It’s that time again, so the boat is out of the water for it’s 3-yearly maintenance. Some things over the past few months have been bugging me, namely a pronounced vibration in the running gear while underway. (Issue was easy to spot here!).
nb Tanya Louise being a very odd vessel, she has quite a significant keel, so once the dock was drained, some manual jacking was required to get her level on the blocks. Without this extra work there is such a pronounced heel that it’s impossible to do anything on board.
On the opposite side, wooded blocks are placed for the bottom of the hull to rest against. Jacking up a 58-ft 25-ton boat by hand onto some timbers was nerve-wracking to say the very least!
The bottom of the hull has already been jet-washed to remove 3-year’s worth of slime, weed growth & the old blacking. First job is to get a fresh coat of paint on.
Looking under the hull shows the reason for the high level of vibration – the prop shaft has actually *worn through* the bearing & stern tube, to the extent that there’s not much left of the assembly! The only thing holding the shaft in place at this stage is the stuffing box inside the boat & the shaft coupling to the hydraulic motor.
, stern tube,
A replacement standard-issue Cutless bearing will be fitted, after the remains of the old tube are cut back to make room. To facilitate mounting the bearing, a custom stainless P bracket is being made at a local engineers, for me to weld onto the bottom of the hull.
(Surprised we didn’t lose the shaft, lucky that I kept pestering to get her out of the water!).
To solve some engine oil overheating problems on board nb Tanya Louise, we decided to replace the air-over-oil cooler, with an water-over-oil cooler, with separate cooling drawn straight from the canal, as the skin tanks are already overloaded with having to cope with not only cooling the engine coolant, but also the hydraulic system oil as well.
These units aren’t cheap in the slightest, but the construction quality & engineering is fantastic.
Unbolting the end cover reveals the brass tube end plate, soldered to all the core tubes in the cooler. An O-Ring at each end seals both the end cover & the interface between the tube plate & the outer casing.
The end caps have baffles cast in to direct the cooling water in a serpentine path, so the oil gets the best chance at dissipating it’s heat to the water.
The oil side of the system is on the outside of the tubes, again baffles placed along the stack direct the oil over the highest surface area possible.
The outer shell is just a machined alloy casting, with no internal features.
I go camping on a regular basis here in the UK, and often even in summer it’s horribly cold at night in a field somewhere in the middle of Leicestershire. This doesn’t go too well with my severe aversion to being cold.
For the past several years I’ve used a Tilley lamp for some heat & light while at festivals & general camping, but it’s heat output is less than stellar when used in a 6-man tent.
An Eberspacher diesel heater was what was required for the job. Above is the unit as it’s built at the moment – I’ve used an old D1LCC 1.8kW heater that was recently decommissioned from nb Tanya Louise, as it’s getting a bit funny about what kind of fuel it’ll run on in it’s old age. It’ll work perfectly well on kerosene though – a fuel I already take with me camping for the Tilley.
It’s mounted on a base box, which is a repurposed steel electrical junction box that saw a previous life containing a 3-phase fan motor controller.
Here’s the info on the heater unit itself. Drawing 22W of power at 12v I’ll be getting 1.8kW of heat output – sounds good to me.
Here’s a view into the base box before the circulation fans were fitted, in early prototype stage. I used a small toroid as a clunk on the end of the rubber fuel line 😉
After a few bits from the Great eBay arrived, here’s the internals of the base unit at present. The fuel tank is a repurposed 2L fridge water container – made of tough HDPE so it’s fuel resistant.
The fuel pump is mounted on the left side next to the tank – having been wrapped in some foam to deaden the continual ticking noise it creates. The exhaust & it’s silencer are mounted at the rear, the silencer being retained by a surplus rubber shock mount. Luckily the exhaust systems on these heaters don’t get particularly hot, so the rubber doesn’t melt.
The exhaust outlet is routed through the frame, to be attached to an external hose. I don’t want combustion gases in the tent with me!
Standard Eberspacher silencers also aren’t gas-tight from the factory – they’re designed to be used in the open on the underframe of a vehicle, so I’ve covered all the seams in aluminium tape to make the system airtight.
To make sure that the support components don’t get overheated with the exhaust being in such close proximity, and to pull a little more heat out of the system, a pair of slow-running 80mm fans has been fitted to the end of the box. These blow enough air through to give a nice warm breeze from the vents on the other end of the base.
The tank I’ve used just so happened to be the perfect size to fit into the base box, and to tap the fuel off a bulkhead fitting was put into the top of the tank, with a dip tube on the other side. The fuel line itself is tiny – only 4mm.
If the specifications from Eberspacher are to be believed, 2L of fuel on board will allow the system to run for about 8 hours on full power, or 16 hours on minimum power.
Being inside the base, refuelling is a little awkward at the moment, the heater has to completely cool before the exhaust can be detached without receiving a burn, so I’ll be building in a fuel transfer system from an external jerry can later to automate the process – this will also help to avoid messy fuel spills.
More to come when the rest of the system is worked out!