Thursday, July 28, 2011


Before I can move forward on the steering system, I needed to finish sheathing the lazarette. The lazarette is the area aft of the engine room and underneath the cockpit. The rudder post and steering gear is located in this room. The room is pretty large measuring about 14' x 7' x 48" high.

While the lazarette is home to the rudder and steering gear, I also have put some more equipment in here. The marine air conditioner that will cool the salon and wheel house will be in the lazarette along with the water heater, freezer, air compressor, 90 gallon black water tank, and generator discharge line ( wet exhaust), and fresh water hot and cold manifold.

When I was welding the boat I framed a level pad for the black water holding tank. Other than that one level area, the lazarette floor follows the shape of the hull.

I sheathed the lazarette with 1/2" B/C plywood then painted on a coat of primer( actually, I had my 16 year old son Conall Jr. paint the room), and three coats of white enamel house paint. Since I was working in that are, I decided to install the light wiring and the conduit and boxes for the various electric equipment. I had already run the wires to the big junction box next to the generator in the engine room so it was no big deal to continue the conduit run in to the lazarette. I decided to install a light switch outside of the lazarette on the engine room AC light circuit ( this will be on an inverter circuit). There will also be two DC lights in that room on a switch.

The lazarette room turned into a little bit of work and I found myself saying " since I'm in here I might as well...". Since I had finished the electric conduit and box's I decided to finish the generator discharge line. I also completed the water line manifold and made all those connections.

The water line manifold turned out to be a nice way to complete all the water lines for the boat. Instead of using "T's " hidden behind walls, I ran lines for every fixture back to the lazarette. I used a PEX manifold that comes with a nice re usable compression connector that has a shut off valve for each line. I still have to install the lines for the clothes washing machine, the salon 1/2 bath, and the aft deck outdoor shower, but I will have to wait to do that when the boat gets to the launch site. The nice thing about this manifold is that it is easy to expand and will be a breeze to winterize all the fresh water piping from this manifold by some simple valve turning and my air compressor. This was the smallest manifold my plumbing supply house sold with 9 hots and 12 cold ports. The 1" cold inlet goes all the way through so I can feed it from either the top or bottom.

The lazarette is going to be the closet of the boat and I have a feeling it will be jammed with all kinds of stuff. Once I have all the components installed I'll probably fill all the wall space with shelving. I'll wait to install the 3/8 plywood ceiling once the boat gets to the launch site. I'm only a few steps away from having the fresh water system complete, and I might head in that direction before I work on the steering and hydraulic system.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fuel system is complete

The fuel delivery end of the job is complete with the main engine and generator connected to the day tank. It was kind of anti climatic as I screwed down the last hose clamp, and realized I have no more work to do on the fuel system.

I installed check valves after the manifold. I was worried that one engine might try to pull fuel out of the other engine. I spoke with a few diesel mechanics, and all agreed that check valves would not hurt and were probably needed.

The line supplying the main engine after the manifold is 3/8" coast guard rated rubber fuel line. The return line from the main engine is the same rubber line only in 1/4". I had JIC fittings crimped on the fuel supply line for the main engine and used push on connectors for the returns.

I routed the supply and return for the main engine through the engine bed. I used a hole saw to create the bores, and then used 1 1/2" rubber grommets to pretty up the bore and prevent any chaffing of the lines. I used the same detail on the generator supply and return

The line feeding the generator is 5/16 coast guard rubber fuel line,and the return line is the same 1/4". I had to bush the return line up from 3/16 @ the generator return port. The fuel supply line on the generator is a push on connector as the generator manufacturer uses the Banjo style fitting at the fuel inlet.

The 1/2" electric priming pump looks as if it is not going to work. I got the pump to prime with a 5' piece of brake line and a bucket of fuel. However, in the real world, the pump will not pick up the fuel once I have it installed and it has to lift through the fuel filter, pipe network, valves and four feet of lift. I have to re visit the electric priming pump and get a model pump that can handle the lift and friction loss I'm placing upon it.

All the return fuel lines enter the tank at return manifold.

While both engines could be fired now, I'm really not ready as I want to get the exhaust systems completed for both engines. I'm working on the generator wet exhaust first, then I'll attack the dry exhaust for the main engine. Since I'm going to be doing the generator wet exhaust, I need to finalize the wiring in the lazzerette and finish sheathing that room. Once the lazzerete is sheathed, I can make the wet exhaust connections and check another item off the list. I'm at the point now that I want to be able to scratch these jobs off of the list and not have to re visit them. This order of work is logical as I won't be able to start the steering system until the lazzerete is completed, and the bulky wet exhaust gear is installed.

