Boat, New

18' Fiberform boat, 1974     "Das Boot"

I had begun contemplating purchasing a used boat of some sort, now that my boy's getting old enough to perhaps enjoy boat outings. I remembered fondly my family's boat which, as an open-bow tri-hull outboard boat, was a nice compromise choice for basic boating purposes. (I have not-so-fond memories of our prior boat, a 14' closed-bow Sportsmen's that was much too small for a family of five to spend the day on the water in. Fishing.) In fact, as my parents were no longer using their boat I had thought about offering to purchase that very boat from them.

With the death of my mother, however, such plans were set aside. And with my unemployment, all such plans were set aside. However, my father, in a fit of housekeeping/simplification, decided on his own to get rid of the boat: he showed up one day towing the boat as a present. Unfortunately, due to improper storage, its upholstery (already poor due to age) and interior woodwork had deteriorated substantially. The fiberglass has faded considerably, and the whole thing looks pretty tired. So, this boat is itself a substantial project. But it has a known history and the price is right!

The photograph above is from when the boat was new. It'll probably never look this good again!

(before restoration): It'll probably never look this bad again.
Not on my watch!
(after restoration): Shiny.

Restoration costs: here

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

The boat had been parked (uncovered) where our camper is normally stored. I decided to cover it and move it a bit out of the way. (Long term storage is going to be an interesting question. One of the most attractive options is to get one of those surplus shipping containers of suitable size, and place it in the woods as a garage. Attractive in all but cost and appearance. Only the former is a current problem, as we have plenty of woods to hide things in!)

After cleaning out most of the pine needles and cones, I placed a 55-gallon drum in the middle of the boat, and spanned the boat with a couple of 2×4's. Then I put some scrap plywood over the larger gaps where a tarp would belly in, and tied a tarp over it. Then I moved the boat to one side, and used a camper jack to lift the trailer tongue up very high to help drainage.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Took off the remains of the tarp, threw out all the boards and the barrel, and cleaned out the pine needles. (Had to dodge more than a few wasps that weren't happy about the new arrangement.) I removed all the removables and threw the dead cushions and canvas back in that were stored in the shed. The face of the tachometer had popped off, the body split. Probably got water in it that froze and blew the housing in half. The movement seems OK, I'll check it out before repairing the damage. Needing a tach is far from the first thing on the list! While removing the tach from under the dash I found Dad's old Dymo label that he always stuck on new purchases of significance: 22JUN74. I guess that settles the boat's age!

We really need to get this project started, my boy has expressed some serious interest in going boating, I think we'd all like it. With luck, and a bunch of cash, we could be on the water by Labor Day. A local upholstery shop made a verbal guess over the phone as to $2500–3500 to put the upholstery and canvas right. Supposedly the motor only needs a new water pump, and the gas tank to be coated. (I think we'll use boat cans at first, I have two.) My brother says that the steering cable should be replaced.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I finally found the paperwork. The original quote sheet was in there, from Dolphin Marina in Washougal, WA, and it's kind of interesting:

1974 18-1/2 Fiberform Surfrider Outboard
Full Top Set
Front Bow Cover
18 Gal. Gas Tank$2779.00
1974 70 Hp Evinrude$1438.00
1974 E-Z Loader Trailer$609.00
With Coast Guard Equipment$50.00
Total Package Price:$4876.00
Ask Salesman for Special Sale Price

It's going to cost us more than that to restore the boat, unless I am very much mistaken! (And to my knowledge the boat has always had the Mercury 850 on it [Serial #3869544], and never an Evinrude of any stripe. Dad liked Mercury motors, there was a Merc 500 on our prior boat.) The motor was half as much as the boat, and the trailer was half that. I wonder if those ratios hold true today?

Monday, June 4, 2007

I hooked the truck up to the boat trailer and got it ready to tow, then took the 'before' pictures. It's interesting to note that, as the new truck was tied up with the camper, the old truck I'm going to use is the same vintage as the boat! (And in nearly the same condition.) Help me, I'm stuck in the 70's! (And our house is all of two years newer.)

I then emptied the metal boat can (about 3 gallons) of Jill's Custom Injector Cleaner (3/4 gasoline, 1/4 diesel) into the truck's gas tank. (My dad was concerned that the can was galvanized and that the diesel would turn the coating into goo, so I've been using it up first.) The old truck will use a lot of fuel on this errand, a bit more from the stash is in order. It should dilute fairly well in the truck. I then took the boat to my selected upholstery shop, the one that had done the seat panel on the Albatross. (C & B Upholstery.)

...The truck ran well enough on the weird fuel mix, no problem there. (It's not running all that well now to begin with.) I tried to get the trailer licensed, but the plate had expired out of the system so I couldn't. They gave me a temporary paper tag to put in the window that will last until they can accept my money! I drove the boat to the upholstery shop and they looked it over. They think it'll be a straightforward job, no anticipated problems. They're going to make up a detailed quote, and Jill will drop by the shop to do the color consultation. Jill doesn't think much of orange, and thought that a light tan would be good. The guy at the shop thought some orange inserts in the seat cushions would tie the color schemes together so that it didn't look quite so much like a reupholstering. We also have to decide between carpet or nubbly vinyl for the floor. Vinyl is what was there and it's very practical for a fishing boat. (I don't fish, but my dad sure did.) The carpet is supposed to be more comfortable and better at hiding floor imperfections, but I worry about its ability to hold up and look good while not trapping more moisture than the vinyl did. We don't have to decide immediately, they won't be able to start until near the end of the month, and the floor is last.

I did a little surfing looking for shipping containers. Looks like it'll have to have a 40' one, as the only other size is 20' and that's going to be too short to take the boat on the trailer. I think we might need the extended height model (8'6") too. I think the standard width of 8' will work well enough. (I'm sure the 10' ones cost a lot more, for sure delivery is a problem!) I'll have to take some detailed measurements. It'll be tight, but should be doable. That 40' length, though...

Monday, June 11, 2007

The license was ready to pick up, so I went in. Got a new plate for the trailer, and tags for the boat. About $100 for it all. Now it's all in my name, etc.

Friday, June 22, 2007

We visted the boat today at the upholstery shop. They had stripped everything out and were ready to order material. We decided on a light off-white for the seat material, whatever standard white they wanted for the roof and covers, orange for piping on the seats, and a mottled charcoal marine carpet for the floor. The orange piping will tie the new upholstery color scheme into the hull's original topside color, making it a little less obvious as a reupholstery job. We chose carpet, at their recommendation, as a more attractive, comfortable, cool, and imperfection-hiding flooring cover. It's not quite as easy to hose fish guts off of as the original nubbly vinyl, but neither of us like to fish! They anticipate a good solid month before we'll be able to get the boat back. That'll work.

It was interesting to note that the floor was also fiberglass, there was no exposed wood other than the upholstery and trim panels. The floor was drilled full of 3/4" holes where they did the foam injection.

While there I measured the boat for parking purposes. It's some 7'8" (by sightline) wide at the wheels, about 7' tall, and 23'8" or so from the back of the motor to the tip of the trailer's tongue. (And the motor can be tipped back into operating position to cut a bit off of that dimension.) I think we could fit this into a 24' standard size shipping container! While not as common as the 20' and 40' sizes they're available (though they cost just as much as the 40' containers). That's interesting, because I think I could get one of those home on the car trailer, and no doubt the Mog's crane would be of assistance for installation... I think I can manage handling a 24' container, there's no way I could do a 40' with my equipment, it would require professional ($) installation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

They called, the boat is done. $3400, plus tax, which works out to about $3690 and change. Planning to go get it tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Went and picked up the boat. It looks good, the orange piping on the seats was a good idea. They didn't do the front pass-through cover, but that's not a big deal. (You only use that when you don't have the tonneau cover on, or when it's very cold out and you're not using the front.) They rigged the bows for the top taller than they were originally, this gives more headroom for moving around, though the boat doesn't look as sleek. The tow back home was uneventful.

Lots to do, still, before we get it wet!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Well, we didn't make it in the water by Labor Day. Big surprise! I've been messing with that stupid car too much, but this morning I went out and started brushing the rust and loose paint off of the trailer's tongue. I also put the siezed steering cable into the car to take it to a boat place to see what they think. The trailer is maybe 1/2" shy of 8' at the wheels, no way this'll fit into a standard shipping container. So much for the cheap garage idea.

...At lunch today I stopped by the marine supply store and bought a water pump kit, 'earmuffs' for cooling water, and a Seloc service book. They told me how to measure the boat to get a steering cable ordered. It came out 16.5', versus the approximately 17.5' end-to-end length of the original. (They said that's now how you measure them. Let's hope they're right, the cable is a nearly $200 item.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

I removed the hitch coupler and wire-brushed under it, then rattle-canned the front foot or so of the tongue with gray primer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The battery charger is freed from the new genset, I put the hitch coupler into the derusting bucket.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Derusting proceeding nicely. I rotated the coupler in the bucket to work on other parts of it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The boat place called, the new steering cable is here. Pick up tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More turning of the hitch coupler in the derusting bucket. The sacrificial anode has rotted away, I replaced it with a piece of barbed wire.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Picked up the steering cable. $200. It stowed much smaller than the old dead one, it came in a box that fit easily into the convertible's trunk. (I didn't open the box, I just threw it into the boat for later.)

Took the coupler out of the bucket, washed it, dried it, brushed it off, shot it with primer, and put it in the oven to dry.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Put a couple of coats of black paint on the coupler, using the oven to aid drying.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Got the coupler put back on the trailer and then moved the boat to its winter storage location. (All of about twenty feet away!) I lifted the tongue up high using the camper jack to improve drainage. I still need to make and install a prop stick under the tonneau cover.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Winter's pretty much over, and it's time to begin on the boat again. I was driving down the road and noticed that one of our neighbors had a pile of nasty-looking hay bales sitting outside. So I stopped and introduced myself, and gained permission to take any that I needed. Great! Now I've got a way to dump the boat off the trailer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring hath sprung, it was sunny and 65 °F today, most of the snow is gone. I went to the neighbor's place and got eight nasty hay bales. I tied the boat to one of the trees, released all the ties to the trailer, hitched it to the truck and pulled the trailer out from under the boat. I stopped several times to shove pairs of bales under the boat so it had a nice soft place to land. It came off pretty easily, considering.

With the trailer liberated I then took it over to the operating room and started disassembling it. It's going to need sixteen new rubber rollers and two new rubber bow bumpers, and some welding on the tie between the two rear cradles. And a prodigious amount of wire-brushing and paint. I had Daniel run around with the spray bottle of PB Blaster and hit all the rusty nuts. I got one of the four cradles off and taken apart, then I wire-brushed all the metal and primed it. This is going to be tedious! It was kind of surprising, but all the nuts came off. With much protest, yes, but off they came anyhow. I think all the hardware can be reused, except for the rubber bits and the cotter pins holding them on.

I then took off the rear cradle tie, the rust-damaged piece, and cleaned it off. I cut a couple of arcs of scrap exhaust pipe and used it to bridge the bad spot, which was hanging by a thread, so to speak. I hung the cradle tie back in place on the frame to make sure it didn't end up the wrong length after welding. The welding was uneventful, I had it set to pretty high power and it went on like a glue gun. The cross-tie itself was a piece of pipe, and it was welded low on the swing plates so that there were gaps at the bottom on both ends so that water couldn't be trapped inside. Still, enough had been in and out of there over the years to do a pretty serious job of rusting away the inside of the bottom of the pipe. Lots of flakes to dump out. The top part, however, was still plenty strong enough to do its job except at the one end that had rotted nearly away. Now fixed. Should last at least as long as last time, especially since I won't be putting the boat into salt water.

(The entire frame is made of square tubing that is open at both ends. There's really no place that can trap water, and it's so open that it dries fairly quickly, except that one cross-tie pipe. A good design, looks like to me. It's an EZ-Loader, made right here in Spokane.)

With the cradle tie structurally repaired I got a coat of primer on. I also got a coat or two of white Rustoleum on the parts of the cradle I'd primed earlier. I'm going to need lots more paint. I hate using rattle cans, but I'm just not prepared to do it better at this time. (I have a real paint gun, but the painting is going to be done in about 50,000 sessions, and cleaning it that many times would be a nightmare.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day two. I got most of the rest of the frame taken apart, and one fender removed. Lots of surface rust, especially low and to the rear, but nothing too bad. I was able to dump quite a lot of rust flakes out of the two big fore/aft tubes. (Booms, in EZ-Loader's nomenclature.) I did have one U-bolt break, so I'll have to get a new one of those. The wheels look pretty rusty, it may be that I need new wheels as well as tires, we'll see.

Out on errands I bought 8 cans of brown rust primer and 8 cans of red. (My son's choice, and it'll go well enough with the red truck and orange-topped boat.)

Once home, and with nap accomplished, I tackled it again. I got all the rest of it disassembled, breaking all four U-bolts holding on the leaf springs. I guess I'll need new ones. The bolts holding on one end of the leaf springs wouldn't come out, but I can probably work around that. I got out the wire brush and cleaned up the axle bar, which I then primed with the new brown primer and put on a coat of red. I painted the wheel hubs black. I stood the axle/hub combination up in one of the wheels, that way I could paint the entire bar red and not leave marks on it. (I'll touch up the black hub later.) I then painted the other already-primed pieces red, and painted over the little bit of white I'd already done. I think it will look nice, I'm planning to have the hitch, wheels, and hubs black, the frame red, and the fenders white.

It was quite warm out today, I think it hit 75 °F! A great day to work outside on the boat, for sure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I went to the EZ-Loader factory downtown and picked up repair parts: 16 new rollers, 2 new bow bumpers, a spring bushing kit, a new frame U-bolt, and a set of decals for the frame. $180. Unfortunately they no longer had the leaf spring U-bolts in the correct size, but they referred me to Pohl Spring, which is where they send anybody who needs that sort of thing. It was even right on the way back to work. (After I stopped at Dick's drive-in for a burger and a malt. I always like to stop at Dick's in the convertible, though having the top up on a rainy day ruins the effect a bit.)

Oh, and the EZ-Loader parts guy says the wheels are a Ford pattern, should I need a replacement. Or they can sell me wheels too.

Pohl Spring's flier says "Custom U-bolts while you wait". It's true. About 10 minutes after I'd dropped the rusty broken one on the counter and said "Four, about this much longer where the nuts broke off" they'd made four new bolts for me. $35, with nuts and washers. They're a fair amount longer than the old ones, with finer threads and longer nuts, but that shouldn't matter here. They were also considerably more expensive than stock ones would have been, but at this point that's not much of an issue.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

After work it was more-or-less dry, so I sprayed a second coat of red on the axle and a few other bits.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sprayed on another coat of red on things after work, it was dry and sunny (but cold). Second coats for them's that didn't have 'em yet, third wherever it looked thin. Just about used up the first can (of eight).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not much time, but it was sunny, windy, and cold out this morning. I wire-brushed the inside of one wheel and set up a derusting apparatus to take care of the parts down inside where the wire wheel wouldn't reach. Though rusty, I don't think the wheel was weakened significantly.

After work I washed out the derusted wheel. Looks good. I rinsed it and stood it up to dry. Paint next, work on its other side, and then on to the other wheel.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snow again. (Not much, just a skiff, but c'mon!) I wasn't feeling well and stayed in bed most of the day, but in the late afternoon it was fairly nice out. I managed to wire-brush out the one wheel again (after a de-rusting it should be blown dry, not left to dry on its own else the rust starts to form immediately), and used a bit of coarse sandpaper to get into the deeper parts. Then I shot on a coat of primer. A couple of hours later I got on one coat of black paint. Not much progress, but progress nonetheless!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another day pretty much like yesterday. Very picturesque, the snow falling intermittently all morning, and me in bed feeling miserable. In the late afternoon I put another coat of black paint on the wheel. Progress. Minuscule, to be sure, but progress.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another day, another snowfall. Not much accumulation, but the car windows are white, etc. I got the other side of the one wheel wire-brushed off. I scraped the crevices with a screwdriver to loosen the worst of the rust, blew it off, then sprayed on a coat of primer while trying to keep the snowflakes from landing on the prepared surface.

Daniel didn't appreciate getting biffed in the head with the snowball I made off the car while I was waiting for him to get out at school. (Umm, hurry up? This is why we wear winter coats in winter weather?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cold again, but at least no snow. Worked on the other wheel. (Master plan is to get the axle together and rolling again on new rubber, then slowly hang repaired/painted pieces back onto it until the final piece [the boat] goes on.) Got both sides brushed off and a coat of primer on. Had to use a radiant heater to get things warm enough for the paint to work, but that's life in Swinter for you.

...After work it was fairly nice, in the mid-40's, so I put a coat of black paint on this wheel and touched up the thin spots on the first one. Ran out of black paint doing it, too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I put the wheels in the truck to take to Les Schwab, today I plan to get the new tires.

