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#575112 - 04/27/21 09:07 AM My Winter boat projects  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Dave R Offline
Admiral
Dave R  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Hampton Beach, NH USA
This was my first Winter not owning a house since 1992 and it was FANTASTIC to not have house projects to do (I can't sit still). My wife and I rented a condo 1500 feet from our boat and I spent most of my free time working on the boat while it was on the hard for the off-season. I was fortunate to have 30 amp 120V power for the entire off-season (tipping the marina staff well is money well-spent) and made good use of it to heat the interior of the boat while I was working on it. We are planning to live aboard our boat full-time cruise it down to Florida, Bahamas, and perhaps the Caribbean in the next few years, so my Winter project goals were to make the boat systems reliable and suitable for our intended use.

Engines: My CAT 3208TA diesels have a known head gasket design issue that makes them likely to have a head gasket failure between cylinders after 25 to 30 years of use. I was well aware of this issue when I bought the boat and was prepared to address it eventually. I pulled the heads over the Winter and it turns out I was justified in doing so: three out of four of my head gaskets had already failed, just not catastrophically. I replaced the old gaskets with a new design from CAT that addresses the defect. Hoepefully I will never have to do that work again. While I had the engines disassembled down to short blocks, I replaced: every gakset, o-ring, and seal that I could get to; thermostats, hoses, hose clamps (ABA 316 SS), belts, fuel injectors, zincs, and heat exchanger end caps. I had one of my injection pumps rebuilt and tested and I cleaned up and pained everything. I replaced one raw water pump and rebuilt the other, added remote coolant drains, and added Walker Airseps to both motors. I completely disassembled the heat exchangers, oil coolers, and after coolers and cleaned them out to like new condition. Once the boat is in the water in a week or so, I will chemically flush the closed cooling systems, re-flill the cooling system with fresh CAT extended life coolant,, change the engine oil and filters, and change the transmission oil. My starboaed engine main electrical connector was in rough shape, so I cut it out and butt spliced all 10 wires. Will eventually do the same to the port engine for reliability. I was pleased to find that after 2000 hours, my engines have very little cylinder wear and based on CAT computations, they have at least another 6000 hours left in them, the way I use them.

Charging system: I combined my electronic throttle/shifter control battery bank with my house battery bank, and installed a diode-based battery combiner to connect the throttle/shifters to the the engine starting battery and the house battery bank (for redundancy). I removed the original diode-based battery charging isolater and fitted a 500 amp ACR/battery combiner between the starting battery and house bank. The net result of these changes is that I increased my house bank capacity by 50%, decreased my battery bank count from 4 to 3 (so charging is simpler), improved throttle shifter reliability, and dramatically improved alternator charging efficiency. While making these changes, I also left space to add solar power to the charging system, something I hope to do next Winter. My boat came equipped with a 3 bank battery charger which was never connected to the genset starting battery

Shore power: I added a 60 amp galvanic isolater. I made an adapter to power my dual 125V 50A inputs with one 250V 50A shore power cord. It's impossible to find 125V 50A at marinas these days so I was always forced to rig up shore power and often lived with decreased capacity while in transient slips. Now I can easily power my boat with commonly available 125V 30A or 250V 50A outlets and I have enough cord to reach outlets 100 feet from the boat.

Structural: My boat had had a few hull repairs of the years to address air voids in the fiberglass layup below the water line. Most of the repairs were not well-executed, so I paid an expert to address all of them this year. He ground out all the old repairs and all the defects until the only thing left was defect-free fiberglass. He then laid up void-free layers of cloth and resin until the repairs were flush with the hull and ready for finish. I learned a lot from him and would be able to do these repairs myself in the future, but probably would not. I hate fiberglass work. I am adding two cleats to my swim platform so I can cross tie stern lines under my dinghy when it's hanging on my davits.I'm having my custom alumimum davits and mounting bracket sand blasted and powder coated.

Plumbing: My black water waste hoses were original and after 29 years were in need of replacement. I yanked out and replaced 56 feet of 1.5" waste hose and 10 feet of 1" waste hose. I used Raritan Sani-flex for the new hose and HIGHLY recommend it. It was still a miserable job, but the Sani-flex hose is remarkably flexible and seals well. Last year I had to replace one 5 foot section of waste hose and used the Shields stuff that West Marine sells (I was desperate). Compared to the Sani-flex, it's garbage. I used ABA 316 SS hose clamps for every connection. I replaced the 4 duck bill valves in both vacuflush pumps and will now be doing this once a year (I learned the hard way last year that you don't want to wait for them to fail before you replace them). Knowing I was going to be doing all this work over the Winter, I flushed many gallons of hot, soapy water through both heads prior to Winter layup, so the work while certainly not fun, was not at all disgusting.