Since I am now working on the wet exhaust system for the generator, I might as well install the sea chest as the generator will be needing it's cooling water. I even hung a spare gasket for the flange connector, and the wrench for the strainer housing. Once the wet exhaust is completed, I can fire the generator. The numbers you see in the last picture is how I labeled the fuel tanks. #2 is the 200 gallon day tank, and #1 is one of the 500 gallon storage tanks.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I'm waiting on the fuel line I ordered to finish the fuel delivery system, but in order to connect the fuel lines when they arrive, I had to mount the generator.

The generator is powered by a 3 cylinder Isuzu engine, wet exhaust, and is rated at 10,000 watts @ 240 volts. I've been rolling it around on 3/4" pvc pipes for the last year now, and to be honest with you, I'm glad I'm finally getting it mounted.

Before I could mount the generator, it was going to be easier to finish installing the conduit from the wheel house to the engine room. The 1.25" conduit terminates in a pvc junction box along side the generator. Since I am going to finish the conduit run, I might as well install the wiring since all this gets a little more difficult once the generator is mounted.

I dropped the water lift muffler in its location to see how things lined up. I'll have to rotate the exhaust elbow on the generator a few degrees, and use a 45 to get the line from the generator to the water lift.

The conduit from the wheel house passes through a junction box in the master cabin. All the AC wire from the cabins make their way to the wheel house through this junction box, just as all the AC wires in the engine room pass through a junction box in the engine room. I already have the lower hull lighting circuit in the conduit but I wanted to pull as much through the duct as I could think of on this pull. I pulled the four #6 wires for the generator, I pulled the #10 wires for my inverter, I pulled the #6 ground wire for the AC system ( this will bond to the hull at the engine bed along with the DC ground), I pulled the lower hull receptacle circuit (#12), and enough 12 wire for my battery charger circuit, water heater circuit, and the air conditioner circuit ( two ac units on board with one residing in the lazzerette). There is a fair amount of wire in that 1.25" conduit, but there is room for more so I left a pull string in the duct for any future wire installs I might want to make. Because the duct is filling up, leaving a pull string in the duct is easier than trying to suck one through with the shop vac or using the fish tape.

When it comes time to connect the generator to the hard wires in the junction box, I'll have a four wire rubber cord made up using stress relief cord grips and clamp it to the drip pan. A six foot cord should be plenty to get to from the generator to the junction box.

Now that I have most of my AC wires in the engine room, I can finish wire all the receptacles and AC lights in the cabins and engine room and start getting away from extension cords.

The generator has a stainless steel pan it is mounted to via some nice isolation mounts. I had been planning on mounting the generator and stainless pan directly to the aluminum diamond plate sole I installed in the engine room. I decided to replace the aluminum diamond plate under the generator with some 3/4" painted plywood. I also added some rubber pads to place between the stainless steel pan and the plywood. The metal on metal of the stainless pan and the aluminum sole was causing me some worry in regard to vibration, and also the potential for more than one path to ground should a failure of the generator circuit might occur. I do think the plywood will add a little more of a buffer vs the aluminum diamond plate.

The fuel line will be in the shop on Monday, and I'll be able to drop off the lines and have Chuck at the Parts Connection crimp on my JIC fittings. All the hard piping is completed and now that the generator is mounted, I'll finish the fuel delivery system this week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Window package

The window package showed up a few weeks ago and today I finally got around to picking it up from JCM Equipment. JCM Equip. is a the mechanic shop that works on my equipment and from time to time, they will off load a big delivery for me and store it. A testament to how busy I've been with work is that I had to wait three weeks to find the time to pick up the window package.

I had the windows built by Motion Windows ( ). I first did business with Jeff Kemp from Motion Windows about ten years ago when I restored a Carver cruising boat. Those windows gave me zero problems over the ten years I owned them. The main reason the Carver boat sold as quickly as it did in this depressed market was because of the windows.

I didn't unpack the whole window package but I did pull a few out to inspect. I'm very happy with what I saw in my window package. I went with radius corners for the windows. There is no sign of the tooling required to shape the metal of the window frames. All the bends are perfectly executed with zero sign of a kink or faulty bend. The gaskets are as tight as a bull's ass and are flawless with no marring. All the reveals on the window are perfect. The powder coating is flawless. I'm totally pleased.

The sliding tinted window you see in this picture is one of eight that will reside in the salon.

I went with clear windows for the four windows on the front of the wheel house. The two windows in the center front of the wheel house are fixed. The two other windows on either side of the fixed wheelhouse windows are hinged up and this is one of them.

