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Pandora's Box

April 3, 2019

Back in November 2018 we had the boat hauled and the water-logged coring in the foredeck and port side walkway repaired. After that, the boat was moved to Bayshore to have the engines removed and gone through, in an effort to make them more reliable and easier to maintain. To quote Ringo, “You Know It Don’t Come Easy”! Just as the bow repair was bigger than anticipated, so too has the engine work become more involved.
The work I wanted to do involved routi
ne maintenance as well as some modifications to the engines and systems. This included

servicing the after coolers and turbo chargers and moving the fuel filter from the outside of the port engine to the inside. The end result would be to have all service items inboard. A big project is removing the sea water pumps from both engines and converting them to a belt driven pump at the front of the engine. Those pumps are currently mounted under the fuel
injection pump. To service them requires the loosening of the motor mounts, jacking up the engine to remove any pressure on the mount, and removing some fuel lines gaining access to the pump. On the starboard engine all you have to do in order to accomplish this is to be a contortionist. On the port engine you need to be a 90 pound 4 ft tall contortionist. Seriously, these engines were designed by a sadistic person that hates boaters and mechanics.
There are some bright spots, some not-too-dull spots, and some “Oh boy, why me” spots. Both engines ran up to specification, but still had some wear issues. Cylinder heads came off, and all exhaust valves showed some signs of water intake. Valve jobs were needed for both engines. The fuel injection pumps were removed and tested, needing some adjustments to get to spec. Fuel injectors had the same treatment.
But how did water get into the combustion chambers? This became an “Oh boy, why me” moment. When the after coolers came off and got pressure tested, they failed. When taken apart there were clear signs that they had sealing issues that allowed sea water to enter into the air intake. But that was not all. The tubes inside the housing, known as the core, had also corroded allowing water to leak from there into the air intake as well. While the ends of the coolers are bronze, the body is aluminum. The salt water pitted the aluminum causing the leak. OK, not a problem, right? Just go get a new housing and core. One small problem. Those parts, like many on a 20 year-old engine, are not available. Well not really, there is one in the country. It is currently priced at $4999.99. Plus shipping. I really did not want to spend that; plus, it was only one and I needed two. So I started a search to see if there are any shops in the country that could rebuild them. I spent many hours looking online. I did find a company in Seattle that built what they think was the core. Only issue was they had two part numbers and could not guarantee it was the correct part. Priced just below $3000. Still I would need two of those even if they were correct, and then I would still need two housings. I found a company in Florida that showed stainless steel after coolers with custom made cores. I tried contacting them by phone and e-mail at least half a dozen times but never made contact. Maybe they are not in business anymore?
During one long online search I managed to find a company in England that makes universal fit after coolers. Now we are getting somewhere. They have a large range of after coolers, and I found one that is made for my engine horsepower range. I ordered two of them and I am awaiting there arrival from England. They have a good reputation, and I got them from a distributor in Florida for less than half of the price as the one available for $5000. But since it is not original equipment, not much lines up. Well the water input and output will, but the air input and output do not. So some plumbing work will have to happen. And the air intake has an electric heater that will not be hooked up because of the new layout. Not a problem in the summer, but it can make starting in cold weather harder.
One thing that I found out with all the searching for parts is that there are many companies selling parts to install engines like mine into Jeeps. They make all kinds of parts to make this possible. Chassis, suspension, and custom engine parts. The engine parts are what I found most interesting, and very helpful.
Quite a few of these engine parts are made from billet aluminum and bolt right up to where the original part would go. What I found was an air intake plenum cover (kind of like an intake manifold) made for my style engine when used in a Jeep. It allows for the installation of that air inlet heater. So when the new after coolers I ordered arrive, we will install them on the engine with new custom brackets. Then we will design the plumbing for the air from the turbocharger to the intake plenum that will allow for the use of that heater by using a billet plenum cover. Simple, right?
In the meantime, I am almost done getting the parts needed to remote mount my seawater pump. This has involved designing a way to mount the pump, a way to drive the pump and making sure that it is turning at the correct speed to pump the right amount of water through the engine through the entire RPM range.
Finding longer metric bolts of the correct grade has been next to impossible. It is never easy to re-invent the wheel, so to speak.
Remember, “You know it don’t come easy”!


 

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