While no where near as much as I wanted, I did manage to spend more time this past week giving Mr. Gee, our Gardner 6LXB diesel engine, more of the TLC he needs and deserves. After a LOT of disassembly and seemingly endless cleaning and reconditioning of parts it felt GREAT to finally begin putting all the pieces back together again and see some light at the end of this tunnel.
However Mr. Gee is not the only source of our Gee Whiz! reactions this past week as we also experiencing a similarly gratifying change aboard Möbius as more and more of the cabinetry which the Cabinetry Teams have been building the past few months, emerge from the Finishing Department with their lustrous polyurethane surfaces gleaming as they are moved aboard Möbius. All the while more new equipment arrived at Naval Yachts this week and keep feeding Cihan and Hilmi’s productive plumbing and electrical teams as they continue installing all the systems.
LOTS to show you so settle into a comfy chair with a large beverage and let’s jump right in with this week’s Show & Tell of all the progress accomplished by Team Möbius this past week of February 17-21, 2020.
Mr. Gee; 1975 Gardner 6LXB diesel engine
This is where we left off last week with the gleaming chrome molly crankshaft with all its freshly cleaned and polished surfaces covered in new oil, being lowered into the new bearing shells in the massive solid cast aluminium crankcase. The other half bearing shells are lined up in order along with their matching main bearing cap nuts.
**Note: Mr. Gee is upside down in these pictures and the cast aluminium oil pan will bolt to the flat surfaces you see here.
These are the freshly scrubbed crankshaft main bearing caps that fit over those large vertical studs you see in the photo above and then the cast steel bolting blocks span the whole surface to help distribute the loads as the bearing cap studs are fully tightened.
The machined flat flanges with the small hole and two bolts on either side are for the all important oil distribution pipework that pumps fresh oil into the tiny gap between the crankshaft main bearing surfaces and the bearing shell to ensure these surfaces never touch and spin freely on the microscopic film of oil.
The center main bearing in the middle of this photo is the first one I installed as it also holds two thrust bearings to keep the crankshaft centered lengthwise in the crankcase and prevent it from moving back and forth as it rotates.
Caps # 3, 5 and 6 are waiting their turn to be carefully pressed down on their respective studs.
I got to use my new Milwaukee Fuel 12V 3/8” ratchet which made quick work of running all the cap nuts down until they just touched the cast cap blocks.
It is critical that these main bearing blocks be torqued down in the right sequence as per the Gardner manuals and to the correct torque as shown in the page below, the nuts are torqued down in seven different stages each one with a higher torque than the last until I got to their final tightness of 24,0Kgm / 2100 lb.in.
This is quite tight and was more than I could pull on the end of my torque wrench so I had to use a length of aluminium pipe to extend the handle length. I also had to get two others to hole the crankcase in place to keep it from rotating as I torqued down each nut. But all went well and the crankshaft was home at last and ready for the final test; did it spin freely?
Yes! With one finger I was able to have the crank spinning freely and put on the first of what will likely be hundreds of thousands of rotations in Mr. Gee’s newest life.
These are all eXtremely critical parts and must be installed to precise tolerances so there are checks all along the way to make sure the “new” engine conforms to the Gardner specifications. This page of my Gardner LXB Overhaul manual specifies the tolerance for the endwise clearance of the crankshaft to be between 0.006 – 0.009 in. To put this in perspective, a human hair is about 0.001 or “one one thousands of an inch”.
Using my trusty old dial indicator clamped to the crankcase with its indicator end pressed against the flywheel flange on the end of the crankshaft I carefully tap the crankshaft all the way to one end and then back to the other to measure the total distance it moves.
As you can see on the dial indicator it was spot on at 0.007 inch so I made a note of this in my manual page above.
The newly rebuilt Oil Pump went in next and was quickly torqued down tight with a bit of silicone gasket material to seal its cast iron machines faces to the AL surface of the crankcase. The vertical pipe sits down inside the sump of the oil pan (remember the engine is upside down here) and pumps the oil under about 45psi throughout the engine starting with the main bearings.
Which is what these cast iron fittings and steel pipes accomplish by creating an external pipeline to carry the oil from bearing to bearing. The hole you can see in the connecting rod bearing surface at the bottom of this photo is where the pressurised oil is routed from the main bearing cap and then the oil flows out and drains into the sump as the engine spins.
If you look inside the upper hole at the top of the fitting (click to enlarge any photo) I’m holding at right angle to the cap surface where it will be mounted, you can see I’ve inserted a new rubber O-ring which seals the steel distribution pipe when it is pushed in place. Another rubber O-ring fits into the groove on the bottom of the fitting to seal it against the cast cap block and keep this whole oil distribution pipeline fully sealed and pressurised.
