1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Installing the Port Engine II

After setting up the gantry, cutting off the original engine beds, and sending the original Cummins engine mounts off for modification, I’m ready to finish the port engine installation. It’s going a lot quicker than the starboard engine installation…lots of lessons learned there.

Before: inner rear engine mount needed machining

Before: inner rear engine mount needed machining

Rear engine mount with slot relocated to fit the Roamer

Rear engine mount with slot relocated to fit the Roamer

Rear engine bed parts

Rear engine bed parts made from 3/8″ thick aluminum angle

My Shopsmith Mark V table saw with the band saw and 12″ disk sander attachments made quick work of manufacturing the engine beds. It’s really nice to be able to use woodworking tools when machining aluminum, and the Shopsmith packs a lot of different tools into a small footprint.

Aluminum engine bed bonded with West System epoxy thickened with aluminum powder and cabosil

Aluminum engine bed bonded with West System epoxy thickened with aluminum powder and cabosil

Front engine bed cut from 3/8" aluminum angle

Front engine bed cut from 3/8″ aluminum angle

Filthy engine bilge needs some scrubbing

Filthy engine bilge needs some scrubbing

For an engine room that hasn’t had an engine run in it since I sandblasted and painted the bilge in 2009, there was a lot of oily residue under this engine. The oil actually came from the Ford Lehman engine I initially installed that was rebuilt by Chesapeake Marine Engineering. Consistent with the quality of other work Aric Euler did for me, the engine leaked oil and made a mess. The Lehmans are long gone though, and now the oily mess is, too. Good riddance!

Engine bilge cleaned up nicely

Engine bilge cleaned up nicely

I also have to say that gantry I made is slick! [pats self on back]. Being able to move this one-ton engine around with one hand, or rotate it 90 degrees to get it out of the way is super helpful.

ZF 280A marine gear sump doesn't clear the engine bed frame

ZF 280A marine gear sump doesn’t clear the engine bed frame

The Cummins engines and ZF gears are identical side-to-side, so the clearance problems are somewhat different from the port side to the starboard. It turns out the port side was far easier to fit.

Bosch jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade easily makes space for the ZF gear

Bosch jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade easily makes space for the ZF gear

Moroso 400w engine oil pan heater installed

Moroso 400w engine oil pan heater installed

After sanding the paint off the aluminum oil pan, I wiped down the surface with acetone and bonded the Moroso oil pan heater directly to the metal. Then I ran a bead of RTV silicone around the pad and let it sit for 24 hours. With these oil pan heaters installed, I won’t need the (reportedly) troublesome intake air heaters that come from the factory on these Cummins engines. I may remove those later.

Original sea cock has to go

Original seacock has to go

The original seacocks were 1-1/2″, which is too small for the Cummins 6CTAs. I’ll cut out the old pipe and weld in new 2″ standpipes later, but first I need to remove the old seacock while the engine is out of the way. The tough part is getting the pipe wrench to bite without damaging the seacock (coming soon to the For Sale section) and still have swing room, but without bashing fingers on the metal framing. Demonstrating the timelessness of “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world,” I used a 2×4 to swing the pipe wrench and get the seacock moving.

Boom

Boom

Ready for the hole saw from the under-side

Ready for the hole saw from the under-side

The epoxy bonding the rear engine beds together will take a day to cure, then I’ll bond them and the front engine beds to the stringers and paint everything with Devoe Bar Rust 235 epoxy coating in tintable white base. After that, I’ll drill and bolt the engine beds to the stringers to augment the epoxy bond and then final fit the engine.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Installing the Port Engine III

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4 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Installing the Port Engine II

  1. Kent says:

    I hope one day next year to come down that way and see her afloat..

  2. tracy doriot says:

    I always look forward to the well written and documents updates. The craftsmanship you are able to eek out of the portable tools and limited spaces is amazing. Obviously a credit to your ingenuity. It seems to be a universal constant that when refurbishing almost anything, that it takes triple the time and money that it was to consume at conception. The final accounting should be nearly as interesting as the journey ! Keep up the good work. You are saving many of us from a similar fate !

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