Just a relatively short update for all of you that have been wondering about the “deafening silence” for the past 3 weeks from your more typically ebullient and brevity challenged author. In case you missed the ending of my last posting, Christine and I flew up to Istanbul to meet our daughter Lia, hubby Brian and our two granddaughters Brynn (7) and Blair (5) as they got off their non stop plane ride from LAX to spend THREE WEEKS with us! This would be a grand gift at any time but having not been able to get together for almost two years now, this was a HUGEY big gift!
And a jam packed three weeks it was as we shared the Turkey we have come to know and love with them AND got to host them for the first real passage on Möbius! Christine will be posting a bit more about our wonderful two day trip with the six of us aboard Möbius as we cruised the awemazing coastline from Antalya to Finike and here are just a few photos from our other adventures in planes, trains, automobiles AND hot air balloons!
We walked and ate our way throughout the truly world class city of Istanbul for the first three days and this is just one of our many Turkish kahvaltı, aka breakfasts. Short flight back from Istanbul to Antalya, test run for our new mariners with an overnight anchor at the nearby Rock Island to celebrate Brynn’s 7th Birthday!
See Christine’s post for much more about all this.
Thumbs up from all the crew and so we headed out for the first actual passage on Möbius. Slipped into this little spot that the girls dubbed as “Mermaid Cove” for another night on anchor and lots of swimming. Onward to some land based adventures, we went white water rafting in Köprülü Canyon National Park which is about 90 minutes from from where we lived in Antalya. Swimming through the thermal mineral ……. ……. pools of Pamukkale Climbing through the ruins of Sagalossos dating back to 600 BCE. Three nights in our two Cave Hotel rooms which were literally carved into the volcanic rock cliffs in Cappadocia. Up the next morning at 3AM to catch the sunrise in ….. ……. our very own Hot Air Balloon. Floating over the otherworldly “Fairy Chimneys” of Cappadocia 90 minutes went by SO fast! Until we gently touched down with the expert touch of ……. …… our favorite pilot Hakan (Black shirt far Left) from our previous ride with him 2 years ago for a champagne finish! We bid our family adieux for their return flight to IST and then on to LAX the next morning and Christine and I drove the 9 hour trip back to Möbius.
Where we had left her peacefully tied up in Finke marina which will be our home port for the rest of this year. Whew! We have spent the weekend savoring all these newest family memories and catching our breath from the wonderful whirlwind that our life has been for the past three weeks, indeed the past three years!
Tomorrow (Monday here) we will renew our efforts to get through the long and seemingly growing list of jobs to do in order to get Möbius fully sea worthy and ready for our next adventures. So we will resume our regular programming here on Mobius.World and do our best to continue to entertain and inform you about our ongoing adventures aboard the good ship Möbius.
Please tune in again next week for the next chapter and THANK YOU SO MUCH for your continued interest and comments. Be sure to add more in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
As most of you know by now, Christine is American and I am Canadian so this was a big week as both our countries celebrated their independence within days of each other; Canada day on Thursday July 1st and today being July 4th for the USA. However, Friday July 2nd, was THE most special independence day celebration for us as this was the day we felt we and our new world aboard Möbius achieved our true independence. Why Friday? Well because that was the day that we took Möbius out for her maiden voyage and a whole set of firsts such as our first overnight on anchor. Hard to capture how this felt having been five years in the making but I’ll do my best, try to keep it short and let the photos do most of the talking with that “photo is worth a thousand words” thought in mind. Here goes ………
After waiting SO long for this to all happen the past few days have been a bit of a blur and reminds me of the “hurry up and wait” condition I learned in the Canadian military.
Mid day on Monday Christine went up to the marina office to let them know that we would be ready to launch in the next few days and they told her that the TraveLift was going in for service tomorrow so if we wanted to launch it had to be NOW! Fortunately I had Mr. Gee all back together again and running the day before which was where I left off in last week’s update posting and the remaining jobs could be done in the water so we were good to Go! This is actually the third time we have splashed Möbius here at Setur marina so it didn’t take them long to get the slings positioned under Möbius round belly and we had lift off in no time flat. Down came all the vertical posts holding us up and we were headed for the TraveLift launch pads. Which are less than 100 meters away so again, mere minutes. We hover over the water for a few minutes and then down we go till the straps are loose and I can head below to check for any leaks. All’s well down below, just the way we like it, not a drop of salt water to be found and so we give the thumbs up to the crew with our thanks and the TraveLift is off for its servicing leaving us floating merrily in the water at last.
