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Date: 21 May 2015: Project Second Opinions.


As detailed in the previous article Marinizing the Cooling System of a Tractor we had a plan and gathered components to bring said plan to fruition. Then I posted our strategy and hoped that we had covered all the bases. Well, apparently not.

As all of us learn eventually, it's not generally a single point of failure when something goes wrong. A myriad of smaller details compound and create the disaster. And a couple of things that are important were not included. This might be simply me not having all the details in that post.


During the ongoing discussion detailed in the previous article I was asked by Chris: Janice, how far into the project are you -- really? In terms of money, of course, but also intellectual and emotional commitment? Far enough in that there's no turning back? Or investigating/comparing other options?

This is my reply:
Time wise Chris? Too much.

This Kubota engine must be used. I cannot replace/switch that part. It is the perfect size. Most boats are vastly overpowered. From specs, 8hp is all that's required to move my Seaweed at hull speed. The 18hp Kubota is more than adequate.

The peripherals however? I am not tied to anything.


Living on a boat that doesn't move is simply
sub-standard housing with a nice view.

It is necessary for Seaweed to be mobile and she is not. I love my boat.

What has done so far: (and I will not admit how long this had taken)

  • Hayes bell housing ordered, bought/installed (6 weeks between order and delivery)

  • Braces for motor mounts installed (aluminum angle iron thru-bolted to stringers)

  • Water pump bought

  • Heat exchanger gifted to me

  • Manifold/riser built

The stainless unit did not fit. Okay, measurements were perfect, everything built then the motor was put on the motor mounts, aligned perfectly, and the bulkhead (structural) was in the way. Barely.

Options included adding a bend (pipe, not box) in the unit or moving the motor forward. Decision made to go forward. That involved the purchase of a flexible coupler.


Those are the major components done. I *was* thrilled to be THISclose (theoretically) to completion. It is my understanding what is left is to align the motor, install water pump and begin sea trials.

Okay, wiring too and add an alternator. A friend on Bemused has a 60amp alternator from his Yanmar. Rick upgraded to a Balmar 120. We are not sure if it will mount up to the Kubota. If not I will mail it back.

As far as the engine in concerned I am using the Kubota. That is a certainty. I cannot afford another and this one is paid for. The marinization is the sticky spot. Nothing is written in stone though of course I would prefer to use what I have rather than spend more money that I do not have.

HOWEVER, most important of all is to get her right so she is dependable.

The men who offered advice in the Marinizing the Cooling System of a Tractor post are amazing. Having extra eyes pointed out some major issues. Thankfully they can be avoided. The system will be better than ever, thanks to their input. I am truly grateful!!!

Side note: For some reason (okay, I pay my bills on time) I have good credit and therefore have options financially. That still means I have to pay the bills though and that part concerns me. [I was one of those TARP'ed out of existence when "we're from the government and only rich bankers will be harmed" during the banking crisis so my nest-egg is gone.]

I am not intransigent regarding this project. If there is a better way that is within my budget I am open to change. And that is why I posted here and elsewhere. I am hearing one side (my mechanic's) and needed outside input.


This is reminiscent to when Son was small. His surgeon was "the" doctor who wrote the books on how to do the surgery. Well, results were less than spectacular and no one in the Miami area would suggest any other solutions. Finally I took my little guy eight hours away to another physician of equal stature in a related specialty who had his own sense of direction. I followed that one and though not perfect, it was better.

Son and daughter in the tow boat my dad ran down for a time in the FL Keys.

[For the curious: Son was born with a severe bi-lateral cleft lip and palate. In the 21 years he lived (had a heart attack 13 April 2002) he spoke clearly and perfectly two days. Then the surgery ripped loose. There were multi-pronged efforts to fix the birth defects and related issues, vision, hearing, speech, etc. And I loved him just as he was...]

Anyway, that is probably far more detail than you wanted, but there you have it. I am open to change. And I do welcome suggestions.

Of course I would not be human if I did not admit to hoping that the planning was perfect and that others had done it "my way" with success. Everyone likes that. Alas, this is where life is at present.

Decision time is here. Options are available and making the best choice is my responsibility, with the input from others more experienced of course.

Getting opinions from others with experience is critical to success.
Thank you to all who have offered your insight. It is useful and appreciated.

I'd love to hear what you do when weighing options.
And, have I missed anything else you consider important?

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2015, 2023

Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges

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