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Project Log:  Thursday, September 29, 2011

After additional research into my engine options, and the input of Joe at Sound Marine Diesel, I decided to install the Beta 38 instead of the 43.  I'd been leaning this way for a few weeks despite my earlier direction featuring the 43, but in the end there seemed no particular advantage to going with the larger, heavier Beta 43; the boat needed nowhere near that much horsepower in a theoretical sense, but translation of the available power to the water efficiently was what would be important. 

With Joe's help and advice, we spec'd the new engine with a 2.83:1 transmission turning an 18x13 3-blade propeller, which combination would be effective at maximizing engine power to the water.

Advantages to the choice of the 38 vs. the 43 were that the 38 was a bit shorter in overall length, and, more importantly, nearly two inches less tall, which meant that it would be a clean, easy fit in the engine room, with ample clearance beneath the floorboards and insulation.  I would have made the 43 work if it'd been the right choice, but was happier to have additional room to play with.  Additionally, the 38 was approximately 150 lb. lighter.

I placed the order for the engine, along with an upgraded alternator and belt system, remote coolant header tank, remote oil filter, Adverc alternator controller, and sundry additional options.  It'd probably be 8 weeks before delivery.  I was excited to have it on its way, however slowly.

With this decision made, and the new engine on its way, I constructed a new template to aid in the engine installation.  I already knew the engine would fit in the engine room and on the engine foundations (with modification to their height, as determined earlier), so at this stage of the game building the template was more of an academic exercise, though I'd use it later for critical measurements in modifying the foundations and engine placement.



These photos of my two templates--Beta 43 (right) and Beta 38 (left)--show the clear length and width differences between the two engines, though the height and weight reduction of the 38 were the most important differences for this particular installation.


The 14.5" height of the "engine" above the top of my template fit clearly beneath the support beams for the pilothouse sole.


I set the template aside for later use, and, while I was in the engine room, turned to the water heater, which I'd ordered recently and had on hand.  I chose an Isotemp Basic 24,a 6.4 gallon unit fired by internal coils plus AC electrical power (if available).

Discovering how realities work in three dimensions, versus dimensional information and drawings, is frequently eye-opening.  I'd carefully measured the space available for the water heater (an open area on the port side of the engine room, aft of the saddle tanks) on several occasions, and the space itself offered plenty of room.  And there was no clearance issue maneuvering the tank into the space.  Where things went south, however, was the realization that if I built a horizontal platform to support the tank, the platform itself would impede maneuvering the tank into or out of position. Not only did I need to get the tank in in the first place, but I also wanted to ensure I could remove it someday if needed.


This caused me several moments of consternation as I ran through my options.  One thing I'd been considering since the tank arrived, however, was mounting the tank vertically on the aft bulkhead of the tankage space; vertical mounting was possible with this tank and its rotating brackets.  Indeed, the tank fit in this space fairly well, and this offered the additional advantages of being easier to install and remove, and also obviated the requirement for an additional structural platform.

The disadvantage was that this option mounted the tank a little higher than I might have liked.  I was trying to keep the tank as low as possible, which would ensure the most options for mounting the engine's remote coolant tank (which was required to be the highest point in the coolant system).  This was assuming, of course, that I'd use the engine to heat the water tank in addition to my (still in planning stages) separate diesel-fired hydronic heater.

Eventually, and seeing no particular option that I liked, I elected to move forward with the water heater's installation on the vertical bulkhead.  To optimize access to the various connection points on what would become the bottom of the tank once it was in its final position, I rotated the brackets something over 90° from their original, factory position (as seen in the photo of the heater above).

The bulkhead was only 1/2" (12mm), and there was a cleat on the inboard edge that was in the way of the tank, so to add strength, thickness for fasteners, and provide the support the water heater needed I built a laminated plywood block from a layer of 18mm and 12mm plywood glued and screwed together with epoxy. I marked the water heater's base locations on the surface, and drilled small pilot holes for later reference.


I installed the new support on the existing bulkhead with more epoxy and screws, then painted out this final area so I could continue with the water heater installation in the immediate future; I saw no reason not to secure it in place now and get it out of the way on the shop floor.  I planned no permanent installations that would impede access to or removal of the tank for servicing later.  All in all, the final position seemed an acceptable compromise given the intricacies of the situation.


Total Time Today:  4.25 hours

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