Sunday, September 21, 2014

An old guy, a Tartan, and a Beast

Sometimes it seems that easing off makes things go faster. Or maybe it just feels that way. It is no secret that this summer's relentless boat work put a pretty big dent in our first year's cruising experience. I have been struggling to keep the faith and rebelled a little. Even with the deadline looming and the Beast still disassembled, I just decided to finish some mods to the aft cabin; a partial rebuild of our storage area / work bench and a new lid for a storage area. It didn't need to be done, just a simple wood, screw, and glue job. It was something different that had nothing to do with deadlines and so I went with it. It took the better part of three days, mostly because I did it twice.

The first time through it was all poor planning and amateur hour, certainly not my best effort. In fact it looked like something someone kind of disgusted with the world would do; and I was embarrassed. So I backed up and did it again. It is still a mod to a home made thing shoehorned into a 30 year old boat, made with hand tools where function is more important than aesthetics. The aesthetics still need some work, but the function part is pretty sweet, so it will keep until we are back under way. Refinishing the reworked part will give me something to do one of these days while we sit easy on the hook somewhere. Even better, somehow doing that project realigned the mechanic / work / attitude relationship in Kintala's deck monkey, and smoothed the path to tangling with the Beast once again - deadline firmly in mind.

The plan when we rolled out this morning was to finish the mod and then assemble the exhaust riser / heat exchanger. Installation was planned for tomorrow. By late morning the mod was done and the riser and heat exchanger parts were laid out on the bench. Among those parts were shiny new stainless steel studs, washers, and nuts. After hours of searching Deb found them as a kit for rebuilding old style carburetors on 1960s Muscle Cars. The kind that people spend tons of money on making everything perfect, with the space under the hood a celebration of pumping out massive amounts of HP the old fashioned, low tech way. A sparking clean, chromed and painted space, including shiny studs holding massive 4 barrels to intakes and blowers.

Studs that work perfectly for hanging the heat exchanger onto the exhaust riser. They do look a bit out of place, hi zoot gleaming bits in the dark and grungy den where the WesterBeast dwells like a troll under a bridge. But that is where they are. (I would love for Kintala's engine compartment to look like that of one of the above mentioned Muscle Cars – maybe in my next life.) The build up went so smoothly, the old studs coming out clean and the new ones fitting just right, that I just kind of rolled with a job that seemed to be going well. By the end of the day the Beast was a whole unit once again. In addition to new studs, nuts, and gaskets to hang the freshly clean exchanger, a new bit of hose went into the cooling system to replace one that looked like it was causing a restriction when the engine was hot and sucking water. There is, of course, a new $80 exhaust gasket pinched in there as well, some new clamps, and a few other hacks that I un-hacked.

Tomorrow, after a very slow and careful look to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be, the coolant tank will get topped. Once we are sure the engine can suck river water – we have been sitting for a long time and the critters grow quick and thick in these parts – the Beast will be woken. IF all goes well, Kintala will be an working cruising boat once again.

We still have a few days to spare and, and at the moment anyway, and for the first time in weeks, I'm feeling pretty good about the tiny piece of the world that includes an old guy, and slightly less old Tartan, and a Beast.

1 comment:

Lacey Jaye said...

I am glad to see that you are filling your black box with points (referencing the John Vigor link). From your posts it is evident that either the people that messed with your boat in the past (we can not call them mechanics) were both incompetent and indifferent. I hope you are able to exorcise the worst of the gremlins though most likely you will never get them all! This will make for less interesting blog posts but will keep you safer!