Crankshaft Oil distribution system all ready for another lifetime of trouble free service keeping Mr. G’s crank spinning freely as he uses all his torque and power to move Möbius around the world.
After flipping Mr. Gee back right side up, I move on to the next part of the assembly.
And a chance to give a quick quiz for my mechanically minded followers;
??? What is this shaft I have started to insert into the crankcase?
The answer might surprise many of you because believe it or not this is the Camshaft.
Huh? I hear you say, where are all the cams? And here’s your answer.
On most engines the camshaft is a single part with each of the egg shaped lobes or cams machined into the camshaft. However on a Gardner each cylinder’s cams, one Intake and one Exhaust is a separate part which slides onto the actual camshaft and is held in place with that square headed setscrew you see here and the photos above and below.
These cam lobes cause the Intake and Exhaust valves to open and close at eXactly the right time and amount using a series of pushrods and valve lifters which we’ll see in the next few weeks. Each cam is carefully marked for this LXB engine model and as you see in the photo above I also engraved each cam when I was first disassembling Mr. Gee.
It’s a straightforward process of holding each pair of cams in order inside the crankcase as I slide the camshaft towards the rear of the engine. First four cams are in place here and #5 and 6 are waiting their turn at the far end.
We will pick up here next week so stay tuned for more of Mr. Gee’s assembly.
Hilmi, our head Sparkie, was unfortunately sick the last few days but he was able to get a few things done such as installing more of the Maretron bilge water sensors and also testing out these cool LED lights for the Basement and Forepeak.
He also showed me some other versions and some that used fluorescent tubes but we liked the white light intensity of these 24V LED overhead fixtures as they provide great light for working so we’ll go with them for working spaces such as the Basement, Forepeak, Engine Room and Workshop.
This shining Stainless Steel beauty showed up this past week and Cihan got to work installing it in the Workshop. We chose this Isotemp Basic 75L model from Indel Webasto for several reasons including good experiences with one on our previous boat. This is a Calorifier rather than a “water heater” as it would otherwise be called because
our primary water heater will be a Kabola KB45 Combi diesel fired water heater or “boiler” such as this example in another boat.
This eXtremely efficient diesel boiler heats up a special fluid which is run through a heat exchanger loop inside like ……..
……. this one you can see inside this nice cutaway model of an Isotemp Calorifier and all those ribbed fins quickly transfers the heat to our Domestic Hot Water stored inside the Calorifier.
In the center is a traditional electrical heating element that runs on 240 Volt AC but we will rarely use this because ……..
…… our model has two of these heat exchangers inside; one that transfers heat from the diesel fired Kabola and a second one that will have hot coolant from the Gardner engine when it is running to take advantage of that additional heat source.
The heat exchangers connect to the four In/Out fittings labeled in Red, cold domestic water flows in through the bottom Blue fitting and then our DHW Domestic Hot Water comes out the white capped threaded fitting on the bronze mixing valve with the black adjuster knob. The mixing valves allows us to set the temperature we want to actually have at the taps and showers by mixing in some cold with the hot water.
This setup gives us a very reliable, very efficient and unlimited supply of hot water.
Cihan soon had this newest arrival bolted in place in the Workshop hanging underneath the Webasto BlueCool Chiller and Delfin Watermaker above.
Cihan also finished mounting the two Deck Wash Pumps up in the Forepeak; one for Fresh and one for Salt water. In addition to providing pressurized water for washing down our forward decks the Salt Water pump provides an easy way to clean the anchor and chain as it comes aboard and then wash down the anchor deck once we’re done.
Omur, Selim and Şevki were busy applying their impressive skills to crafting all the Ro$ewood and Beach cabinetry in the Main Cabin again this week and Şevki is installing the newest feature, Christine’s bedside shelf.
We are very happy with the way this “floating” shelf has worked out. Top of this shelf is at the same level as the top of our mattress so makes it easy to reach your phone or glasses and see a clock there,
The aluminium L-brackets you saw last week were installed to keep this dropped ceiling over our bed solidly in place. A nice feature in the Master Cabin and then also provides voluminous storage underneath the Main Helm in the SuperSalon above as you’ll see a bit later.
The stairwell leading up to the SuperSalon is coming along nicely and you can see how that angled wall at the Main Helm becomes part of this stairwell and keeps it very safely closed in on all sides.
Şevki continued to finish installing the FastMount fittings on all the wall and ceiling panels in the Master Cabin which allow us to snap each panel in and out as needed to access what’s behind or to change the leather coverings in the years ahead.
This FastMount system intrigued many of you you so a few more details on how this is installed. The White female fittings which you see on the Left here are installed first by threading them into holes drilled in the underlying marine plywood.
Then these Red center markers are snapped into the White fittings ….
…… and the outer panel is positioned just right and then you give a good “thump” with your hand where each Red center marker is located…….
