Sunday, 14 September 2014

change of heart, and high level failure!

Lets deal with the high level failure first... I hoisted Jim up the mast, complete with a small chandleries worth of bits to fit.... He reached the masthead, and within very short time, declared that this wasn't going to work.

I've banged the drum enough about the heavy construction of Phoenix, and today it didn't help... there was no way that Jim was going to be able to drill the neccessary holes in the plate at the masthead, while hanging in a bosuns chair... just too heavy a plate for that to ever be practical.

He also noted on the way up and down that several of the rivets holding the various mast fixtures on are starting to corrode, so it'll be a mast down job over the winter, to do the work at a more sensible altitude, and while its down, re-rivet everything for peace of mind.

We didn't waste the time that this had now freed up.

A good bit of further tidying up (mainly of the cupboard in the engine room) resulted in another substantial pile of rubbish making its way into the marina skip... for some reason we found 6 radiator caps on board amongst other things!.... and at least a dozen half used bottles of oil and ATF.

We then removed a few more bits and pieces, such as the old charger and the old Cetrek compass.. including one particularly amusing moment, when I reached into the locker to find out how the charger was attached, and lifted it out... it wasn't, and never had been fixed down.... you had to be there!

So, lets move onto the 'change of heart' bit....

We had Doug and Abi onboard on saturday night, wher we consumed a take away curry... and they both, with Jim in full support, harangued me over when Phoenix will be ready to leave the marina... my standard list of the work still to be done, was rolled out, including the large task of replacing the engine.... Jim and Doug were both rather dismissive of this idea, and pushed that we should keep the existing  engine, especially as it had run so well on the 22hr delivery trip, and was of a make and model famed for running for ever.

I explained how much of a ball of rust it was, and that it had gone from not starting to not even turning over.

Jim, then made a strong case for me talking bollocks!

So, I agreed to take a look at the engine again.... the next day, we pulled the starter motor off... it came off surprisingly easily. The engine wasn't anwhere near as rusty as I thought... it was, in fact, rather minor rusting. I reckon a couple of hours with a wire brush and a pot of engine paint will have her looking great again.... The starter however, was toast. In fairness, the guy who got her running again after her involuntary dunking in 2011 had said at the time that the starter and alternator would need replacing.

Here's the awkward access to the starter motor (after removal of the beast)

and here's the state of the thing upon removal

So, my argument became a fiscal one again.... why spend loads of money on spares for what will still be an old engine. Only Jim found a place that services tractors selling the starter for just over a hundred quid!

The engine is a Ford Lehman 80hp, which is based on the old Ford Dorset engine, which was used extensively in agricultural equipment, and various Ford vans over the years... everything you would need to support the engine is readily available, right the way down to new crankshafts!

I need to do some more research, but I think the engine model is a 2712e... its hard to be certain, as its normally shown on a plate on top of the rocker cover, but there isn't a plate on there.

So, I will try and keep the engine.... a new starter, and then get her running.... and see if the alternator is cooked. If it is, then a replacement will not be expensive at all. I was still unsure about why she wouldn't start even when the starter was spinning, until we pulled the filters off... they had completely fallen apart internally, and so must have been severely restricting air flow to the engine.

I will take the time to clean her up too... the only decision is whether to still lift the engine and clean up properly below here, repaint etc, or to leave that for a later date... the money saved however on the engine will pay for replacement sails and the bowthruster.

Just for completeness, I finished up by putting the final coat of varnish on the hatch interiors... I am now ready to put the headlining in... only one job to be done first, which is to resand the sole boards... a messy, dusty job, best done before shiny new headlining is in place!


  1. An excellent waste of a weekend - you failed to mention the wizard wheezes getting all the sail and hatch covers into the recalcitrant Shotley launderette machine, and the interested photographer bystander who handed you a 5 litre can of Patio Magic. The difference now the gree is gone is very satisfying. Looks like a boat again Neil, keep going.

  2. A good point... will blog another entry!

  3. @Nick W if you're reading this.... you were right after all! :)

  4. Ha Ha. It's not often I'm right, and rarer still that someone tells me so. Take it one step at a time - the Lehman should go on forever (mine has 14,000 hours on it) but every time we turn the key could be the last, that's just how it is. Tough lumps of iron though, that's for sure. Good luck