Making Friends

I have a feeling there will be a lot of blogging as we begin working S/V Andromeda into our lives. There is so much to do, and we are excited to get some things accomplished. But the only project that is creating a sense of time pressure is the big one: the engine. The new baby Beta Marine 60 HP is already ordered and will be delivered to the Port of Astoria in about three weeks. So that means Mike needs to have that engine room ready to receive the engine by then. It also means we have to find a way to get the boat towed over to the boatyard and hauled out. That’s the only piece we have to pay someone else to do that hasn’t yet been contracted.

We told Shawn about the blog, hoping he’d be glad of the publicity, but I think he already has enough business to suit him.

This weekend we had only one day free to go to Astoria to meet with our new best friend in the world, Shawn The Diesel Mechanic. He wanted to lay eyes on the engine room and take some measurements and Mike wanted his advice about how to get things prepared. We are satisfied that Shawn has years of experience and that he will do the professional ‘hand holding’ Mike wants in terms of being our main support for this project. He comes well recommended and it will be worth it to have someone looking over Mike’s shoulder. He has already recommended that we go ahead and replace the shaft now rather than wait until later. Okay. We can do that.

In the engine room, Mike has his learning hat on. Oh Shawn, we’re not worthy! Note the bell housing for the transmission between Mike and Shawn; the scene of a later crime.

So Mike was stoked to start pulling the transmission out so we could commence with the cleaning. And now this is where the true ‘boat work’ begins, folks. Because you know very well that boat work is never, ever straight forward work.  Those bolts on the shaft coupling would not come off. No movement. I heard groaning, cursing, and the clank of a wrench at the bottom of the bilge. There was a trip to Home Depot for something stronger. But still, no movement of the offending nuts.

Four little brown, rusty nuts. So stubborn.

Helpless, as usual when faced with a man working in an engine room, I cleaned cabinets that were, frankly, already clean. I threw out things we had no use for. I offered to start on the work bench since there is a ton of stuff there that needs sorting, but Mike gave me a stern warning about that one. “Mine!” he said, a glint of steel in his eye. I sighed and handed him a wrench, distracting him with a recommendation that he remove the bell housing for the transmission so that he would have more room to access the recalcitrant nuts on that coupling.

Mike thought that might work and those bolts did come off easier. But as he pulled the housing toward him, water began to pour in around the shaft. Pulling the housing forward moved the seal out of place. Nope. We are not even going there with a boat that has been ours for only about 24 hours. So he pushed that back in place, stopped the gushing of water into the bilge,  and went for one more go at the shaft coupling. Meanwhile I made my fourth trip to the dumpster with an armload of very old and worn out life vests.  We had to leave with those bolts still on, winning the day against Mike’s attempts to budge them. But we’ll be back and Mike doesn’t give up that easy.

So I’d like to pause here and give a little product endorsement for something called Zout, which is a stain remover/enzyme presoak/miracle worker product. Had I been thinking, I would have photographed Mike’s clothing as he climbed out of the engine room. Grease stains everywhere, rust stains everywhere. He was one filthy human.  Yuck. I had to drive home with that man. I told him to simply hand me his clothing when we got home and I would handle things from there. Zout is, in a word, amazing. I sprayed the heck out of his clothes, really soaked them with the stuff,  let them sit in the washer for 15 minutes, then washed them on hot. They are like new! No kidding.

Next weekend we plan to go down on Friday night so we will have all day Saturday and Sunday to get stuff done. We had a trip to Home Depot and to Harbor Freight today to get blades for tools and hand cleaner, and various other small things for that engine room. Like a steam punk squirrel, Mike is gathering his arsenal of tools to wield against the stubborn nuts. They WILL come off. And I will find a project to keep me busy and will generally stay out of the engine room area of the boat.

Mike, loving on Moonrise.

Today we had an afternoon at the marina in Tacoma so Mike could climb Moonrise’s mast. Why would he do such a thing? Well, blog readers, get this: On the day we signed paperwork for Andromeda, the very day she legally became our boat, things starting picking up in terms of interest for Moonrise. There is a nice couple who is very interested in her, and another person waiting next in line should that sale not work out. Someone who looked at her while she was listed at the broker in Olympia called to see if she was still listed and was given our contact information. I tell you, it was positively uncanny.

