Sunday, August 28, 2011

Power steering part II

I'm still waiting for the auxiliary drive adapter from John Deere. On Thursday, the Deere marine dealer called me to let me know the part had shipped, so I should see it on Monday as it was shipping from Ashland KY. I'm not in a big hurry for this part, but if I were depending on this type of service or made my living off of getting repair parts in a a relatively short time, I'd be quite pissed at Deere about now. I've owned CAT equipment all my career, and to be honest, no one can hold a candle to how fast CAT gets parts to contractors. I'm not going to beat this horse any more, but I've never waited more than 24 hours for a CAT part.... NEVER.

All the hydraulic lines I'm able to install without having the drive adapter are installed. The lines had to pass through two water tight bulkheads en route from the engine room to the helm then to the steering quadrant. I used bulkhead fittings to get through the bulkheads and maintain the water tight integrity of the bulkhead. The bulkhead fitting also breaks the lines down in to shorter runs, which helps the manageability of the system.

A few things are starting to look like I did some things right in the previous stage of the build. It has turned out to be a good thing that I bolted lumber to my steel framing to screw the various floors too. I've had all the engine room floor plates many, many times, and having the lumber to screw the floor panels too, vs screwing to the floor material directly to the steel framing, has made removal and replacement of the panels a breeze. I held the lumber proud of the steel framing by 1/16th of an inch, so I don't have any aluminum touching any steel which should help with rattles. The lumber is also making running mechanical systems much simpler and quicker as it is much easier to run a screw in to the lumber for attaching clamps vs through bolting through the steel. The lumber to steel idea has for sure made my life easier. I still have water lines, electric lines, and more hydraulic lines to install beneath the sole, and I know it is going to speed things up and make a hard job easier due to having the timber frames bolted to the steel frames.

Because my lines are fixed between bulkheads, and no line will see any movement, I have a feeling the hydraulic lines will last many, many years. The only place I will have movement of any parts is at the steering quadrant. Because of the slight movement the steering quadrant will have upon the hydraulic lines, I decided to use a short jumper line between the cylinders and a bulkhead fitting vs having a long line directly from the water tight bulkhead to the cylinders. I attached a two inch piece of angle iron the the aft wall, and used two bulkhead fittings to make the connections. Since I have some hydraulic hose left over, I'll probably make a spare line for this area and in case the movement in the quadrant causes a line to fail prematurely. So I have a relatively set of long lines starting at the water tight bulkhead terminating at the angle iron bulkhead fitting, then two short jumper lines connect to the slightly moving quadrant.

I installed the seven gallon reservoir underneath the work bench next to the engine. I threaded a filter in to the reservoir, and have the return circuit running through the filter. The reservoir has a site gauge on it with a built in thermometer. To make filling the reservoir easier, I extended a 1" fill neck with a vented cap up to the work bench elevation. The " low " level on the site gauge is 4" above the pump elevation. The pump needs to be gravity fed and it was critical to keep the oil level above the pump at all times.

I kicked around the various routes I had to get the hydraulic lines from the engine room to the helm and back again for while before I committed to install the lines. I decided to run the lines from under the engine bed, through the water tight bulkhead @ the center of the boat, then up the wall of the master cabin and in to a chase in the master cabin ceiling. I'm going to have to create a chase to hide the hydraulic lines that run up the master cabin wall by the water tight door, but this will solve a few problems in doing so. I've decide to use this newly created chase to run the throttle control and shift cable controls for the main engine. I also will use this chase to run the hydraulic lines for the deck winch. The ceiling chase is getting crowded, but I know I have enough room to install the shift and throttle cables. I am questioning if the winch hydraulic lines will fit in the remaining space since those are 1/2", and things are getting tight up there. I do have another framed ceiling chase next to this one on the other side of the longitude ceiling beam, so I can always use that chase. The unused chase I'm speaking of is going to be for my DC home runs from the engine room, and the AC lines feeding the air conditioner that will reside under the steps.

I'm clamping all the hydraulic lines using galvanized rubber coated clamps and stainless screws. Any place I have four lines running together, I clamped two of them with the steel clamps, then used plastic cable ties to tie the remaining two lines to the better clamped set. Any place I have two lines, I steel clamped one line, then cable tied the other to it. I had ordered two boxes of clamps from the Parts Connection, and the other day, I gave one of them back. This week on one of my visits to the Parts Connection, I'm going to get back that box as I've been burning through the clamps. I don't want any moving or chaffing of these hydraulic lines. Any place I installed lines through metal framing ( when not using bulkhead fittings) I hole sawed through the metal and installed a rubber grommet. 1 1/4" grommets were a little tight for two 3/8" lines together, so I upped the grommet size to 1 1/2"

The size of the steering wheel is something that has been eluding me, and I really don't know how big a wheel I want. I mocked up a few sizes, but am afraid to commit to anything. I found a used 18" destroyer wheel on Ebay, and paid the stupidly cheap price of $1.00 plus $12.00 in shipping. The wheel is missing the cap, but I could lathe one out of Cherry, and call this a done deal. At least I can use the wheel to test the steering as soon as I finish the job and get the engine ready to fire. Hard over to hard over on this steering system will be about three turns, so a large wheel is not needed for torque. 18" might work, but seems a little small to me.

The helm is mounted to a piece of 18" channel welded and braced to the floor. All the helm cabinetry will be in Cherry, so you won't see that beautiful piece of channel steel. The channel makes for a nice stout mounting tower for the helm and hydraulic lines, and that's all I cared about.

