I know all of Mr. Gee’s loyal fan base will be disappointed but this is likely the second to last episode in the Low Oil Pressure Season of As Mr. Gee Turns. Have no fear however as I am already cueing up the next Season where Mr. Gee will be living up to the series title as he turns his crankshaft round and round with ease to similarly powers Möbius’ CPP propeller to spin as we go round and round this awemazing world of ours.
Those of you who are waiting on the edge of your seats for the final outcome of this season’s mystery thriller to find out who it is that is finally found guilty of murdering poor Mr. Gee will be glad to know that the jury is finally back with its definitive verdict! The title of this week’s update will give you a clue but you’ll have to read on to find out who turned out to be the dastardly killer on that ill fated maiden sea trial.
With that baited opening, let’s jump right in and pick up where we left off last week.
Circumstantial Evidence is Suspect for Good Reason!
In typical TV Series fashion, here is a quick summary of “as seen in previous episodes” …………
All of you who have been following along so closely (thanks!) will recall that from the very beginning the prime suspect in this murder mystery has been “Nick”, this mysterious dent in the steel oil pipe inside the crankshaft that carries the vital pressurized oil from the main bearings up to the connecting rod bearings.
It will likely remain a mystery as to what/how/who could have inflicted this dent in the oil pipe to begin with but the suspicion has been that Nick created a hole or a thin crack in the oil pipe at cylinder #1 and when Mr. Gee got up to operating temperature and loads, the oil sprayed out of the oil tube causing the deadly loss of oil pressure and the subsequent destruction of the main and connecting rod bearings.
When I did the first full factory level rebuild of Mr. Gee las year and found Nick hiding in the recess of the lightening hole at Cylinder #1 my conclusion after doing some preliminary testing was that it was “just” a nick and that the walls of the oil pipe had not been breached and did not leak.
However, after the sudden loss of oil pressure during the first sea trial and the subsequent discovery upon tearing down Mr. Gee of this catastrophic failure of the main and connecting rod bearings you can see here, all the evidence pointed to me having been wrong about the oil tube and I immediately gave myself a good kick in the a$$ and pleaded guilty of letting Mr. Gee and the whole Gardner engine family down by not living up to the highest level of Gardner standards for 100% confidence inspiring quality of workmanship.
In that first rebuild, I took what I thought at the time was more than enough of a “belt & suspenders” approach when I silver soldered Nick for an extra measure of security just in case there was a hole or a crack in the oil tube. However, as the evidence accumulated as I stripped poor Mr. Gee naked, it all pointed to ME having screwed up by not replacing the crankshaft of at least replacing the oil tube with a new one.
Circumstantial Evidence Just Won’t Do
When I removed the crankshaft and was able to inspect it even more carefully, it still did not appear that there was any hole or crack in the oil tube BUT this time I was going to leave nothing to chance and so I had a whole new crankshaft along with a lot of other parts, gaskets, filters, etc. shipped from Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England and they all arrived just in time last week.
However, I was just not going to be able to SWAN or Sleep Well At Night just putting Humpty Dumpty aka Mr. Gee back together again with just all this circumstantial evidence. I had to know for sure what had caused the oil pressure to drop and the bearings to fail.
So I came up with a way to test the suspected oil tube and prove once and for all if it was the guilty party or not?
First, I threaded one end of the oil tube and screwed in a SS set screw coated with sealing compound.
Next, I taped the other end of the oil tube where it exited out of the main bearing journal with an M6 thread.
This kind of rigorous laboratory testing does not come cheap and unfortunately two innocent bicycle tubes paid the ultimate price and gave their lives to the cause.
They contributed these two valve stems, which were the key to this test by allowing me to pressurize the oil tube to a known level and keep it there.
I carry a full set of Imperial, Metric, British Standard and Whitworth taps and dies (the tools that cut male/female threads in metal) and so I quickly cut some M6 threads on the valve stem I liked the most.
And screwed it into the open end of the oil tube which I had previously tapped above with matching M6 threads.
I removed the valve from the stem and poured 10W40 engine oil to fill up the oil tube and put the valve back in.
Out came my trusty hand pump which also has a gauge at its base and I pumped it up to about 120PSI, which is more than three times the normal 38 PSI oil pressure of a Gardner 6LXB.
I had my hands full so didn’t get any photos, but I then used my industrial heat gun to heat up the oil tube and the surrounding area of the crankshaft to about 70C / 160F which is higher than the normal operating temperature of oil in a 6LXB which is about 60C.
Having replicated all the conditions the oil tube would have been under when Mr. Gee was spinning away on that fateful day, this test would tell me once and for all if there was the least bit of leakage of oil from this oil tube.
Prior to testing, I had scrubbed the whole area around the oil tube surgically clean so even a drop of oil would be easy to see.
It was with very mixed emotions that after repeated tests, not a single drop or dribble of oil emerged!