Flange Alignment v2.0
One of the last jobs of putting Mr. Gee all back together again was to recheck the alignment of the flanges that couple the output of the Nogva CPP gearbox to the prop shaft.
If you have been following the whole Mr. Gee v2.0 rebuild you may recall that I left the Nogva gearbox bolted in place to the engine beds with the two anti-vibration mounts on either side so it *should* not have moved but this alignment is critical to smooth vibration free power transfer from Mr. Gee through to the 1 meter OD 4 bladed CPP propeller and as per the illustration above, the two flanges have to be near perfectly aligned with no more than 0.05 of a millimeter deviation. For reference a strand of average human hair has a diameter between 0.06 and 0.08 mm.
Not a difficult job, fist step is to remove the composite grated flooring and unbolt the sealed AL panel underneath to reveal the space where the prop shaft enters the boat. Then remove all 8 hardened bolts around the flanges, pull the flanges apart by sliding the prop shaft back a few inches and then moving it forward till the two flanges touch. Then you use feeler gauges to determine the exact size of any gap between the two flanges. In my case the gap was 0.06mm so it only required a tweak with a pry bar on the front of the Gardner to eliminate that and then I could torque the 8 bolts back to a grunt worthy 240 Newton Meters and the propulsion system was good to Go! It was also time to say bye bye to Mr. Gee’s original crankshaft and pack him all up for a safe trip back to Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England where they will grind all the journals and have it ready to be installed in the next marine 6LXB engine they build.
At about 220kg / 485 Lbs, the wooden crate that GMD had made to send the new crank to me, would work well for the return flights and I added a few 2×2 timbers through screwed into the framing of their crate for good measure and one more component is Good to Go!
SkyBridge Lounge Act v1.0
As we are doing with many aspects of this very new boat, we are using this first year of living aboard to make lots of adjustments as we determine just how we tend to use various spaces and equipment and THEN we will build them in permanently. The most recent example is the layout and furniture for the upper SkyBridge area in front of the Helm Station.
What we decided to do is buy some inexpensive modular outdoor patio furniture which we could rearrange into various different configurations to see what we tended to gravitate to and use most often. Once we know that I can build in a more permanent set of furniture next year.
So Captain Christine has been on the hunt for the past few months at all the home supply stores here in Antalya and her choice arrived on this pallet on Wednesday. The L-shaped sectional couch and glass topped table are made from aluminium tube covered with plastic rattan like weaving so they are super lightweight and will work well in our salty environment.
Minutes later, the Captain could take the new lounge setup out for a quick test drive and seems to be pleased with her choices. I soon followed suit and am sitting here now typing up this blog post for you. Not a bad office, and one of several we no have onboard.
Wayne’s Newest Toy!
Christine and I are both running on fumes energy wise and so on Thursday we took the day off to drive about 2hrs north to the big city of Denizli where a brand new air compressor was waiting to be picked up. I had sent a new compressor over from Florida with all our other effects and boat parts a few years ago but it was DOA due to a faulty install and the best option for this critical bit of kit was to go for an upgraded new version which you see here on the Swim Platform Thursday afternoon.
2HP dual motors with dual compressors on each, 60L AL tank and super quiet!
I will soon be mounting this compressor under one of the AL workbenches in the Workshop where I will plumb it into the PVC pipes that run the full length of the Port side of the hull all the way up to the Forepeak with quick connect fittings in each area along the way. I’ve had compressed air on boats for so long I can’t imagine a boat without and use it daily for powering pneumatic tools such as sanders and impact guns and being able to clear out debris from clogged tubes and just general cleanup. Also super handy for quickly filling things like air mattresses and our inflatable kayak.
Compressed air is also how I clear any clogs in our Sea Chest with a quick blast in the fittings installed in each plexiglass lid.
But perhaps our favorite use is to supply the air for our two Hookah regulators which allow us to stay underwater with just a regulator in our mouth, no tanks, to do maintenance on the hull such as keeping the silicone foul release paint super slick and clean or to explore some of the nearby coral and underwater life around Möbius. We will also have a 12V Hookah setup in the Tender to be able to enjoy underwater wonders further afield.
