1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Reassembling the Aftercoolers

Winter 2016 is over in the Mid-Atlantic region (got my first mosquito bites of the season..three in a row on my buttocks!), butt…I haven’t gotten Zika or Dengue (yet), so I’m still thinking I can splash later this year. To that end, I’ve got a relatively short honey-do list: 1) seal up the boat, and 2) get the engines running. Within the short list, there are lots of individual things that make the more refined list much, much longer. I’ve got a challenging number of things that have to be done…challenging, but not impossible.

Aftercooler housings got coated with other Cummins parts

Aftercooler housings got coated with other Cummins parts

Recently rolled-on Devoe 235 Epoxy coating comes off easily with a razor

Recently rolled-on Devoe 235 Epoxy coating comes off easily with a razor

Cleaned up aftercooler core slides into the well-greased housing

Degunked aftercooler core slides into the well-greased housing

Generic nitrile o-rings: $6, a small fraction of the Cummins list price

Generic o-rings: $4.88, a small fraction of the Cummins $77 list price

I was surprised by how much Cummins prizes their o-rings: $35 for a set of two rubber o-rings, and two kits are required for twin-engine applications. The OE o-rings are 125mm x 4mm, so I spent two minutes on the ‘net locating a company selling bags of five o-rings for a whopping $4.88, including shipping…less than a buck apiece. Fortunately, they’re not classified by the government as hazardous material, so the price was very reasonable.

Well-lubricated copper end caps are ready for installation onto the aluminum aftercooler

Well-lubricated copper end caps are ready for installation onto the aluminum aftercooler

Word has it there can never be too much grease when reassembling these aftercoolers, and I believe it. The aftercooler housing is aluminum, and everything else is copper, bronze, or galvanized steel, all in a place where condensation is guaranteed to happen. Grease and regular maintenance are the only way to avoid expensive repairs in the future…and I’m OK with that. I’m really looking forward to the time when maintenance is all I’ve got left to do on this boat.

More grease...just because.

More grease…just because.

Tefgel to keep the new socket screws from getting friendly with the aluminum

Tefgel to keep the new shoulder bolts from getting too friendly with the aluminum

Installed and ready for zincs

Installed and ready for zincs

One more check on the honey-do list

One more check on the honey-do list

In other news, my new AHP TIG welder has arrived and I’m slowly accruing seat time figuring out how it all works. TIG is a very different process than the MIG welding I’m more familiar with, but this new AHP machine makes it a lot easier than the last time I tried gluing aluminum together using the TIG process…when I ended up melting the whole thing into a blob on the bench! High frequency start and run (for aluminum) and AC balance are truly things of beauty, and the weight difference between my old transformer-based Millermatic 35 and this new inverter-based AHP makes the prospect of doing onboard welding less of a dread-inducing prospect. But while I’m getting up to speed on the new TIG in my home garage, I’m also working on more honey-do items on the boat.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The V-berth Head.

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