...At lunch I picked up the wheels. $150 for a pair of radials. Though a bit more expensive than bias-ply (which sway less) they said they'd probably last longer. I asked the guy about the probable age of the old tires, and he was pretty sure they weren't original and thought they might be from '90. (Tire date codes aren't easily deciphered.) If so they were essentially unused, since the boat had been prepped in '90 or so for an extended family outing on the Sound but ultimately not actually taken on that trip. (License tabs expiring in '91, new tires, engine tinkered with, etc.) It's possible that their only actual road time was to deliver the boat here. Not much of a return on investment, if so! They were badly cracked in the sidewalls, no way I was comfortable keeping them on, though the tread was excellent.

I bought a can of black paint, too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I repaired the paint damage the wheels got during the tire replacement. (Chooka-chooka-chooka-chooka-PSSHHHHT!) I also wire-brushed and painted the lug bolt heads. (All this takes a lot longer to do than to say, naturally.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

I put the wheels back on the axle, then I touched up the scuffed paint and he-manned the whole thing (it looks like a giant barbell) back to where it belongs in the exploded pile of trailer parts. Looks kind of lonely sitting there all shiny in the middle of all the crap. I've got to get busy getting it some shiny friends!

Before I ran out of time I was able to get half of one of the two main cross-pieces wire-brushed. (It's the rear one, the one that also needs a bit of welding.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A nice big day ahead with nothing more pressing to do than work on the boat. I finished brushing off the other end of the rear cross-piece, and used a BFH and anvil to bend the fender mounting plate straight again. (It looks like it was bent by backing the fender into something.) Time to weld!

I found a 3" strip of thick sheet metal, the thicker of what I use for car body repairs. It's a little bit thinner than the tubing's material, but it's what I have and I think it'll be good enough. I clamped it over the bad section, square with the end of the tube. I then tack-welded it in place, then put a bead around the three sides. Where it hung over the edge on the fourth side I used the BFH to tap it down around the curve (of the 'square' tubing's profile) so that it covered the other bad face. (It hung over, it was plenty long enough.) I then clamped it down and tack-welded it in place, then ran two more beads down the edges to tie it to the tube. I used the grinder to cut off the excess, hammered the rough edge down to the tube, and ran a final bead over that. Done! I then used the grinder to clean up all the beads. It is nothing to be particularly proud of so far as nice welds go, but I think it will do the job and it doesn't look bad, either. Hey, it's a boat trailer!

After a final wire-brushing of the area I rattle-canned on a coat of primer and then went in for breakfast. (We're now into the second can of primer.)

After breakfast I removed the springs from the front cross-piece, wire-brushed them, and put them in a big plastic bucket to de-rust. (I had some trouble getting good electrical contact with them, but eventually I got them both drawing current.) I don't expect them to look good, I just want to get the worst of the chunks off of them before I paint them black. I then wire-brushed off the cross-piece and put a coat of primer on it. I got a second coat of primer on the rear cross-piece, and put on its first coat of red.

Both aluminum fenders have been damaged, one more than the other. I started with the lightly-damaged one and flattened out the bent parts of the rear panel on the anvil. I wire-brushed the rear panel and the main fender, then primed the fender. (Good-bye original EZ-Loader decals!) The rear panel had a tear in it, so I got out the Alumiweld rod and tried it out. (Essentially you're soldering with a zinc alloy. It worked OK, but I can see how the cleanliness they talk about is so important, as apparently is a clean stainless-steel brush. [Which I have but can't find.]) It didn't work real well, but at least it covered the tear. I used the grinder to tidy up the 'repair', then primed the rear panel. The fender and the rear panel got a first coat of white, whereupon I broke for lunch.

After lunch I put on more coats of paint, and turned the springs over in the derusting bucket. I gave them a wire-brushing (by hand) to loosen the crap, which is coming off nicely.

After another break (and a nap), there were more coats of paint for thems that needed 'em, and I swapped the springs end-for-end in the bucket (they stick out some so you can't do the whole thing at once). They're cleaning up nicely.

After dinner (out) I again turned the springs over in the bucket. I wasn't up to brushing them off first. That gets the last side, I think.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I pulled the springs out of the bucket and brushed them off (with the power brush this time). They looked pretty good, so I blew them off and put them in the oven to dry. (They didn't fit very well.) Then I primed them, and finally put on a coat of black paint.

I also put another coat of red on the two cross-pieces, on the sides that didn't show uniform color. (You can't put paint on all sides at once since it has to sit on something, so the number of coats per surface ends up more varied than I'd like—it's too easy to lose track.)

I then washed off the four new U-bolts and dried them, then put on a coat of primer and then black paint. Time for breakfast!

After breakfast I turned the springs and sprayed the bottoms.

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Spring! So I bolted them onto the axle. :-) I greased underneath each spring and under the U-bolts. I then got out the new spring bushing kits and hung the two cross-pieces on the spring ends. I greased the bushings thoroughly before installation. All this grease isn't for lubrication purposes, I'm hoping it'll help keep the rust down by excluding water. I then wire-brushed off the remainder of the one aluminum fender assembly and primed it. After that dried I was able to get about half of the first coat on before I ran out of white paint. Setting that aside to dry I wire-brushed about half of one of the booms. Before I eradicated the nice rust marks that showed where the U-bolts had clamped onto the boom I used the grinder to score more permanent marks. (The trailer is adjustable, and I want the balance to be as it was.)

...At lunch I came home bearing more white paint, and put on another coat. A bit windy, but still sunny and fairly warm. I hope the wind doesn't manage to blow dirt into the finish before it dries.

I also dumped out the derusting bucket, I'd found both the cats and the dog drinking out of it. Bleah! (It should be harmless enough, just water and washing soda, plus various iron and aluminum oxides.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I wire-brushed and primed a number of the bolts that are going to be reused. (That's tedious work.) I also somehow neglected to do the inside of the fender, so I brushed, primed, and painted it white too. I put the fender mount on, it shields the spring and holds the cross-ties in position. (No bolts holding it down, yet. They're in process.) This is all made much harder in the light rain we're getting.

...When I got home again I put some more paint on some scuffs the fender got when the wind blew it over. I also painted the heads of its mounting bolts.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I had a rough night, I ended up oversleeping and getting up too late to do much. I put a color coat on the primed bolts of yesterday. (It takes a day to dry, unlike the primer.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Brushed, primed, and painted more bolts. I'm having trouble figuring out just how this goes back together. I should have taken pictures! (It's the detail of the fender assemblies that's causing me grief.)

...After work I put a bit more paint on the bolts, and touched up (more) gouges in the fender paint.

I think I've figured out that there were two nuts on the spring bolts, one to hold the bolt and bushing in place, and another to hold on the fender metal. The extra nut explains why the fender metal isn't in plane with the support on the cross-piece, it's in plane with the first nut. I can do that!

Here's the obligatory bad ASCII art, looking down from above:

     |    |||            |||
**********|*|************|*|*** <-Bolt
     |    |||     ^      |||
     |          Bushing
           ^              ^
           +------------- Frame

The leaf spring wraps around the bushing. The fender metal (two thicknesses) is pinched between the two nuts, and not against the frame metal.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I think I finally figured out which bolts went where. It got simpler once I realized that the Grade 5 bolts would not have been used to hold on an aluminum fender! (I got some from one of the cradles mixed in with the main trailer bolts.) I put the right fender back together, and painted the scuffed bolt heads that hold it on. I found the bolts for the other side; now I remember that I broke one of them so I'll have to get a replacement. I brushed and painted the extra set of fender retention nuts, and the one good bolt (of two) for the other side.

Left with about an hour to spend, I wire-brushed the rest of the boom I'd started. I then got a coat of primer on three sides, and primed the one new boom U-bolt.

...At lunch I bought a new bolt. I also dropped by the thrift shop and bought two child-sized life jackets (the orange kind), and an adult life jacket (the ski type). And two sets of swim fins, one adult and one child. That stuff should come in handy on the water.

...After work I turned the boom over and put a coat of primer on the fourth side. It was warm and dried quickly, so I shot a coat of red on the three accessible sides. I also primed the new bolt and put white on its head, and put a coat of red on the new U-bolt. (Hmm, do I want red or black hardware?)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I turned the boom over to paint the fourth side, and got the second coat on the two still-accessible sides. I also tightened down the spring mounting bolts on the left side and painted the exposed parts red. Next, I brushed, primed, and painted white (one side) the other side's spring cover/spacer, it's really the lower part of the fender. (I'm not ready to do the fender on that side, but I need this piece in place to hold the cross-pieces apart.) I masked off its Bearing Buddy sticker rather than remove it, it still looked good and it's always nice to have the instructions around! I then welded the torn open bolt holes in the vertical tubing piece (at the bow). I think what happened is that the holes were too close to the bottom edge and got torn out, perhaps during original assembly, perhaps later, and the piece was turned around to use the other set of holes. Regardless of who actually did it, or when, it's long bothered me seeing those torn-open holes. So I hammered the lips back into place and welded them shut, then ground the profile down. This was purely a cosmetic move to eliminate a detail I found somehow offensive, but there you go. Since I was there I brushed it all off and primed it, then put on a coat of red. The work area is now covered with tacky slowly-drying painted pieces, time for breakfast!

Upon resumption I then turned the fender piece over and painted the back side. I also brushed, primed, and painted the two fender retention nuts. There's still too much tacky drying stuff laying around to do much more right now, the wire brush throws a lot of debris.

In the afternoon I put more red paint on the boom and the vertical, and put the fender panel in place so that it'll hold the cross-piece away from the tire. This also reduces buckling stress on the other fender panel.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I dug out the original high-resolution scan of the photo above and zoomed in on the vertical post. No, no second set of holes at the bottom. Obviously they got torn out in use, possibly from a 'hot' approach, and it was repaired by my dad by drilling a new set of holes farther from the edge on the other side and turning it over. I suppose I could have just asked him!

Anyway, once the dew had burned off I turned over the boom and put the second coat of red on the last side. I then installed the bolts holding on the fender piece and touched up the scuffs. Next I wire-brushed, primed, and painted the other U-bolt for the first boom, washers and all. I guess they're going to be red. I also touched up a few missed spots on the new U-bolt.

In the afternoon I borrowed an extra set of hands and set the boom in place. A U-bolt served to pin it down at the back with the nuts only on finger-tight. (So far, none of the nuts are on tight except the four spring bushings and the four lower fender bolts. I want to get the trailer largely together and in alignment before tightening down anything that could affect that, and the fenders need to be loose until the lights are finally dealt with.)

The positioning marks I scored into the boom seem to have been a Good Idea, no way I'd have been able to tell where the boom was pinned down before without them.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I brushed the other boom and primed three sides. (The boom got the same scoring with the grinder to mark where the U-bolts go.) I also put red paint on the primed U-bolt washers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I turned over the boom and primed the last side. Once dried I then put red paint on the three exposed sides. I wire-brushed its U-bolts, nuts, and washers, and primed and painted them too. As I'd gotten an early start today I went on to brush, prime, and paint the tongue mounting hardware. It all went well enough, except that once the paint was on and drying the wind came up and started blowing dust all over the place. Crap. We'll see how bad it is tonight when it's all dry enough to touch.

...After work I checked, and it appears that the dusting didn't do any harm. Good. I turned the boom over and put a coat of red on the fourth side, and put the second coat on the two still-exposed sides. The other pieces also got their second coats on their accessible sides.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I turned over the boom again and put the second coat on its first side. The other pieces also got second coats on their flip sides. I then moved on to the remaining fender and disassembled it. I hammered out the dents on the anvil, also using (naturally) the BFH and a large block of wood. Once the metal was no longer deformed I wire-brushed it all off then primed it, both sides. While that was drying I wire-brushed all eight bolts, washers, and nuts, then primed them. I then put coats of white on one side of the fender pieces.

About 40 minutes after I put on the last paint it started raining. I hope it had time to dry enough that no harm was done.

...At lunch I bought another can of white paint.

...After work I checked, and it seems that no real harm was done by the rain. I put a coat of white on the inside of the fender, and a second coat on the outside. The end panels only got their first coats on the insides.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I turned over the boom again and put the second coat on its last side. I lightly sanded the fender's end pieces where they got dirty in the rain and wind yesterday (they flipped over onto the wet concrete), and re-shot them with white. I put the first coat of white on the eight fender bolts. I then found six more loose frame bolts and brushed and primed them.

...After work I sanded off some wrinkles (cold-induced?) on the fender end panels and re-shot them. I also put a second coat on the fender bolts.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It was as very frosty morning, not at all good for paint-related activity. So I put the other boom in place on the frame and got out the derusting apparatus. I took the broken-off jack wheel, which is all steel and very rusty, and put it in the bucket. (I had to grind a clean place to clamp the negative terminal.) I think it can be welded back to the jack itself with a little care. Its ball-bearing race is still there. I put a recycling bin over the bucket to keep the animals from trying to drink the water.

After work I touched up a bit of paint on some of the fender bolts, and put a couple into the fender to hold it better in place. I checked the derusting bucket, it looks nasty! The rust is flaking off of the wheel, but there's a long way to go.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I put the now-dried white bolts into the fender to help pin it in place. (No tightening until I get the lights rigged.) I then put the tongue mounting hardware in place on the ends of the two booms and painted the three as-yet-unpainted mounting bolts red.

The derusting bucket was quite nasty when I looked, and once I pulled the wheel assembly out it was obvious that the electrode wasn't really shaped optimally for the purpose, but it did take off a lot of rust nonetheless. No longer patient, I tackled it with the BFH and anvil and managed to drive the axle bolt out. Taking the bolt to the bench grinder, I wire-brushed it off and then ground off the buggered threads on the end. I then re-threaded the bolt and its nut. Next I wire-brushed the wheel and its carrier. Came out decently. I reamed the axle hole with a drill bit. I spun-dry the wheel (which is two halves pressed together) against the bench grinder's wire brush, and it flung a lot of rusty water out of the seam. Once dried I primed it all. I did not prime the part where the carrier needs to weld back onto the post.

I put the jack post into the derusting bucket to try to clean up the area where it welds on and the open ball-bearing race, and the balls. We'll see if that does any good.

I then wire-brushed the jack crank assembly, and straightened its mounting ears with the BFH and anvil. It then got primed, and once that dried, painted with a coat of black. The wheel also got painted black. To brush this off I dug out a worn-out brush head that was actually in better shape than the one I took off! (It was worn down flush to the steel cup.) The 'new' brush had maybe 1/8" of bristle left. Plenty!

I then removed the hitch coupler from the tongue and wire-brushed this, the last piece of the trailer frame. During the brushing the Makita angle grinder, which has been broken for years and just barely holding together (and thus relegated to only wire-brushing duties) finally started to fling the brush end out of the gearbox. (Memo to self: never get another grinder with a plastic gearbox.) It would just stop turning, with the thing cocked at a wonky angle while making a gear whine. The heat from the bad bearing had started melting the plastic housing. I could push it back into place and get a bit more brushing done, but only if the workpiece was pinning the brush in place. I think it's just about time to get another grinder! (The impending death of the grinder is why I hadn't bought a new brush, I didn't want to invest even that much into it.) I want something better/stronger than the Harbor Freight cheapie that I'm now using for grinding.

Brushed off, the tongue piece got primed and then its first coat of red on the three accessible sides. After all this it seemed like a good time to come in for breakfast.

Around lunchtime I went out and bought a new grinder, a DeWalt. I liked the feel of it and it was the strongest one on sale at Home Despot, though it was also about the most expensive in its class: about $100, with tax. Metal gearbox, naturally. (In fact, even the cheapest one I saw, $10 on sale at Harbor Freight, had a metal gearbox. It was probably equivalent to the $30 Ryobi where I bought mine. Plastic gearboxes are now nowhere to be found, imagine that.) I wanted a really strong one that wouldn't bog down in use, the Harbor Freight (gift) grinder I have, for example, is quite puny, but works OK with a grinding wheel on it. The dead Makita was strong enough, but did tend to bog a bit more than I'd like. The Milwaukee on sale was also nice, and expensive, but was a little weaker than the DeWalt and I really didn't like the power switch. (The power switch on their big 7" grinder felt extremely nice.) I bought two new cup wheels and a regular wheel at Harbor Freight, as their prices for consumables like that were much less. I won't 'bill' the trailer for the grinder, it's been impending for years, but I will put a brush on the tab.

In the evening I turned the tongue over and painted the bottom side, and put a second coat on the two sides. The three bolts also got a second coat.

At dark it started raining, I hope the tongue had enough drying time that the water didn't ruin the paint job.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The tongue was fine. It was still wet from this morning's rain but I dried it off and turned it over, then put the second coat on the bottom. The three bolts also got their missed spots covered. The paint scuffs on the bottom of the jack assembly where it had sat on the burn barrel got touched up too.