Maiden Voyage v1.0
Still not quite believing it, we seemed to finally be ready to head out to open ocean waters for the first time and have Mr. Gee take Möbius and us out for our Maiden Voyage! With everything from Mr. Gee to so many other systems being all new or on version 2.0, we spent Friday morning checking everything over multiple times, getting Mr. Gee warmed up, bow thrusters working, steering working, charting and all nav systems working and at 13:20 Friday July 2nd, 2021 we cast off the dock lines and headed out through the breakwater of the Antalya harbour to officially begin our latest adventure.
In a rare attempt at brevity to try to say how pleased we are, I will simply show you a set of shots of the wake we left as we slowly increased the pitch and thus speed through the water as we pointed Möbius’ bow to the horizon. These shots of the wake behind Möbius at different speeds probably won’t be too exciting for many of you but for us, this is a huge part of the “proof of the pudding” from all the time we invested with Dennis in designing this hull to be eXtremely efficient for maximum speed with minimum power and fuel burn and to be slick, slippery and smooth as she slices through the water.
This is the wake at 7.2 kts off the Swim Platform. Longer range shot still at 7.2 kts 20 minutes later, dialing in a bit more pitch this is what it looked like at 8.5 kts Just a bit more speed with a bit more pitch but still keeping well under full load as we break in Mr. Gee very gently, this was our top speed for this first outing of 9.2 kts. I will publish tables of data like this in the coming weeks but one quick shot for those curious, this is the EGT and Fuel burn rate at 8.5 kts with Mr. Gee spinning at 1500 RPM. For reference, EGT at full continuous load rating for Mr. Gee at 1650 is 400C
After two hours testing out different pitch/speed combinations, some hard turns and circles to familiarize ourselves with steering and handling Captain Christine headed us for this small nearby uninhabited island. At her cue I dropped “Rocky” our 110Kg / 243 Lb Rocna anchor into the sea for his first bite of bottom sand. As usual for a Rocna he bit right away in about 30 feet of water, Christine backed down to give him a good pull for a few minutes and Möbius settled back with the 13mm / 1/2” chain hanging straight down in these calm waters. First order of business?
Our first dives off the Swim Platform!
(you can just make out Christine about to enjoy her first dive into these cool clear blue Aegean waters.) We swam around Möbius for the very fist time under Barney’s close scrutiny from deck. While this view of the shoreline of the mainland off our Port side isn’t too bad, what was breathtaking for us as we did our first lap around Möbius, was to be looking up to see our visions we developed over all these past years now be a realty looming overhead.
Suffice it to say that our fist night at anchor was pure bliss!
Oh, and for those curious, Mr. Gee performed flawlessly throughout the 5.5 hours we ran him out and back on this Maiden Voyage. Here is a shot of his oil pressure and oil temperature after running at various loads for about 2 hours on the way back to the marina on Saturday doing about 8.5 kts @ 1500 RPM. As happy as you can imagine we were when we returned to the marina yesterday afternoon after about 3 hours of more testing and maneuvering, we are even MORE excited here on Sunday night as we fly to Istanbul in the morning to meet our daughter Lia, husband Brian and our two granddaughters Brynn and Blair! This is a family get together that has been delayed for over 2 years and we are eXtremely eXcited to see this vision also become reality and I’ll have a bit more about this in next week’s post when we fly back here with all of them next Thursday.
Thanks for joining us through this eXtremely long and winding adventure that it has taken us to get here. Hope you have enjoyed it and we will continue to keep you posted as we switch into cruising mode and can provide more of the real world data and experiences aboard XPM78-01 Möbius that many of you are apparently anxious to receive.
Whew, I am one pooped pirate! Partly because like many of you apparently, we have had an eXtremely HOT week here in Antalya weather wise with daily highs around 40C/104F and we hit 42C/108F yesterday during the day and only dropped down to about 30C/86F for the evening so its been a bit toasty. And as “luck” would have it, being out of the water right now we can’t run our AirCon system as it requires seawater for its cooling pump.