The small tinted fixed window if for the port and starboard side of the wheel house @ the back of the wheel house.

There are nine windows in the wheel house and eight windows in the salon.

I re packed the windows in the crate they arrived in, screwed the lid back down and moved them to the back of the shop. I won't be ready to install the windows until next Spring. I'll blog more about the window package once they are installed and we can see them in more detail

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fuel delivery system

The fuel delivery system is how I'm going to supply my main engine, generator and any other diesel fired device that might end up on the boat. This system is separate from the transfer system and is fed from one 200 gallon tank.

The delivery system is fairly simple although having quite a few valves. Basically, I'm pulling fuel out of the 200 gallon day tank, through another Racor filter followed by a five port distribution manifold that directs fuel to either the main engine, generator or another device.

In case I have a problem with the Racor filter while under way, I installed a couple of " T's " in line along with three valves, so I could quickly by pass the Racor filter without shutting down the main engine. I could then change the filter or do whatever was needed while leaving the main engine running. Once the problem with the filter was resolved, I then would bring the Racor back on line by moving the valves back into the filter mode.

Between the Racor and the distribution manifold, I added two more " T's ", and three more valves so I could add a 12 volt pump to prime the main engine or generator. Both the main engine and generator have a manual primer pumps on them, but I wanted an in line electric pump to make priming the engines a quick process. If for some reason any engine looses its prime, all I have to do is close one valve, open two valves, turn on the electric pump, and crack the fuel intake line on the injection pump. I'm just guessing now, but I'd say I could prime either engine and have them back running in less than a minute with this set up. For me, this is an inexpensive set up that is easy to do while I'm running pipe that could pay me huge dividends some time down the road.

Because I'm using a manifold to feed multiple engines, I felt as if I should install check valves where the engine supply lines connect to the manifold. I'm afraid that one engine could want to pull fuel from another engine, and start messing with robbing an engine of primed fuel, or causing air and headaches to enter the system.

I'm waiting on the check valves to show up and I'm looking into different fuel pumps for my electric lift pump I want to install. I left myself plenty of room to fit the lift pump between the valves and "T's", but I'm stopped on this system until my parts show up early in the week. Besides having shut off valves at the manifold, I need shut off valves right next to the main engine and generator. While it may seem like I'm have too many valves on this system, I think that they will pay off big once I start having to service the engines and system.

Because of where I want to install the electric lift pump and and the type of pump I want, I held the 1/2" steel fuel line 1.25 inches off of the fuel tank. An added bonus of doing this is that I now have a nice grab rail running the starboard length of the engine room.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fuel transfer system complete

The fuel transfer system is complete, and I don't have to do any more work on it. Well, I guess a persons definition of "any more work" should be discussed over a beer sometime. I do have to decide which electrical circuit I am going to use and make that connection. I only have one circuit ran to the engine room so far ( lights) , but I'm going to be installing some more circuits in the next week or so as I am beginning to do some design with Kevin Morin ( on the electrical system.

I backed my service truck in to the shop and pumped 30 or so gallons of fuel into tank #4 . I temporarily wired a plug end on to the fuel pump transfer switch and once I made sure I had the correct valves open ( I need to label the tanks), I turned the pump on. It took a about a minute for the pump to pick up the fuel, but once the the fuel hit the flow meter the sound of the pump changed and the flow meter started clicking off tenths of gallons. It felt good to finally have a system up and running.

To make sure things were as they appeared, I checked the amperage draw on the pump. The pump is only pulling 5 amps, which is lower than it's full load rating. I also ran the pump for five minutes to check the flow rate. The flow rate of the pump is just about 220 gallons per hour based on my five minute run time. The flow rate I measured is is exactly as advertised by the manufacturer. The 1000 series Racor filter is rated at 190 gallons per hour maximum flow, so I have to figure out what is happening with the measured flow rate of the pump and the maximum flow rate the filter is advertised as capable of. At a first glance, I would have figured that the filter can only physically allow 190 gallons per hour of flow through it given the micron size of the filter media. I might put in a call to Racor and ask their opinion. A gate valve would choke down the flow rate and give the pump some head to work against. I've always felt that pumps live longer if they have some head to push against.

I want to install a vacuum gauge on the filter to monitor when it begins to clog. I think I've seen Racors with a vacuum gauge in the "T" handle, and given how I've plumbed things, that looks like a good option.