Nice to be vindicated and have proved that either the dent or Nick had not penetrated the walls of the tube and/or my silver solder patch had done the job.
Nick was immediately released from custody with the sincere apologies of this kangaroo court, but I was now left back where I started, not knowing what the source of the problem was!
So I did what you do in such situations, you“go to the mattresses” and call in the experts. In this case I reached out to my two best experts in such areas; Michael Harrison who is “Mr. Gardner” and owns/runs Gardner Marine in Canterbury and Greg, one of my longest running best friends from back in the days when we were both working nights and weekends as heavy duty mechanics at a large lumber trucking company in Vancouver BC while we were both going to a combination of UBC the University of British Columbia and BCIT the British Columbia Institute of Technology, to become Industrial Education teachers aka “Shop Teachers”.
I had been in touch with Michael and Greg since the low oil pressure fiasco had begun and was sharing lots of photos online and daily updates as I worked on Mr. Gee. Michael, who has worked on hundreds of Gardner powered boats all over the world, came up with the key when he posited that we/me were thinking about this backwards. It was not that the wear on the bearings was caused by low oil pressure, it was the other way around! The low oil pressure was CAUSED BY the wearing of the bearing material which allowed more and more oil to escape out the growing space as the bearing material wore away.
OK you might ask, but then what caused the wear in the fist place?!?!?!
If you really want to know the answer to this question, please keep reading but there are no photos to go with this so it will just be my text based explanation to walk you through it. You will be fully forgiven if you want to skip down to where we resume our normal photo based programming!
After walking through the events more thoroughly and with Michael’s vast experience with Gardner engines and Greg’s decades of experience with diesel truck engines of all kinds and then my notes and recollection of the events leading up to the failure, we were able to figure out the TWO contributing factors that caused to the rapid wearing of the bearings and the subsequent loss of oil pressure.
Factor #1 is that I had reused Mr. Gee’s original crankshaft “as is”. That is to say I did not replace it or send it out to have all the journal surfaces reground.
I have rebuilt a LOT of engines over the past 50 years and what you/I normally do is completely inspect the crankshaft of the engine you are rebuilding. You use very accurate micrometers to measure the diameter and concentricity of all the journals and compare these to the factory specifications to determine what amount of wear had taken place over the life of that engine/crankshaft. Then you also carefully inspect all the surfaces of the old bearings and the crankshaft journals with a magnifying glass for any wear, grooves, scratches, etc. If the crankshaft is within specs, not worn and all the journal surfaces are still like new, then you can reuse that crankshaft. If not you most often send it out to have all the journals ground down smooth and use oversize bearings to make up for the material that has been ground off.
Factor #2, is that one of the two captains who had been hired to take Möbius out on sea trials prior to Christine and I accepting the boat from the builder and taking full possession and responsibility of the boat, did not have any experience or knowledge of CPP or Controllable Pitch Propellers. It did not seem like a major issue at the time as I explained how they worked and showed him how to slowly move the Pitch lever at the Helm forward to increase the Pitch angle and cause the CPP prop to “bite” or grab the water more and more to pick up boat speed through the water. I showed him the Pitch gauge and explained that he needed to increase the pitch very slowly and not to take it past half way during this first test while we were “breaking” everything in.
With the engine being brand new and coming up to temperature for the fist time, there was some smoke coming off the engine from all the new paint and left over bits of grease and oil from working on the engine so I had left the Helm and gone back to keep a close eye on Mr. Gee as he went through his paces. While I was there I tell from the sound that the engine was under a lot of load and I saw that the oil pressure gauge had dropped to just below 20 PSI and I immediately pulled Mr. Gee’s shutoff lever and shut him down. But it was too late, the damage as it turns out had already been done!
What had happened was that the Pitch lever had been pushed all the way forward which dialed in the maximum pitch angle on the four massive prop blades and with Mr. Gee running at lower RPM of about 1100 this massive sustained load had caused the brand new bearing surfaces to rapidly wear under the load as the original crankshaft journal surfaces labored over them. For those of you who have driven a standard shift car or truck, this would be like trying to climb a steep hill in high gear with the “pedal to the metal”. You get the idea!
Now the puzzle pieces all fell into place; the huge loads on the new bearing surfaces had worn rapidly which increased the microscopic space where the oil normally keeps the two surfaces from touching and so as this space increased with the ongoing wear, more and more oil was able to escape or “leak” out the sides and fall back into the oil sump. A vicious cycle then repeats itself with more wear leading to lower oil pressure which leads to more wear which leads to ………… where we are today!
While disappointing to say the least, at least I was now confident that we had found the true cause of the wear and the low oil pressure and Michael added that he had seen this exact same scenario play out on several Gardner powered boats over the past 20+ years so I can at least SWAN and get on with putting Mr. Gee back together again with his all new crankshaft, bearings and even more TLC than I already lavish upon him.
