9/19/2012 – Maybe we’ll just leave it out

Probably not, though.  Of course I’m talking about the engine on Siempre Sabado.  After disconnecting everything holding the engine to the boat, and then after fussing and fretting and stewing about actually lifting it out, it was all over in about 15 stress-free minutes. I was too busy to get photos of the lifting process but here’s what happened.

After everything was loose, I rigged a sling made from a couple of shackles and some spare 5/8″ double-braided nylon line.  Having decided not to do the lift with the come-along tied to the boom, I walked over to the Marina Seca office to arrange to have the crane come over.  Naturally the crane wasn’t working right then.  But they said they’d have one of their staff see if he could do the lift with the front-end loader. Uh….

I needn’t have worried.  This is Mexico, land of “Sí, no hay problema“.  Just a few minutes after I returned to the boat, here comes a big loader with a long boom attached to the bucket and a chain dangling from the boom.   Maybe this will work.  The driver maneuvered into place following my hand signals.  He lowered the boom as low as he could without crunching my solid lifelines.  I attached the chain to my lifting sling and signaled him to hoist her up.  Amazingly, there were no surprises like a hose or wire that I overlooked still attaching the engine to the hull.  The driver made a couple of adjustments and, next thing you know, we were on the ground next to the boat securing the engine to some large wooden blocks and covering it with a canvas tarp.  The whole procedure could not have gone better.  The driver was very methodical, slow and careful.  All in all, it took maybe 10 minutes.

With the engine out of the way, it was now time to inspect the beds that the engine sits on.  They looked pretty rusty but our friend “Mike the machinist” said that if there was 70-80% of the original material, we could probably re-use the old beds after wire-brushing and painting them.  And, although they don’t look too bad in this photo, that pile of rust between them is just part of what I’ve chipped off so far.

Rusty little boogers.

The one on the right is bottom-up.  Up at the top of the photo, you might be able to see where some of the original metal is completely gone and some is just flakes.  Even if there was 70-80% of the metal left, there’s no good way to clean and coat the inside of the rectangular tubing that was used to build them.  No, I believe we’ll just go with new ones.  Tomorrow, first thing, I’ll hop a bus to Guaymas and try to find “Luis the stainless steel guy”.  Fortunately, Mark & Katie on Selkie already did the exploring to find Luis and all I have to do is follow their map.

Meanwhile, back in the engine compartment.  Lulu volunteered to clean the engine room once the engine was out. I. being no idiot, quickly agreed that she was definitely the best person for the job.  This is what she had to face:


She donned my old funky Carhart overalls and a pair of latex gloves and set to work.  In an amazingly short time she said, “I’m done.” and this is what I got to see:


The rusty spots where the engine beds used to be will only answer to a cover-up with paint.  Or, maybe some shiny new stainless steel engine beds!

While she was working on the clean-up, I was trying to remove the cutless bearing in the stern tube (or shaft log if you’re feeling salty).  The cutless bearing is a tube of rubber with slots in it lengthwise.

The cutless bearing is the first two concentric circles outside the hole. Inner part is rubber and then there’s a bronze tube around the rubber.

The propeller shaft runs through it on it’s way out of the boat and the slots are for cooling and lubricating using seawater.  This was my first cutless bearing removal and I couldn’t remember what I’d read.  Was the bronze tube on the outside of the rubber part of the bearing and therefore replaceable?  Or was I supposed to remove only the rubber? I couldn’t remember so I figured I was safe to just remove the rubber.  WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS!  There is no way to get all the rubber out.  The tube is about 3-4″ long and the rubber is adhered to the inside.  Before I got too far and did something stupid, I decided to return to Chamisa and go online to read up on cutless bearing replacement.  So, we cleaned things up, I took a shower at the yard, and then packed the unbelievably heavy engine beds in my pack so I can take them to Guaymas tomorrow as models for what I want Luis to make, and we schlepped on back to Chamisa.

Once there, I started perusing the interweb for answers.  The first thing I found was that, yes, the bronze tube is part of the cutless bearing and all the rubber digging I’d done all afternoon was a waste of time.  The next thing I found out was that we needn’t have come back to Chamisa.  The definitive information for replacement of a cutless bearing on a Westsail is in Bud Taplin’s Westsail Owner’s Guide, of which there is a copy on Siempre Sabado.  This is not the first time that I’ve overlooked this valuable resource which is right in front of my nose.  Oy!

In other news:

After we got back to Chamisa, Lulu took her snorkel gear and headed to the beach to try out a couple different masks.  She’s had trouble in the past finding one that fits.  Tomorrow afternoon, she and Katie and Joanna are going to have a “girls’ day swim”.  Joanna knows how to use a spear gun and Katie and Lulu both want to know how.  So they’re going to go play in the water while Mark and I sweat and slave over… well, I don’t know about Mark, but I plan to sweat and slave over a couple of cold cervezas and maybe some salsa and totopos like this batch that Lulu made a couple days ago:

Totopos y salsa. ¡Tan sabroso! ¡Muy rico!




About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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5 Responses to 9/19/2012 – Maybe we’ll just leave it out

  1. Awesome to catch up with you guys, fixing your engine stuff down in the land of sunshine and delicious food! I actually was able to read your entire post about pulling the engine and the cutlass bearing without skipping to the end, a first for me when it comes to this level of detail about engine stuff. Congratulations because that must mean it was a well written post. I am impressed with your engine compartment and its access. Also its cleanliness after Lulu’s efforts. Pretty impressive.

  2. Jay says:

    Steve, I used a hacksaw blade to cut the bearing in half and then used a screw driver to pry the two pieces out. It worked out fine. However, when you put the new bearing in, be sure not to tighten the set screws too tight, or they will wear the rubber out and score your shaft.

  3. Jay says:

    Mine slid right in with no problem. However, if it goes in tight, I would put a piece of soft wood over the end to protect it before driving it in.

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