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What's Next?

July 26, 2018

Last month I disassembled both after-coolers on the engines of my boat to remove the broken pieces of zinc when I spotted the broken bolts holding the exhaust elbow to the turbocharger. After thinking about it I devised a tool to allow me to drill out the one bolt that broke flush to the turbocharger face. I am here to say, luck was on my side! I constructed my device and bolted it to the turbocharger so I could have a good chance of drilling straight into the broken bolt. Before I started drilling I did use a small Dremel tool to grind the end of the broken bolt smooth, so that the drill bit had a better chance of being centered in the bolt. I then used a drill bit that just fit into the drill guide to get a nice centered starting spot for the smaller drill bits. I had to drill in steps, smaller to larger, to make sure I had this right. After moving up roughly 3 drill bit sizes I was ready to use the easy out bolt extractor. This gets placed into the hole just drilled into the broken bolt and it has reverse threads. Turning it counter clockwise draws it tighter into the broken bolt, and when it can’t turn any more the force you are using gets transferred to the broken bolt. Adding some penetrating fluid to help loosen the bolt up helps also. A few minutes of trying and I heard a snapping sound. I thought either I broke the easy out or the bolt turned. I looked over and the easy out was in one piece. I turned some more. Slowly the broken bolt was backing out of the hole. I had it! After some cleaning up I would be ready to put it all together.
After cleaning up the gasket area on the turbocharger I got the bolts and gasket ready to install the exhaust elbow. Working in the cramped bilge was getting to me, but it would be all done soon enough. Four bolts, four hose clamps and we could go in the water. I slipped two bolts into the exhaust elbow and placed the new gasket over them. With a little effort I soon had the elbow in place and snugged up. Then I noticed it. Even with the bolts snugged up, the gasket was loose. Something was just not right. I took the elbow off and looked at it closely. There it was, clear as a bell. From the side you could see it. The exhaust elbow flange was warped! No way could it bolt up and not leak. I guess over the years, all the condensation caused the mating surface to rust.     
Rust expands and it must have bent the flange. This would also explain the bolt heads popping off. Other than that the elbow was fine, no leaks at all. I headed home with the elbow to take to a local machine shop. I stopped in and the owner declined to even attempt to straighten it out. I went home to see if I could find another shop. But as I sat having lunch, I realized this part was almost twenty years old. I could get it fixed and it could fail the next day. I had the exhaust elbow on the other engine rebuilt five years ago, almost to the day. So I contacted the company that did that one and by the next day the elbow was on the way to get repaired. Last time the company was in Washington State. He had since moved to Texas. I had the other elbow ceramic coated after being rebuilt, and said I wanted this one done that way also. I did not know that the company that did that was in Washington State still! So with the availability of shipment tracking, I have sat and watched the elbow move from Long Island, to Texas, to Denver, to Boise Idaho, and finally to Auburn, Washington. Yes, a slow process right when we want to be on the boat. But I feel that getting it done right at this time is better than doing the job half way.
With this going on, it was the perfect time to finish wiring the FLIR camera. I went out to the boat with the power and data cables, and all the tools I would need to install the wires. This would include a drill with a bit large enough to make a hole for the end of the data cable. At first I unbolted the hardtop so I could get to the original hole the factory put in, but the hole was too small and with other wires in it I could not enlarge it. So I ended up drilling new holes for the camera wires. After they were done I was able to run the data wire all the way through all the hardtop tubes and right to the deck. This point is where every wire run in the hardtop tubing goes through. It is not in a very easy- to-reach spot and try as I might I could not get the fitting through. I used a wire pull that would clear the way for it to get through but it did not work. I spent a few hours leveraging my hand and arm to try, and ended up with a huge bruise on my forearm. I went back the next day and tried some more to no avail.
I ended up cutting the cable to run it the rest of the way. A friend of mine, Brian, was in the USCG with me as an electronics technician, and still works in that field. I put in a call to him and in a few days we went out and he put new ends on the cables and we were ready to turn it on. After the MFD warmed up we turned on the camera function and saw nothing! A message was on the screen saying no data. We double checked the connections, and just to be sure checked the continuity of the cable. As it turns out, at some point the longer section of the cable must have been damaged because there was no continuity. Brian had the cable I needed, but I had to order new adaptors to connect the cable to the camera and the MFD. The adapters came yesterday, and I hope to finish this project off in a few days. I hope to get the repaired exhaust elbow soon, and can’t wait to get out on the water. Stay safe my friends!

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