I pulled the jack post out of the bucket, and while some rust was removed it was not as much as I'd hoped. (Bad electrical contact with the bearing guts, probably.) Good enough, though. I wire-brushed it all off with the new rig, which worked well. I then welded the wheel mount back onto the bearing race at the end of the post. It doesn't spin nearly as well as I'd hoped but it'll do, especially considering that it hasn't had the wheel on it for years and yet managed to get by. It'll at least look as it ought, even if it works no better than before. I ground and brushed the weld to a more presentable form, then primed the entire post, gear rack and all, and put on a coat of black. I then wire-brushed off its clamping plate (the mount), and primed and painted it. Its four long mounting bolts got the same treatment. They also got tapped with the BFH on the anvil to make them a bit straighter, they're overlong and their free ends have gotten tweaked somewhat over the years.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My one-month boativersary! Seems like I've been working on it forever, but it's only been one month. Raining today, hard to do too much with scraping and painting. I did get the tongue turned over and dried off (towel), and put on the second coat of paint on the last side. (The rain seems to have stopped for a bit.) I also touched up the scuffs on the jack post and the jack mounting plate, and got the aluminum under-tongue skid brushed off, primed, and partially painted. That's all the time I had.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I hung the tongue back on the trailer. That was a real PITA, the bolts can't all go through the holes unless you put it together in a particular order. I had to remove the front boom tie and one of the U-bolts in order to spread the booms apart enough to get it to go together. I dropped the tongue a few times, scuffing the paint on it as well. Lots of wiggling and prying. At least I got it back together. Then, while standing back admiring my handiwork, I happened to notice that the tongue had gotten turned over during all this and was upside down. Crap! So back apart it all came in order to repeat the process correctly. (OK, so it did go a little quicker the second time.) All the trailer bolts are still loose, but it's just about time to check the frame alignment and tighten them all up.

I touched up some of the chipped paint, including the jack post that had gotten knocked over in the scuffle. I also finished painting the skid. (Said skid is pretty much useless once the jack is mounted.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rain, rain, rain. (And cold too, we've even had to build a fire to heat the house again.) I put the skid on the tongue, greased the jack and installed it, and put the hitch coupler back on. I brushed and painted the end links of the chains where they attach to the trailer as they'd gotten rusty, then put them on too. All of a sudden it's starting to look a lot like a trailer again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not much time left today after repairing the damage the God-damned dog did to the car trailer's wiring, but I did get the bow post's mounting hardware brushed, primed, and painted. I'll probably need to put on another coat of paint tonight.

Around lunch time a former co-worker dropped by my work to chat, and to give me his now-unneeded boat ladder. (A $40 item, new! He has a custom-fit ladder now, or something like that.) That will come in handy for swimming, skiing, etc.

...After work today is a whole 'nother story when compared to yesterday. Hot enough that we've got all the doors open in the house. Anyway, I shot another coat of red on the post mounting hardware, and touched up some of the black on the hitch coupler and chains, and the jack.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I set the bow post in place using the now-painted hardware. I'm not sure exactly where it goes, I was unable to tell definitively where it had come from so I didn't mark it before painting. I'm sure I can get it close enough, though it might have to wait 'til the boat's back on before I can determine its final position.

I then started taking apart the winch assembly. I got all the straps free, and they and their mounting hardware brushed and primed, and the first coat of red on. I still have to remove the winch from its mounting plate, its bolts are very rusty. I put some PB Blaster on them.

Unfortunately I'm going to lose the entire weekend. We're going to visit relatives, taking the car trailer along to pick up a load of free firewood (hardwood). I guess the boat trailer'll keep! Clock's ticking, though, and it's slow going.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I turned the hardware over and put red on the other sides. I sprayed more PB Blaster on the winch mounting bolts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I got the winch partly taken apart and the mounting plate and reel brushed and primed. The plate got a first coat of red on one side, the mounting bolts are primed. I tried cleaning off the bow safety chain, but that's not easy. I had the bright idea to put it in a paint can with a bunch of sand and set that on the photographic roller, but there wasn't sufficient traction to spin it. I'll need to come up with another idea.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I got the rest of the winch disassembled, brushed, and primed. (Oddly, the crank gear doesn't seem to be able to come out, it looks like the winch body may have been formed around it.) I had to use the oven to dry things off, it's been raining since yesterday. I got the first coat of black on the winch hardware, and the first coat of red on the mounting plate.

After work I put black paint on the other sides of everything, and a second coat of red on the top of the mounting plate.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I put the winch pieces back into the oven to take off the dew, then put another coat of black on the top sides. I took the safety chain out of the sand bucket and did what I could to clean it up with the wire brush. I could rig or purchase a roller system, but I'm running out of time. It's not great, but after all it's just a ratty little piece of chain. It's easily replaced, though the game here is to try to restore as much of the trailer as possible, without replacements. I primed it.

To accelerate drying I left the winch pieces in the oven, and after an hour or so they were dry enough that I could turn them over and put paint on the back sides. I think I'll leave them in the oven all day to harden the paint, a winch's paint takes a beating in use. And I can put the winch in the oven; the rest of the trailer is a bit too large to fit!

...After work I checked the oven and the parts were dry. I touched up a few chipped spots on them and turned off the oven. Good enough, I think. Winch reassembly should begin tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I reassembled the winch, using wheel bearing grease for the axles and the ratchet. I then mounted it to the plate and touched up all the paint scuffing. I then put the first coat of black paint on the safety chain, and put it all back inside the oven.

...After work I put more paint on the safety chain.

...At bedtime the chain was quite dry and I couldn't see any missed spots, so I turned the oven off.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I tightened down the bow post and hung the winch assembly on it, safety chain and all. As there were no good marks on the frame I looked at the picture (above) to try to see where the bow post went. I got close, if it's off enough it can be adjusted later once the boat is back on. I found that I was one painted bolt short for putting the winch mount completely together, so I dug out the bolt and put the first coat of paint on it. I put on the new bow bumpers, and greased the joint where their support bar pivots. I then tightened down the bolts that hold the fore end of the booms and the tongue together, that was some hard work! I did a bit of paint touch-up where all the wrenching messed things up. It's starting to look good! Breakfast time.

Though the big parts of the rear cradle assembly were done, as was the cradle tie, the cradle's mounting hardware was not. I then brushed, primed, and painted all of it. Although the aluminum extrusions were particularly corroded, to the point where the rollers didn't really rock anymore, they cleaned up fine. The oven is really a help in hurrying the drying of the color coats, about an hour in there and it's dry enough to handle and put more paint on. It took until about lunchtime to get everything done and in the oven, though there are more coats of paint on the bolts to do.

...After lunch I turned over the bolts in the oven and did the other ends, and did the same to the aluminum extrusions.

...And a couple of hours later, another session just like the last. That should be it for this batch.

...At bedtime I turned off the oven.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I cleaned the paint off of the nylon 'glides' that the aluminum extrusions pivot on, what worked best was a box knife. I reassembled the first cradle and hung it on the trailer frame. I've been using grease to lube all the pivoting points. (The grease is from a vintage [60's?] tube of Quaker State LL [Long Life] chassis grease I got free at the recycling center. It says "Use in Red Gun" which I don't have, I hope it doesn't mind too much that I'm digging it out with a screwdriver.) There was a lot of paint chipping, unfortunately, but that's easily repaired. I again had to refer to the original high-resolution scan of the photo above in order to put the cradle tie back correctly. Once together I found that I'd neglected to remove the two broken-off cotter pins when it would have been easy, so I removed the two offending roller supports and took them to the anvil where the BFH and a nail set did the deed. More paint chipping. I got it all back together and rattle-canned the obvious chips, then broke for breakfast. All that's really left to do are the three other cradles and the wiring. Oh, and all the rollers.

...Breakfast ran long. In the afternoon I took apart the other rear cradle, which wasn't easy. (The rear cradles were quite rusty.) I had to use the smoke wrench to heat one of the nuts red-hot in order to get it off without breaking its U-bolt. That ruined the nut's nylon retainer, naturally, but I believe the threads are chewed enough that I won't need to worry about it working loose. I then brushed the structural member and primed it, then put on a coat of red on the exposed three sides. After that had dried some I hung it upside-down on the bolts of the cradle tie, whereupon I could put the first coat of red on the fourth side. Being able to hang that there like that will halve the time it takes to paint it. Three of the cotter pins holding on the rollers broke, and two of those couldn't be driven out with a punch and had to be drilled out. Rust! The roller supports then all got brushed, primed, and coats of red on their exposed three sides. They went into the oven for accelerated drying. The aluminum extrusions got the same treatment before I ran out of time. Still left to begin are the U-bolts and nuts, and the roller retaining washers. Still, it was good progress. Of the eight cans (each) of primer and red I am on the last ones. I'll probably need about two more of each to finish, possibly three.

...After we got back from dinner out at friends' I put another coat of paint on the structural member and put paint on the back sides of the items in the oven, which will remain on overnight. Things are moving along nicely.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I did some touching up of thin spots on the structural member. I also touched up the items in the oven a bit and let them dry more while I did other things. Namely, brushing off all the U-bolts and the roller retaining washers. I got all the hardware primed, and even cleaned the paint off of the two nylon glides. (They are unfortunatly quite cracked, but will probably be OK nonetheless.) I then removed the now-dry items from the oven, put the first coat of red on all the hardware, and put it in the oven to dry. I then brushed the rust off of the fastener ends of the next (third) cradle and sprayed them all with PB Blaster, and broke for breakfast.

Jill went shopping today, so I had her pick up three more cans of each type of paint. I figure I'll need at least two, and there's no sense in running out. (I can always use primer, and I want some red around for touch-up duty.) Anyway, when I got back to it I turned over and put red on the back sides of the oven residents. I then took apart the third cradle and brushed and primed everything, starting with the structural member. Less rusty than the rear, it all came apart easily, even the cotter pins. (The lack of rust did mean that the old paint was much harder to remove.) Once the structural member was dry I put the first coat of red on its three accessible sides. By the time that was all done the stuff in the oven was dry, so I removed it to make room for the next batch. I then put red on the accessible halves of all the hardware and put it in the oven. (One amusing thing that happened was that one of the small primed U-bolts leaped out of my fingers into the dirt. When I went to look I couldn't find one of the nuts. I looked for awhile, then it occurred to me to look in the fingertips of my ratty gloves. Yep, that's where it was hiding. Very clever, my little hexagonal friend, but not clever enough!)

...It was too late to do more when I freed up before bedtime, so all I did was turn off the oven. I don't believe that will extend the process any as it's paced by the drying of the structural member: no way I'm going to take apart my pattern (fourth) cradle before the third cradle is back together. (The front and rear cradles are different in how they attach to the booms.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another coat of paint on the third cradle's oven pieces, and its structural member. I put the second cradle together, and touched up various paint scuffs. I brushed and primed the third cradle's roller retaining washers, and painted one side. I put one of the intact cotter pins into the car, let's see if I can find more in that size. I unplugged the oven before I went to work.

...After work I stopped by Harbor Freight and bought a cotter pin assortment. It looks like the originals are 3/16×1", which are $0.19 each at the hardware store. The right-diameter ones in the HF assortment are too long, but they'll cut down, I guess. It was the same price for a pack of 100 in three sizes, versus $0.19×16 at the hardware store. (I can always use the extras for something else later.) At home I touched up the light and chipped spots on the items in the oven, and turned it back on.

...At bedtime I turned off the oven.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I hung the third cradle's structural member onto the boom, over the scratch mark, and greased its pivot. Once in place I could put the last coat of paint on its top side, as well as touch up the scuffed paint due to the wrenches. I then moved on to disassemble the fourth cradle. I wire-brushed the structural member and got it primed. (That's very slow, due to the fact that there wasn't much rust towards the front of the trailer and the old paint was gripping pretty well.) I also brushed and primed the two mounting plates and their bolts. They all got their first coats of red.

...After work I put on a second coat of red, and moved the items into the garage out of the threatening weather.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Looks like rain. I put another coat of red on the last cradle's structural member and its mounting hardware. I brushed off the remaining hardware, primed it, and put on the first coat of red. All the hardware is in the oven drying. I managed to catch the side of my knee with the wire brush, hard this time, even tearing my polyester pants open. A bit of skin went, too. A blood sacrifice is always a good omen for a project, right?

...After work I put red on the other side of the items in the oven, and turned over the structural member and gave it its last (?) coat of paint. Very threatening weather, but it'll probably be fine.

...At bedtime I turned off the oven. It didn't appear to rain after all.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I hung the last cradle's structural member onto the boom over its scratch mark, greased the pivot, and touched up the scuffed paint.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A beautiful morning, indeed. I put the hardware back on the two front cradles and touched up the scuffed paint. As before, I greased all the pivot points. Breakfast time.

I then moved on to the rollers. The new cotter pins were cut to a better length (using fence pliers) then primed and painted. I used the oven to accelerate drying of the paint. I then tightened up the remaining frame hardware and touched up the scuffed paint. I had a look at the light kit I'd bought, and it's really not suitable for boat trailer use. Its rear lights aren't waterproof at all, I'm going to have to think about this. The original lights aren't in very good shape, nor do they match each other. The cheap Harbor Freight boat trailer lights are ugly! Perhaps Big R has something suitable? One of the RV or boat places ought to, but it won't be as inexpensive as the HF stuff. Oh well, lunch (and nap!) time.

...I greased the roller hubs before I put the rollers on. The new cotter pins went in easily, and weren't too loose. All of a sudden it looks done! (But it's not, unfortunately.)

I then looked at the winch cable, which was very dry and twisted up. Though it was mashed and deformed in a couple of places it wasn't fraying and looked perfectly usable. Badly in need of lubrication, though. Rather than waste good oil on it I rolled it up tightly and put it in the oil drain funnel, then dumped the drain pan over it while filling the empty Delo jugs. (My normal destination for used oil.) Though used motor oil is smelly and dirty it's plenty oily enough to do the job of lubricating the cable strands, and the price is right. I wiped the cable down with a rag as I rolled it back into the winch. I had Daniel hold on to the end to keep it out of the dirt and off the trailer. I put the rag under the coil to catch the drips. I then policed the area so that it'd look nicer (more done) when Jill got home.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It rained in the night, but that made the trailer look all nice and shiny so I went out and took a few pictures. Otherwise I took the day off, boat-trailer-wise.

Monday, June 2, 2008

At lunchtime I bought a set of submersible trailer lights today at White Elephant. (Actually, Elephant Boys, their boating supply offshoot/subsidiary that's hiding out back.) $30. I could have had just the lights alone for $20, but I sprang for the full kit. That way, with the help of the HF set, I'll be sure to have enough wire.

They said that a Mercury 90 HP 2-stroke outboard could be had from them at around the $6,000 mark, at least for the next two weeks. Bigger, or 4-stroke, is much more. Ouch. Just checking...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lights. Feh. The new light kit is even less sealed than the other one! I suppose that it has better drainage or something... Anyway, I'm using it, so I opened up one of the lights and thoroughly greased the lamps and contacts. (If they're gonna get wet at least the electrical contacts will be somewhat protected from the water.) I laid out the wire harness, and it's definitely too short. I'll probably end up using the wire kit from the HF light set too, and the old wire from original lighting. (I want to run ground wires to all the lamps, I just don't like frame grounding that much, especially with new paint everywhere. I'll use the old wire for that.) I then ground the rivets off the two forward-facing marker lights and brushed and painted (white) the mounting brackets, and got them hung in the oven to dry. The tongue marker lights are OK, and will get the same refurbishment. The old rear side markers were pretty much totally destroyed, but they won't be necessary because the new tail lamps have built-in side markers. Not quite original appearance, but close enough!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I used the fish tape to pull the new wiring through the trailer frame. I decided to use the old wire as an auxiliary ground, so I peeled one side in half and strung it halfway too. (I'll need the other half of the old wiring, unsplit, for marker light wiring, and for some extensions because the new wire isn't quite long enough.) I did some more clean-up of the one marker light, and greased its light bulb. I painted some screws that I'll use to replace the rivets I removed from the marker lights.

Friday, June 6, 2008

More work with the fish tape, this time for the auxiliary ground wires. I strung the wire for one of the forward-facing marker lights, and got it connected to the light. The light is also screwed to its mounting bracket, though the bracket's not attached because the fender is partly off.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rain. I rested most of the day, sort of waiting for the rain to stop, but it didn't. I put up the 'new' (liquidation!) picnic canopy so that it would be a little less unpleasant. It helped. Anyway, I got the right side fender area wired and put back together. I had to put on a foot or two of extension wire onto the through-the-frame wires, there was plenty of the original wiring left to do this with. I soldered and taped all the connections. I curled a piece of 12-gauge bare copper wire around the ground bolt of the taillight and flattened the loop into a washer shape so that it wouldn't work loose. I soldered the auxiliary ground wires to it. I also used similar loops of wire around other bolts in the area as wire ties to tidy up the area and keep the wires away from the tire, as things are close in there. It doesn't look too bad, all together. I still need to touch up the paint scuffed by the wrenches, but that has to wait until things are dry.