OK, back to our regular Show & Tell programming!
In Go the Pistons
When I left off last week, I had installed the new crankshaft and main bearings so now it was time to install the pistons and their con rod bearings which you see here as they come out of the Gardner factory box.
Here are two of the six pistons as I prep them to be installed. Yes they are massive, each piston displaces a volume of 1750cc on each power stroke. NO! that is not a typo, that means that the volume of each one of these six cylinders is larger than most 4 cylinder engines in the cars you drive!
Each cylinder has been freshly honed to create the Goldilocks surface finish for the new rings to all seat in just right.
This original Gardner illustration out of one of the manuals I have will help show the relationship between the pistons, crankshaft, connecting rods, etc..
Each piston is liberally coated with clean engine oil and then very gently lowered into its cylinder.
Each of the three rings are then compressed so that they fit inside the cylinder and when the last ring is in the piston slides down the last bit to where the top con rod bearing rests on the awaiting con rod journal.
Next I rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees to put the con rod at its lowest position so I can install the bearing caps. The coloured plastic tubes are there to make sure that the four con rod bolts can never Nick (remember him??) the journal surfaces as it is lowered in place. Now I can slide each con rod bearing cap in place over those four bolts and cinch down the nuts in stages to the Gardner specified torque.
Here is the last Piston/Con Rod on Cylinder #6 with the protective cardboard wrapper still on the journal which I now remove, turn the crank 90 degrees to put the journal up at Top Dead Center or TDC and lower Piston #6 in place.
A classic example of just how and why Gardner engines are so robust and long lasting is this added feature that creates one of the most solid “bottom ends” of any engine I know. In addition to the massive aluminium caps that hold the main bearings in place, these two cross rods run through each of those caps and create a super solid main bearing system to keep that crankshaft rotating merrily for many many years.
Once all 12 of those cross rods are torqued down and all the pistons have been installed and their caps fully torqued down the “Bottom End” as it is called is now all assembled and the last remaining item is to install the external pipework assembly that takes the pressurized oil to those holes you see in the flat oval bosses with 2 bolts in them here.
Main Bearing Lube Oil Pipework Assembly
Here is that lubricating oil pipework’s all disassembled ready for final cleaning and then installation of the sealing O rings that go inside each of the cast iron junctions that bolt to the main bearing caps you see in the photo above.
Five of the seven main bearing fittings are assembled here and then …….
…… they slide into this T junction where the oil comes in from the oil pump and filter and get distributed fore and aft to all 7 of the main bearings.
BTW, for those wondering why the wear on the bearings #1 and 2 up at the front was the most and then became a bit less as you went aft, you can now see why as bearing on Cylinder #1 is at “the end of the line” or furthest away from the source of the oil pressure. So as the wear began and the oil leaked out, the pressure drop became progressively greater as it worked its way back from this T joint.
Piston Head Clearance
I won’t bore you with the full installation but there are lots of critical dimensions that need to be measured as you assemble a new engine and one of these you see here which is measuring the exact distance from the top of the piston to the top freshly ground surface of the surrounding cylinder block. I set up my dial indicator on top of the piston and move the piston to exactly Top Dead Center TDC and set the dial to Zero at this position.
Then I rotate the dial indicator so that the pointer now rests on the cylinder block surface and check how much higher this is.
If you look at the photo above you can see that the difference is 0.015 or 15 thousandths of an inch and the factory specification is that it must be between 0.012 and 0.020 so this is Goldilocks “just right”.
Heads Go On
With the Bottom End all now fully assembled it is time to move up top and put the two heads back on. Freshly cleaned studs are all installed with Loctite to keep them properly torqued for the next 50 years.
Wondering what all the black “donut holes” surrounding each cylinder are?? These allow the coolant (water + antifreeze) to circulate between the lower cylinder block and the upper heads to keep everything at just the right operating temperature which in the case of a 6LXB is quite low at about 60C / 140F whereas modern engines run at about 80 – 95C.
Obviously that coolant needs to say where it belongs and not lead out into the cylinders so this is the smart simple way Gardner seals each connection.
The silver ferrules slide through the fat O-ring and them you press fit this assembly into each hole in the cylinder block. When the head is bolted down it squishes each rubber O-ring to form a permanent watertight seal.
Thin steel head gaskets go on next to create the extremely critical seal that keeps all the huge pressures created when each cylinder fires to stay inside and provide the massive “push” of each piston as it travels downward creating all the HP and especially so the massive torque or “twisting power” that Gardner engines are so renowned for.
Everything all done in the Engine Room and now time to prep the cylinder heads to be installed.
I’d estimate that Mr. Gee had a total run time so far of less than 5 hours so it was pretty quick and easy to clean up each head and the valves of the carbon deposits from that run time.
My best guesstimate is that each head weighs about 70kg/155lb so hoisting the off my workbench and up on top of all those studs and lining them all up so the head slides down onto the cylinder block is some eXtremely good eXercise!