……. which puts a perfect little dent for you to place the center of the drill to put in the matching hole for ……………….
…………………. the Black Male FastMount fittings and your panel now snaps into eXactly the same spot you had carefully aligned when you thumped it in place. Quick, Easy, Strong, what’s not to like? OK, a bit pricey but WELL worth it compared to alternatives such as strips of hook & loop strips and these panels come off and go back on the same way for many years. A no-brainer decision for me.
MAIN BATHROOM & SHOWER:
We have a new team onboard now that is looking after all the “composite” work such as fiberglass, epoxy and plastics for interior areas we want to be fully sealed and waterproof such as inside our showers and heads/bathrooms.
They have taped off the nearby furnishings in the Master Cabin to keep them fully protected and masked off the interior areas where the fiberglass transitions to the finished Rosewood and start applying the initial coat of resin.
Earlier they had applied a coat of white epoxy to all the internal surfaces of the marine plywood panels that form the initial substrate of the walls and ceiling. This protects all the plywood surfaces facing the interior EPDM insulation and prevents moisture and smells from seeping into the plywood.
The two White panels here are about to be fastened ……
……. to the ceiling of the Shower and …..
……. the Head.
With the surfaces all prepped they glass in a layer of cloth ……….
…… to provide the initial sealing of all these surfaces ……
……and their corners which will provide the ideal surface for applying the finished fiberglass flat panels.
Once dry openings such as these two for the VacuFlush toilet’s fresh water inlet and Black Water outlet pipes …….
…….. will be cut away with a sharp knife.
Using an age old technique of creating quick templates out of thin plywood strips Osma builds a set for each area of the walls and ceiling.
Using a hot glue gun to hold the plywood strips together the eXact shape of each panel can be quickly captured and then these templates are taken over to the Composite Shop where the flat and prefinished fiberglass panels which they make in-house can be cut to size and then brought back to be glassed into the Shower and Head.
SuperSalon & MAIN HELM:
Moving upstairs to the SuperSalon, Omur and Selim have also been making great progress on the cabinetry for the Main Helm area and this early rendering will give you a sense of the layout of the Main Helm at the very front of the SuperSalon.
And this overhead shot shows the overall layout of the whole SuperSalon with the Galley in the Upper Right corner and then working clockwise; stairs down from the Aft Deck and then around and down to the Corridor and Guest Cabin, twin Fridge cabinet, Eames lounge chairs, Helm Chair, stairs down to Master Cabin and then the L-shaped Dinette eating area.
Here, Omur is fitting the Rosewood panel that spans the front half wall of the Main Helm.
The rectangular opening is for an access door to all the wiring that ……
…… is coming up through these penetrations into the Basement below.
Similar penetration for wiring running up into the AC/DC electric distribution circuit breaker panel inside the angled half wall on the far Right of the Helm,
which you can see here.
50” SmarTV/monitor on the Left, Helm Dashboard in the center and AC/DC Distribution Panel inside the angled cabinet on the Right and another 43” monitor just out of sight on the far Right on the other side of the stairwell which can be seen easily from the Helm Chair which mounts in the center of the Helm area.
Omur then turned his skills to building up the triangular desktop on the Port/Left side of the Helm. The triangular desktop will be hinged to provide access to …….
….. this hugey storage area underneath.
There will be a false bottom where those two White epoxied strips are that will create a good sized storage space under the desktop for log books, maps, dividers, binoculars and such things we typically want at hand when at the Helm.
You can now see just how voluminous the storage areas are under the Main Helm and see how this was created by the dropped ceiling above the Master Cabin bed you saw earlier. We will take advantage of these well protected yet easily accessible areas underneath the Helm dashboard and desktops on either side for electronic goodies such as network switches, hubs, routers, device chargers, etc..
GUEST CABIN/AFT OFFICE CORRIDOR
I am never quite sure what to best call this multi-function area made up of the Corridor between the Guest Cabin Shower & Head and the WT Workshop door with my Office along the Port/Left hull, ……..
…… but whatever its name, Omer and Muhammed have been very busy installing the recently varnished cabinetry and the whole area is coming to life very well.
The tall cabinet on the bottom Right is for the main AC/DC Electrical Distribution panel with most of our DIN circuit breakers, meters and other electrical equipment. My office desk minus its Corian top running Aft and the door into the Workshop on the top Left.
Here is a shot in the opposite direction taken standing in front of the WT Workshop door looking forward at the stairs leading up from the Corridor to the SuperSalon
Components of my Office now being installed with handy storage cupboards above and drawers below. White grid is about to be mounted to create the support structure for the wall behind my desk.
Completing the Port side wall up the sides of staircase is this final Rosewood covered wall panel with one more very large storage area underneath the side decks running up above. .
Here is what this wall looked like by end of the week yesterday.