After I had ran the electric pump for a half hour or so, I closed a valve, and opened the two valves for the emergency manual transfer pump. I pumped about five gallons to see how it worked, and I'm pleased to say it worked fine. I will say that whenever one of the kids makes it to ye ole shit list, they can meet me in the engine room to manually transfer a 100 gallons of fuel.

It really feels good to finally have a system up and running. Because I now have all the fuel pipe work completed, some of the smaller jobs will begin to fall in to place. I can now install the generator in it's final resting spot vs rolling it around the engine room on 3/4" pvc pipe. Once the generator is set, I can finish the conduit run for my AC in the engine room, and so on and so on....

Now that I have fuel running through the tanks, I will continue on my schedule and build the fuel system for the main engine and generator. This is not nearly as complex or costly as the transfer system, so hopefully I'll have that up and running in a week. I'll fire the engine once I have all the fuel parts in place.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fuel system update- fuel transfer

The fuel transfer system resides in the engine room on the port side of the boat against the aft water tight bulkhead. I've put a huge dent in the amount of work building the transfer system, and there is enough of the system completed for me to blog about. I want to use JIC fuel fittings on the lines between the intake manifold, the filter, the pump and the distribution intake, so I have to wait until Tuesday to get the lines made. Once I run the wire for the disconnect switch and get those lines fabricated, I'll be able to pump fuel from tank to tank.

I have four fuel tanks on board for a total of between 1300 - 1400 gallons. Three of the tanks will be used for storage, and the fourth tank will be a 200 gallon "day" tank that will be used to feed the main engine and the 10kw generator. The fuel transfer system is completely independent from the fuel delivery system which feeds the machinery out of the 200 gallon day tank.

Every day we are traveling on the boat we will manage our fuel by transferring fuel from tank to tank and making sure the day tank is full. As the fuel is transferred it will be filtered through a 1000 series Racor filter that will also remove water. The fuel that leaves the day tank to feed the machinery, will again pass through another Racor filter before being filtered by the factory filters on the main engine and generator. I have a mechanical flow meter in the transfer system that will be the primary way we keep track of how much fuel we have left and how much we are using. Once I fill the tanks and have some sort of base line for tank capacities, we'll use a log book to track fuel usage along with a flow meter on the main engine and dip sticks for the tanks.

The transfer system's pump is a rotary vane pump driven by a 120 volt 1/2 hp motor. The motor is continuous duty rated motor so I don't have to worry about run time. The pump and motor can move 220 gallons per hour which exceed the 180 gallon flow rate of the 1000 series Racor filter. I don't know if I need to put a gate valve on the pump to choke it down or if the Racor will do that for me. The motor pulls about 7 amps, and I'll have it wired in to the inverter circuit so I don' have to worry about having shore power or the generator running if I want to transfer fuel. The rotary vane pump is self priming and is pretty close to bullet proof. This is very long life pump made by Procon that should give me a long life of reliable service. If for some reason the pump or motor fails me, I have a manual pump plumbed into the system that will handle our fuel transfer needs. I got the idea of the manual pump from a careful builder doing a fine job on building their 55 footer. You can check out Peter and his families boat building blog here: building koloa . If the manual transfer pump fails me I can use one of the four drain valves and another type of manual pump to move fuel. If I don't feel like doing that, I can block the vents and carefully use my air compressor and a regulator to push fuel from tank to tank using the transfer manifolds.

When transferring fuel,the fuel is pulled for one of the four tanks via a four port manifold. After the fuel goes through the filter, pump, and flow meter it is then pushed through a distribution manifold with five valved ports. Depending on what combination of valves is opened is how the fuel will find it's way to the desired tank. On the five valve distribution manifold, four valves are for directing fuel to any of the four tanks, and the fifth valve is used for pumping fuel to some place else. If I ever have to give fuel to a stranded boat or get fuel off of the boat for some other reason, the fifth valve will be the way to do it. I actually have a sixth port of the distribution manifold since I did not know from which end I was going to be feeding the manifold. I have the sixth port plugged. All the flexible fuel line I've been using in the engine room is Coast Guard approved marine fuel hose.

This was a pretty involved project, but I'm for sure on the tail end of it and will have it operational within a few days. If I were to do it all over again, I would have paid more attention to how I was going to run the piping while I was building the tanks. A plan would have been nice, but you know how that goes. Stainless steel pipe would have been another good thing, but since I'm on a shoe string budget, painted steel pipe will have to do. All the piping has been air tested from the manifolds, through the tanks to the deck fills and vents. I'll probably put 30 gallons of fuel in the system and start moving fuel around to clean the tanks. The next part of the fuel system to build is the delivery system and returns for the main engine and generator. I'll be starting on the delivery system this week.