Front head goes on first as I have to slide in the ground shafts that each valve rocker arm rotates on so I install all the rocker arms, push rods and decompression levers first and then hoist the aft cylinder head into place and do the same valve assembly to it.
One of the last steps before I can lower Mr. Gee back in place and attach him to his buddy “Normy”, the Nogva CPP gear box, is to lift that humungous flywheel back up and slide it onto those 6 big studs you can see sticking out of the aft end of the crankshaft in the bottom Right.
I’m in fairly good shape and so is Christine but this flywheel is about 125mm/5” thick solid steel and weighs in at a svelte 120Kg / 265lbs so I used my brains instead of my “brawn” and rigged up some of our triple blocks that we will use to hoist our Tender Davit up and down and rigged them with some stronger than steel Dyneema line to make it eXtremely easy to lift the flywheel back up in place and line it up with all those bolts.
Once I had torqued down the six bolts that hold the flywheel solidly onto the end of the crankshaft I could lift the other half of the flywheel housing in place and bolt those two halves together.
This solid pair of housing create the big flat surface for the two rear engine mounting brackets to bolt to so they go on next. I custom designed these last year and we fabricated them out of 25mm / 1” thick AL plate that is TIG welded together and then each of these have the vibration dampening engine “feet” or mounts bolted to them and these feet are then bolted to the 25mm thick engine beds below.
This is where I left Mr. Gee hanging a few hours ago and while it was Fathers Day today, it felt appropriate that as Mr. Gee’s “Dad” I should be giving him all this TLC and attention today.
I hope all you Dads out there had a fabulous Father’s Day that was just right, just for you!
So this is where I will also leave all of you “hanging” for this episode of As Mr. Gee Turns and I hope to have him fully mounted and possibly running again in time to bring you perhaps the final episode of the season!
Thanks for your time to join me here today for this latest Möbius Show & Tell, and please come join me again next week to find out how this season ends and I do hope you will add your comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Last week’s title teased you with “Mr. Gee The Whole Story of the Hole” but turns out there is more to the story so that will be the focus of this week’s update with Part II of the story of the hole in Mr. Gee’s crankshaft. This whole saga has become a bit of murder mystery story as I try to find who/what/how of the “murder” of Mr. Gee when he lost most of his oil pressure while out on his first sea trial run and there may well be a Part III next week! Being a single engine boat, it is imperative that Christine and I can have 100% confidence in Mr. Gee so I need to make sure that I have tracked down the murderer as well as any accomplices and know that I have fully solved the case for certain and can get Mr. Gee back to better than new condition. We need him to be in tip top condition so he can power us through all our upcoming eXtreme eXploration Passages as we get back to sailing the world’s seas.
But enough intro, grab a comfy seat and beverage and join me on this Week’s episode of As Mr. Gee Turns
A Whole New Ocean to eXplore!
Getting Mr. Gee back to better than new condition became all the more important now that there is a whole new ocean for us to eXplore with our XPM!
In case you missed it, this week National Geographic officially announced that in addition to the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans, our awemazing world now has a new Fifth ocean: the icy waters surrounding Antarctica below the Earth’s southern 60th parallel which is officially being named the Southern Ocean.
This newest ocean is also quite unique in that it is not defined the same way the other four are, by the land masses that surround them. Instead he Southern Ocean is defined by the rapid currents in the oceans to the north which circles the Earth from west to east around Antarctica in a band centered around a latitude of 60 degrees south.
I like to live life practicing what I call “Readiness for the Unexpected” and so this is a perfect example which helps explain some of the reasons why XPM78-01 Möbius has been so overbuilt which such thick hull plates, massive keel bar and better insulated than a Thermos bottle! Look for lots more stories and photos in upcoming blog posts when we are out eXploring this “new” Southern Ocean in the coming years.
Telling the Whole Hole Story
Picking up where I left off in last week’s Möbius Update posting, this colored illustration of the internal and external pathways of the engine oil in a Gardner 6LXB engine. Look at the Brown colored path at the bottom where the oil pump in the bottom right corner pumps oil directly to a series of external pipework’s that supply pressurized oil to each of the seven crankshaft main bearings.
This is what the crankshaft itself looks like.
Zooming in on the crankshaft the dotted lines in this illustration shows the suspected oil tubes which provide the pathway for the pressurized oil to go from the main bearing journal at #2 over to the connecting rod journal.
Thanks to “Mr. Gardner” aka Michael Harrison who runs Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England, he was even able to get me this original drawing from the Gardner factory where his father worked for most of his working life.
* I have circled the suspect oil tubes in red and ask the court to record these for evidence please.
With Mr. Gee’s crankshaft now removed I can do a much better job of showing you this mug shot of the prime suspect in this Whodunit mystery. Hiding inside the bored out “lightening holes” inside the chrome molly crankshaft, you can now clearly see one of these oil tubes.
