1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Gantry Time II!

It’s mid-summer in the Mid-Atlantic region, which means it’s hot! And in Tent Model X, it’s hotter still. Up on the deck level, it’s well past 100 degrees by 11am most days. But down in the engine room, two tons worth of Cummins 430hp 6CTA Diamonds are nice and cool, just waiting to be installed.

The original plan was to have the engines installed by a Navy-trained “marine engineer” back in 2012. But the pro kept slipping the schedule until it was 2013. I eventually learned that he was sloppy, incompetent, and that he grossly overcharges for services–sometimes even charging twice for the same service. Other customers of his confirmed similar experiences. So I fired him and, like so many other things, decided to DIY the install. I’d already ordered the propeller shafts based on his calculations, and the vibration isolators, strainers, etc., were all brand new, sitting in boxes…all of which were stolen when the big theft happened back in May 2014. But the insurance company covered that loss (minus depreciation and deductibles), so once again I have all the pieces ready to go. While awaiting settlement from the insurance company, I designed a gantry that I’d use to move these big chunks of metal around. All I had to do was buy the I-beam and tubing and get to welding.

Gantry plan

The Gantry Plan

Unfortunately, the SD card that had all of the pix of the gantry build got corrupted, so what follows are the ones I was able to recover.

Gantry top plate, drilled and fitted with 1/4-28 grade 8 bolts

Gantry top plate and I-beam, drilled and fitted with 1/4-28, Grade 8 bolts

Grind off mill scale in preparation for welding

Grind off mill scale in preparation for welding

Tacked the two nuts inside the square, since they will be inside the main upright

Tacked the two nuts on the end of the plate, since they will be inside the main upright

Getting low on argon...but it should be enough

Getting low on CO2/argon…but it should be enough

I-beam, top plate, and upright, ready for welding

I-beam, top plate, and upright, ready for welding

No, I was not drunk when i laid that wobbly bead

No, I was not drunk when I laid that wobbly bead

I tacked all of the pipes, the top plates, and the upright sections in place, then put heat to ’em. I’m not a professional welder, and even as an amateur I don’t weld enough to retain the skills I picked up during high school welding class many decades ago. But I was out of position! It was getting dark! Dinner was ready! 😉

Anyway…compared to some farmer welds I’ve seen (to say nothing of home-built trailers!), it should be just fine.

Welding at night, but I got 'er done

Welding at night, but I got ‘er done…looks just like the plan!

I sure wish I had a welding table, and a bigger garage, and…the list goes on.

Now that the gantry is ready to go, I ordered a gantry trolley and chain hoist from Harbor Freight. I’m ready to move all the heavy steel to the boat and start working on getting those engines in. It’s a good thing that gantry comes apart…that I-beam is heavy!

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Cummins Engine Installation I

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