1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Reinstalling the Isolation Transformer

Having made it through the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Blizzard without Tent Model XXX being damaged, I’m still hoping to splash the boat later this year. I’m still waiting for the new glass to show up, and in addition to the portholes there are a few other holes in the exterior that need to be filled before the Roamer can splash. I also want to have functioning shore power when the boat splashes.

New primary wire

New #6AWG  primary wire

First, lay out and take the twist out of the wire

First, lay out and take the twist out of the wire

Next, lay out the wire loom

Next, lay out the wire loom

Work the wire into the loom and tape the ends

Work the wire into the loom and tape the ends

Inside the transformer, old wire and new

Inside the transformer, old wire and new

50 year-old OE wiring is shiny copper, but not marine grade

50 year-old OE wiring is shiny copper, but not marine grade

Removing old wire

Removing the last old wire

Use a razor to cut through the OE silicone tape

After using a razor to cut through the OE fusing silicone tape, pliers help pull it apart

When I first tried to take the tape off of the split bolt connector by unwinding it, it just didn’t work. Unlike tape I was used to, you can’t unwind this stuff. It’s called silicone self-fusing tape, and once it sets up it’s not coming off. When you install it, you have to stretch it 2x it’s original length as you wrap the wire. The stretching somehow activates the silicone, and it becomes one big mass of rubber within 24 hours. Because the wire was still bright copper, it’s obvious the stuff keeps water out of the connection. The only way to remove it is with a knife.

Three layers of silicone tape

Three layers of silicone tape

New wires wrapped and installed

New wires wrapped and installed

Buttoned up for the first time in 7 years

Buttoned up for the first time in 7 years

"Getting Egyptian" to install the transformer

“Getting Egyptian” to install the transformer

The transformer is 14″ high, and the bottom 6″ are empty but for the wires. All of the windings and core are in the top 8″, and this bad boy weighs 175 pounds. When flipped right-side-up for installation it’s very unstable with all the weight up top. So, taking great care, I first tipped it up onto the big wood block, then tipped it side-to-side while inserting scraps of wood to slowly lift it to the right height.

Bolts in...it's on the bulkhead

Bolts in…it’s on the bulkhead

Speaking of the bulkhead, it’s not pretty, but it is fully encapsulated in epoxy. I recycled it from the pile of good 3/4″ marine ply from when we disassembled the boat. I thought about making it pretty but decided it wasn’t worth waiting another day for paint to dry. This panel will never be seen once the V-berth is assembled. If I’d had some colorant when I epoxied it, I could have made it white, but… Anyway, it’s a detail I’m willing to overlook.

Secure the wires and call it done

Secure the wires and call it done

I’ll run the wire looms back to the distribution panel in the salon later and finish the connections. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty of other things to do. Since my main focus is getting the boat waterproof and ready to splash, I need to make some parts so  I can seal up the biggest source of underwater holes remaining.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Making Spacers for the Swim Platform

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One comment on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Reinstalling the Isolation Transformer

  1. Kent says:

    This post sure reminds me when I rewired my 1967 45′ Connie..
    I really hope to get down that way one day to see her– Have you came up with a name for her yet??

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