Thursday, April 19, 2018


More than a year ago Deb spotted a tiny pin hole in the metal exhaust pipe connected to the exhaust manifold. We were far from anywhere repairs could be made, so we wrapped it and clamped it and basically forgot about it. I noticed it again when I started to mount the new heat exchanger and decided this would be the perfect time to do a more permanent repair. The first thought was to replace the 5 inch bit of tube with one that didn't have a hole in it. That thought faded away when it was discovered that the shop didn’t have any such thing in stock. The offer was made to weld a patch over the bad spot, something that would take about an hour and leave me with the possibility of getting the boat done by dinner.


Pipe welded, JJ, Christopher, and I set about reassembling the Beast. It went pretty well right up until we filled the new parts with coolant. When bright green liquid starting dripping past the newly installed flange gasket at the base of the exchanger, we set about disassembling the Beast. New new gaskets replaced the old new gaskets, different and more robust hardware in the form a larger washers replaced the original, and a layer of gasket sealer was added to the install. By then Grampy T was well and truly spent. The reassembled unit was left on the bench to be hung on the Beast the following day. My young crew was delighted at the prospect of having another day of “real engine work” to do.

Come morning the Beast was assembled once again. Part of the fun of this install is the four nuts that help support the exhaust manifold. The only way to get the them started on the studs is to uckum sticky them to a long thin screwdriver, hold them against the stud end, and try to get them started using the edge of another long, thin, screwdriver. It is actually a pretty standard technique for working around an engineering wonk, but not exactly “boat mechanics 101.” All was going well until the very last nut to go on got started a little cross ways, buggering up the stud threads. So we had to back up a bit, removing the manifold to reach and dress the stud. Count that as having to do half of a removal.

The boys were delighted.

Stud threads dressed, the manifold was set in place for the third time. The boys insisted that they could handle the screw driver trick and wanted to give it a try. I’m not sure you could call it a true solo flight, but they got most of the way around the pattern; much to my delight.

Engine buttoned up, this time with the coolant system full and not drooling, Deb prodded the Beast to life while the boys and I looked for leaks. Almost immediately water started flowing from a set of clamps at the tube that was welded. A quick shut-down and some additional torque would cure the minor glitch, no problem. On the second start the clamps held tight but, a few moments later, water and mist could be seen seeping enthusiastically out of the weld repair. Problem. We would have to back up and start all over.

The boys were delighted. Grampy T? Not so much.

For the third time on this repair, fluid was drained and hoses undone. For the fourth time on this repair, the exhaust manifold was unbolted and lifted off the Beast. The boys insisted on trying to remove the nuts and washers, employing a magnet to catch all the bits as they came off the stud, thus avoiding having them cascade down the engine and into the engine pan. A pretty standard technique but not exactly “boat mechanics 101.” Nine and five years old, they handled it with little trouble, and were delighted with their prowess.

The heat exchanger / exhaust manifold assembly is at the shop waiting on a new chunk of exhaust tube to be delivered and installed. Since I am no longer an official employee of the yard and it will likely take a blow torch to get the parts apart, I suspect no one’s insurance would be happy with a DIY. Besides, the boys would likely insist that they could handle the torch, so this is an “out” for Grampy T.

When it comes to puttting the thing on for the fourth time though, I may just sit back and let them have at it.

They would be delighted.

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