I don't think installing the pump drive adapter is going to be a big job, so I am looking to have the steering system wrapped up by next weekend. I'll post some more once I have the drive adapter installed. I might connect the exhaust at that time and fire the engine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Power Steering

I'm working on the power steering but really don't have much to post in terms of pictures. Most of the work right now revolves around routing the hydraulic lines, drilling holes, and mounting all of the bulkhead fittings. All the lines have been routed and are in the back of my truck ready for a trip to the hydraulic shop where Chuck will smash the ends on.

My hydraulic steering system is basically a power steering system. I have a pump that is driven off of a gear that runs off of the timing gear on the engine. I have a six gallon reservoir for the hydraulic fluid and a filter in the return line. The engine mounted pump drives my helm pump which is what the steering wheel bolts too via a 3/4" tapered, keyed shaft. The helm pump then sends fluid to a dual ram steering quadrant that turns the rudder. This is a pretty simple system that is what I would call robust, and should give me decades of trouble free service.

I'm still waiting on the pump drive adapter from Deere, but that should be in this week and I'll then be able to finalize the installation and start posting some pictures.

Here's another diagram showing how the auto pilot solenoid valve will plumb in to the circuit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Water tight doors

While waiting for parts for the steering system I decided to install the water tight doors in the engine room. As my son would say, " everything tight doors" is really a better description.

The doors have been laying around the shop ever since I bought them at the start of the build. I welded the frames in to the bulkheads, then forgot about the doors. The door leading into the engine room from our cabin is a six dog quick acting door with a port light. Since I don't need the aluminum dead light that came with the door, I took it off. The port light glass in this door is 1/2" thick tempered, and the door itself is 1/4" thick. This door is what I would call severe duty, and is both water tight and fire tight. When this door shuts, things are pretty much final, and no air or water is getting past it.

The door leading from the engine room to the lazarette is a four dog door that is not quick acting. It too, has a port light and is also 1/4" thick. Since this door has no adjustments, the new gasket and dogs are still tight, and I have to use a rubber dead blow mallet to close the dogs. I don't have to hit the dogs to hard, but the mallet works better than my hand. I'll end up buying a dedicated mallet, and hang it on a hook next to the door.

Both doors have a bronze port light in them, and we decide to polish the port light. I had some stainless steel pickling paste in the shop, and brushing some of that on the bronze took the tarnish right off. It was almost too easy and looked like one of those Billy Mays commercials except for the fact that pickling paste is nasty stuff and will give one a good burning if you're not careful. After the acid treatment, I gave them a good scrubbing in cold water, the put a paste wax finish on them to try to keep the tarnish at bay. We'll see how this works out.

Both the AC and DC light switch for the engine room is in our cabin so I can see in to the engine room through the port light without opening the door. I felt like this was important in case something was going on in that room I wanted to see and still maintain the integrity of water and fire tight. It also makes it easy to do a quick check without letting the noise and heat in to the cabin. The light switch for the lazarette is outside the lazarette, in the engine room, for the same purpose of being able to look in without opening the door.

I think I'm going to fit some mineral wool insulation in the quick acting door from our cabin. The engine room is heavily insulated, and the door is really the weak link in the insulating chain. I'd guess an inch of insulation will knock the noise that will be hitting the door down by 80%.

An update on the fuel system is also needed. I had to re think the priming pump as the chevy pump I had on my shelf was not up to the lift out of the day tank. I found a new Walbro pump on Ebay for not much money, and got it installed. Walbro is a top of the line pump and with just three moving parts, this pump should last the life of the boat. I'll only use this pump to prime either the generator or main engine after I service the filters or for an emergency such as an engine loosing prime, or one of the engines loosing it's factory mounted lift pump. This pump is rated at continuous duty, so if one of the factory mounted lift pumps fail, I can always rely upon he Walbro as a good back up. Once I got the pump installed and fired up, it quickly picked up the fuel and filled my filter. I opened the valve leading to the generator, and got fuel flowing to the fuel pump. Just for kicks, I cracked one of the injectors, and had fuel spitting out of the injector. That engine is primed and ready to fire. I might use some street 90's for connecting the pump to the valves, and do away with the loops you see and make things more streamlined.

I'm still putting pieces together for the steering system, and should be working on that within a week or so.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Generator install is complete

I finished making the wet exhaust connections to the generator, so for all practical purposes the generator a about as complete as I can get it right now. I'm waiting on a clamp order to get here before I can double clamp all the connections.

For the wet exhaust hose I used Gates hose with wire in it. I wanted to keep the exhaust hose pretty tight to the bulkheads so I used some fiberglass fittings to turn a 45 in to the water lift, and two 90's to get to the bulkhead. To make the turn in to and out of the bulkhead I used stainless steel 90's and sch. 80 nipples. I clamped the hose to the plywood fuel tank covers using two mineral ac clamps and I have a sch. 80 nipple welded in to the hull for the discharge about 12" above the water line.

The suction line from the sea chest to the generator pump inlet is 3/4" suction hose with stainless wire in it. I had bought a 100' roll of this stuff for the fresh water system, and had plenty of it left over so I used it for the generator. The generator is set up for 1/2" suction hose, so I had to remove the 1/2" barb fitting from the pump and increase it to 3/4" with an adapter coupler. I don't think the generator will mind the increase ( decrease in head) suction pipe size.

I've yet to install the DC conduit from the engine room to the wheel house, so I have no control wires from the generator to the wheel house. Along with the generator control panel in the wheel house, I'd like to be able to start it from the engine room, so I will need to source another panel.

I had the generator running about a year ago, but I think I'll fire it up inside the engine room within a few weeks as I'm curious to see how loud it is in place. A 55 gallon drum on my scaffold will mimic the water line, and a sump pump in a bucket below the discharge will get the water back up to the barrel. This is how I was planning on getting big electricity at the launch site, so I might as well see if it will work.