The Hunt

I sometimes worry about my priorities.  At times it seems the hunt is more important than the goal.  Accept the current situation with the Perkins diesel from our boat as evidence.  I say “from” as it has been removed.  A lot of cursing and dismantling went into the project as not only did I need to take enough stuff apart to get the thing out from under the galley, I also had to take it apart far enough that I could actually move it.  I got it moved to the house where I discovered through further disassembly that I need a new crankshaft.  

So the real goal is to get a new crank.  However in the process of hunting for one I discovered a number of engines in various states (both states of repair and states of the union) across the country that might have crankshafts that are useable, but certainly have lots of spare parts.  Which is inviting to own when your engine is 50 years old.  I also found a crankshaft from a reputable dealer who will guarantee it is usable and ready to install for about a thousand dollars.  Which all things considered is not that bad.  I would still need to buy some parts, such a new connecting rod as when we damaged the crank we also damaged the bearing surface of one rod.   I need gaskets sets and so forth.  I calculated I could buy the parts needed for about 1350 dollars and be on my way to getting this put back together.

But no!  I’m thinking that whatever it is that makes me want to own a 70-year old boat, also makes me want to save these old engines.  So here I am negotiating with people for their cast off old Perkins engines so that I might end up with a pile of good used parts.  It most likely will not save any money on the present project, but could pay good dividends down the road should I need injectors, lines or pumps.  

Yes, I’m wondering about it too.  But to quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam”. 

I wonder how many of these things end up going into the bin because people asked too much money for them.  Eventually they get tired of storing it and they cast them out.  Which is really sad.  The best recycling program is to not send this stuff to the crusher but instead to put it back into a working engine.  Across the land there are storage units crammed full of stuff that people are paying to store.  At the rates charged it often doesn’t take long before the rent paid is more than the value of the stuff stored there.  Which most people view as making that stuff more valuable!

I have a friend here in Juneau who is having some trouble with the engine in his boat.  He is planning to repower.  It will likely cost near twenty thousand dollars by the time he is done.  I shudder at the thought.  I can’t see spending that much money on the project when I know for a fact it will not increase the resale value of my boat.  Or his.  For that kind of outlay I can rebuild a stack of old motors.  But then we have already established that my priorities are not quite normal.  Well, that and I am notoriously cheap.  Before I buy anything I ask myself if I can make it for less!  

So this is where we are.  Still trying to round up parts.  I’ve decided to relax over the engine being out of the boat and dedicate the summer to working on the boat.  I have a number of projects that will be easier to accomplish if I accept up front that I am not going sailing or adventuring.  I’ve already mentioned that I have the forward hatch removed from the boat and need to build a new one.  I need to get started on that.  Of course the space I use for rebuilding engines is also the space for doing woodwork and sawdust inside the engine is a good thing to avoid.  So there are some conflicts.

I also want to strip the paint off both sheer planks and refasten them.  The boat is copper riveted but the sheer planks could not be riveted because of the clamp running down the inside of the hull.  So they were put on with screws.  It’s time to refasten them and calk those seams.  While I am at it, I should check the fasteners on the plank ends at the transom as there is some indication there of some movement.  I have spots on the deck that I am having some trouble with the epoxy-glass sheathing.  On and on. 

It’s funny how the list goes.  Now that I have the engine torn out, I am thinking about building a drip tray to put under the engine.  Right now there is a plastic molded net that is intended to catch tools and parts when dropped.  It would be better if it were a tray that was slanted to one side to aid tools in rolling to a location that they can be reached and it would be better as well for putting sorbent pads under the engine.  In theory if oil or fuel ran to the low side, a rolled sorbent pad would collect it as opposed to spreading them out flat as I do now.  The fact that the existing structure is open still allows drips through.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  It has saved many sockets from ending up in the deepest part of the bilge but for trapping oil, not so much.  That and I laid it in flat.  Over the years the center has sagged a bit and the tools tend to migrate to center where it is near impossible to get them.  

I’m also wondering about changing the hatches over the engine while I have the galley floor all torn out.  The existing ones don’t deaden the sound all that well.  By the time I am done I will probably have remodeled the galley.  Maybe I can finally get rid of that orange formica!

These are the adventures that the summer holds.  Its all fine.  I had hoped to be sailing to Puget Sound.  But then again, sometimes its just as good to be busy.  Oh, and I should add that if you have an old Perkins 4-cylinder sitting around, don’t hesitate to get in touch!  More to report later.