Each oil tube exits either the Main Bearing journal or the Con Rod journal like this.
The oil tubes are centered on the journal so that the pressurized oil can circulate through the grooves you see in each bearing shell. While only a micron thick, the oil between the surface of the journals and the surface of the bearings is just enough to ensure that these surfaces never touch so there is never any physical contact of these two metal surfaces.
However, as you can see by all the copper that has been exposed when the two upper layers of these bearings has been worn away, there has been some serious “touching” going on inside Mr. Gee when that crucial oil pressure dropped.
OK, we have lots of evidence and we’re getting closer to solving this crime, but where’s the smoking gun or other explanation for WHAT caused the drop in oil pressure in the first place?
When I was first rebuilding Mr. Gee and I was cleaning the crankshaft prior to installing it over a year ago, I happened to notice that there was a strange and nasty “nick” hiding in the dark recess of the oil tube going out to the journal for Piston #1.
Again, I have circled the suspect oil tube “nick” in red and ask the court to record these for evidence please.
I discussed this at length with Michael @ GMD and we both poured over lots of photos and did a LOT of head scratching. In the end, Michael had never seen anything like this in the hundreds of Gardner engines he has worked on and so to this day, it remains an unsolved mystery as to what or how anything heavy enough could get in here and cause this nick, but there it was, plain as day.
And now for my full disclosure and mea culpa!
With the clarity that hindsight always provides, I can clearly see that I screwed up!
I tested the oil tube as best I could and the nick seemed to have just dented the tube not cracked or penetrated it. So rather than fixing this fully by machining a new oil tube, (which I now have this original Garner factory dimensioned drawing of thanks to again to Michael) and then pressing out the old and in the new, I decided to repair the existing oil tube by silver soldering the nick.
Here is what that repaired area looks like today and if you click to enlarge you can see the silver solder filling the nick.
I have taken more than 50 photos of this nick using all sorts of different lighting and camera positions and this is one of the best close ups that is in reasonable focus. Is there a hole or a crack in there? Perhaps and I have again tried to pressure test this tube but can’t do so with much more than a few PSI and it does not leak at this pressure.
BUT I submit to the court, that the circumstantial evidence supports the charge that when the engine and the oil heats up and the pressure is running around 40 PSI, then oil could be forced through a pinhole or hairline crack sufficient to cause the drop in oil pressure and all the subsequent wear seen here on the Main bearings getting progressively less from Cylinder #1 back.
However, I still plead GUILTY as charged of screwing up and I offer my sincere apologies to Mr. Gee and the entire Gardner family! I can only assure you that such non Gardner like behavior shall never happen again!
Reinforcements have Arrived!
Having suspected that this nick was the source of the problem as soon as it happened almost two months ago, I made the call shortly afterwards to “go big or go home” and ordered a whole new crankshaft, bearings, gaskets, valves, pistons, etc. from GMD. Shipping things into Turkey is usually fraught with problems and lots of “extra” charges so I decided to order all these 2 months ago and after “only” $2k in “extra” fees, Alaaddin arrived in this truck last week.
Inside was this beautiful box which the good lads at GMD had made up to safely carry the little 240kg crankshaft and all the other parts from Canterbury to Setur Marina in Antalya.
Everything was well packed and all parts arrived in perfect condition.
Most importantly including this freshly machined original marine version Gardner 6LXB crankshaft!
Did I have to go this route? Could I not have machined a new oil tube now that I have the drawings and pressed it in place? Sure, but I also needed to find a machine shop capable of re-machining the Main and Con Rod journals on Mr. Gee’s now damaged crankshaft and given my recent mea culpa experience and promise to Mr. Gee AND Captain Christine, this was a no brainer decision and just one of those expensive lessons in life.
About four years ago, while Christine and I were living in Portugal for six months, I had Michael ship Mr. Gee to me shortly after he found this completely original marine 6LXB and I took every single nut, bolt and part off to thoroughly clean, inspect, replace as needed and then start a full rebuild with all new factory parts including pistons, cylinder liners, bearings, valves, and pretty much every part other than the large aluminium and cast iron castings.
At that time I removed the crankshaft the hard way, without the benefit of any of the specialty tools that one should really have to fully rebuild a Gardner. One of these is this special tool for removing the pressed in solid AL caps that hold the Main Bearings in place.
Here is an illustration from one of my original Gardner manuals showing the crankcase upside down with one of those “saddle” style Main Bearing caps removed. The challenge is that these are a very tight press fit into the machined surfaces of the crankcase so it takes a LOT of force to get them out.
James at GMD was kind enough to take some photos with a ruler for reference dimensions of the Main Bearing Cap removal tool that they use.
I had to guess at a few of the dimensions but those photos were enough for me to be able to use Fusion 360 to create this 3D model of a Gardner Main Bearing Cap removal tool.