Things have also been smokin’ hot progress wise this week as the GA1 aka Gardner Army of One aka yours truly continues to put in very full days getting Mr. Gee, our beloved Gardner 6LXB main (and only) engine, all back together again, running and soon thereafter ………………… splashing back into the water!
Captain Christine and I are now affectionately referring to him as Mr. Gee 2.0 which seems appropriate as he really has been “born again” as this is his 2nd full renovation after the first one I did last year after we acquired Mr. Gee from a tugboat on the Thames River in England. As all you regular readers know from following along on this adventure (Thanks!!), we had a disheartening debacle during the first few minutes of the first sea trial when the CPP Pitch lever was pushed fully forward to maximum pitch which put an eXtremely large and sustained overload condition rather than the gradual breaking in of this brand new engine that the hired captain had been asked to do.
As all you faithful followers now know, this required that we lift Mr. Gee up about 1 meter above his comfy Engine Room bed to allow me to do a second full tear down in order to replace the crankshaft, bearings, rings, etc. with all new parts and get Mr. Gee back to his next new life. Hence version 2.0 which should last us for many decades to come which is the norm for these eXtremely strong and simple Gardner engines.
So I will pick up where I left off last week, with the last of the reassembly process, lowering Mr. Gee back down onto his Engine Beds and hopefully getting him running again, adjusted and ready to go back where he and we belong; in the water!
Ready? Got a comfy chair in a cool spot with a cool beverage? Great, let’s jump right in……………
Even the Turkish Polish Approve!
Mid morning on Monday (June 21, 2021) as I was working away on Mr. Gee in the Engine Room, I heard a knock on the hull and a voice calling to me. You can picture my face as I emerged to find five fully uniformed Turkish Marine Police standing on the Swim Platform and peeking through the door into the Workshop! What else would a Canadian say but “Hi, can I help you and would you like to come in?
We had seen the TraveLift pull up in front of us with this relatively new Police Patrol boat as this was where the marina staff do all the pressure washing of vessels that get hauled out so we didn’t think anything more of it.
Turns out that they had seen Möbius for some time and had been quite intrigued by this very unusual almost military looking boat and wanted to know all about it.
Turns out that they are in the process of designing their next new boat and the Captain on the far Left in the photo below, was very taken with the design and features of Möbius and wanted to know much more about it.
The Officer in the middle here spoke quite a bit of English so he did all the translations for the others and they spent about an hour with us asking more and more questions. As usual Barney was an instant hit and spent the whole time being held and well attended to by all the officers as they spent about an hour onboard with us until their boat was ready to go back into the water and they had to leave.
Now THAT is the way to be boarded by the marine Police!
Making Mr. Gee 2.0 Better Yet
When I do repairs on boats I always try to do more than “just” fix the problem and do some things which will make the boat better than before and so I took a bit of time to give some of Mr. Gee’s parts a fresh new coat of tough epoxy paint.
I set up this temporary workbench outside with my trusty grinder and wire wheel to clean up parts such as these main bearing cap cross bolts, nuts and washers. I also decided to change a few of these external parts to a contrasting glossy Black rather then the previous Burgundy color to make Mr. Gee even classier than he already was. Oil Filter housing and cap on the Left then Fuel Lift Pump, Oil Heat Exchanger Pump, and Oil Pressure relief valve on the far Right. The kind, wise and beautiful Captain decided to treat me to a bit of a “makeover” as well by having her print shop buddy she had gotten to know over the past 3 years, to print and bind the Gardner parts and technical manuals that I rely on SO much every day. I only had the one on the far Left previously printed a few years ago but had since acquired several even better ones and a full parts manual (top middle) and so it was a wonderful surprise when the printer dropped them off with his son as they too wanted to get a tour of Möbius.
Back On His Feet Again!
When we left off last week, I had the new crankshaft in place along with all its attached bearings, connecting rods, pistons, rings, etc. and had bolted up the massive cast AL oil sump to the bottom so Mr. Gee was now ready to be reunited with his buddy “Normy” the Nogva CPP or Controllable Pitch Propeller gear box.
This required lowering Mr. Gee from his lofty position you see here, and he also needed to move aft about 25cm/1 ft so that their two mating SAE housing surfaces lined up precisely.
I called for the expert, Captain Christine ** to run the front chain block while I managed the aft end where hidden from view inside the AL housing on the bottom here is the CentaMax flexible coupling. ** Note the Captain’s hair here. You’ll understand why at the end.
