Here are some pics of another weekend of work getting ready for the installation of the new bow thruster and hydraulic system upgrade. In order to get access to weld in the 12” pipe that will become the bow thruster tube, I had to remove some interior interferences in the forepeak. This mostly involved cutting back the decking in a way that would allow access for the work, but could be temporarily re-assembled so we don’t have to live with a big hole in the deck for the next few weeks.
In the engine room, I installed all the hydraulic distribution blocks and other components, including adjustable pressure and flow controls coming off the main pressure output of the pump for the anchor winch. This is so that the high 3000 psi pressure and 20+ gpm flow from the pump (as it is set up for the bow thruster) doesn’t overwhelm the winch motor or any other less demanding loads we attach to the system.
The system of distribution and return blocks make for a neat arrangement with minimum extra fittings, and lots of extra ports for future expansion. In order to fit everything on the bulkhead (including the big cabinet housing the electronics for the hydraulic system), I had to move the fixed fire suppression bottle over a few inches. All the mounted components and distribution blocks are attached to the bulkhead with bolts that are threaded into the aluminum mounting plate from the front, so they are easy to remove if needed.
A few additional hose runs from the engine room to the bow are needed for pressure, return, and case drain lines. New holes are now drilled through the bulkheads and once painted, I will be installing JIC hydraulic bulkhead fittings at these transitions.
With all the primary pieces installed, I will be measuring (at least twice) and making up the hoses that connect everything together. Cleanliness is critical with hydraulic stuff, so I am doing my best to keep everything clean and capped during the install.
The only hose that does not use a crimped fitting is the supply line from the tank to the pump inlet. This is a monster 2.5” id hose. If they even make crimping dies in this size, we definitely do not have one in our shop. Instead, it will be secured will dual T-clamps at each end. Since this is a low pressure line, that should be more than enough to stay leak free. I was a little worried about fitting up this hose because in this size, the necessary wire reinforced construction to keep from collapsing under suction makes it very inflexible. Fortunately, with a straight flange adapter coming off the bottom of the pump it made a nice easy single curve down and straight back up to meet the tank fitting. Both the supply and case drain fittings at the bottom of the tank have ball valves that will be handy for servicing the system without draining the tank. I like to remove the handles on any valves that are normally open and would cause damage to equipment if accidentally closed when running, so I’m doing that here as well.