I sent a copy of these files to Michael and James at GMD and got them to check the critical dimensions which required a bit of tweaking of my model.
But I was quickly able to generate these 2D dimensioned drawings and get started making one.
Alaaddin was his usual helpful “fixer” self and brought my drawings to a local machine shop for them to fabricate all the parts and he was soon back at Möbius with this for me to test out.
I made a few modifications to get it just right and soon had this new tool mounted on the Rear Main Bearing cap #7 for the first test run.
Worked like a charm by allowing me to tighten that big hex nut on the tool which pulls the AL bearing cap by pushing on the two big 16mm / 5/8” bearing studs.
and out comes the cap!
One down, six more to go……..
And I soon had all seven Main Bearing caps added to the growing collection of parts on my workbench center table.
Let the jury please note again the evidence consistent with the murder charge against Mr. Nick as you can clearly see now the wear is most at Main Bearing #1 and gets less and less as you move aft to #7. All this after less than 5 hours run time total and less than one hour with the lower oil pressure.
Out with the Old!
Replacing a crankshaft pretty much requires an entire tear down of an engine and so that’s what I’ve been working at non stop for the past month as evidenced by the growing pile of bits and bobs I’ve been removing from Mr. Gee.
Now, with all the Main Bearing caps removed I was able to rig up some more block and tackles with Dyneema line and use these to carefully lower the lightweight (best guestimate 230 kg / 507 lbs) crankshaft.
I set up a series of thick wood planks and huffed and puffed better than the Big Bad Wolf, to inch the crankshaft out of the Engine Room and into the Workshop.
But soon enough Mr. Gee’s crankshaft joined all his other buddies on my workbench.
Final step in the full dismantling was to press off this anti-vibration damper and the triple roller chain timing sprocket from the front of the crankshaft.
In with the New
To make it a bit easier on my aching body, I dragged the new crankshaft part way into the Engine Room and propped it up on some sturdy wood blocks for mounting the Damper and chainwheel to the front as these weighed about 35 kg themselves.
Then like an inchworm, I was able to carefully push and shove the crankshaft up alongside of Mr. Gee
I attached the Dyneema lines to the front and aft end of the crank and lift it up in place with the 6:1 block and tackles.
Worked like a charm to allow me to slowly raise the crankshaft up into the upper main bearings which I had now greased up and pressed in place in the Crankcase.
Carefully raising each end of the crank with the blocks and tackle the new crank was soon resting in its new home and Mr. Gee was already feeling MUCH better!
Clean up all seven Main Bearing caps to make sure they are squeaky clean.
Grab the box of new 0.010” oversize 6LXB Main Bearing set.
A beautiful sight to my eyes!
And Mr. Gee!
Unboxed and unpacked, cleaned, inspected and now a light coast of lithium grease to help with their initial assembly into Mr. Gee.
Same process for the two sets of Thrust Bearings that look after any pressures fore/aft on Mr. Gee’s crankshaft.
Now all that remained to do was install all 7 of the Main Bearing Caps with their new bearing shells inside and start bolting the crankshaft into place.
I got #1, 3 and 7 done this afternoon (Sunday 13, June 2021) before I had to quit to write up this blog before dinner and so I’ll have to leave you here and pick up again in next week’s episode of “As Mr. Gee Turns”.
Beauty and the Beast
I use this “Beauty & the Beast” reference quite often and certainly seemed to be just right after you’ve endured being with beastly me and Mr. Gee, and leave you with one last update with the arrival of THIS beauty of a Turkish Wine Decanter.
But wait! There’s more beauty!
This was a very unexpected but thoroughly appreciated gift from a lovely Turkish gentleman “Cem” who has become eXtremely interested in the XPM boats had asked if he could come onboard for a tour. Unfortunately for Cem he first stepped into the Workshop when he got onboard so he was stuck wtih me give him the tour, and you can guess how that went with “brevity challenged” Wayne!
Apparently I was not too brutal and Cem brought this beautiful “house/boat warming” gift for us a few days later.
Once again I get to surround myself in beauty with not only such a special decanter but one held by my smiling Beautiful Bride!
Could I be any more fortunate? Methinks NOT!
That’s a wrap for this week’s XPM78-01 Möbius progress update and I hope it was enjoyable and entertaining.
As always PLEASE add your comments and questions in the “join the discussion” box below and I hope to see you here again same time, same place, next week for the next installment of As Mr. Gee Turns.
It has been very fun and surprising to have so many of you tell me that you anxiously await each weekly Möbius Progress Update and all the more of you finding the ongoing story of Mr. Gee and getting to the bottom of what caused him to suddenly loose most of his oil pressure while out on the first sea trial to be so fascinating. Usually it is Captain Christine who is in charge of writing mysteries and intrigue when she is writing all her best selling marine murder mystery novels under her nom de plume of Christine Kling, so rather surprising that I find myself apparently writing my own “mystery novels” given my brevity challenged NeveraSentenceWhenaParagraphWillDo style!