I then moved over to the other side, for which I didn't do much. What I did do was to take apart the tongue marker lights, brush the rust off the hardware, prime, and paint them. (First coat of red.) The parts went into the oven to dry. The light was going, so I called it good.

... At bedtime I put on the second coat. The oven continues to work well for that.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The other forward-facing marker light wasn't even started yet, so I took it apart and cleaned it out. Oddly, the lamp was broken, the glass bulb had come off its metal base. Takes a lot of shock to do that, usually, but there was otherwise no damage to the light. It was actually in better shape inside than the other one, for whatever that's worth. The junk box yielded a GE #57, which was the exact fit. I greased it up and installed it. As on the other side I used copper wire as a ground pick-up on the tail lamp, and for wire ties. A foot or two of extension wire was required to reach the light. It went together uneventfully. It was very cold out, so I then came in for breakfast. I'm close to done! I have to put on the tongue marker lights, the plug for the truck (if I can find it), and touch up the paint.

After lunch I went back at it. I got the tongue lights assembled and mounted, with grease, and tied into the wires that ran right by them. All soldered and taped, no Scotch-lok's for me! They got auxiliary ground wires attached to their mounting points. I then wired the grounds at the hitch to a copper ring that I made out of solid wire (as before). I managed to find the seven-wire RV plug I'd bought for it and got it strung on the wire. The four-connection flat plug that was part of the kit will be permanently together, so I greased those connections before I put it together. I left the final attaching of the wires to the RV plug until I have the truck there to test with. While cleaning up the tools I used the white rattle-can to touch up some of the scuffed paint, I'll have to do the rest with a brush if I don't want to make a mess. I used the battery charger to test all the lights. They worked.

Done? (! Well, almost. Done enough to call it that, I guess. Still needs the plug connected, the final paint touch-up, and the license plate.) I've worked on this trailer for about 55 days, at least one hour each and probably more like two. 110 hours total? A good-enough guess.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I moved the newly-freed truck over to the boat trailer and got the electrical plug wired correctly. Even with the trailer mechanically unconnected all the lights worked fine, there was only the very slightest dimming of its parking lights when a flasher was going. I then got out the Chevy truck (better visibility and maneuverability) and hooked the trailer to it and backed it up to the boat. I then unwound the winch cable and hooked it up, but that wasn't a good way to pull it onto the trailer. (Too much tension, no sign of motion.) Instead, I just pushed the trailer under the boat, it rode right up on the rollers. I got out and slid out all but the last two hay bales, then started backing again. Once the whole boat started skidding backwards I then stopped and used the winch to pull it the rest of the way into place. Slick. I then parked the boat so that it would drain better, with its motor hanging over the parking pad. Ready for the operation, doctor!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now where did I put that engine book and water pump kit?... I hopped into the boat and found a sack with the water pump and 'earmuffs' in it, but the book (thankfully) was not there. It was pretty damp inside there, and books don't really like that sort of thing. I flipped up the rear curtain and pulled the gas tank out, exposing a huge puddle several inches deep. The drain hole was clogged with paint flakes, mud, and sticks. I mucked it out and got the hole draining again, which was a relief. There is a remnant of the orange nubbly vinyl flooring under the fuel tank, I guess they missed that spot. Doesn't bother me any! The gas filler hose for the tank is ruined, you can see through it to the floor of the boat when looking into the fill port, and the tank itself supposedly needs coating. It certainly needs a paint job on the outside. We may or may not have this tank usable in time for our event, but we've got two boat cans that will get us by if need be. (We'd have them along in any event.) I probably need all new fuel lines, primer bulb, etc.

The propeller is a a bit dinged, but not too badly. I was able to turn the engine over by hand using it so it's not seized, which is a tremendous relief.

Still no sign of the engine book.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Looked all morning for the engine book. This is extremely frustrating, am I going to have to purchase that wretched book again? You know what will happen if I do. But I don't have any time to waste, I need to get on with this.

...Sigh. Bought another book. Another $32 wasted. A quick scan through in the evening showed that there's a lot to worry about!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spent the morning reading the engine book. Do I really want to do this? I removed the canvas from the boat, it's time to open it up, air it out, and clean it up. I got the boat unhitched from the truck so I could lower the tongue to the ground. That made enough room to slip the oil drain pan under the motor and drain the gearbox. I notice from the roller marks on the hull that the boat's sitting back too far, I'll need to adjust the bow post. This is backed up by the fact that there was only maybe 20# tongue weight. I removed the engine cowling and looked over everything. Other than one embryonic wasp nest things looked pretty good. I used two BFH's to tap the chewed edges of the propeller into line. Gently.

When I drained the gearbox a lot of clear water came out too! Obviously not mixed with the oil, so it's rain and/or condensate, but still not a good sign. I checked, and I don't have any more gear lube, so I'll need to get some more. (I do have plenty of oil for the fuel mix.) The instructions say to first remove the prop before removing the lower unit, but it appears to be seized. I tried a bearing puller wrapped around the hub with a 2-jaw puller on that, along with a rubber mallet applied at the root of the blades to encourage movement. Nada. The instructions say that the only way to remove a seized propeller is to burn the rubber clutch/hub out from the prop with a torch, but I'm not quite ready to do that. I was able to get the lower unit removed anyway. (Thus exposing the water pump.) The driveshaft is surprisingly rusty. Time for lunch.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I mashed the wasps under the glovebox and removed their nests. Ugh.

I loosened the bow post and moved it forward about the amount that the boat needed to move, then tightened it back down and winched the boat to the bumpers again. The rollers then landed in the marks, so I touched up the scuffed paint on the bow hardware and called it good. The tongue weight is now much greater, I couldn't lift the tongue by hand anymore. That will be good for towing.

I then got out the steering cable, which appears to have come with a new hub. Do I need that? Anyway, I got it threaded out the rear towards the motor, greased it, and pushed it through the motor's receptacle tube. Oops! A great gob of rust crunched out, obviously this was not ready to do yet. I pulled the new cable back out and went and got the old ruined cable. I used the cutoff saw to remove its end and then started a long round of pushing it back and forth through the tube. I used brake cleaner to clean out the new grease. I then used a round file to remove as much of the rust from the ends as I could, then rubbed the old end in dirt and used it as a hone to clean out the tube. I repeated the above steps a lot, until the old cable end would go through smoothly without binding. I pushed a clean brake cleaner-soaked cloth through until it came out fairly clean. It's not perfect, but I think it's good enough. I then cleaned and greased the new cable and put it through, then attached it with its mounting hardware. The motor still pivots easily, even though the new steering cable is connected. (Not at the wheel end, yet.) Looks good.

...At lunch I bought the recommended three tubes of gear lube and a couple of vent/fill screw seals. $16. I asked the guy about the seized prop, and he said that he just uses regular grease, regularly, and that if siezed he'd just put the blade roots on some pieces of wood, put the nut back on flush, and wail on it with the BFH. OK, I can do that! I dropped the supplies off at home, since I was going home anyway to charge the AC in Ethelred during the heat of the day.

...After work I got out two firewood rounds and got the propeller propped up on them, put on the nut, and used the hammer as directed. Whaddya know, it started to come off! I got it out far enough to put a 3-jaw puller on, then walked it off the rest of the way with that. The nut still worked afterwards! The splines were very dry and sticky with some white stuff, no wonder it was stuck. I'll be able to clean it up though. When the lower unit was stood up some more dollops of water came out the drain hole, along with some oil, I don't think it's completely dry yet inside. I'll leave it open and vertical for a day or so, the sun should do a nice job on it. The propeller has a few chew marks on the hub where the bearing puller I'd tried first bit into it, but those will file down easily.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I installed the other end of the steering cable. The new one, as feared, was a bit long, but nothing unmanageable. It drapes along the floor rather than being tucked up under the rail, and that consumes some excess length. And I did need the new steering hub as the new cable wouldn't mate to the old box, even though the cable's center would mate to the drive. (They changed from a big retaining nut like at the engine end to a pin bolt.) The new steering hub is straight rather than angled where the mounting bracket and bezel meet the bulkhead, but I guess we can live with that. I had to put two new screw holes in the bulkhead for the new bezel, the new mounting bracket fit the old bracket's holes. (I used a hand drill for the new holes, I kind of like using old hand drills.) At least the old steering wheel mated up. The old bracket wouldn't quite mate to the new hub, if it had I could have retained the angled mounting and bezel of the original installation.

The steering feels a bit stiff to me, but is functional.

...After work I took apart the water pump housing. Four bolts. The housing was filled with golden sand. The impeller, though, still was 'live' and would probably have been good enough to use. The flaps were bent over in varying directions, which was a bit odd. I couldn't get the impeller to slide off the rusty driveshaft, so I got out the wire brush and got rid of the accessible rust. (There was a lot.) I soaked the impeller hub with PB Blaster. The book, again, seems to have disappeared. Wonderful!

...No, there it is: hiding under some crap on the kitchen table. Looking over the section on the water pump they say that if you can't get the impeller off you should cut it off with a chisel. OK, will do. Also, the mystery rubber thing that fell out when I removed the lower unit is the remains of the 'slinger', a thick rubber ring that slips over the drive shaft just above the water pump. Whether it's intended to sling off downwards-traveling oil or upwards-traveling water is not explained. Regardless, I'll need a new one of those.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chisel time! That's scary, and it didn't go smoothly. The metal core of the impeller is hefty. But I eventually got it split in two places enough that it popped loose and I could slip it off the shaft. I used the wire brush to clean the rust off that part of the shaft, and a file to smooth down the chisel bites. I then washed down the drive shaft with brake cleaner and primed and painted it gloss black. Let's hope that was a good idea. I plan to grease the shaft after the paint is well dried.

The impeller kit comes with a new water pump housing and a bunch of gaskets, including things I don't really recognize as being needed. A bit worrisome. I think I'm going to leave the water pump base alone. There's gaskets under it, but also shaft oil seals that I know I don't have. It's also got some critical bearing shims that I don't want to play with. Now that this has been apart once I think it'll be safe enough to just run it this way and see if there are any leaks. (Water in or oil out.) If it needs to come apart again (farther) I can do it later. The impeller kit came with a new slinger, so I'm OK there. I need to get some engine paint. They sell cans of it that are a perfect match. Today?

...At lunch time I bought a can of official Phantom Black spray paint. $8. I'll probably need another one before I'm done, but we'll see.

...When I got home I found that the #$@$* dog had nabbed the water pump kit from the boat's transom and had taken it into the yard and chewed it open. It looks like the only damage was to the blister pack, and nothing seems to be missing. I rubbed her nose in it and yelled, then beat her snout with it. (As per usual, and it doesn't really seem to work.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This morning I found that the stinking dog had taken one of the old trailer lights into the yard. I beat her with that, too.

I filed the gouges on the hub of the propeller and painted it, and brushed and painted the corrosion starting on the top face of the lower unit. (I found that the paint dries very quickly.) I removed the corroding rear cowl support from the motor and brushed and painted it. I also brushed and painted some of the corrosion starting on the top of the head, but I couldn't reach the bottom part. I started to remove the lower cowl. (Or at least tried to.) I'm not sure if the lower cowl can come off, or whether you must first pull the powerhead off in order to remove it. Perhaps I can loosen it enough to access the corrosion I want to tackle without fully disassembling it, I really don't want to get that deep into it unless it's absolutely required. Some of the lower cowl grounding strap screws are corroded to the point that they need to be replaced. One had to be taken out with the vise grips.

...After work I removed the rest of the powerhead retaining bolts, but I was unable to get it to budge. Discretion being the better part of valor, rather than risk damaging anything I just pulled the lower cowl aside enough to snake the (hand) wire brush down in there. I brushed and picked at the loose paint and corrosion around the bottom of the motor until it looked fairly good, then I sprayed paint down in there. Good enough, I guess. I touched up various other paint chips and such. I need to wipe down the whole outside of the motor and dust it with paint. That'll really help its appearance.

Friday, June 20, 2008

In the sun the old water pump impeller core looked like brass so I checked it with a magnet: brass. Still was pretty hard to split with the chisel! Anyway, I installed the new water pump. I had to clean off the gasket face where paint had gotten onto it. I also washed out all the grit, and picked out what crud I could get out of the various crevices. I had three gaskets left over, at least one of them was for underneath the base, which I did not remove. I greased the shaft where the impeller went, per the instructions, and greased the drive 'pin'. The housing got greased as well, then I rotated the drive shaft clockwise (per instructions) as I put the housing on. It was very stiff, but went on. It was apparent that there's no way for the fins to go into the housing in varying directions (as the old impeller's were) unless you assembled it wrong. I'm guessing the last impeller was put in by working the housing back and forth rather than by rotating the shaft in only one direction during assembly. Anyway, it is on now.

It is also apparent that there is no real water seal at the drive shaft, and the role of the 'slinger' is very important to divert the water away from the powerhead. The new slinger is on. There was also no O-ring at the top of the driveshaft when I took it apart, but the book shows one, there's a rust mark on the shaft corresponding to its location, and I got one in the kit. So I put it on. I then touched up a chipped bit of black paint on the shaft. I'll wait to grease it until it's time to put it back together.

Next I tackled the tattletale. A mud dauber or some such had built a nest up inside there and it was completely clogged. I was able to remove the fitting from the lower cowl, then I could pick out the crud. I had to use compressed air to clear out the rubber hose, a screwdriver wouldn't loosen it enough. That pipe was really clogged, but now air (and presumably water) can be blown through freely. The clog didn't reach to the fitting at the motor head, so things in there should be good.

I then used the tap and die set to clean up the threads on the lower cowl mount. They were very corroded and had come apart only with difficulty. I think they'll be just fine now, though I'm going to reassemble with anti-sieze compound. The threads of the bolts were particularly clogged with aluminum. I'm going to try to get new self-tapping screws today for the tattletale fitting and the four ground straps. The old ones are pretty rusty, especially on their heads. (One can't be driven with the screwdriver anymore.)

...At lunch I bought a small bag of stainless-steel sheet metal screws, in two sizes in case of reamage, and a little tub of anti-seize compound. $10.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I tried to disassemble the reverse lock, but it is too rusted together to remove the hinge pin. I guess it would need to be cut out and a new pin provided, and I'm not willing to go that far. I was able to remove its linkage and grease the pivot, and to wire-brush the rust off of its operating surfaces. I then cleaned it up and painted it. I should be able to finish greasing and reassembling it next session, and perhaps get the lower unit reinstalled.

I couldn't find the travel lock, so it looks like the 2×4 will continue to serve. I did find one broken-off end, but the main part of it (which I know I've seen and had thought was in the glove box) is missing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I got the reverse lock rod pulled out, cleaned, and painted. (There's a rubber plug at the bottom that can slip out, and once it's removed things loosen up quite a bit.) Once it dried I put it back together with fresh grease, the reverse tilt lock now works smoothly. I got the exhaust gasket pieces cleaned and back in place, and I scraped and painted the exhaust tube where it mates with the rubber gasket. I next had a close look at the water tube and figured out that the old housing's gasket was still stuck on there, so I got it pulled off. Once it was off the old guide tube fell out, which explains where/how it is used. (I got a new one with the kit.) A trial fit of the lower unit shows that the O-ring on the drive shaft doesn't seem to have a place there, it won't stay in place at the top and gets pushed down the shaft towards the slinger. I suppose I'll leave it off, there was no sign of one when I took it apart. I then propped up the lower unit and filled it with gear oil. As recommended: from the bottom. What a mess! I poured the remains of two tubes into the third, it's fairly full after the consolidation. I re-used the existing screw gaskets, they actually looked fine once I'd cleaned things off. (Getting them out looked to be awkward, anyway.) I should next be able to reinstall the lower unit, the difficult part is going to be getting the gearshift mated right. (The book's confusing on this procedure.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

I cleaned and greased everything on the lower unit that needed it: the exhaust flange, water pump tube, reverse cam, and driveline (its entire length, for rust-proofing). I used a tap and die to chase the threads on the mounting nuts and bolts. The instructions were unclear about just how to phase the gear shift for installation, so I guessed and installed it while in reverse. (The tilt lock cam had a pretty definite final position for reverse.) Once together it seemed to work, it shifted into all three gear positions with the prop shaft behaving correctly in each, with the tilt lock actuated in both Neutral and Reverse. (I think this is right.) I then cleaned off the motor (below the powerhead) with Simple Green and water, and dried it. Then I rattle-canned everything. This paint dries quickly, I got on a couple of coats, three in places where the paint had chipped off. It looks a lot better!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tick tock, I have got to get on with this! I cleaned off the propeller shaft, using brake cleaner, a screwdriver, and a wire brush. It shined up very nicely, there was no sign of corrosion. Stainless steel? I then cleaned out the propeller hub as best I could, along with the goo there was a fair amount of aluminum corrosion in the splines. A narrow screwdriver scraped out almost all of it, to the point where it would actually slip over the shaft pretty easily. I then painted the shaft and the hub with the Permatex anti-corrosion gunk, and installed the propeller. Next I cleaned out the recesses where the powerhead attachment bolts are and painted them. I then cleaned and put back the eight mounting nuts on the studs. It was starting to get hot outside, time for breakfast.

