From Paul:


Working on the starboard engine gearbox etc

Now we have settled into somewhat of a routine at our base in New Bern NC, it is time to get into the bigger jobs we had left for this time.

The engines had been given the once-over in Stuart, FL however we knew there was other work required.  This week the Port engine got the ‘works’ (or part 1 of the works).

The damper plate between the engine and the gearbox was original and should have been changed several years ago.  To do this the prop shaft has to be uncoupled and pushed back out of the boat about 5”to make room for pulling the gearbox.  To get access to the gearbox, I removed the exhaust, the hydronic controls, wiring and finally drained the gearbox oil using an oil pump. The gearbox is held on with 6 bolts and once they were undone, we manhandled the box back the few inches needed. Certainly dropping the gearbox off was quick. Some may say too quick.  The bell housing was next (15 bolts) and behind that can be found the damper coupling.

IMG_7320The old unit was tired but came out easily and the new unit was bolted to the flywheel and the splined gear greased.  With the bell housing replaced next came the fun bit – getting the round non uniform metal gear box off the bottom of the boat and aligned so as to mesh in gear and butt up to the engine.  Joanna and I tried lifting it – nope!  We rigged up some coal miner levers with 2×4’s and with webbing straps, long bolts, significantly modified sumo deadlifting in the 4’ high space, managed to wiggle the gearbox into mesh and snugged it down. Seven hours into the Sunday job and feeling pleased with progress we took the rest of the day off.


Now you see me – now you don’t. Just after taking this pic, Ebba fell over the front of the dinghy.

After a round of Tylenol, hot showers and a good night sleep, I got back on the next step of the project: to replace the water, oil and transmission heat exchangers, the raw water pump and associated hoses.  Although not technically difficult, it was a physical day and after coupling everything back up, refilling the gearbox with oil and the engine with coolant, the engine was started and run with everything working.  We have also realigned the engine with the prop getting run out down to a tolerance I am now happy with, so hopefully no more wiggle on the prop shaft.

IMG_7321We have the same work to do on Starboard engine. That should be easier in some respects in that I have learned a couple of tricks during the first rebuild. However, the majority of the plumbing is on the starboard hull side of the engine which means access is more challenging. After that the oil and filters are to change and fuel filters to check/change and we should be ready for the next phase…In a couple of weeks we plan a quick trip back to Pittsburgh and I want to get the fuel injectors overhauled whilst we are there.  We did this job before and although it is not that difficult to do it is challenging due to the confined space of the engine room.  This is the part II and last big job we should need to do I hope for a while.

We can then focus on the interior refurbishment and lighting upgrades.

From Joanna:


How to pass the time while waiting for the draw bridge to close – stick you head through the bridge railing and watch squirrels.

What more can I say. Well actually, I can say that I was rather slow with publishing this and we have now completed both engines. Did the second engine in 3 hrs. Learned lessons from the first. Built a ‘proper’ hoist system to lift the gearbox this time so not so many sumo deadlifts. The injectors still need to be done. And yes, redoing the plumbing on the starboard engine was a squeeze. Thank goodness for abs.

IMG_7314The dogs and I try to stay out of the way as much as possible and to this end, we have found a new place to walk/run. There is a National Forest 12 miles down the road so we go there. It is wonderful. I imagine it will get very crowded when the weather turns warmer (yes, it is cold again today) but for now, it is just perfect.


A wind sculpture – inspired by the lotus flower

Thanks for reading.