I have spent the morning getting thoroughly oily.... firstly by attempting to separate the shaft from the gearbox... lots of tight bolts. I started by undoing the only bolts that I could move, those of the shaft clamp. These could be undone because they don't turn around the shaft, but instead along it, so force could be exerted.
With the clamp undone and bolts removed, I gave the shaft clamp a tap with a hammer to try and shock the shaft free, but no movement. I then realised that the shaft seal might be holding everything in place, so spent an hour or so removing that. Its not a seal that I've ever seen before. It seems well engineered, but I'll replace it anyway as part of the refit. It did mean however, that the process of removal was a bit of a voyage of discovery (for non sailing readers, the shaft seal is the fitting that makes the hole that the propellor shaft passes through to the outside of the boat watertight). It was an oil filled seal, so more oil, to go with the various grimy, oily fluids spilt yesterday while stripping the engine apart. The bottom of the engine compartment is going to be a horrible job to clean up!
However, the shaft seal, now loose and slid up the shaft, still didn't see the prop shaft free, dite a robust tap or two on the propellor boss, so it is obvious that I will need to spilt the shaft flanges.... easier said than done with a hydraulic gearbox, which can't be locked off, so the shaft continues to rotate when you try and undo the bolts.
It didn't help that I didn't have the right spanner.... the bolts are 11/16th, and while I had an 11/16th spanner, it was a short stubby one, and with the coupling being in an awkward place that is a stretch to reach, I couldn't get a decent clout with a hammer.... so it was put aside as a task for the next visit, where I will turn up with a nice long spanner, and a long bar to try and lock/wedge the shaft in place using the bolt heads on the other part of the coupling...
Instead, I took the engine mount bolts off. I was expecting this to be a bit of a nightmare, as they are awkward to get at, and looked quite corroded.... but obviously, years of oil leaks had helped, as the supposed rust was actually just grime, so a decent wipe down, and a good long socket on a ratchet, and they came off quite easily... I have left the bolts dropped in their slots so that there is no chance of the engine vibrating off the bearers, but its a 30 second job now to reach down and pull the bolts out when she's ready to lift.
So, besides the shaft coupling, I only have two more jobs to do before the engine can be lifted... Firstly I need to disconnect the gearbox cable... won't be an issue, as if the fixings are seized, I'll just cut through the cable with a hacksaw, and secondly I need to detatch the remote oil filter... I haven't done that yet, as I need to drain the oil from the engine first, and ran out of time, but again, not a big job, and doubt the single bolt fixing will be troublesome, and if it is, i'll just cut the pipes once the oil is drained.
So, next visit, will see me ready for a lift out, and i'll use the same weekend to get the mast finished off...
I'll need to take a day off work for the engine removal, as the crane work is a LOT cheaper during midweek!
I'm really looking forward to a nice clean, painted engine compartment.