I then moved on to the corroded cowl grounding straps and screws. The new SS screws worked just fine, I ground the points off of them and they went right in. While putting them back on I managed to break one of the corroded and weakened ground straps. When I tried to remove it from under its (nearly inaccessible) head bolt the bolt's head broke off! Oh crap. This is the worst one to get at too, it's in the corner, at the bottom of #4. I can see that there's a lot of corrosion around the bolt's shank, locking it in place. That one captive nut at the rear may not even be able to come out without disassembling the engine, the casting bulges out right there. I think I'm going to just have to run without it, even though the thought makes me sick. There's another bolt only an inch away. If it starts to leak I'll probably have to take it in for commercial repair. That will be expensive, I'm sure.

I tried to loosen the cowl again in order to get at that head bolt, and got the throttle linkage unhooked. The cable, at least, is very free, the stiffness is all in the distributor. I got out the grease gun and hit the two zerks on the distributor body, and it started to loosen up. A shot of PB loosened the throttle (as opposed to the gummy advance) mechanism, so it's all working about as smoothly as it's going to. I put the throttle mechanism back together. While I was there I found some more engine-block corrosion and brushed and painted it.

Anyway, besides that little side-track I found that another one of the ground strap screw heads was rusted and frozen, and this time the vise-grips didn't do the trick. I ended up grinding and drilling in an effort to get it out. Eventually the head broke off, so I drilled out the body and re-tapped it with one of the better self-tapping screws. (The left-hand drill and the extractor were useless.) Then one of the new SS screws went right in, after I painted the slight damage to the casting. That all took a couple of hours. After all this mostly-depressing activity I broke for lunch.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

So, this bolt thing is really bothering me. I looked at it again with an eye towards getting the broken bolt out, but yesterday's debacle with the grounding screw has put me off. So instead I put the motor back together. I washed and dried the cowlings, and masked off the decals. Then I painted them. Looks somewhat better, though naturally not as smooth as the original factory paint. That just about ran me out of paint. I also masked the transom and finished scraping and painting the motor mount where it bolts through the transom. I put the cowling on, even though I'll need to take it back off right away. At least it'll look good for a bit. The foam sound insulation inside the cowl is completely falling apart and out. It's a total mess, pieces and dust everywhere, and needs replacement. I wonder if I can even get a replacement?

I then removed the quick-disconnect fuel fitting, the one with the rusted BB valve. I rigged it in a vise sitting on a metal pin such that the clean side of the BB had contact with the pin. I then got a nail and slipped a piece of plastic tubing over it so that it would insulate it from the fitting sides, then clamped vise-grips on it to keep it from dropping all the way into the fitting, and rigged the vise such that everything would hold in position. I then put in a bit of water with a pinch of washing soda, and hooked up the battery charger to the pin and the nail. Time for breakfast, we'll see if the derusting trick works here. In the worst case I just need a new fitting, which I would have needed anyway. (They're about $10, nothing to break the bank but money that I don't want to spend unless I have to. The rusty BB still seals, but I want to clean it up.) It is apparent that this fuel line is not the original, and in fact looks just like what I can get at the shop now. It was probably new in '91 or whatever, not that old really. Just neglected.

...Well, this derusting process has again worked miracles. When I got back to it the whole area was covered in rusty residue, and the water had 'boiled' out and stopped the current. The sacrificial anode nail was a mess (naturally). When I scrubbed out the fitting with a brush the BB was now shiny, and the rust was all just gunk to wash off. (99% from the sacrifice, 1% from the BB.) I washed it out, then hosed it down with WD-40 and put it in the sun to dry.

I checked the controls, and in the hot sun and with the re-greasing the motor controls now work smoothly, though the steering cable is stiffer than I would like.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I pulled out the built-in 18-gallon gas tank. It had some exterior rust, nothing too bad, and the interior, though very oily, seemed clean. I rinsed it out with gasoline, and found no chunks of rust, etc. I started wire-brushing it off prior to painting. Then I found the hole. A screwdriver went right through! It's where it rested on the 2×4 for support, naturally. Oh crap.

I've heard about this trick and always wondered if it worked. I got out the riding lawn mower and wedged the (ruined) fill hose from the tank into the exhaust grille, such that lots came through the hose. I'd already removed the gauge sender, so when I hooked the hose to the tank I got a lot of exhaust puffing out all four holes. (The sender, vent, pickup, and Hole.) I taped over the big sender hole, and left the mower on a fast idle while I got out the welder, exhaust puffing out of all the holes. I cut a strip of new steel sufficient to cover The Hole and some suspect area near it.

Party time! I clamped the steel in place and tack-welded it. As I welded down the one (outside) edge I started to get a lot of smokey-looking fumes blowing out of the area. This might have been vaporized oil and gasoline coming out of the tank through the Hole and around the steel patch, or it might have been vaporized zinc. Or both. Once I saw them I'd stop until the fumes subsided. As I went around the outside I could see fumes blow out some of the already-accomplished welds, so I periodically stopped and ground off the bead and re-welded it. (As I'd already learned doing the Unimog fuel tank once upon a time, this is crucial to getting a good seal.) Eventually I had a bead all the way around it that didn't 'leak' fumes. I ground it down and touched up any poor-looking spots, then finished the grind, followed by a wire brushing. All this time the mower was putt-putting away, and the rubber filler hose was getting rather hot.

I sluiced water over the repair and didn't see any bubbles, so I wire-brushed it again to dry it off. I then set the tank in the sun to finish drying and put away the mower. Then I rattle-canned primer on the brushed end of the tank. Success? It appears so. At least I didn't die. Welding on a gas tank is rather scary. I'm sure the heat has damaged the galvanization inside the tank in the area and that it won't last as long as it did before, but it was unusable before and now it's not, so we'll see how it goes.

I threw the then-cooled filler hose into the trunk of the car and picked up the tools, then went in for breakfast. I'm going to keep that ratty piece of hose around for similar jobs in the future.

...At lunch I stopped by House of Hose and bought a replacement fuel filler hose. $21.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I brushed off the rest of the fuel tank, primed, and painted it. (Brake cleaner was also required to clean off near the fittings, they were very oily.) I used the extra red rattle can from the trailer job. (A first coat of red on what was accessible, at least.) I then removed the rusted-away tank clamps from the 2×4 supports under the tank and replaced them with suitable pieces of scrap steel. (Galvanized flashing folded over to double its thickness.) These aren't as strong as the original, but I don't think they need to be: the wood they're screwed to is pretty weak. In fact, I think I may need to replace it too, we'll see.

I measured the resistance of the fuel gauge sender, and it's 45 Ω full, and 260 Ω empty. I wonder if I can get an affordable gauge that will work with this? A fuel gauge would be nice, as would a voltmeter.

Yesterday I'd bought two good 50' rubber garden hoses as well, so I put them on the hose reel out front. (I'll need a hose that has a fitting on the end in order to hook up the motor flushing adapter. Thank you, $@#*% Dog.)

When I then went to turn the tank and put paint on the back side I found that I'm not done with the welding yet. Oil was seeping out of one place on the weld. Tomorrow I guess I get to fix that spot.

...At lunch I bought some gauges at Schuck's. Fuel, voltmeter, and hour meter (and some hand- and brake cleaner). $80. According to the instruction sheet, the AMC/Stewart-Warner fuel gauge (of the three choices) is the right one based on the sender's resistances. The fuel and hour gauges had to be ordered in, I should be able to pick them up tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I ground off the bad weld and replaced it, same tricks as last time. It was actually fairly hard, with exhaust puffing through the holes the shielding gas doesn't work right. (I left most of the new bead on, whenever I ground it I'd get holes again due to the exhaust action having polluted the initial weld.) I then primed and painted the damaged area. We'll see if it works better this time.

...At lunch I picked up my other two gauges. I'm running out of time for this stuff, so I think they'll have to wait. Plenty of room under the boat's seat to stow them for later.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The fuel tank still weeps oil at the patch, but in a different place. I ground it down there and re-welded it again, followed by primer and paint. (Just like yesterday.) We'll get there, sooner or later!

The battery box needed a good wash, and to have the crap stored in it dumped out. Looks good. I put it in the trunk of the car, perhaps I'll go by Costco today and get a Marine battery that will fit in the box. I also washed off the 6-gallon plastic fuel can and put it in the car, and I washed off one of the 16-oz cans of 2-cycle oil. That's 50:1 mixed into 6 gallons, I'll maybe put 5 or so in to get a little higher oil concentration while breaking the motor's long hibernation. In theory, with a battery and fuel, I can try to start the motor. I really need to do this very soon.

The positive battery cable to the motor is in very bad shape, looks like the red insulation didn't hold up, whereas the black insulation of the negative line looks fine. Lots of exposed and corroded copper wire showing through. The positive battery clamp fell apart when I tried to remove the cable, so I may need a new one of those. (Depending on which battery I end up with.) The insulation is still good back near where it goes up through the bulkhead and didn't lie in puddled water, though the wire is somewhat corroded inside the insulation. I should be able to patch into the wire there to get a decent repair. I threw the bad chunk into the car too, I'll try to get a replacement today. I think the auxiliary wiring is all repairable, mostly it's the battery connections that are shot.

...At lunch I bought a battery ($59), and a battery cable ($8). After work I filled up the boat can, $25. The tank's cap seems to leak a bit, it oozed on turns. I wonder if new gaskets are available for that style cap?

Friday, July 4, 2008

I rinsed out the gas tank again and let a bit of fuel puddle over the repair, no sign of leaks through the weld. Finally. Sadly, the 'new' plastic boat can I filled yesterday does leak, right where the filler neck piece mates to the body of the tank. Initially I thought it was the bad cap seal, but I put an R30 O-ring from the cheap Harbor Freight kit in it and though it didn't fit very well it did fill the gap. When I then rocked the tank I still saw fuel leaking out, but a closer look showed it not to be coming down from the cap but instead welling up at the body joint. Crap. I wonder if there's a kind of fuel-proof polyethylene glue that'll work here?

I also put the new battery on the charger. It was thirsty.

After breakfast I threw caution to the winds, sprayed the leaky fuel tank seam with brake cleaner, scrubbed it with a wire brush, and sprayed it off again. I wiped it dry with a clean rag, mixed up some JB Weld, and potted the whole area with it. We'll see if it works, I don't see how it can hurt. The battery was finished charging, it didn't need too much to top off. I was out of time as we then had to go off to march in the parade.

...After the parade we dropped by the lake cabin we're renting for Hooperfest. Jill had seen it, but I had not. There is no place to park a boat trailer, we're going to have to make other arrangements. (We will have difficulty parking the anticipated cars, and Jill's plan for us to use the camper is also suspect.) The dock is very nice, and newly decked. It's big, and will hold our boat nicely. If only we can get it in the water by then!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I soldered the heavy lug onto the remains of the positive wire to the motor, and bolted the new red cable to it. I then taped up the joint, and all of the weak original insulation I could reach. The motor hooked up to the battery easily. I also taped over the torn boot at the motor's connector. I went through the rat's nest of small wires at the battery, only to find that it's only for use powering the running lights. (And auxiliary radio, fish finder, etc. But all of that other stuff is removed right now.) The polarity doesn't even matter! I got the auxiliary wiring hooked back up, the ground for the clear rear marker light was wrong as found so I ended up running another wire to the battery just for it. I also had to remove the marker's bulb and clean that up, I think the wrong one is in there. It's a #1157 two-filament brake light, but I think it's supposed to be a single-filament two-contact bayonet bulb instead. (The two-filament bulb bayonet has offset lugs, and one of them doesn't engage in the socket.) As installed, both filaments are in series and the common ground (the barrel) floats, but given the disparity in filament weights only the lighter filament incandesces. Regardless, the light now works with the dash switch, as does the compass light. The colored bow light doesn't work, I think it's been burned out for years. When I put the motor in neutral the starter would crank with the key, so I think we're about ready to try starting it.

I threw the full boat can into the boat, the leak seems to be sealed. I hooked up the bayonet fuel fitting and used the squeeze primer bulb to shoot fuel through the hose. It came out pretty dark at first. Once it cleared up a bit I put the motor-end bayonet on and hooked it to the motor. I could hear it priming when I squeezed the bulb. I took off the motor cowling and watched for leaks while I primed, the feed hose leaked at the crimped-on fitting where it attaches to the fuel pump. I need a new hose, but I can't get one this weekend. (Really, I'll need all three.) I unhooked the end at the fuel pump and blew out the hose, then cleaned it all off with brake cleaner. I then mixed up some JB Weld and gooped it over the leaking ferrule, then wrapped it in duct tape to hold it in place. With any luck this'll hold well enough to do some trial starts. Time for breakfast.

When I got back to it in the afternoon the JB Weld was hard (though not fully cured) so I hooked up all the fuel system again and primed it. No leaks this time, but fuel started running out the fronts of the carbs! Looks like sticky floats? I disassembled the front of the motor to the point where I could get the float bowls off and cleaned them out. The valves sealed when you ran them by finger, the floats were foam and looked fine. I cleaned everything out with brake cleaner and put it all back together. While you can still force fuel out the carbs if you squeeze the bulb hard enough, with a more sane amount of force it seems better than it was. We'll call it good for now. While it was apart I checked the choke solenoid, it works fine. I greased it and the formerly-inaccessible parts of the throttle linkage. I put the engine back together and mowed the lawn, tomorrow I want to put the boat in the yard and start it.

While I was working on the engine my darling wife wandered out carrying the missing engine book. She will deny any fault, but what happened is that she 'cleaned up' a pile of books by the bed and put them all in a box in the basement, then promptly forgot about it. My searching for it all over the house for two days didn't jog her memory. Thanks, honey. I guess maybe I'll put it on Craig's list or something. Can't return it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I moved the boat to the yard and hooked up the water and the battery charger. When I hit the key it cranked strongly. Near as I could tell the electric choke is not working. I then sprayed starting ether into the throats of the carburetors and pulled the manual choke button. Nothing. Strong cranking, but not a burp of combustion. I cranked for awhile, and water was piddling out the tell-tale strongly, but nothing doing. I'll need to dive into the spark system, it seems.

I pulled apart the control mechanism and disassembled the choke switch. It's built to come apart, so I cleaned the contacts thoroughly with the Dremel wire brush and greased it. It was heavily oxidized inside, but still didn't seem to work after the cleanup. I was out of time then, and had to pack it in.

...I talked to my Dad tonight, and he said that he had never replaced any of the fuel system, so it's all old rubber. I think that means that I shall also order a fuel pump diaphragm. The ethanol that's in fuel these days is not going to do it any favors.

So it occurs to me that I have two things that don't seem to be working, choke and spark, both of which probably draw their power through the ignition switch. Said switch sits right out in harm's way, weather-wise. I need to check to see if the ignition is getting juice when on. The start portion of the switch obviously works, but that's no guarantee that any other parts do.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I looked over the schematics in the book. Of the five types of ignition systems shown this one is Type III: pointless CDI with a single coil and a distributor. The key switch is double-acting, one pair of terminals are shorted together for OFF and another is made for ON. (These same two terminals are joined by a third for cranking.) I can't tell from the schematic if the short-out OFF function is used, it looks like the non-ground terminal only makes it as far as the engine connector. It could be vestigial from the previous Type II system, which according to the schematic does short out the ignition (to ground) when OFF. The ON terminal provides battery power to the ignition, choke switch, and tachometer. Highly suspicious.

I tested the switch, it seemed to be fine. There was more corrosion on the choke switch contacts than I had thought, and when I scraped them more aggressively they started working better. The choke would then clack as it should on command, with the key on. It draws in excess of 5A, so the key switch wasn't acting puny. I checked back at the ignition module, and it was getting good voltage with the key. I put the remote control box back together as it was working correctly.

I hooked up a remote starter switch so that I could work on the motor while turning it over. I pulled the spark plugs, and they were a bit dirty so I sandblasted them. The engine obviously had compression when I cranked it with no plugs in it. I pulled the distributor cap and it was pretty dirty inside. As it sits upside down it can't eject any dirt so I cleaned it out as best I could. I scraped the tip of the rotor and the stator pegs with a pocketknife. Unfortunately the cap is trapped in the motor and can't be removed without a fair bit of disassembly. The high-tension wires were stuck, so I didn't pull too hard on them. They can stay as they were. I put it back together and put back the three bottom plugs, leaving one pressed against the chassis for ground. When I cranked it, nothing. I hooked up the meter to the coil terminal, and when I cranked it there was no sign of voltage. Oh, great. I went over to the ignition module on the distributor side and poked at the terminals with the meter. One, the safety switch contact, was hot as expected. While I was probing that contact I hit the starter switch and it sounded like it tried to fire! I went around and looked at the plug and I saw spark. I put the plug back and went up to the remote control and tried to start it. Success! It started running immediately. Just a bad connection? It would rev up with the throttle, though I didn't push it far, the manual is quite explicit about not letting the motor get above a fast idle with no load on it. It sounded normal to my ear, these 2-cycle motors idle a bit roughly as they're tuned for operation at speed. It smooths out as it speeds up. It would shift into forward and reverse gears normally.

