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2 June 2014. Celebrate with Me!


The engine swap is complete -- or nearly so.  For the past few of days I've been on a rack at Dockside Boatyard [http://msdockside.com] run by Eric and Shiloh here in Carrabelle for the final tweaks and boy, oh boy, it is great to be afloat again! And golly gee, it is so wonderful to be alive.  My cheeks hurt from smiling so much.

While on the rack at Dockside we did a few things to make Seaweed ready to go:

  1. Removed old 16x16 propeller and swapped it for a 14x10 prop.

  2. Removed PSS (shaft seal) and replaced it with a standard stuffing box versus the dripless PSS I had been using.

  3. Removed old exhaust hoses and capped them (inside and outside)

  4. Repacked the rudder (it had a drip)

I hauled out on Thursday with a planned re-launch on Friday, but, well, this is a boat. Stuff happens. And Dockside was very accommodating with the delay.  I was delighted with their service and staff.

Taking off the old exhaust hoses was a bear.  They had been on for 30 years and simply did not want to give. A Dremel and finally a cutting tool made that happen.  Frank had tried using hot water but that failed rather spectacularly. 

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Frank rode with me over to Dockside Boatyard on Thursday afternoon.

Side Note: When you have a hose that does not quite fit (or is supposed to be really snug) you can heat it up and generally it will slide on. That is what we had done for the stuffing box* and it did slide back and fully seat, albeit with some force via Frank.


Stuffing Box Primer


First of all, the stuffing box is not a box. The stuffing box is cylindrical. Basically the shaft that spins the propeller exits your boat and to prevent water from coming in around the shaft there is what is known as a Stuffing Box. 

Seaweed's STUFFING BOX  is circled in red.


A stuffing box is a rubber tube that is held tight against the shaft at both entrance and exit (of boat) ... on the inside is something designed to keep out the ocean water and allow the shaft to spin without getting hot. On the PSS variety, they use a high-tech carbon. The old fashioned ones use a waxed flax.


More on the stuffing box later. I first have to share
my excitement and pleasure at being underway again.

Bryce runs a fork lift thing at dockside, lifting boats out of the water and placing them on racks for storage.

For the big yachts, Dockside also has a 60-ton travel lift. They've got you covered.

When I launched there was a gathering of testosterone on the dock. Not just Eric (who owns Dockside) but also some of his crew and Frank who has been doing the finals on my boat. The engine however started like a champ and I took off across the river. It was amazing and wonderful to be underway again, with just the Skipper as my First Mate.

Of course when I looked up to see where I was going (back to the docks behind Just Right Marine) I was a bit anxious. Two big shrimp boats had partially blocked the entrance to the slip where I was to tie up. They were big steel shrimp boats and truth to tell, I was glad Frank had volunteered to catch my lines at the dock.

Fortunately the tide was incoming so I could come in on an angle and the tide/current would push me into the dock. It could have been ugly but was not so bad.  Next up: docking practice. 

Also I need to learn how Seaweed handles with her new engine. Truth to tell, she idles nice and slow and seems easier than my old gasoline beast which required a bit more throttle to not stall out. Shifting works well (that shifter is pretty cool) and I cannot tell you how happy I am.

Steve assembling my shift mechanism.  It is actually a Lee Outrigger torqued to work aboard Seaweed.

Because of the new stuffing box I shall be doing one hour river runs to get it adjusted properly. It has to drip once every so many seconds -- too much is a mess in the bilge and too little means the shaft will overheat and/or get scored.*

"Scored" is boat talk for deep scratches. That is a bad thing.

In the meantime I will be making river runs, up the river or out into the Gulf while we make sure all is well with BOB engine.

Life's great afloat and with a diesel that runs well, it is the best!

Have you ever done an engine replacement?
Any advice you can offer for these beginning days and weeks running the new-to-me motor?

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Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations

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