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Monday, December 5, 2011

Hydraulics





















First off is a cool picture that I took from the top of a shipping container next to the boat. I spend so much time looking up at the hull, I wanted to get an idea of what she looked like if you were standing on a floating dock next to the boat. Not too shabby... Spent a busy holiday weekend (and some long evenings last week) installing all of our hydraulic plumbing. There are two systems on our boat, one for steering and one for the engine driven hydraulic pump which we are using to power our anchor winch. We may use our engine driven pump to power some other stuff in the future so I left room in that circuit for add-ons down the line. We went with all hose (instead of tube or pipe) for both systems as it made sense for this boat and gave a lot of flexibility (literally) for the install. Also less fittings this way so less potential leaks. It's all 3000psi rated Gates hose and I think that with proper support and chafe protection, it will last as long as we are around to care. I used a Gates hydraulic hose crimping tool to make up the hose ends and found it very easy to do. Thanks to Chad for setting me up with the machine and showing me how to use it. The hardest part was measuring the hose. The only real foolproof way to do this was to route the hose in the boat in its final position, mark it, take it out and down to the shop, crimp the ends on, back to the boat, and re-install. This was a lot of extra (aggravating) work, especially when wrestling with the longer sections, but you only get one chance with the crimper and the hose ends aren't cheap. The ball valve behind the steering cylinder in the picture of the rudder linkage is a bypass that can be opened to let the steering cylinder fluid free-flow when using an emergency tiller on the rudder post. Also on the list this last week was final assembly and hookup of the anchor winch. When I did the initial assembly after having it galvanized, I noticed that the drum had some end-play that I didn't like, but we were in a rush to get it put together as the crane we were borrowing to lift it onto the bow had to be returned. I figured that this should be fixed before I installed all the hydraulics and the chain drive. I ordered a pair of bronze thrust washers for the drive end, and these took up the slack nicely. After reassembly (for hopefully the last time) I mounted the spool valve, motor, and chain, then made up the last batch of hydraulic hoses to connect it all together. When I look at the prices for heavy duty, oil-bath, chain drive anchor winches these days, I feel better about the ridiculous amount of time that I have spent rebuilding, re-engineering and monkeying around with this thing. The plan is to have it operational when we are test running the engine in a week or two, so we can wind up our anchor chain on the drum and install the anchor (I don't like the idea of launching the boat without operational anchor gear). Our friend Karen came by over Thanksgiving weekend to help out, and play with the cat. This was the second weekend that we brought the cat up to stay on the boat with us and she seemed to remember it well from her first time onboard. She decided to to forgo the initial eight hours spent cowering under the floor, and pick up where she left off last time: lounging in the sun and exploring all the nooks and crannies of the boat. One other little project we completed was installing some temporary steps for the back door of the wheelhouse. This has been nice having an alternate straight path into the boat instead of just the side door that we have been using exclusively up to now.

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