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Project Log:  Saturday, December 3, 2011

Beginning where I left off last weekend, I installed the three deck fill/vent fittings in the port recess, securing them with sealant and screws.

A reader brought up a concern about the fill cap labels and the possibility of mistaking the water fill for diesel, or vise versa.  Although the readily-identifiable caps were attached to the fills with small chains in the usual way, the bodies of the fills themselves were not labeled--just the caps--and because of the proximity of the different fills on each side of the boat (plus the fact that the cap labels were just appliqués and potentially impermanent), I felt this was a valid point, so I had some tank tags made up to clearly mark each fill, cap on or cap off.  The tags were self-adhesive, but I thought I might add some tiny screws to ensure they also remained in place.

To aid in the eventual layout and construction of the longitudinal pilothouse bulkheads, I temporarily installed the tank fill unit assemblies; I wouldn't permanently install these till the boat was painted, but for now I wanted them in place to help me locate various openings and, eventually, other installations that would go in the adjacent spaces.



My work on the pilothouse interior was temporarily stymied as I was finally forced to admit that I couldn't proceed till the engine--and, most importantly, the remote coolant header tank--arrived at the shop.  I'd learned that as of last week, the engine had arrived at the North Carolina distributor, so I sent off my final payment and hoped to have the engine in hand in the near future. 

The header tank was critical because it needed to be mounted somewhere above the domestic water heater, and this meant somewhere in the pilothouse behind the new side panels.  I didn't know the dimensions of the tank, and most other aspects of the new construction hinged upon its ultimate location, so without it I found myself at a standstill.  Anxious as I was to continue with the interior construction, I made myself refocus my attention to some other part of the project; certainly there was no shortage of other tasks I could work on in the meantime.

After some delay, late last week I received four large boxes containing all the pieces and parts required for the diesel heating system.  One thing I'd already learned was that there was no "stock" kit containing everything needed, since each installation was so potentially different, so despite careful planning I wouldn't know till I installed everything whether I'd ordered all the correct parts or not.

In any event, I thought it prudent to check that I'd received everything I ordered, as well as get some sense of all the pieces in 3D, so I unpacked everything and marked it off my list in turn.  The large pile was more than slightly daunting in scope and complexity, but, like the larger scope of the boat project itself, would surely be easier to cope with with item by item, system by system, rather than as a whole.

(Not shown:  the system water hose)


The good news was that the Webasto TSL-17 diesel boiler was quite a bit smaller than I'd anticipated, which meant it'd be an easy--luxurious, even--fit in the space I'd planned for it in the engine room.

During my planning and ordering process, I'd had various discussions with the supplier, and one of the things that came up was that they recommended that the boiler use its own dedicated fuel pickup rather than drawing off an existing fuel line or manifold, this to avoid the possibility of competing fuel supply needs affecting the operation of either the boiler or main engine.

Since there was no reason I couldn't install an additional fuel pickup in one of the tanks--and in fact doing so would actually make the fuel supply run to the boiler more convenient--I ordered a fuel pickup tube designed for use with the boiler, which I planned to install in the after (center) fuel tank. 

While having the dedicated pickup meant that I'd only be able to draw fuel from the one tank, I felt that this was a small compromise.  I chose the center tank because I expected this would be the last tank I'd select for engine use, assuming all three diesel tanks were filled, so it seemed most likely there'd always be substantial fuel in this tank under any circumstances.  Now was the time to install this new supply pickup in the tank.

Installation would be a simple matter of drilling and tapping the appropriate-sized hole and threads in the polyethylene tank; the wall thickness (3/8") was more than enough to provide adequate threads for the supplied fitting without a need for a bushing or other fiting.  However, there wasn't enough clearance above the top of the tank to drill and tap the hole, and insert the fitting, so I unstrapped the tank and slid it forward into the engine room for better access. 

In short order, I drilled and tapped the new hole (3/8-24 threads) and installed the new pickup, along with a shutoff valve I'd ordered as part of the heater installation.

While the tank was out, I installed all the other fittings, which I'd recently ordered with this intention:  fill, vent, supply, and return.  Afterwards, I returned the tank to its platform and resecured it.


Similarly, I took the opportunity to install the tank fittings on the other four tanks outboard of the engine room.  The access was as good as it would ever be, and with any luck I'd soon be installing portions of the related fuel and water systems, so this was a good way to spend the afternoon, and in any event was one of those seemingly insignificant tasks that not only needed to be done, despite it having no apparent--or immediate--impact on the completion of the vessel, but also took a surprisingly long time to do.


Total Time Today:  5 hours

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