After collecting a kiss from my wife I pulled the fuel connector and let it run dry. Everything acted exactly as I remember, that's one advantage of working on this boat instead of somebody else's cast-off POS. I picked up the area and came in for breakfast. Jill asked if we're going to take the boat to the lake tonight. I told her it might be a day or two early for that, but that we're a-gonna try.

A guy at work has just treated his old boat with PoliGlow, and says that it's an impressive transformation. I may try some of this stuff. At lunch I dropped by the boat place and ordered the leaking hose (the others are NLA) and a fuel pump diaphragm kit. (They recommended just replacing the rubber hose itself and using hose clamps, but it's a crimped ferrule kind of arrangement. House of Hose job?) I also bought a tow strap (for skiing and tubing) and four bumpers, along with the basic safety equipment we'll need. (Flare gun, horn, flag.) I dropped by a sporting goods store and bought an inner tube (tow-behind type) and foot air pump, they were on sale.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I tried to start the motor again, and it wouldn't. No spark. I retraced my steps of yesterday, and I was able to get spark twice, but not long enough to get the motor actually running. It seems to spark if it's unplugged for awhile, then it'll spark once. I cleaned all the connections to the ignition module, and probed the trigger wires (with a pin) that go to the distributor. Everything looks good, but it obviously doesn't work right. It's either the ignition module acting up, or the trigger that's in the distributor. Both are epoxy-potted. No way we can trust this thing under these conditions.

I went in and hit the internet for diagnostic information. I found a test procedure for the ignition module. You disconnect the three trigger wires and then verify that the brown trigger terminal has good battery voltage on it. You then connect brown and white trigger terminals together, then ground the black trigger terminal. Each time you ground the black terminal a spark should be generated. I did this, and it passed the test. The same procedure indicates that the black and white trigger terminals should develop at least 2.5 V on a peak-reading voltmeter while cranking. When I hooked the trigger back up the engine ran. WTF? It was warmer, by then the engine had been in full sun for awhile. I don't have a peak-holding voltmeter, but I did measure about 10 mV on the AC scale when using a Fluke 83 DMM while cranking. That's something of a reference point, anyway. (I verified that it was sparking at this time.)

Here are the testing instructions, reproduced in case the link ever dies:

  1. Check all battery and ground connections.
  2. Dead or no fire until you let off of the key switch: Check the voltage on the red and white ignition wires at the CD unit. If the voltage is less than 9.5 volts during cranking there is a problem in the battery wires or ignition switch circuit. These units require at least 9.5 volts to fire properly. On a 332-2986 switch box, check the voltage on the brown terminal (white/black for 332-4796) where the trigger is connected, It requires at least 9 V at cranking. DVA check between the white and black wires (black and blue on 332-4796). You should read at least 2.5 V at cranking. Connect a jumper wire directly from the battery pos (+) terminal to the red and white ignition wires (the red wire is not needed for CDI units).
    ATTENTION: In order to kill the engine if it cranks, the jumper wire has to be disconnected and/or choke the engine. If the engine still fails to crank, recheck voltage as above. If low, replace battery and retry. If there is still no fire, disconnect points wire (or trigger wires) and connect the Battery CD tester, according to the instructions on the back of the tester, and align rotor with a spark plug wire. Connect a spark gap tester to all spark plug wires and turn the ignition switch on. If the CD unit fires to only one spark plug wire, check points wire (for breaks and shorts) or trigger, If ANY other spark plug wire fires besides the one the rotor is aligned with, the distributor cap and rotor should be replaced, The Battery CD tester will fire the system to approximately 3000 RPM. If the Battery CD tester is not used, see related drawing below. If the CD unit fails to fire with this hookup, it is usually bad. Following the instructions included with the Trigger Tester, check the trigger to see if it is good or bad.
  3. Engine cranks and fires as long as starter is engaged: This problem usually indicates a bad trigger.
  4. Check the ignition coil: An open, cracked or poorly grounded coil can burn out a battery CD.
  5. Check the DVA voltage on the primary input wire to the coil using the Fluke meter with the peak reading voltage adapter, or CD 77. The reading should be approximately 100 volts or more for OEM CD's, and 200+ for CDI Electronic units.
  6. Inline engines with internal exhaust plate: If engine speeds up when you remove one spark plug wire, the internal exhaust plate is more than likely warped.
  7. These tests can be performed on the bench or on the engine.
    NOTE: Disconnect the trigger mechanism prior to testing!

    Ignition schematics

I started the motor again and checked the charging voltage, it looks good, though perhaps a bit high at 16.7 V. I hooked up the broken-cased tachometer and it still works, so I cleaned the glass and glued it back together using gap-filling cyanoacrylate glue. I was then out of time, so I ran the engine dry again and cleaned up.

...At work I surfed a bit, and found that there are some aftermarket ignition parts available, but that they are very expensive. (The factory stuff is NLA.) Something like $600 for the trigger and ignition box. It also appears that perhaps the plug wires screw into the (still available and very expensive) distributor cap. I'm not sure you can still get a rotor, which is an integral part of the distributor shaft. Memo to self: handle this stuff with care!

...After work I pulled a plug and cranked it over, it sparked. I put the plug back, primed the fuel supply, and it started immediately. No problem. It's beginning to look like a temperature sensitivity problem!

I then installed the tachometer. Unfortunately the 'cleaned' glass and meter face now have streaks and smears on them that weren't apparent before I glued it back together. Oh well, I'd have to break the case off again to fix it. It works as expected. One odd thing is that the black (ground) wire from the remote control goes to the '+' terminal of the meter, and the brown (tach) wire goes to '–'. Key-on the meter pegs negative, but moves onto the scale when running. The white wire, switched power and as yet unused, will feed the voltmeter, fuel, and hour gauges. (The manual is very clear that you are not to use it for accessories such as radios, etc.) The tach's #53R bulb has its red paint flaking off, handling it didn't help any. I can replace it later if it turns out to be a problem.

I then rewired the lighting. I removed extraneous wires from no-longer-there accessories, and reconfigured the fuse block to have the battery feed come to the fuse box first (instead of the light switch). I reconnected all the lights so that the first light switch notch lights the stern light, and the second adds to that the instrument lights and the front marker light. I pulled the front marker light and found that its GE #90 bulb is still good, though the socket is extremely rusty. (This is probably the bulb that the stern light should have, it looks like the right configuration.) I greased the socket and put it back together, I hope I got the colored lenses back in correctly! (Red on the port side.) All the lights work correctly.

...After dark I went out and checked the lights. The tach light is just fine, no need to change anything. The bow light was lit, and I honestly don't ever remember seeing it like that before. The stern light's #1157 is too bright, I think I need to find another #90 for it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I tried to start it again, nothing. When I tried the switch box test I could get spark, so I put it back together and it ran for maybe a minute before dying with no spark again. It was deja vu all over again: when I bypassed the trigger I could get spark, then the engine would run for a bit before crapping out. What was very interesting is that the first time I hit the switch with the trigger bypassed I would get no spark, thereafter I would. I'd thought I'd noticed this yesterday, but today I paid closer attention and it was very repeatable. That's pointing towards the ignition box rather than the trigger module. (And it's a lot easier to replace too. Even better would be if it wasn't epoxy-potted, then I could replace the weak capacitor [or whatever] inside for next to nothing.)

I may have been wrong about not having a peak-reading meter. The Fluke 83 I normally use doesn't do it, but I also have a Fluke 87 (in reserve) that has a button labeled Peak/Min/Max. It's supposedly capable of recording 1 mS readings, versus the normal 100 mS of both meters' MIN/MAX mode. It's an option to the MIN/MAX mode (button), which itself only operates when autoranging is disabled. I tried it, and I don't think even that is really fast enough. It did at least try, whereas the 83 couldn't get a reading at all. However the displayed values weren't repeatable enough to be useful.

I got the motor started via jump-starting the ignition box. It would run awhile then die suddenly. I found that I could use a jumper wire to alternately short the white (trigger power) terminal to the brown and black trigger terminals and get a spark, usually manifested by a kick of the motor and/or a clicking sound, whereafter it would start again and run for awhile. (Longer, the warmer it got.) That's pretty easy to do with the cowl off, and is a lot faster (and safer, on the water) than removing the trigger wires first.

I dug out the trailer license plate and the boat license. Both just expired, sadly. I found the trailer plate behind the seat of the Chevy pickup, and with it was my long-lost checkbook! Yay. I did put the CO warning sticker on the boat, per State law. I installed the license plate. I'll need to get new license stickers for it and the boat itself today.

I transferred most items from the shed back to the boat, such as anchors (two, one with rope), ten life jackets, two float cushions, one bumper, three sets of swim fins, etc. The fire extinguisher was starting to rust, so I brushed, primed, and painted it. Red, naturally.

...At lunch I picked up replacement license tabs, the woman said both boat and trailer had been relicensed on the 28'th of last month. Oh well, another $17 down the tubes for replacement tabs! I talked to the Elephant Boys about my ignition problem, and they suggested:

H & S Certified Marine Service (509) 489-0093
6622 N Perry Street, Spokane, WA 99217
ask for Brent
I also bought a cheap-ish set of SAE combination wrenches at Harbor Freight to keep in the boat. NAPA supplied a pair of #90 bulbs, one for the stern light and a spare.

...After work it was Time! We loaded up the boat, put on the license stickers, and headed off to the closest lake (Liberty), which is all back roads. When we arrived the Fish & Game guys there told us that we had to have their sticker, which was $12 for the year, and that they couldn't sell us one. (Nowhere on the State licensing web site was this mentioned, but obviously this was what I'd been hearing about and not the $7 per day/$70 per annum thing I'd found on the web.) They sent us off to a sporting goods store. I was not happy. The closest one was by freeway, which I had not really rigged for. We lost several life jackets on the way, but I think I recovered them. (The cop that stopped while I was walking along the freeway was a bit uncomfortable with my activity!) I recovered enough of them, anyway. They had been stuffed underneath the forward part of the bow, but wouldn't stay put. I eventually got them wedged into place with the ladder and seat. Sheesh. That debacle cost us about an hour and a half. Walking along the freeway I did find a 6' section of 1/2" braided rope, which came in handy later as a dock tie.

We got the boat launched eventually, Jill was very uncomfortable (translation: mean) guiding me back, but the ramp there is very narrow and I had to have the help. (She doesn't do new stressful situations well, and doesn't seem to 'get' that if I can't see her and her hands in motion then I can't safely back up, and won't.) I remembered to take off the tie-downs and put in the drain plug before dunking the boat. We got the boat wet, but it ran into the winch handle coming off which marked up the boat pretty good. I think we backed in too deep, tipping the boat up and forwards into the winch. (This is one advantage to having an old boat. I didn't really care too much.) The motor started uneventfully. I took it out for a quick spin, and it worked fine. I went back to the dock and picked up my family and then we had a nice little tour around the lake. The engine could get up to about 4400 RPM, but was more comfortable cruising at 3000–3500, and downright pleasant down around 2200. Much slower than that and it drops off plane and bogs down in the water. The engine was a little louder than normal, but the cowl was off. Steering was stiff, one way more so than the other. I don't remember enough about this boat to know if it's always been that way.

After about an hour, and half a can of fuel, we decided to call it good enough and went back. Loading was uneventful, there wasn't even a line for the ramp this time.

Not a whole lot of fun was had, except perhaps by Daniel, but this trip was a shakedown cruise and not a pleasure jaunt. We need more gear, such as ropes and the like, but offhand except for the sidetrack for the ramp permit it went about as well as could be expected. I'd like to get in another trip or two before we really deploy the boat next week, but even if we don't I'm a lot more comfortable now. I think Jill is, too.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I counted the life preservers. We now have ten, five each in adult and child sizes. Two of each size are jackets, the other three are the orange horse collar types. That means we lost one yesterday, because an additional child size jacket was added to the boat after I counted them out of the shed yesterday. (I know I bought an adult jacket style recently, and it's gone.) We still have both float cushions.

I removed the CB radio mount as it was poorly done, loose and pokey. I put away the extra tools that I'd taken along, what's left in the tool kit should be adequate. I stowed some of the extra gear under the passenger seat.

...At lunch I stopped by the Elephant Boys and bought a ski/tube tow rope, and 25' of rope to use at the bow for boat towing, docking, etc. Their life preservers were $30 each, so I ran yesterday's freeway loop again and recovered another of our life preservers from right at the on-ramp we'd used. I think we're missing only one or two now, as I remember buying one of the jacket types at the thrift store that is nowhere to be found. Which means I mis-counted in the first place, and oh well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It was then time to wash out the boat, there was a lot of guck back at the transom to be rid of. I moved the boat into the yard and had at it. After that I cut four 18" lengths of scrap cedar siding to replace the one rotted fuel tank perch. I screwed them to the floor (and to themselves) with #12 brass screws that I had laying around. (I'd bought a box cheap at liquidation once upon a time.) The new carpet had raised the required perch height a little, the four new cedar strips were just right but the original perch on the other side was now a little short. A piece of masonite served as a spacer, correcting the problem. The flashing I'd cut to serve as flange clamps worked well, the tank screwed down securely. I had to remove it again to hook up all the fuel paraphernalia, including the fuel sender, but then it went back in with no problem. The one boat can nestles next to the main tank, behind the curtain. It all looks good.

For fun I smeared a bit of diesel on some of the faded orange. It actually helps a bit, and is very easy to do. Lovely aroma too... (Well, I like it!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I put the cowling back on the motor. Tidies up the area, anyway.

I pulled the steering wheel, I had to use the bearing separator and a 2-jaw puller, it was stuck on good. I marked out three holes for the new gauges and drilled them with the 2" hole saw. (Scary!) I left room for an additional gauge, should we think of a good one to have. The new gauges are intended for much thinner dash panels, the plastic screw rings don't even begin to bite on the gauge barrels. I'll rig something. The gauges look fine sitting there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vacation! I put the rest of the toys into the boat. (Skis, noodles, and inner tube.) I then wiped down all the orange with diesel oil. A bit fragrant, but makes it look nicer for a short time. After a day or two it evaporates such that you don't notice the smell anymore. I stowed everything away so that it shouldn't blow out, and put the bow tonneau over it to cut down on the circulating drafts and keep the seat cushions from leaving. (They should be screwed down, they're only held on with some snap straps right now.) I threw in a roll of wire and some tools so that I could perhaps finish off the gauges some time this trip. I found my no-longer-approved separate-bolt hitch ball and removed the ball, I'll lock it into the coupler with a padlock to prevent the trailer from being easily stolen. Jill has made arrangements for us to park it in the front yard of some of her local friends, with the coupler disabled it should curb larcenous thoughts of passers-by.

...On the way to the lake we fueled up the main tank, about 17.5 gallons and $70.

We launched the boat at Hayden lake, I had one little problem where I forgot to put in the drain plug. When I noticed water coming out from under the transom I ran it back up on the trailer and let it drain for a few minutes until it was empty. Oops! After that, uneventful. The boat ran across the narrow bay to our rented dock without problem. We then dropped the trailer in the back yard of Jill's friends, and began our vacation. (We didn't need the coupler lock I'd rigged, since it was out of sight in back.)

...In the evening we took a jaunt around the lower half of the lake. The boat worked great.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today was Silverwood with all the kids, so not much lake activity. In the evening we took another jaunt around the lake, this time around the bulk of it. Again, it worked great. After I dropped off Jill's mom at the dock (she couldn't really navigate the stairs up to the house from our dock) we headed across the narrow bay to our dock, letting one of my nephews steer (my son had declined to come along). Halfway across, at a low throttle, the engine started running really badly and died a few times. WTF? Felt like it sucked up a load of crap in the fuel and was experiencing fuel starvation. I got the boat docked anyway, though we came in a bit 'hot' since I couldn't really rely on the engine for a more finessed approach, and it was hard to keep running except at a very high idle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I hooked up the gauges, and checked the fuel level in the main tank, both manually and with the new gauge. We used something like 1/4–1/3 on those two rides around the lake. I tried to start the motor, no difference. I got the engine apart enough to expose the fuel screens, one was quite occluded with a lot of crap, including some decomposing open-cell foam of some sort and some grit. A smoking gun? I cleaned it out and got it all put back together.

