Leaks in the Deck, Squishy Stringer, New Front Seal, & Shaft Alignment

While we were out on our first salmon trip of the season we found some disturbing boat problems that needed to be fixed. So as we've been waiting for the salmon fishing to pick up and open again we've been solving them. 

At the end of a day of fishing we have a list of chores that we attend to before dinner: checking the oil in the engine, our dry bilge for any water or other fluids, and every few days we check if the bolts need to be tightened on one of our engine mounts that has been problematic for quite some time. Any of the above may require attention and clean up when we would rather be sharpening fish hooks or playing with a new idea to attract salmon!

On our recent trip the dry bilge had water which we eventually discovered was flowing through the engine room bulkhead from some mysterious source. We could tell that it was coming from the deck on the port side but not from where. Back in the harbor we eventually removed almost our entire wooden rail before finding the two rascal holes in the deck that were causing the problem, then filled, fiberglassed them, and rebuilt the rail. No more leaks! 

 engine mount and steel plates reattached to fiberglass stringer

engine mount and steel plates reattached to fiberglass stringer

We also addressed the problematic engine mount which we noticed had started to seriously misalign our propeller shaft while we were in the engine room assessing our water leaks. This required removing several parts from the engine including the shaft, then jacking it up and detaching the engine mount. The squishy stringer (structural beam running from bow to stern) the mount was attached to had to be fortified internally with a slurry of penetrating epoxy and wood dust, fiberglassed externally, then re-drilled. Just in case we added a couple of custom fit 1/2" steel plates to either side, and then reattached the mount and engine.  

 Don assessing the front crankshaft seal removal in our (thankfully) dry bilge

Don assessing the front crankshaft seal removal in our (thankfully) dry bilge

While we had so many things taken apart we decided it was a good time to take a look at our engines front crankshaft seal which we suspected might be the source of our small oil leak. Two days later the new seal was installed thanks to Don the local marine diesel mechanic's awesome torque multiplying wrench and a considerable work out for Rich and Don who had to apply the muscle for the job.

To replace the front seal we had to figure out a way to keep the engine flywheel from turning. Don suggested we remove the starter and use a carefully placed crowbar in the flywheel. This worked great and gave us an opportunity to inspect our starter which had intermittent stubborn tendencies. With everything that was going on we moved the starter around several times, and each time it left a small sooty pile. Eventually Rich shook out it's contents and found a few chunks of metal that looked kind of like a broken 1/2" lock washer. We learned that the pieces might be from the part holding the contents of the starter together. We were lucky to find this before it caused serious damage to our engine!

 Rich installing our new starter

Rich installing our new starter

We ordered a rebuilt starter from Peterson Tractor in Willits. Brent graciously volunteered his time to pick it up for us the morning it arrived and  brought us back burritos for lunch from Taqueria Bravo so that we could keep working. 

Next we properly aligned the propeller shaft to the engine transmission, making sure the variance was no greater than three thousandths of an inch with various tools and tweakings. Whew!

So now we are all put back together and ready to go with a few less evening chores to tend to before dinner which makes us and our boat very happy!