't going to work out well. It puts too much bend on the cable. Maybe not 'too much' but by moving the lever forward the cable runs easier and it puts both throttle and shift levers in front of the helmspersom. I anchored the shift lever temporarily and found a good spot for the lever. I drilled a small pilot hole and then realized that I didn't have the drill I needed to cut the big hole for the big bronze shift lever. That will have to wait until next week. To give an idea, the pilot hole is about 6 inches aft of the forward cockpit locker drain hole.

I was worried that the shaft seal hose wasn't going to fit over my modified shaft tube. I was right to worry as the extension added about a 1/4 inch to the diameter and the hose didn't want to go on. In the end I reamed out the hose a bit, sanded down the tube a bit, added a bit of lubricant (Dow DC4- similar looking to petroleum jelly -its what I had on hand), and used some brute force to get in in place. I probably could have used a longer tube. This one was brand new for the one short season that I had the boat in the water. This time I can get two clamps around the tube end. Before I could only get one on the short tube.

Just in case anyone doesn't know how great a Bomar hatch in the cockpit is...

Servicing the shaft seal is a breeze with one of these in place.

Tomorrow just might be good weather for sealants so I cut some exhaust hose and did a trial fitting of my cockpit drain tubes.

The Triton cockpit sole is only an inch or so above the waterline. When 4 people crowd into the cockpit, the stern sinks and the cockpit floods. For this reason, and to guard against the unlikely chance that a drain tube will leak, I had removed the glassed in fiberglass tubes and installed seacocks under the drains. This leaves very little room to replace the hoses so to get around that I made the drain fittings removable. These are Marelon 1.5" flush thru-hulls. Remove the nut and lift up on the fitting and then there is enough room to lift the hose off the seacock and replace it. The holes in the cockpit are countersunk for the thru-hulls.

It has been a busy day and now it is past my bedtime. I will try to add a bit more tomorrow.


brushfiremedia said...

A working shift lever and you didn't even have to squeal like a pig. Sounds like a good day to me.

Tim said...

What, no pictures of Deliverance Metal Works?

(And, by the way, I did not see you say anywhere that you didn't have to squeal like a might want to be specific!)

Glad you could get the lever to work. Pictures???

Britton said...

Some things are better left unsaid. I seem to remember that message coming through in the movie too...

A picture of the lever apart? I guess I could do that. I am waiting for a hole saw to arrive so I can mount the lever (and warmer weather for the sealant to go off properly).