No difference. Puking and snorting, mixed with occasional smooth runs up in RPM. Crap. I then took the motor much further apart, which is really quite disconcerting over 9+ feet of water with a mucky bottom, and managed to get the drain plugs removed and the main jets exposed. No sign of crap in them, a paper clip went right through. Unfortunately I couldn't get the carburetors actually removed (I'd love to meet that engine designer in a dark alley some time) and had to put it back together without really doing anything.

I tried running it again. No difference, as expected. Pretty much the entire day was shot doing this.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stupid boat. We nabbed some of the life preservers to use in Jill's rental canoe. At least it was good for something. I guess we did get two nice rides out of it, and it didn't quite strand us, but that is hardly much return on all the effort.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I brought the boat home, in disgrace. I got it across the lake, puking and running for up to seconds at a time. (But usually not.) We were ready to take it in tow with the canoe, if necessary. Or thumb a tow, we had a bow rope. I loaded it dead, battened it down, and brought it home the back way.

Stupid boat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home at last, our week's lake rental is over. I put the boat battery on charge, it was thirsty after Sunday's cripple-fest getting it across the lake. (Many starts, few runs.)

I then started taking apart the motor again. With my full tool kit available, and no water hazard, it took about 1.5 hours to remove the upper carburetor. The magic tool was a 13mm U-joint socket driver.

...At lunch I picked up the fuel system parts I had ordered earlier. The pump diaphragm looks right, but the main fuel line looks completely wrong. Will have to compare with the engine's carefully, I may need to return it. It was too expensive to 'make-do' with. I also bought some sacrificial screwdrivers at my favorite pawn shop to perhaps make into carburetor screwdrivers, and a small 1/4" drive 1/2" socket that might also be useful on these carburetors. (They're going out of business, they lost their lease.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

I removed the other carburetor and the remaining fuel line. Due to heavy corrosion I managed to break off the main battery ground line bolt into to the lower cowl. Great, that'll be fun to drill and tap out. I put some Kroil on it. I also broke in half one of the bolts that hold the fuel stinger into the cowl, but that's easy to replace. (I had to drive the piece out the bottom of the cowl with a punch and BFH.)

With the carburetors in hand I took one of the sacrificial screwdrivers to the grinder and managed to make something that fit the big brass plug's slot fairly well. There was some damage to the slot due to earlier attempts, so I used the Dremel's saw blade to deepen the slot. The plug was tight, but 'cracked' and finally came out. I then ground the hips off the other sacrificial screwdriver so that it would go down into the carburetor to remove the main jet. The jet is marked 076. I removed the other brass plugs (the big screwdriver fit) and the idle jet. I found no signs of any fouling in the upper carburetor. I put all the carburetor parts in a box to keep them together.

The new fuel line is too short, has a straight connection instead of a 45° at one end, and doesn't have the same fitting (Imperial Eastman) on the other end. It's got to go back. I put all the fuel lines into the car for a trip to the House of Hose. I also threw in the mate to the one broken bolt.

The plunger on the cowl's fuel fitting was somewhat rusty, and as it was free (due to the removal of the fuel line) I put it into a cup to de-rust. In such small confines the gas was really boiling off the electrodes, so I turned it down to 6V.

...At lunch I bought a new stainless steel bolt to replace the broken one, it's a bit too long but should serve. I then returned the too-long fuel line. I chatted with the guy about my problem, and he says that air leaks into the fuel hoses can in fact cause my symptoms. Oh, that it is so! I then went to House of Hose and bought new hoses, all three together were only 50% more expensive than the single wrong one was. It took about 20 minutes to have them made up, they look good.

I also stopped by the pawn shop and got some more small sockets and 1/4" driver pieces. They can go into the boat's toolkit.

...After work I removed the fuel plunger from the deruster, it also looks good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I started drilling out the broken bolt. It's not easy. In spite of center-punching it the bit walked down to one side, I ended up with two 1/8" adjacent holes. They're not deep enough, the bits dull and break easily in spite of being lubricated. I left PB Blaster in the holes to try to seep into the corroded threads. (One hole has broken out the side of the bolt, which should help.) I'm going to need some new drill bits.

...At lunch today I bought some more drill bits at Harbor Freight, including some coarse diamond rasps that may work well for this. (Or not. The bits are packs of TiN coated 1/8" and 1/4" drills, on sale.) I also bought a right-angle bitted ratchet screwdriver (also on sale) for the boat's toolkit. (Such a thing is required for the carburetor screens.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More drilling. I got the wet grinder going again and used it to properly sharpen the 1/8" drill, whereupon it went the rest of the way through the bolt. (The new HF drill bits are mild steel, and didn't cut at all even brand new. And they wanted to bend. Pure junk.) I couldn't get the other drill hole going, it was walking out into the aluminum casting. I tried the new diamond burrs and while it worked fine initially I managed to wear the grit off the bottom of the 1/8" fairly quickly, and while trying to use it to go down into the one good hole so that I could walk it sideways to remove the bolt body it got pinched (being slightly larger than 1/8" by the thickness of the diamond coating) and twisted off the diamond coating. Ruined.

Then I remembered 'Old Reliable': the 1/8" carbide burr in the Dremel. From the pilot hole that just chewed right through the bolt remains in a couple of minutes. Once it was thin enough around the sides I could pick out the threaded remains of the bolt.

After that I was home free. I got the hole cleaned out and chased the remaining threads with a 1/4"×28 tap. (Finer than I had originally thought.) I drilled the casting hole a little deeper with a 7/32" bit (the recommendation of the tap kit) and tapped it so that I could use a slightly longer new bolt to make up for the chewed threads at the top of the hole. I'll get a new stainless steel bolt today.

Finally I'll be able to start on reassembly.

...At lunch I bought a new bolt (two, actually, as I was unsure about the exact length) and some cheap-bin tools for the boat's toolbox. (I especially wanted the 8# [lifting] magnet. I'll drill a hole in its handle for a rope in case I should ever need to fish for tools.) I also bought a cobalt drill set to replace the broken bits in my kit. I swung by the pawn shop and bought some more 1/4" ratchet goodies for the boat's toolbox. (And a Fluke 87 at a price I couldn't pass up to upgrade the 83.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I disassembled, cleaned, and oiled the 'new' Craftsman 1/4" ratchet wrench for the toolkit. I had some trouble with losing the little springy bits, but I eventually found them. The wrench now works nicely. I also checked out the Fluke 87, which perhaps I don't like quite as much as my 83 after all. The 83 (Series 1, as is the 87) has larger digits in the display and I like the way the analog bar graph works better. The 83's fills from the left and is labeled 0–4 and seems to represent the entire reading, whereas the 87 has a moving single segment and is labeled 0–10 which seems to represent the integral digit next to the decimal point. (This also seems to be true of the 87 I already had.) It also had a blown Buss BBS-1 1A fuse inside which is an $8 item, but I had a spare from when I blew the 83's fuse. On the other hand it's got a backlight, true RMS reading, and a 4-1/2 digit mode. It seems to work fine.

I also fashioned a wire loop and screwed it into the axial hole on the end of the magnet probe's handle. Just in case I have to go fishing for tools!

Anyway, all that crap aside I began taping up the engine's decomposing wiring harness. Some of the wires are so corroded through that I'll need to repair them, but I ran out of time this morning. The insulation didn't hold up well where it wasn't already protected by electrical tape.

At lunch today I bought another Craftsman 1/4" ratchet at the pawn shop. The one I'd already bought was 'too good' for the boat, so I bought another older one that I like less. (And an AC/DC 200/2000 amp clamp for $50 to go with the Fluke 87.) After work I cleaned up the ratchet. Its detent spring was weak, it doesn't work as well as the other wrench nor does it have a thumb release. Its oil fitting is also missing, and so is open to dirt. Perfect for the boat toolbox, in other words. If it bothers me enough I could always swap it under Sears' lifetime warrantee, but I doubt I will be so moved.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I finished repairing the wiring harness. Several of the wires' insulation had crumbled off in spots, and where it had the wire was so corroded and weakened that it was falling apart and was no longer solderable. I had to peel back the tape wrap until I got to better-protected wire and then cut and spliced there. The wire inside was still pretty corroded, but I could scrape it with a knife and see good copper. I spliced in new wire by pushing the ends of the new and old wires together so the strands interleaved and then soldering the resultant butt joints; I used shrink wrap tubing to insulate the joints. I then taped the harness back up and crimped and soldered on new ring terminals. The resultant wire colors were wrong, since I was using black wire, but I was able to use heat shrink and the colored collars of the ring terminals to approximate what had been there before. On one collar I had to write "BRN" a few times (for brown), but on the whole I'm fairly happy with the repair.

I then cleaned and reassembled the upper carburetor. Definitely no signs of any dirt, varnish, or obstruction.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the lower carburetor. Also no signs of dirt, varnish, or obstruction. I then put the carburetors back on the engine and attached the new fuel lines. I used grease on the paper manifold gaskets, especially on where one of them got torn in removal. (I should use new, but I don't have any and I didn't want to take all the time to make new ones. These should still be OK.) The new 1/4" drive 1/2" socket worked well for putting back the carburetors, and fit better (with its extension) than the 3/8" U-joint driver did. I put back the starter solenoid and the electrical plug. I used anti-corrosion paste on all the fasteners to the aluminum lower cowl. I then broke for breakfast.

After breakfast I finished putting together the engine. It all went easily, especially with the more appropriate tools. I still need a 5/16" socket, and the ratchet is really pretty unsatisfactory in the tightening direction. With it all buttoned up (except for the cowling) I checked the starter and it would crank, the choke worked, and there was spark when I flashed the ignition module. Lunch time!

After lunch I moved the boat to the lawn and tried to start it. No change. I then tackled the spark system, and the timing light proved that while I could manually 'flash' the spark and get a good one, while cranking or running the spark was much weaker and very intermittent. I hooked up the Fluke 83 and used its MIN/MAX mode to track the voltage output to the trigger, and it was never less than 11 V or so while cranking or coughing, which is good. This more or less proves that there isn't a power supply problem and points an accusatory finger towards the 332-2986A27 ignition module, which is very expensive. The bad news is that the official part from one source is $475; their cheaper $240 aftermarket unit won't drive the dash tachometer. Or it could be the trigger (393-3736?), which is nearly as expensive and much harder to replace. I did some more surfing and found some used ignition units in the $100–$150 range. I found something that purported to be the OEM unit for around $200, but I recognized their part number (L114-2986) as actually being the CDI-manufactured aftermarket unit that has wires coming out instead of lugs, and doesn't support the tach.

Somewhat dejected, I parked the boat and unhooked the truck. I've got other things I need to work on now, and the proper course of action for the boat is not yet clear.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Called H & S Marine, and the guy there said he couldn't look at it until some time in September, but that usually the problem is the switch box rather than the trigger. He suggested that I might call Lake City Marine, as they do even more Merc's than he does.

I also picked up some more 1/4" sockets today. The ratchet I bought had a chipped tooth on the flipper, explaining its difficulty in working properly in a tightening direction, so I swapped it at Sears for a refurbished one. (Sadly, the new kind with the plastic flipper handle.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I bid on (and won) a used ignition module on eBay. About $110, with shipping. Let's hope it works out!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Though I was on the road I spoke to Jill on the phone today, and she said a package came for me. Boat ignition? Must be.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I had a look at my 'new' module. It's in much better shape than I'd thought from its picture, it is not all corroded. In fact it's in pretty good condition, and even came in its old original Mercury cardboard box (or one just like it). I'm a little disturbed that the part number ink-stamped on it is 332-2986A8 and not the 332-2986A27 part number mine has and that I'd ordered one under. The box is hand-labeled with 332-2986A22 and S.S. 332-2986A27, in addition to the crossed-out machine-printed 332-2986A8. Natural part number supercession? The module I received seems to have 1971 date codes stamped on it (125-71 and 210-71), and has "STBD" penciled on the back. Off of some twin rig, I'd guess.

It looks good, other than this part number business.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The module in the boat is actually the 332-2986A22 version, not the A27 I'd thought. Anyway, I put in the replacement A8 and tested it, and it sparked when the trigger terminals were flashed per the test instructions. Unfortunately, it didn't start. The timing light showed no sparking at all during cranking. Crap. Does this really finger the trigger assembly? I need to flange up a peak-reading voltmeter and test it that way. I've got no proof that either of my two ignition modules is actually any good, in spite of them both being able to make a spark.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I bought a tarpaulin at Harbor Freight.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I (finally) removed the battery from the boat and put it inside the garage. As I'd used it to help start the Chicken Wagon, I put it on a tender to recharge.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Goodies from the internet! This information from a helpful soul looks quite useful:
The biggest problem with the Mercury's battery CD ignition (as opposed to ADI or alternator driven ignition) is the trigger assembly. The original design became temperature-sensitive with age, probably a component failure that you would know more about than I do. I have only seen a handful of ignition modules fail but have seen dozens of triggers. Besides the date code, you can determine if your trigger is of the original design or the replacement by looking around the housing just above the distributor cap. The new design (1980? or so) has 4 (I think it is 4) holes drilled in it and potting material from the inside filling them. The original design has only the wires coming through that housing, no other holes. The correct test for this ignition was to use a variable speed pulser that you put on the 3-wire side of the box in place of the trigger to spark the box and coil through a 1/2" spark tester, thereby eliminating everything but the trigger. I think I have one of these testers but it quit working years ago, you would be welcome to reverse engineer it if you want to try I can send it to you. I also have a peak reading volt meter adaptor for a Fluke meter but I have never used one of these on a battery CD. I don't use much of this stuff much and would be happy to loan it to you [Yes, please!] since I work as a vendor for Microsoft now. (Don't hold that against me!)

There is a hack of a test that uses a 9 V battery to trigger the CD that is much safer than triggering it with 12 V. Let me know if you want to try it and I'll try to remember everything and get it written down.

Parts; Yes the AXX number is sometimes a supercession, but not always, sometimes it is a similar part for another motor. I was told by a former Mercury Marine service instructor that in the far distant past, CD modules that tested best went to the racing division, the next grade was for the inline-6 motors and the 4- and 3-cylinder motors got the last group. Each had a different AXX number after the PN. CDI makes good aftermarket parts. Their business originally started as Rapair [Inc.], and they used to re-build Mercury modules and triggers, they took what they learned from that and started manufacturing their own. I would get one of their triggers rather than Mercury's for an older motor. I think they have a better warranty than Mercury. Talk to Jody at Sea-Way Marine (West Seattle) if you need Mercury or CDI parts. He's an old boat racer who really knows his stuff.

I did some checking at CDI Electronics (formerly Rapair Inc.?), and they sell a redesigned trigger module of which they say: "Improved design uses Hall Effect Technology for improved performance...", and a steel trigger disc. Makes me wonder if the original was an optoelectronic device rather than Hall-effect? If so I bet it can be repaired, assuming that it can be serviced at all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The 'care package' came today. The defunct pulser unit was easy to open, and is a single-transistor circuit. It had visibly bad solder joints, it should be easily repairable. The maybe-bad DVA box (Quicksilver 91-89045) was potted inside with a stiff RTV-type opaque black material. (The DVA's meter-side leads are falling apart.) The good DVA box (newer, CDI unit) is epoxy-potted, and is only to use not to study. The training notebook manual looks like it has some good information in it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I photocopied the manual, but managed to botch the job on the fancy copier at work. The double-sided pages are scrambled a bit. Oh well, the information is all there at any rate.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's been boating season for awhile, but getting that 380 SL back together for sale has been higher in priority, however it's now much closer to done. It's raining, though, so as it's bad soft-top replacement weather I'm now researching/refreshing my memory on what I need to do on the boat motor.

I dug up the care package and opened the pulser. It's a simple circuit so I traced out a schematic in Illustrator, PDF, and GIF formats. It uses a Motorola 2N4871 PN unijunction transistor, three resistors, two potentiometers (one external, one internal), and an orange-drop capacitor. The relaxation oscillator circuit is right out of the data sheet. The internal 10 kΩ adjustment potentiometer is set at around 8 kΩ.

2N4871 Specifications:
RMS Power DissipationPD  300mW
RMS Emitter Current Ie  50mA
Peak-Pulse Emitter CurrentPD  1.5Amp
Emitter Reverse VoltagePD  30Volts
Interbase VoltagePD  35Volts
Operating junction Temperature RangeTJ–55 +125°C
Storage Temperature RangeTstg–55 +150°C
Intrinsic Standoff Ratioη0.700.85
Interbase ResistanceRBB469.1kΩ
Interbase Resistance Temperature CoefficientαRBB0.100.90%/°C
Emitter Saturation VoltageVEB1(sat)2.5Volts
Modulated Interbase CurrentIB2(mod)15mA
Emitter Reverse CurrentIEB2O0.0051µA
Peak-Point Emitter CurrentIP15µA
Valley-Point Emitter CurrentIV47mA
Base-One Peak Pulse VoltageVOB158Volts

Maybe $5 worth of components inside the box. I'd guess that as a piece of test equipment from Mercury Marine it originally cost somewhat more than that!

