July work on our Willard tender.

It is time to turn back to our tender and get her in the water!!! Wait...not so fast....

Sonar

Our tender will primarily be used to take soundings of the areas around Fir.  Chart data is often years old and there are endless stories of boats that run aground when they relied on outdated information. With a draft of 11.5 feet and slow rate of turn, there are plenty of places where Fir will need to be careful.  The right sonar system will keep the sounding data current on our electronic charts.  This will allow us to use the tender to map anchorages before we commit to bringing Fir close to land.

We chose the Garmin GT34UHD-THP transducer ($799).  This is an ultra high definition CHIP transducer.  It operates between 760-880 kHz looking straight down, and 1,060-1,170 kHz in side scan mode.  This system is capable of generating a highly detailed view of the water column between 0-200 feet.  

We decided to mount the transducer midship where it is unlikely to be impacted by cavitation from the stern drive.  We chose a location about a foot to port off the keel. This ensures that our mounts will not interfere with the structural elements of the hull.  The transducer ships with a fairing block cut on site to fit the deadrise of the boat.  The fairing block ensures that the transducer is positioned parallel to the water line. It also allows us to adjust the distance of the transducer from the hull.  We tried to find a place where the transducer would not be the lowest point of the boat in an effort to protect the system. At the same time, we wanted to ensure that the sonar signal is not blocked by the keel.  The signal leaving the transducer is cone-shaped with a 20-degree slope so this is easily estimated.    #sonarsystems  #Garmintransducer

 
 Joe drills holes for the Garmin  GT34UHD-THP  thru-hull transducer.

Joe drills holes for the Garmin GT34UHD-THP thru-hull transducer.

 
 
 The transducer as installed.  This shows the connection point where that the hull was sanded.  Once dry, the excess white marine adhesive/waterproofing will be removed.  

The transducer as installed.  This shows the connection point where that the hull was sanded.  Once dry, the excess white marine adhesive/waterproofing will be removed.  

 

Starter

It has been several years since the Cummings 5.9 liter diesel motor has run.  Prior to buying the boat we turned the motor by hand to ensure that it was functioning, and not frozen.  Since then we had not started the motor, until this trip. 

After getting new batteries on board and replacing the two main circuit breakers, we tried to run the Cummings.  We quickly learned that the starter was shot and could not be rebuilt by an ordinary armature shop.  The original starter is a Leece-Neville 1327A501 and no local replacement was available so, we ended up searching the internet.  Only one store claimed to have a replacement unit ($525).  When the starter arrived it was very different from what we expected. As it turned out, the starter was the authorized replacement for the original unit. Electrically it is identical with the same pinion gear profile.  Visually the shape is completely different, so it barely fit into the intended space.  To compensate we had to create a new wrench and switch over to allen head screws to make the attachment.  After no less than 5 hours, our new starter was installed and the Cummings motor fired.

#cummingsmotor

 

 
 The original starter on the left.  The recommended replace on the right.
 

Final Drive and Scuppers

Our tender uses a saltwater Dana drive. The system seems in great shape except for a rip in the bellows.  Joe dropped the drive, greased the universal joints, and replaced the hydraulic oil.

The boat was initially fitted with duck billed scupper drains on the transom. These were removed in a previous botched restoration and are nowhere to be found.  We replaced these with flapper valves ($10.99 each).  #scupperreplacement

 
 Joe replaces the bellows on the Dana outdrive.

Joe replaces the bellows on the Dana outdrive.

 

Tube

The tube has been the most expensive and irritating part of our tender project.  In the beginning, we relied on theory and rumor to guide our restoration.  We made a lot of costly and time-consuming mistakes.

First, we removed the thick rubber friction pads surrounding the boat. We learned that if the pads are firmly attached, do not remove them.  The proper glue is insanely expensive and the newly applied rub pads are no better than they were.  Second, before applying a new coating we tried to use MEK and sandpaper to return the tube to its original color.  Don't bother. You will sand through the surface before ever seeing a glimpse of the original color.  The tube material is discolored by natural elements.  It can remain stained, but still be clean enough to coat. Third, most leaks come from the fill and pressure relief valves.  This project should begin with changing the valves before anything else.  Fourth, it is easiest to work on the tube when it is at least partially attached to the boat. Taking the tube completely off is a lot of unnecessary extra work. Lastly, if you do remove the tube, remount it starting in the front.  It is easy to pull the tube to the rear and align the mounting bolts. It is very difficult to pull it forward.

With a few coats of the finish applied to the tube, we seem to have a good base.  We are waiting to replace the last couple of valves. Our goal for the next trip is to change the remaining valves and apply a final coat of paint.   #tendertube

 Black tube looks good....from a distance.  It's going to take another coat.

Black tube looks good....from a distance.  It's going to take another coat.

Electrical

Sometimes when fixing one problem, we learn about the next. This has been the situation with our tender resulting in delays.

After replacing the two main circuit breakers, we learned that the step- down transformer that converts 24VDC (the native current) to 12VDC is fried. The 24VDC side of the system is sufficient to start the Cummings motor and run the hydraulics. Somehow the instruments and lights are 12VDC so the next trip will entail replacing the transformer.  Check back to see our progress.  #stepdowntransformer

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Melton McGuire

The Lighthouse Project LLC