So Mike wanted to climb the mast to check the spreaders since he hasn’t been up there in awhile and you know how he loves to wear that climbing harness.  The spreaders actually looked great and climbing the mast gave him an opportunity to clean them off. What we thought looked like a need for a paint job turned out to just be algae that came off with a quick wipe of a cloth. They look really good now and he’s satisfied that they pass muster.

So Moonrise is totally ready for new owners, and we’re totally ready to get back down to Astoria and address that engine room! Bring it on!


17 thoughts on “Making Friends

  1. Corroded shaft couplers are the worst. My advice… Spray the whole thing down with PB blaster then immediately wrap tightly with Saran wrap or heat shrink. Let it side for a day or two, then repeat. I’d probably be prepared to take a torch to it as well. Once those things lock up, they don’t let go easy.

    • Thanks for the advice on wrapping the PB Blaster soaked coupling. I let it sit with PB Blaster for about half and hour and then tapped it to help it work in, but wrapping would be a good idea. The torch is coming with us on the next trip down as well as my larger wrench set. We are a little spread out tool-wise. Some tools at home, some on Moonrise and a few on the new boat. You can bet that wherever I am, the tool I need isn’t.

  2. The last time we dealt with rusted bolts (referencing the picture above” I learned a couple of new words. I believe Darin actually made them up on the spot. There is nothing more frustrating than breaking TOOLS in the process of trying to move such a tiny, wee bolt….

  3. There is a nice home depot in Astoria, too. Worth taking the time to find. Well, maybe it’s really in Warrenton. Either way, it’s in Oregon, not too far from Costco.

    I totally understand about having the thing you need in the wrong place, dealing with our house and my mom’s condo in Seattle. I even managed to get the two halves of a pair of socks 180 miles apart…

    • We found the Home Depot and the Fred Meyer. I think Mike saw the Costco. Gosh, we really do like this area! I wonder what makes it so appealing? Whatever it is, we look forward to spending more time there. In spite of how much we wish the boat was close to home, there is something nice about making that trip and knowing it’s like having a vacation home on the water, even if it’s one that needs work!

      • It’s possible that it is a bit brighter than Tacoma, weather wise. That doesn’t hurt,especially in winter around here. I like how much vintage character it has. that’s the upside to all the years the town has struggled. it’s great to see it finally having a bit of a renaissance.

  4. Astoria->fish and chips->The Bowpicker!!! (across the street from the Maritime Museum). The Maritime Museum is also a must-see. Congratulations on the boat although I now have to go back and see what I’ve missed since I haven’t been paying too much attention to blogs during our Mexican road trip.

    • Steve,

      We have tried to eat at the Bowpicker twice and have been rebuffed by their ridiculously long lines. Are they seasoning their fries with hashish or something? Everytime we drive by, there are twenty people waiting for food. Maybe a good rain will wash away the riff raff and we can see what the fuss is about.

      I have been following your Mexican Road Trip posts. You are still in Loreto? One of my coworkers is down there now for two weeks. He loves it.

    • Looking forward to trying The Bowpicker – if we ever had all day to wait in line! And also if we ever have cash on hand. Loving your land based adventures!

      • They’re right about the Maritime museum. It’s really excellent.
        I think we’ve had the fish & chips from the Bowpicker. It was across the street from the museum, anyway. We like The Frying Scotsman in Portland better, or Pacific NW Best Fish in Ridgefield… but maybe it was just a bad day. It was several years ago, too.

  5. Mike , if you are replacing the engine transmission coupling and and shaft why don’t you just cut the shaft off? If you are not replacing the transmission and must remove the coupling bolts keep the pbblaster off the transmission seals as they don’t like the pbblaster

  6. Hi all, great blog !!! PB Blaster is good stuff but what will REALLY work is the old mechanic trick of: acetone and ATF fluid 50/50 mix. Nothing else will even come close.

    • Hi Russ, Many thanks for the helpful commment! We will put that in our bag of tricks. Someone else recommended Kroil penetrating oil. I’ve ordered some of that, and we’ll look take this with us as well. The more tools we have to throw at it the better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.