Monday, March 19, 2012

1:1 Ratio

So you're wondering what ratios have to do with a sailing blog? Why it's boat math, of course, like -  for example -  for every project you work on, a new one comes up. Or as in today's case, for every new waterline you install you get one bandaid. While I'm sure my sixth grade math teacher didn't exactly have those examples in mind when she introduced ratios to a class full of blank-looking faces, they are nonetheless a fact of owning a boat and between Tim and I we've scientifically proven the bandaid one.

I spent the morning replacing the cold-water-manifold-to-hot-water-heater hose and the hot-water-heater-to-hot-water-manifold hose. In spite of the 1:1 ratio of bandaids I was feeling pretty good about the job and it was still early so I thought I would take a look at the engine-to-hot-water-heater coolant loop which, as Tim has mentioned off and on, is mostly missing and parts need to be ordered to complete the job. Two mondo hoses (1-1/4" were laying in the engine compartment when we bought the boat, totally unattached and leaving no indication of where they were ever attached, and near the water heater poking out from under the floorboards of the pantry were 2 more unattached hoses of 1" dimension, so my best guess is that the previous owners who installed the new water heater a few years ago just didn't care to take the time to try to locate the fittings that were going to be required to install the engine cooling loop back to it and, to be honest, probably spent most of their time at the dock hooked to shore power anyway so why bother?

Between the engine and the hot water heater there's an access panel in the sole that, when removed, reveals an odd looking manifold that Westerbeke calls a "bypass nipple", but we can't for the life of us figure out what its purpose is or how it functions. What it is at the moment, is a totally rusted out piece of junk that needs replaced because according to the W50 service manual it's required.  Unfortunately, while the ball valve in the middle had a handy part number on the side and was available pretty much on the cheap, the reducing bronze Ts are really hard to find and are much more expensive so it isn't going to get done very quickly.  Somewhere along the line between the engine's 1-1/4" hoses and the hot water heater's 5/8" hoses a reduction has to be made, so stay tuned for what we end up with. In the mean time, a word of wisdom - 100ft of 5/8" water hose is not enough to completely replace all the water line on a Tartan 42. Someone with a perverted sense of humor ran most of the hoses in a convoluted route rather than straight to their destination, although why that surprises me escapes me at the moment.

Also, I ran across an interesting post on another blog that has drawn A LOT of comments so it's obviously relevant, on the topic of "Are refits worth it?".  When you have a few spare minutes, mosey on over there and take a look and then let us know what you think.  There are some times that Tim is completely discouraged by the list and in those moments I'm tempted to answer "no".  Then there are days like today where it was 80°, the breeze was blowing in the hatches, tools were clanking, moldy hose was being flung out the companionway, friends were stopping by to chat, and life was good, list be damned.


Latitude 43 said...

When I look at a new boat price, I shudder. An old boat is the only way we can afford to cruise, unless we buy a pocket cruiser, and then I'd be cruising alone :(
So, unless I win the powerball, it's old and moldy for me.
I hear you though. Some days it's rough. Like my constantly leaking ports, that apparently will leak right up to the day I toss them overboard. It's still better than yard work.

Bill K said...

That Bypass is used normally with 2 other valves as a means to bypass ( or miss )a water heater.

It's main use is to take the water heater out of the hot water loop so when you winterize your water system you don't have to fill the hot water tank with antifreeze.

In your case ( if I read it correctly ) you could isolate the water heater and still run the engine.

I hope this didn't confuse you.

Bill Kelleher

Deb said...

Bill -

That's the reasoning I was following, except that there's no other valves, only the ball valve in between the input and output lines of the heater. I can't see that opening or closing that valve will have much of an impact anywhere, and Westerbeke doesn't show any other valves in the manual other than that one ball valve.

Greg Martin said...


BTW, love the blog. I am a recently new owner of a T42, #29 (Serenity) and I now find I need to replace the same part. A couple of questions if I may.

Where you able to cobble together the right components to recreate this from a standard plumbing supply house? Other do you have a suggestion as to where one get these components.

Thanks much and best regards,