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Project Log:  Sunday, January 29, 2012

I thought I'd start the day with a simple job.  I had a bypass kit for the steering system, a simple collection of fittings, hose, an a valve that would allow me to easily take manual control of the steering if I so desired.  Installing the bypass kit seemed straightforward:  remove the two hose connection fittings from the brass steering cylinder and install the kit's pieces in their stead.

These photos show the original cylinder configuration and bypass kit pieces as provided, and then loosely assembled in their correct orientation.  The original cylinder fittings would be installed at the tops of the bypass kit's tees.


It should have been relatively easy to remove the original fittings as required.  However, I soon discovered that the fittings were extremely tightly installed in the cylinder, and I couldn't budge them.  My wrench simply started to round over the hexagonal shape of the lower portion of the fitting.  Alarmed, I proceed with much caution, and tried a different wrench that could spread the load over a wider portion of the fitting, to no avail. 

I tried heating the cylinder to release the grip of what appeared to be some kind of thread sealant.  This may have been the beginning of the end.  I think the heat softened the brass tee fitting, so my next wrenching attempt caused the fitting to crack just beneath the horizontal leg of the tee.

Obviously I was very unhappy with this development, but looking back it seemed inevitable.  I don't know what I could have done more carefully to avoid this.  The fittings were screwed in absurdly tightly, and brass can only take so much.

Now I had no choice but to try and get out the fitting by any means possible.  Replacing a damaged brass fitting would be no big deal if I could get it out, but I did want to avoid damaging cylinder itself.  Unfortunately, further attempts only caused the whole tee fitting to break off, leaving a short stump but getting me no closer to the removal.

I set the cylinder aside and, seeking guidance, sent an email to a tech support person at Teleflex with whom I'd had useful discourse earlier in my steering planning development.

I spent the rest of the day on sundry tasks, none of any great consequence but all working towards a common goal.  The new engine room was still too fresh to work within (I'd hoped to pattern and install some additional insulation on the forward bulkhead), so instead I cut and installed a panel of insulation on the back side of the engine room access panel from the main cabin.

Meanwhile, I removed the flexible mounts from the engine template and, after masking off the mounting studs and the rubber portion of the mounts, primed and painted them to match the engine.  I hoped this would look good and help minimize rusting of the plain steel mounts.


Thinking ahead to the pending engine installation, I removed a couple things from the engine to reduce its width and bulk slightly.  Although the large overhead hatch in the pilothouse would allow easy engine passage, my gantry crane (and shop ceiling) was not tall enough to allow me to get the engine into the boat in this way.  Instead, I planned and expected to hoist the engine to the cockpit, then slide it in through the pilothouse door, after which I could run the hoist back through the overhead hatch and place the engine on its foundations.

Clearance was tight, but I'd been prepared all along to cut a wider opening as needed, as I'd really no other option for engine installation.  Fortunately, my choice of the Beta 38 meant that the basic engine was narrow enough to pass through.  The doorway opening was exactly 19", and while the overall engine width was technically 19-7/16", by removing the air filter from the starboard side I could reduce the width by at least an inch.  I'd also been prepared to remove the alternator, but it didn't appear to be necessary.  To make installation easier, I also removed the remote oil filter by detaching the hoses from the engine end.

I made some other general preparations as well.  One of my pet peeves about new engines is the manufacturers' tendency to spray paint various hoses, wire harnesses, and so forth; this paint tends to flake off and make a mess over the life of the engine.  I'd originally planned to remove any painted hoses and clamps and replace them with fresh, unpainted ones, but found that on this engine, the one hose that was painted incorporated an interesting side leg that connected to another part of the engine, making its replacement more of a challenge.  I decided to leave this hose alone.  Fortunately, the alternator belt wasn't painted, but I did flake some paint off the end of the main engine wiring harness, as this process was already well underway.

One final detail in the engine room was the A-frame support beneath the mizzen step in the cockpit.  I had the original support, and saw no reason not to reuse it.  After cleaning it up, removing remnants of old tabbing, and lightly sanding, I gave it a coat of paint on all sides, save for the bottom of the legs where I'd be tabbing it back to the hull.


Total Time Today:  4.75 hours

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