The massive torque Mr. Gee puts out gets smoothly transferred to the Nogva CPP via this CentaMax 1600 SAE14 flexible drive system which makes it relatively easy to line up all those aluminium “fingers” with their mating U shaped grooves in the thick rubber disk that is bolted to the input shaft of the Nogva gearbox. I had rigged up two chain hoists for just this reason as it made it easy to adjust the angle as we lowered Mr. Gee in place and put him back on his Feet again where he attaches to the 25mm/1” thick AL engine beds on either side.
Click to enlarge and immediately above that Blue masking tape patch, you can see the outer AL portion of the CentaMax drive that is bolted to the Gardner’s flywheel sitting in between the Burgundy Nogva SAE 14 housing and the matching Gardner flywheel housing. Going in stages down and aft and wiggling the suspended Mr. Gee, it was quite easy to get the two halves of the CentaMax drive system lined up and slid together.
Lined up perfectly here and just the last centimeter to go. That last cm is a bit trickier as these two housings had to line up precisely to allow the sliding fit of the hardened bolts to go through their holes on the Noga and thread into the holes on the Gardner’s AL housing. But didn’t take too much “wiggling” to get them lined up and you can see the bolts now in place here so Mr. Gee and Normy are solid once again!
Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again
Now it was largely a matter of putting all of the removed parts back onto Mr. Gee which is quite straightforward but does take time as you have to fit all new gaskets and seals, adjust things like valve clearances, injection timing and so on. Having already done this once before helped it go very smoothly and the new manuals and sage advise via WhatsApp text messages from my Gardner expert and counsellor, Michael Harrison at Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England who is always ready to provide me with invaluable assistance.
Thanks Michael and all your crew at GMD.
Shiny Black Oil Filter housing with original Gardner Brass Oil Temp thermometer in the bottom Right and I’m also now installing all the copper external oil tubes and fuel lines.
While I was at it, I freshened up the Gardner logos with matching Black paint background and repolished the raised logos on the six access ports on the upper sides of the cylinder heads. These covers are now bolted on and take their place along with the three matching Gardner logos I have also freshened up on the Fuel Injection Pump assembly below. A bit closer look at where the oil tube attaches to the bronze manifold on the side of the Oil Filter housing below the Oil Pressure gauge and carries fresh pressurized oil into galleries cast into the cylinder heads which pump oil into each of the valve rocker arms to keep them well lubricated and smoothly running for decades to come.
Hand Crank Starting System!
This is perhaps Captain Christine’s favorite features of Mr. Gee, his hand crank starter! Yes, you read that right and No I am not kidding, should our starter or batteries fail it is no problem to start Mr. Gee by hand cranking him!
Top chainwheel is connected to a long shaft that runs all the way to the handle on the aft end and then the chain goes down around the Black chainwheel at the very bottom here which is attached to the crankshaft. Careful observers will also note the AL idler chainwheel in the bottom Right corner that keeps the tension on the chain just right. Here is the long drive shaft I mentioned above, making its way to the very back of the engine where the hand crank attaches.
While the hand crank was a standard Gardner option, they had changed to put the crank handle on the front of the 6LXB models and so I had to do quite a bit of tricky engineering using Gardner parts from the old and new models along with some that I machined myself to keep the hand crank at the rear as there is no room to do this at the front on Möbius. As you can see here the fit is just a wee bit close!
But it works like a charm and I use this hand crank almost every day when I need to rotate the crank to a new position for doing valve or injection timing and things like that.
I will do a little video of hand starting Mr. Gee in the next few weeks for you non-believers!
Cogged Belt Drive Alternator & SW Pump
As tricky as the hybrid old/new hand crank system was, the true test was this cogged belt drive system I designed and built for Mr. Gee to power one of the two monster Electrodyne 250Ah @ 28V alternators (the 2nd one is powered by the built in Gardner PTO) and the bronze sea water pump that circulates cool seawater through all the heat exchangers and the wet exhaust system.
You can see the 3 special pulleys for the cogged belt’s “cogs” to run in and many of you would know these systems as serpentine belts or timing belts which drive the camshafts in most modern engines both gas and diesel for the past 30+ years. Super long lasting with zero slippage and able to drive large loads with no belt wear or stretching. Easy to see how this works when I fit the cogged belt loosely in place around all three pulleys.