Interior: Had our dinette seats reupholstered and had a new custom mattress made for the master stateroom.

A few weeks ago, the owner of the condo we are living in offered to sell it to us for 5% under market value (crazy low price in this market where homes are currently selling for 7%+ over market value). We love it here and it took about 3 seconds to decide to buy it. We closed a couple of weeks ago. Until we start cruising full-time, we will live in the condo during the off-season and rent it out via a property manager on airbnb from May to November (we live in a beach resort town, so it's already mostly booked). Once we start cruising, we plan to rent it out year round. If the condo works out the way it we think it will, we will probably buy a couple more smaller condos in the next couple of years and use the year-round rent revenue to augment our (hopefully early) retirement income. Life is too short to not be boating (or doing whatever you love) as much as possible.


"Mischief Managed II" 1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht-Twin CAT 3208TA inboards
"Portkey" 2020 North Atlantic Inflatables 10'6" aluminum RIB-Mercury 15HP two stroke
2015 Sea Doo RXT-X
2015 Sea Doo RXT
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#575116 - 04/27/21 12:37 PM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: Dave R]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,552
tpenfield Offline
Admiral
tpenfield  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,552
Cape Cod, MA
It looks like my list . . . grin

Congrats on the new place.

Last edited by tpenfield; 04/27/21 12:42 PM.

Regards, Ted

Cruisers Yachts Sport Series 338 Bowrider
[Linked Image]
My Boat Web Sites - www.tpenfield.com
#575117 - 04/27/21 03:21 PM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: tpenfield]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Dave R Offline
Admiral
Dave R  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Hampton Beach, NH USA
Originally Posted by tpenfield
It looks like my list . . . grin

Congrats on the new place.


Thanks, it's been a crazy 18 months, so many changes...

Hope to catch up with you this Summer. We intend to cruise to P-town, Buzzards Bay, MV and Nantucket in late July.


"Mischief Managed II" 1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht-Twin CAT 3208TA inboards
"Portkey" 2020 North Atlantic Inflatables 10'6" aluminum RIB-Mercury 15HP two stroke
2015 Sea Doo RXT-X
2015 Sea Doo RXT
#575120 - 04/27/21 04:22 PM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: Dave R]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,552
tpenfield Offline
Admiral
tpenfield  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,552
Cape Cod, MA
OK, sounds good. Looking forward to seeing your 'new' yacht. thumb


Regards, Ted

Cruisers Yachts Sport Series 338 Bowrider
[Linked Image]
My Boat Web Sites - www.tpenfield.com
#575122 - 04/27/21 11:32 PM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: Dave R]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 8,203
captkevin Offline
Admiral
captkevin  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 8,203
Chicago, IL
Congrats on the new place & all the work you have done.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4
#575126 - 04/29/21 11:46 AM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: Dave R]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,536
WayWeGo Offline
Admiral
WayWeGo  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,536
Oakton, VA
Dave, you've been busy!

Congrats on the condo, especially in this crazy real estate market!

The lack of a battery charger connection for the genset may be intentional. On our boat, it certainly was. The thought was to isolate the genset start battery from the rest of the batteries so if the genset is needed to charge start batteries for the main engines, it could not be pulled down by anything else. We have AGM batteries that have a different charge profile, so I also am charging the genset battery with my charger rather than the genset.


[Linked Image]
1975 Trojan F36 Convertible, Twin Chrysler 440's
2014 West Marine AL360 Inflatable, 1966 Mercury 6HP, 1992 Mercury 20HP
#575129 - 04/29/21 01:12 PM Re: My Winter boat projects [Re: WayWeGo]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Dave R Offline
Admiral
Dave R  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,745
Hampton Beach, NH USA
Originally Posted by WayWeGo
Dave, you've been busy!

Congrats on the condo, especially in this crazy real estate market!

The lack of a battery charger connection for the genset may be intentional. On our boat, it certainly was. The thought was to isolate the genset start battery from the rest of the batteries so if the genset is needed to charge start batteries for the main engines, it could not be pulled down by anything else. We have AGM batteries that have a different charge profile, so I also am charging the genset battery with my charger rather than the genset.


The boat was wired to connect a charger to the genset battery (I easily found said wire as it was labled and not connected to anything) but the boat had 4 banks, and from the factory was only equipped with a 3 bank charger, so I suspect they sacrificed the genset battery charging in order to charge the shifter batteries. My new 3 bank charger completely isolates the banks and connects through fuses, so there's no danger of draining all my batteries if I charge the genset battery with it.


"Mischief Managed II" 1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht-Twin CAT 3208TA inboards
"Portkey" 2020 North Atlantic Inflatables 10'6" aluminum RIB-Mercury 15HP two stroke
2015 Sea Doo RXT-X
2015 Sea Doo RXT

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