To be sure, “As Mr. Gee Turns” will continue to be a long running series and this week’s update won’t be the final chapter/novella but many of you will be very happy to know that I have finally dismantled Mr. Gee enough now to have found the source of the sudden drop in oil pressure and a reasonable assessment of the damage done and what will now be required to get him back to better than new condition. So go grab your favorite beverage and comfy seat and come join me on this week’s Show & Tell Möbius update for the week of May 31-June 5, 2021.
Finally! XPM78-01 Möbius Naval Yachts Build Finale!
In what may be THE biggest milestone of this almost four year long Project Goldilocks, we had the official finale of the building of XPM78-01 Möbius courtesy of Dincer and Baris Dinc at Naval Yachts this past Friday, June 4, 2021.
We were not able to get everyone who had worked on Möbius over the years but Dincer did his best to get most and we had a lovely little celebration up on the rooftop of Naval Yachts.
Christine and I created a design for some black T-shirts with the names of pretty much everyone who had ever worked on Möbius and all our great suppliers and you can see the back of one of these with the person on the Right here.
I can’t seem to find the final version which has a LOT more names on it but this will give you an idea of what the shirts looked like.
We will be doing our best to get one of these one of a kind T-shirts out to all those who where not able to attend the celebration on Friday.
Here you can see the fronts of the T-shirts nicely modeled by Dincer on the Right and Yusuf (originally our head Electrician) on the Right.
Dincer very kindly had this eXtremely special XPM78-01 Möbius cake made up and the insides were even better than the outside if you can believe that!
New Navy Neighbors
And before we dive into the whole story about Mr. Gee’s hole, check out our newest neighbor who pulled into the harbour next to us! Last week I showed you the three smaller vessels from the Turkish Navy fleet and this week their bigger brother arrived. Made for great entertainment for Christine and me on our nightly sundowner glass of wine on the foredeck.
For those interested in knowing more about the Turkish Navy, my super sleuth Christine dug up THIS Wikipedia list of all the currently active ships and submarines in the Turkish Navy. According to Wikipedia, as of January 2021, the Turkish navy operates a wide variety of ships, including; 16 frigates, 10 corvettes, 12 submarines and various other ships.
Mr. Gee is not the Only One Left Hanging!
May of you wrote to me (thanks!) to tell me that I kept leaving you hanging as to the root of Mr. Gee’s sudden loss of oil pressure and when we ended last week’s update, Mr. Gee was also left quite literally hanging in his Engine Room like this.
Picking up where we left off last week, once I had Mr. Gee securely and safely raised up about 1 meter above his engine beds, I began the laborious process of dismantling him in search of what had gone so terribly wrong for the oil pressure to have suddenly dropped from its usual 38 PSI down to just under 20 PSI
This cutaway illustration of the Gardner 6LXB lubrication system (click any photo to enlarge) might help you follow along with all the different parts that need to be removed and let you see what all needs to be removed to strip a 6LXB “naked”.
It turned out, getting to the bottom of the Mr. Gee’s problem was going to require me to dig all the way down to Mr. Gee’s bottom end, right down to his massive crankshaft.
I felt a bit like Ruby (one of our boat dogs) digging furiously for the ever elusive crabs she has acquired a delicacy for as they burrow deeper and deeper into the sand below.
This meant pretty much completely dismantling Mr. Gee Humpty Dumpty style and my center workbench in my Workshop soon started filling up with all the bits and bobs as I removed more and more of them from Mr. Gee.
Here I am pulling off Mr. Gee’s tiny little flywheel that weighs a mere 230 Kg / 507 Lbs.
Who knew that my Garhauer 6:1 block and tackle with 10mm Dyneema line for raising and lowering the Tender Davit, would come in so handy!
With the flywheel and all its housings removed, I could now remove the over 40 bolts securing this cast aluminium oil sump/pan and pry it loose from the cast Al crankcase above.
I would estimate that this cast oil sump weighs about 45 Kg/100 Lbs, so I tied a loop of line around the bottom of the front end of the oil sump to keep it suspended and enlisted the help of Captain Christine to help me slide this monster out from under Mr. Gee, out the ER door and out onto the Aft Deck.
With the oil sump out of the way I could start the process of removing all the pistons and connecting rods. Suspending Mr. Gee such that I could remove all the pistons and the crankshaft is a bit tricky. The front end is easy because the big motor mount brackets can be left in place so I have attached a loop of Dyneema line that goes to the overhead chain block and then I put in two more loops that wrapped around each motor mount as a safety backup and this left the area underneath the crankcase completely open.
However the 2 motor mounts on the Aft end need to be removed along with the split cast AL flywheel housings and there just isn’t much left to tie onto that is strong enough to hold the 1000 Kg / 2200 Lb. engine.
