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Two More Projects for the Coming Season

A Painted Dash; A New Transducer

Despite the poor weather we have been having, I have been able to continue working on the new electronics installation. With other commitments it has taken me longer than I thought it would but I guess that is to be expected.

I needed some warm weather to paint the new dash panel and finally got that. I wanted to do it outside so our four cats would not have to smell the paint fumes. The added benefit was I could put the panel in the sun to help dry the paint quicker. After putting on three coats of satin black paint I wanted to add a white 1/8th inch wide pinstripe around the perimeter of the panel to match the panel that the gauges are installed in. It took me some time to come up with an idea of how to mask a stripe like that for painting. I had been looking for 1/8th inch masking tape and was not having any success. I was explaining my story to Will at the marina when he suggested I use pinstripe tape from an auto supply store. What a great idea. The next day I had the stripe. I was using the pinstripe tape as a spacer for the masking tape. It was working very well except in the tight corners. I ended up using a wide masking tape there, and after drawing the lines for the stripe I used a razor knife to cut out the tape. After removing the tape used as a spacer I had a fairly consistent pinstripe around the panel. I then covered the rest of the panel (on both sides to prevent over spray) and used my white spray paint for the stripe. It turned out very nice and I was ready to install it. That was fairly easy: I drilled the fourteen holes in the dash and used stainless steel machine screws to mount the panel.

The panel housing the gauges has only six or seven screws in it. I was concerned that the weight of the new panel with electronics needed better holding power, so I used the machine screws. They are like Phillips head bolts with nuts and washers on the inside of the panel.

Next up was the installation of the transducer. Just getting to it was hard enough - it is located almost under the transmission of the port engine. I have a very large pair of channel locks, and I used that to take off the securing nut of the old unit. It took some time but it eventually came off. I was worried that when the old transducer was installed the installer may have used 3M 5200, making it very hard to remove. Luckily that was not the case.I went under the boat and used my putty knife to break the seal between the fairing block and the hull, and then was able to knock the housing down some from inside the boat. Once it moved a little I was able to pry it down the rest of the way and out it came. One thing I noticed was that the wood of the fairing block was soft. Over the years, I have been taking a few pints of water almost weekly out of the bilge in that area, and now my suspicions had been confirmed. The transducer has been leaking but in such a way I could never see it.

Now it was time to install the new transducer. The new one needed a 2 3/8th inch diameter hole, and I was hoping the old one was the same size. Unfortunately that was not the case as it was a 2 1/8th inch hole. So now I had to figure out the best way to use a hole saw on an existing hole. After reading up on the subject and asking around I epoxied a 2 inch disc I cut out of the old dashboard into the existing hole. After that was dry I was able to use the 2 3/8th saw and cut out the correct size hole. While cutting the hole my friend Bill came over and said, “That would scare the heck out of me”. I have to admit I was a little nervous. Drilling a large opening in the bottom of a boat should make you feel that way!

The first test fit showed I had to remove a little ridge in the hull material which came off nicely with my rotary grinder. After I was satisfied with the fit it was time to install the transducer. I was working by myself so I had to be ready to prop up the unit so I could climb into the boat to tighten it down. Masking tape and some wood helped me out with that. Following the directions I used 3M 4200 marine sealer to bed it into the hull. I pushed the unit up into the hole and then taped it and also used wood to hold it in place. I then went up into the boat and put on the rubber gasket and then screwed the nut on as tight as I could by hand.

Using my big channel lock pliers and an old chain wrench (like a strap wrench but with a piece of chain), I tightened up the nut. It took about 45 minutes to do that, a little turn at a time. After that I had to fill the forward hole from the old transducer. Rich will prime and bottom paint the area for me, and then I will use special paint on the transducer. Rich will then launch her, and I will finish up wiring the new radio and MFD. Then I tackle the radar.


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