Here's a reference on basic UJT theory:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The pulser had visibly bad solder joints so I fired up the soldering iron and resoldered it. When I then powered it up it tried to work, the oscilloscope showed oscillation on the UJT's Emitter. Usable frequency range was approximately 20–600 Hz, corresponding to 300–9000 RPM on a four-cylinder 2-stroke engine, so that part's OK. Unfortunately there was no waveform on B1, which is where the takeoff (Blue lead) is. I checked the bulk base resistance of the UJT, RBB which should be in the range of 4–9 kΩ, nominally 6 kΩ, and it was 4 kΩ, tolerable. But it didn't work. The data sheet value VOB1, the output peak voltage, should be in the range of 5–8 V, but it's zero here. According to Figure 16 in the data sheet, with these component values the output voltage should have been 4 V with a 12 V supply.

One of the beauties of the UJT circuit is that it's simple and cheap, and very durable. Almost nothing to go wrong. Reverse polarity probably won't hurt it, for example. The output pulse is inherently energy-limited by what is stored in the timing capacitor, so it's ideal for driving sensitive circuitry. This particular UJT has about a 30 V tolerance, well above what it ought to need. But this one, it seems, has bought the farm. I've measured all the resistors, and without a functioning capacitor it wouldn't oscillate, so the only real component that can be at fault here is the UJT; I guess it's time for a new one. (I did bridge another orange-drop capacitor across its capacitor, and the oscillation slowed down appropriately but things were otherwise unchanged. Another nail in the UJT's coffin.)

Mouser and Digi-key don't have them in stock. Newark does, at about $0.95 each. American Micro Semi had them at $0.43 each, so I ordered four from them at $1.72...and got slapped with a surprise $17 shipping and handling fee! They've made quite a tidy profit off of me. Nice web site, no shipping/handling estimation until you commit. I'll have to remember them, negatively. (From Newark the shipping would have been about $5, saving me around ten dollars.)

With that done I started digging in the potting compound of the falling-apart DVA adapter. Carefully! I found that I could dig a screwdriver into the stuff and then pry slowly, and hard, and a chunk would tear out. Repeat for the next half hour. The material didn't really stick to the components inside, so if one was careful they could be exposed without damage. And exposed they were. I found pretty much exactly what I'd expected: one diode, one resistor, and one capacitor. What I didn't know what to expect was the values. I traced out a schematic in Illustrator, PDF, and GIF formats. The capacitor's markings are hidden, but it measured out at 1.6 µF on the Fluke 83 (1.5745 µF on the GenRad 1657 Digibridge). It's a physically large yellow tubular capacitor (polyester? polypropylene?), with the 70's written all over it. (As well as 337-4493, and T8026, but those numbers don't cross-reference to anything. There is a black line towards the negative side of the capacitor, this may or may not indicate that it is polarized. The case style [yellow tubular axial] is not one I associate with electrolytics, however. GE made caps that look a little like this.) I know it's moderately high voltage as the DVA instructions talk about using a 400 V scale on the associated meter, but I don't know exactly how high as I haven't found any traditional ratings printed on it. The 1/4 W 2 MΩ resistor would fry at more than 700 V, so that's an upper bound. In potting like that I doubt that it could tolerate even half that voltage, sustained, so a 400 V operating range sounds plausible, which would mean a 600 V device would suit. The diode was a fat little round ball, which is a higher-voltage diode, not a signal diode. It had the usual 0.5 V forward voltage drop of a silicon device. As it's intended to measure voltages at engine frequencies I suspect that any general-purpose device of sufficient voltage would work.

I ordered test lead wire and sufficient parts (in conjunction with my junk box) to repair the cabling on the DVA box, and to build my own. From Ocean State Electronics, they had nice rubber kinkless test lead wire by the foot. $25, all told. The big capacitor was more than $7 by itself.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I ordered MBS Manufacturing's flywheel puller (and lifting eye). $34 shipped, by far the least expensive one I've found. Good enough for a one-time use.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yesterday the flywheel puller came, and today the UJT's came. Time to get started! I fired up the iron and replaced the UJT in the pulser. It still looked the same on the scope afterwards except that it didn't stop oscillating at the high end of the control's range anymore. Huh. It did register on the frequency counter at higher RPM settings, which it did not do before. I tried looking closer at the waveform, and this time I could see the output. It's a very narrow exponential decaying pulse with a peak amplitude of about 5 V and a duration of approximately 20 µS, which is pretty hard to see on the scope down at these frequencies. (I used the delayed sweep function [which I can never quite remember how to use] of my Tektronix 2336 to blow it up enough to get a pulse width measurement.) That's interesting, and we'll next see how it drives the CDI (not-Inc.) box in the boat. I then connected the CDI (Inc.) DVA to the Fluke 83 and measured the pulser's output. At idle it was about 1.1 V, at W.O.T. about 2.4 V. The Quicksilver DVA read 1.9 V and 3.4 V under the same conditions, and seemed to have a longer time constant. (Slower change in voltage in response to changing the pulser's rate.) It's interesting to find that the two DVA's give different readings, so one has to know which instrument was used to make any reference values, and compensate accordingly. Neither peak-reading adapter got the right answer according to the oscilloscope, but the Quicksilver one was closer. Measuring such a small-duty-cycle pulse train's peak voltage is a difficult feat.

Knowing what the one DVA circuit was I used the Fluke to measure the resistance and capacitance of the output of the other, assuming the same circuit, and found that it was also 1.6 µF, but about 3 MΩ. (But it would only read a capacitance when connected in reverse polarity, unlike the Quicksilver box. In forwards polarity it read 0.5 nF, quite a different value.) Pretty close, so it's interesting that they had such different readings of the pulser. Maybe I should test them together on a few other things that have wider pulses, it could be differences in the diodes are magnified by very short pulse widths. I shorted the outputs of the DVA's and measured the input resistances. The CDI showed 6.9 MΩ forwards, and 7.1 MΩ in reverse. (The same readings held with the output short removed.) The Quicksilver showed 2.3 MΩ forwards, and 21 MΩ in reverse. (4.7 MΩ forwards and 16 MΩ in reverse with the output short removed.) I then used the diode test range to measure the input with the output shorted. (This would test the diode.) Interesting results. The Quicksilver showed 0.5 V and open, which would be a normal diode. The CDI showed 2.6 V both ways. A diac or bridge rectifier? (With the outputs open both units show open-circuit.) The CDI showed 0.5 V diodes with the anodes (+) on the negative output terminal and the cathodes on the input probes. The CDI shows a 2.6 V diode across its output, anode (+) on the negative terminal. (Open circuit the other way.) The circuits are obviously not the same, so it should be no surprise that the units take different readings. The CDI unit is much smaller than the Quicksilver, if they'd used an electrolytic capacitor this could certainly do it, but additional circuitry would be required in order to protect the capacitor.

Finally I hooked up the oscilloscope, voltmeter, and the signal generator, which is probably what I should have done in the first place. With a 35 V peak-to-peak sine wave the CDI DVA showed 16 V on the Fluke, but only a throbbing 5.5 V on the VTVM. However the oscilloscope (ground referenced to the input signal) showed just the positive half of the sine wave on the positive output and the negative half cycle on the negative output, with no apparent capacitance at all! The Quicksilver DVA showed what you would expect: 17 V DC no matter what meter (or scope) was used to look at it. Very different circuits, indeed! Seeing no sign of capacitance on the oscilloscope I re-checked the CDI using the Digibridge and found only low capacitance (0.4 nF) at its output when measured either way. The Fluke's 1.5 µF reading (and in only one direction) may have been, ahem, a fluke. The CDI DVA might just be diodes, and relying upon the Fluke's peak-reading characteristics or something. That would make it highly meter-sensitive, which is not such a good thing. (The CDI unit is specified for use with a Fluke DMM.)

I'm ready to bring it all to the boat, I guess.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Now where did that wretched Seloc boat motor manual get to? (I've got two of the things now, and yet I don't see either one...) Oh crap, it's in the boat! Moldy and swollen from its winter out in the snow, this is not good. (I wonder where the other one is?) Still, the pages are legible, so I'll be able to use it anyway. What a maroon!

I spent the morning sitting on the deck in the sun paging gently through the book, peeling the pages loose from each other so they have a chance of drying in a usable condition. I left the book open to the middle (to minimize weight on each side) lying in the sun to dry.

...In the evening I checked the book and it was dry, none of the pages were sticking together anymore. It's usable again, but yuck!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Some feedback from the owner of the borrowed boat tools:
The Mercury DVA was originally sold as part of a kit that most old techs referred to as "the briefcase" it was just that, a briefcase consisting of the DVA adapter, an analog meter, and a really cool box that could simulate the AC pulses from the stator and trigger from Mercury's ADI (Alternator Driven Ignition.) I have only seen one person use it and he was a former Mercury marine service instructor (now ownes Merc's and More Marine in Denver). I think the kit came out before the 1977 model year when they introduced the ADI ignition, so your year estimate is exactly on. I had a full kit for awhile but lost it in the bankruptcy of "Marine Surplus" in 2000.
Along with some more information about these motors to be aware of:
Just reading the archives, one warning, before 1977 all Mercury outboards had steel shift shafts and drive shafts as you found out from your stuck-on waterpump impeller. That water in the lower unit was not condensation, it leaked in from the waterpump base seals or shiftshaft seals and eventually settled out of the oil. For now, keep an eye on the oil level, and "milkiness" at the end of the season, change the oil or reseal the gearcase. You will eventually have to deal with those rusty, grooved shafts. Let me know when you are ready to cross that bridge, with your abilities, you are perfectly capable of doing that job. Oh yea, the O-ring at the top of the driveshaft is to keep the grease in the splines and the seal in the bottom of the crankshaft does pop it out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Enough stalling! I got out the pulser and took it to the boat. However, I'd forgotten one significant factor: wasps. The motor had two nests inside it. I got the cowl off and sprayed them, but of course when it's 90 °F outside they're not all waiting around for you to kill them. So now there's a swarm around the motor. I'll need to wait for awhile. I brought the cowl in and started gluing the decomposing sound-deadening bag back together. (I should have started that some time ago.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I re-killed the wasp nests in the cool of the morning and picked them out of there, then removed the top cover. I also did some more gluing on the cowl's sound dampener. Every few hours throughout the day I'd put on a bit more glue and clamp things in place. I need to go slowly in order to control the glue.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I can't believe it's been this long without a boat session, but things do conspire... Anyway, I took the battery out to the boat and installed it. Naturally I hadn't labeled the auxiliary wiring as to polarity, so I had to reverse-engineer that first. (I marked them with a Sharpie this time.) I also had to remove six more paper wasp nests from the boat proper, that was fun. I tried to hook up the pulser according to the directions, but the listed color codes didn't match this engine. I worked out what I thought was what they wanted, but still no signs of life. More investigation is required.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When using the correct instructions for the 332-2986A switch box (from page 96 of the training manual) the switch box passed the pulser test (paraphrased here for reference):
  1. Align motor to TDC #1 and hook plug wire #1 to a spark gap tester or a spark plug laid against the block.
  2. (Optional.) Connect a tachometer between the switch box's brown non-trigger terminal (the tachometer output) and the switch box's case. The instrument panel tachometer, if any, will serve.
  3. Remove white trigger wire from the switch box.
  4. Connect Blue pulser lead (UJT output) to the switch box's now-isolated white trigger terminal.
  5. Connect Black pulser lead (ground) to the switch box's black trigger terminal.
  6. Connect Red pulser lead (power) to the switch box's brown trigger terminal.
  7. Adjust pulser to Idle position.
  8. Turn on key.
  9. A good solid spark should be present from Idle to WOT, do not exceed 6000 RPM at all, nor 5000 RPM for more than two minutes. The pulser should be adjusted slowly, and the RPM and spark gap carefully monitored.

It should be noted that the boat's tachometer was not working. The spark idled along nicely for several minutes while I probed the tachometer wiring. (No conclusions were reached there. I think I really want a Fluke Scopemeter.)

Well, this pretty much fingers the trigger module, which I'd figured on already. Nice to have proof.

...After work I surfed, and bought a CDI (Rapair) replacement trigger assembly, $241.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where does the time go? I've put it off long enough, so I finally tackled the motor again. (I've had the new ignition trigger for weeks.) As I removed the sub-cowling I found wasps going into the propeller, so I sprayed PB Blaster in. They didn't like that, and came pouring out onto the ground, where I stomped them. Sorry, wasps, but that is not a good place for you, especially while I'm working on the engine.

With the cowling removed I got out my puller/lifting eye, and found that I didn't actually need it to remove the flywheel: it came off with just the removal of the ring of 1/2" bolts holding it on. (I did need a longer wrench than the one in the toolkit in order to get enough torque, so I put that offset box-end wrench in the kit as well. I used the 7/8" open-end wrench to lock the flywheel teeth to the starter spindle for counter-torque.) The belt then lifted off of the distributor, and I was able to drop the distributor off and out of the engine once I'd removed the distributor cap and the linkages and wires. It was actually fairly straightforward, though a bit tight. (The belt, believe it or not, still looks pretty good. I'll continue to use it even though it's quite old now, but I see how to replace it now should the need arise.) I needed the small 2-jaw puller to release the spark advance linkage. The original trigger mechanism looks a lot like the new one, hard to say how it's supposed to be a better design since it doesn't look any different.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I disassembled the distributor, which went mostly according to the instructions. It was so greasy and gunky, though, that it was a bit hard to tell what came off of where. The worst part was pounding on the distributor shaft in order to remove it from the housing. I then cleaned everything off and re-greased the moving parts. To put the distributor shaft back in was even more nerve-wracking, since I had to pound (gently!) on the plastic rotor to drive it into the (new) lower bearing. At the same time I had to align the slot in the new rotor disc so that it went together correctly. With that in the rest was pretty easy. I got a bit confused as to the phasing of all the concentric moving pieces, but careful examination showed that there truly was only one way that it all went back together. The original Fafnir upper bearing was in good shape, but I replaced it with the new one from the kit anyway, and tightened down the retaining collar. The new rotor disc now 'lobes' distinctly as it runs through the magnet, I guess the magnet must be a strong one. I checked the new rotor disc against the old, and except for material they seem to be identical. (The old one is dark spring steel, the new is bright.)

With it all back together and tightened down the moving parts (throttle, spark advance, etc.) are much more free than they were with the old grease. I have high hopes that all this work will do the job.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I put the distributor back in the motor. It all went smoothly, except that it turns out that the bolt ring for the flywheel is completely symmetrical, unlike, for example, on a Mercedes. I had to re-index the flywheel with TDC #1, but that wasn't too hard to do. You can only be off by an entire bolt position, and that isn't subtle. The motor is now, in theory, ready to start. The final timing still needs to be checked: even though I put it all back together exactly as it was (by the help of bolt marks), the new ignition trigger might have different trip points.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I fired up the old truck (that took some doing) and hauled the boat into the front yard and hooked up the fuel and water. It started easily, let's go to the lake! ...Just kidding. For starters the tattletale was all plugged up again, I first had to remove it from the engine and dig out the bug nest. When I tried the engine it didn't even 'click', the starter solenoid was sticking. (The electric choke was working correctly.) I removed the solenoid and pounded on it until it loosened up inside and started clicking when power was applied, then I reinstalled it. After that the engine cranked normally, and fired within a few seconds. (Yay!) While it would catch easily enough it would rev up and then run rough and intermittently, then die. Let sit a few seconds it would fire very easily again, and then start running rough. Bad fuel? It was almost like the fuel would vaporize slowly when sitting and then run on that vapor, but new fuel couldn't 'keep up' with the demand. I emptied the boat can into the truck and took it to town for a fresh refill, there's no sense in fighting that kind of thing.

...After work I stopped at Fred Meyer's and bought a 16-oz bottle of two-stroke oil, and mixed it with 6 gallons of fresh fuel, a 50:1 ratio. (The plastic boat tank is weeping a bit where I glued over the leak at the neck. Not too badly, however, certainly nothing like it had at first.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

I hooked up the newer peak-reading voltmeter probe and got 118 VDC on the coil when cranking. That is a passing grade, spec. is 75–150 VDC. I was unable to get the timing light to fire, even though the plug was sparking.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sadly, a party today requires the boat to be 'put away' again. Easy enough to move out of the yard, but not a move made in triumph!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer seems to finally be here, and it's long past time to begin work on this again. I went out today and mucked out some of the pine needles and such. A jug of 2-stroke oil I bought when GI Joes closed has leaked into the carpet, that's not good. It may be hard to clean out. There's enough dirt and water in the carpet that small plants are starting to grow in it... Our current storage method is not good enough!

Anyway, I found the original ignition box in the boat, the Mercury cardboard box was pretty well ruined. I need to clean it off before swapping it back. I found the box of ignition tools, but the manuals still elude me.

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