I won’t bore you with all that it took to design, build and mount this this cogged belt system, at least not now, trust me when I say that this eXtremely unique to Möbius setup was a very fun challenge and I’m delighted with how well it all worked out.
One of the reasons why these belt systems are so widely used and so long lasting is that they also require zero maintenance or adjusting. This is partly achieved by the special Kevlar reinforced cogged belts, and I chose ones by Gates as they are the most commonly available worldwide. But the real trick to long, maintenance free life is that they use a heavy spring loaded belt tensioner to keep the tension always the same Goldilocks just right amount.
So I ordered a Gates tensioner pulley that is used on Toyota and many many other brands, again for worldwide parts availability, and them built the AL plate to mount it on that you see bolted to the Gardner AL A-frame for the Hand Crank chainwheel up on top. It was difficult to film single handed but to install the belt in the photo above, I just pull the spring loaded Black pulley up and slide the belt underneath.
Est voilà c’est tout!!
As timing belts in cars and trucks, these belt systems last for 100-150,00 miles of use under much more stress and strain so this setup should outlast me and Mr. Gee!
However, should this belt ever fail, there is a spare new one mounted above and as you have seen here it would take mere seconds and NO tools, to install a new one in an emergency at sea.
Fuel Injection System
The final and perhaps most important system to install is the Fuel Injection Pump, pipework’s and Injectors.
The Injection Pump that creates the eXtremely high pressure that forces the diesel fuel to atomise as it exits the tiny little holes in the tips of the injectors, is seen here with the 6 vertical Black “priming” levers. This is one of the 6 injectors and as is the norm with Gardners, these are all mechanical and super simple. No moving parts inside just eXtremely precisely machined parts to ensure a smooth travel of the high pressure diesel from the pump down the the 3 holes in the bottom of the injector nozzle. One of the features of a Gardner that I SO appreciate is that they designed and built them with servicing and service people in mind. What a concept!
In this case, I wanted to test each injector to make doubly sure they were all working and putting out the same injector pattern. Need to take to a Gardner testing shop? Nope!!
Just rotate the fuel pipe that connects the Fuel Injection Pump to the Injector body so it is outside the engine, tighten the injector to the pipe and then give the Priming Lever a few sharp hard pulls while you watch the spray pattern coming out of the 3 holes in the nozzle.
KISS at its best! Smart, Simple, Safe! All 6 injectors had the exact same spray pattern and so they were ready to drop gently in place into the cylinder heads and toque down the simple lever arm that holds the tapered end of the injector body against the matching face inside the head. No gaskets or seals requires, simple metal to metal tapered seat sealing.
I finally treated myself to a 1/4” drive torque wrench and this was its first use to torque down the 6 fuel injector body clamps just right. The threaded hold down “nuts” are castellated rather than hex head so I made up this special tool to fit and enable me to use the torque wrench to tighten them precisely. Used and old socket and my handy dandy Dremel tool to cut away these 4 teeth to fit the slots in the nuts. Together with my lovely new 1/4” torque wrench this worked like a charm and the injectors were quickly torqued down to factory specs and I could finish tightening up all the Black pipes to each injector and the return ones which take the unused fuel back to the tank. All the fuel injection pipes in place and torqued to the Injection Pump Body. Fuel injection system installed, tested and ready for service Captain Christine!
About all that’s left now before starting Mr. Gee up is to pour in the 28 liters of oil and 24 liters of water (to be replaced with antifreeze when fully tested for leaks and such) which is what I did just before starting to write up this blog post. So I will leave you here for now.
What’s that you say?
How dare I leave you hanging like this?
What more could you possibly want???
Oh, you wanted to know if Mr. Gee started??!?!?!?
Well, OK then, seeing as how you have been such patient boys and girls throughout Mr. Gee’s version 2.0 rebuild ………………..
LOVE that sound! Truly music to our ears!
We only ran Mr. Gee for a few minutes today because we are on the hard and have no seawater source.
I’ll have more testing and updates for you next week but as you have just seen, Mr. Gee 2.0 is ALIVE! and running once again!
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!
Thanks Cem! 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.
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.