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Project Log:  Friday, December 30, 2011

I'd be getting back to work on some of the final details of the "pre" engine installation soon, so to prepare I double-checked my engine template against the engine itself--a worthy step to ensure that my measurements and layout were accurate, and that no changes were necessary.  This is why I waited till the engine was on hand before beginning engine foundation modifications and construction.

Securing the template temporarily against the engine in its crate, I determined that my mounting locations were correctly laid out, and that the overall dimensions of the template matched the engine accordingly.

Next, I removed the temporary engine mounts I'd built from scrap lumber and installed the actual flexible mounts directly on the template.  For initial layout purposes, I liked to have the mounts adjusted to some middle range, allowing for adjustment up or down as needed when the engine was installed, so to achieve this and keep all four mounts at the same level, I installed a pair of slim nuts on the studs beneath the main nuts that would support the engine.  These nuts were just spacers for now; later I'd remove them, which would leave a corresponding amount of thread exposed for adjustment.

Upon reflection, I wondered if the pair of nuts brought things a little too high; it's ideal to have the engine adjusted as low as possible on the mounting studs, but I always wanted room to adjust downward if needed.  With this thought in mind, I'd probably either remove one of the spacer nuts, halving the adjustment possibility, or else add some additional height to the foundations themselves during construction.


Temporarily installing the engine's remote coolant tank on its new mounting studs in the pilothouse, I prepared to continue work on the longitudinal bulkhead.  I clamped the bulkhead in place and made a series of marks and measurements as needed to determine where to cut one or more hatches, which would provide access to the coolant tank and nearby fuel/water fill hose connections.


One thing about design-on-the-fly is that relatively simple things like cutting basic access holes tend to take a long time.  While cutting the hole is quick, determining how large it should be, and where exactly it should be located for best access, aesthetics, etc. can consume abundant time. 

Complicating the layout here was the yet-to-be-built helm console, which required a space allowance (earlier I'd traced the old console's shape on this bulkhead as a rough guideline), and I also took into consideration the position and clearance required for the helm and steering wheel themselves, while running through the back of my mind the whole time were other unknowns like the final position of electrical panels, wire and hose runs, and all the other things that might affect the end utility of the boat.

Eventually, I determined that a single large hatch would give me the access I needed in the most simple and attractive way, so after additional layout and fine-tuning I cut out a large opening, but intentionally a bit smaller than my initial thoughts; it'd be easy to enlarge the opening if needed, but I had to start somewhere.

Upon test-fitting the bulkhead with its new opening, I found, not unexpectedly, that the aft end of the opening didn't quite clear the coolant tank.  So I enlarged the opening by 2" at the aft end, which turned out well since this made the opening symmetrical in relation to the overall length of the panel (though when the helm console was installed, this wouldn't matter).

Meanwhile, I removed the coolant tank and brought it to the paint room for some red paint to match the engine.

Next, I laid out and cut a similar opening near the bottom of the bulkhead, which would provide access to the tankage connections and everything else in the locker.  I made the opening as large as I could, but kept it in line with the opening above.  Thinking of other ways to better utilize the space behind this bulkhead, I laid out--but didn't cut--two possible openings for recessed catch-all bins to hold the detritus of daily life and other essentials.  I wasn't yet sure about these, so I left final decisions for later.


Now I moved on to the starboard bulkhead, which would have its own--and similar--requirements.  Once more, the whole layout of this bulkhead depended first upon the location of yet another expansion tank, this one for the heating system itself.

Space constraints required that this tank be located to starboard, where there was a bit more room because of a shorter tankage fill recess (only two fills on starboard, versus three to port), and, thanks to a quirk of the boat's original construction, enhanced by a minor layout mistake of my own, more space behind the bulkhead and the pilothouse itself.

Clamping the tank to its supplied mounts (I'd painted the tank earlier), I held it in position behind a clamped-in metal ruler that simulated the position of the bulkhead, and determined where the tank needed to go.  In this case, it only fit towards the forward end of the space, but that was fine.

I began preparations to build a similar mounting block and studs, as with the port tank, but left the bulk of the construction--and eventual installation--till another day.


Total Time Today:  4 hours

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