No problem, I just grabbed a pair of my adjustable jack stands (doesn’t every boat carry these??!) and built up a platform that spanned across the two engine beds using some square steel tubing I carry as well.
With the tops of these jack stands resting on the wide flat AL surface that the oil sump bolts to, I had full access now to the full bottom end of the crankshaft and the bottom of each cylinder’s connecting rod.
For my growing Gardner fan base, the following two illustrations from some of the original Gardner factory manuals which I am SO fortunate to have copies of, will help you see more clearly what’s going on inside a Gardner 6LXB like Mr. Gee.
The con rod bearings are half shells that are clamped by four large bolts on each con rod. Removing the four nuts allowed me to slide the bottom half of the con rod off crankshaft and then you can push the whole piston & con rod assembly up and out of the top of the cylinder.
Here is the full piston & connecting rod assembly from cylinder #1 sitting upside down on my workbench.
As you push the con rod/piston assembly up out the top of the cylinder block, you need to be eXtremely careful not to let the hardened threads on con rod bolts hit the crankshaft journals as they can ruin this very accurately ground surface.
So to prevent this I slid protective sleeves I made from some spare PEX tubing onto of the 4 threaded ends and then used a long stout length of wood to push the whole assembly up till the piston cleared the to of the cylinder block.
With pretty much everything except the crankshaft now removed, that center workbench continues to fill up with more and more parts as I get down to the very bottom of Mr. Gee and find the culprit responsible for his low oil pressure problem.
The Whole Truth about the Hole
As my awemazing author wife has taught me, a good mystery writer keeps their audience in suspense until the very end and we are getting close to that point now so here is the big finale so many of you have been so patiently awaiting all these past weeks.
As the more observant and mechanically inclined will have noticed, the clues have been revealing themselves throughout this Update and the crime is a nasty one. These are the two bearing half shells that came out of Cylinder #1 and this is NOT what you want to see in any con rod bearings let alone those with less than 5 hours of run time since new!
To help explain, this illustration of the Tri-metal bearings used on Gardner and still in most modern combustion engines, shows why that copper you see in the photo above is an eXtremely bad thing. Even though I caught it early, that drop in oil pressure meant that there was not enough lubrication between these bearing surfaces and the journals on the crankshaft and so they started to wear very rapidly with each huge push on each piston as the diesel fuel was compressed and then fired.
If you’ve been following this “murder mystery” for awhile now, you may recall that when the oil pressure dropped I also noticed a slight knocking noise and a bit of burning oil smoke rising up from cylinder #1 and I already had a suspicion as to why, but more on that later.
In this and the photo above, I have lined up all the bearing shells in order with #1 on the far Right/Bottom all the way over to #6 on the far Left/Top.
In addition to seeing a bit of copper having been worn through, the additional clue is that Cylinder #1 has the most wear and then it gets progressively less as you move aft.
Let me zoom in to show this more clearly.
This are the bearing shells from Cylinder #1 and you can see that that the upper half which is on the Right here has the most wear because this is what takes all the force with the piston is at Top Dead Center or TDC where the fuel first fires and thee massive thrust pushes this shell against the crankshaft journal.
Here is #3 cylinder, still an eXtreme amount of wear for such new bearings but much less than Cylinder #1.
Finally at the far aft end of the crankshaft, this is what the bearing shells from Cylinder #6 look like, with again way too much wear but by far the least of all six.
OK, but Who Dun’ It Wayne??
Like in the game of Clue, was it Colonel Mustard with a dagger in the Conservatory? Or was it Miss Scarlet with a Lead Pipe in the Billiard Room?
Sorry! None of the above.
It was Wacky Wayne with a Hole in #1 Crankshaft Oil Tube!
You are going to have to wait yet one more week for the full story, but here’s the lead in. See those dotted lines in this partial view of the front end of a Gardner 6LXB crankshaft? Those are steel tubes that carry oil pressure from the Main Bearing #2 here, up to the connecting rod journals of each cylinder.
I won’t be able to show this to you very well until next week when I get the whole crankshaft out, but I was able to stick my phone up into the crankshaft at Cylinder #1 and here is what that steel oil tube looks like in real life.
As Perry Mason might have said, let me draw the Jury’s attention to the area circled in Red…….
Zooming in as best I can with the crankshaft still inside Mr. Gee’s crankcase, here is a bit better view of the perpetrator of this heinous crime again circled in Red.
I can hear you whining already but yes, that’s as far as I can take you this week and you will just have to look over all these clues at the crime scene above and come up with your own solution as to what the hole story is. (sorry I couldn’t resist)
I will leave all you junior detectives to have some fun with this for now and please join me next week, same time, same station, same channel, for yet another gripping episode of As Mr. Gee Turns.
Hope to see you here again next week and do be sure to write your best guesses in the “Join the Discussion” box below as to the Whole Story of the Hole and we can compare notes next week.