Part One: Preparing the Volvo Penta MDIIc to be removed from the boat.
The day has finally come! We are ready to start the removal process of the old diesel. This is the engine the boat came with and while it was rebuilt and has low hours after the rebuild it has sat for a long time and would need some love to get back in operating condition. As you know by now, I do not shy away from repair and I love doing it myself, however I have some pretty strong feelings on auxiliary engines on serious cruising sailboats.
First strong feeling: I believe that if your going to live on your boat and sail any long distance for an extended period of time you need to have a good working engine on that boat. I’m well aware of many people who have done otherwise: Lin and Larry Pardey being the most famous. I have a TON of respect for Lin and Larry – it cannot be understated. However, I think my convictions are centered around this: if you choose to go out on a small boat and sail long distances you should recognize the challenges and be prepared to meet them on your own. On your own means without assistance. No calling the coast guard to come rescue you off your still floating boat. No getting towed into port because there is no wind and your drifting into a shipping lane. Erin and I would not be adequately prepared without a reliable engine.
Second strong feeling: I witnessed my parents struggle with their old diesel year after year and also witnessed them repower. I think they would agree that repowering in the beginning would have been the better option in hindsight. We don’t want to spend all of these years working on the boat just to find we have to repower at a greater expense and with less convenience later down the road.
Third strong feeling: Cap’n Fatty Goodlander is well respected by me. He is also a pretty frugal dude. The Cap’n sailed many years in an engineless boat quite safely. He also repowered before sailing around the world in Wild Card. When he got Ganesh he repowered again before he sailed around the world with her. Those engines weren’t cheap and they weren’t hunks of rust he pieced together. Fatty has some strong convictions of his own on diesels and I tend to share his opinions.
This will be the single biggest expense on the boat that we make. Hell, it approaches the cost of the boat! That said, for the reasons above, among others, we easily made the decision to spend the money to have a reliable engine. Reliable = safe to us. Its an integral part of seamanship in my opinion.
So now the fun part: getting this old, nasty thing out of the boat!
The first part was stripping her of all the bits that come off, like the alternator, intakes, and exhaust system. After a bit of contortion here they all are! Liberated!
And then there was quite a bit of this:
Ive spent the last couple days laying over the engine taking all of the hoses and wires apart. Once that was done I had a phone consultation with my Dad about the measurements I needed to take before moving anything. You have to make sure the new engine will align perfectly with the prop shaft – not so easy a task. Ultimately after studying engine diagrams for hours I came to the conclusion that I had the measurements I needed and could take more useful alignment measurements with the engine out of the way than I could at this point.
While laying over the engine oh so comfortably I used a large pipe wrench to hold the shaft coupler in place while I loosened the socket head bolts with an alan wrench. You can see in the picture on the left that I used the bilge pump handle for more leverage on the alan key to get the bolts started. Once they broke free it was pretty easy to back them out.
Heres a picture of the bolts I am working on:
And here is a picture once I got the coupler free!!! Woo Hoo!!
The engine is now free, it is just resting on its four feet which I have taken all but two bolts out of. Next step: build a platform for the crane and winch the engine out!