We are thinking of using this area for more of our electronic gear such as network hubs and switches, the computer for the SkyBridge Helm which is right above the staircase on the Right.
The interior wall of this storage cupboard is removable to provide me access to the equally large area behind the two Fridges in that large cabinet in the upper center.
There was lots of action and progress on the opposite side of the Corridor as well this past week as Omer and Muhammed brought our now beautifully varnished “Swiss”, as in Swiss Army Knife practicality, double acting door up from the Finishing Shop and hung it on the outer wall of the Guest Head.
In this position this door will close off the entrance into the Guest Cabin once the Shower walls go up.
Then when swung the other way it now closes off the Guest Head.
These double acting Swiss doors as I’ve taken to calling them, are fabulous taking up so much less space and eliminating multiple doors all competing for swing room, hitting each other and a myriad of other problems.
Last item to complete this door frame is the header which Omer is setting in place here.
Which produces this latest work of art from Omer and the Cabinetry Team. A Grey/Green leather panel will be mounted in the open rectangle.
Zooming in on the outer edge of this Swiss Door for one example of the attention to detail and a quick quiz; can you see anything hiding in this picture?
Click to enlarge for a closer inspection.
If you looked REAL closely in the photo above, you might have been able to just make out the edges of these absolutely awemazing hidden hinges we are using on all our interior doors and some cupboards. These are mortised a long ways into the door and frame and are unbelievably strong. I can literally hang off the other corner of these doors and swing back and forth with nary a change in their smooth open/close action.
And yet, when the door is closed these hinges just disappear!
It is difficult to capture this other side of the stairwell but you can see how the Rosewood angles up the stairs at an angle with my infamous Blue Horizon Line and handrail making the transition to the Green/Gray leather upper wall panels.
Next week they should be installing the Shower that goes across from the Head so stay tuned for that.
LOTS of new equipment arrived this past week and I won’t go into too much detail on each of them here as I will cover them more when they are being installed but here is a quick overview of this week’s new arrivals:
This pallet with 100 meters/328ft of 13mm/ 1/2” DIN766 / G43 chain showed up at the beginning of the week.
We were able to get this chain from Zintas, a very large industrial chain manufacturing company in Istanbul and they made this run of 100 meters of DIN766/G40 chain for us and had it tested so it came with this class society rating certificate.
WLL Working Load Limit = 25,000Kg / 55,115 lbs
Breaking Force = 106kN / 23m829 lbf
Weight = 3.8Kg/m / 2.55 lb/ft
Total 100m chain weight = 380Kg/838 Lbs
As per the shipping label, this is 100m/328ft of chain which will attach to our 110kg/242lb Rocna anchor when that arrives in a few weeks. Even at with a long scope of 5:1 this length allows to have an eXtremely strong anchor in depths up to 20m/65ft and with such an oversized Rocna we can easily go to 3:1 scope for depths up to 33m/110ft. We also carry another 50m/165ft of 1/2” Dyneema line that we can use to extend the rode length for really deep anchorages. We also carry long lengths of Dyneema line for shore ties when in narrow anchorages such as fjords.
WATERTIGHT EXTERIOR DOORS!
This is one of the crates we have been waiting a LONG time to receive. If you know your marine suppliers you know what’s inside……
Yup! Our three Watertight exterior doors! Yigit (standing middle) has been working with us for months on getting these doors just right for Möbius and Omer and Muhammed lent a hand to unbox them and check them out.
Bofor, a Turkish manufacturer in Istanbul makes all custom built doors and hatches for superyachts and industrial ships around the world and are regarded as one of the best.
This WT door is internal as it goes between the Workshop and the Corridor into the Guest Cabin area so we had Bofor finish it in white powder coat to provide a nice look and contrast with all the Rosewood and leather wall panels.
Yigit is checking the seals around the full length glass window in this WT door where you enter the boat from the Aft Deck down into the SuperSalon. Six beefy “dogs” and specially built glass creates a WT door to eXceed the forces it might experience in the unlikely event of a full 360 degree roll over and will bring even more light and visibility into the SuperSalon.
Captain Christine gave all three doors her official stamp of approval and we are absolutely delighted with the quality of these Bofor doors. These two exterior doors are finished in brushed raw aluminium same as the rest of the boat so they will blend right in with the patina and low maintenance which is one of our four top priorities.
Our two 130 liter/ 4.6 cu.ft. Vitrifrigo C130LX stainless steel side by side fridges arrived this week.
The two matching drawer style DRW7070 liter/ 2.5cu.ft. should be here in the next few weeks as they are brand new models just being released and will take a bit longer to arrive.
As we have done with all our previous boats, we go with externally mounted air cooled Danfoss compressors which you can see in these photos from Vitrifrigo.
Sea water or keel cooled models are prone to much more maintenance and failure and the difference in performance is relatively minor and will be even more so in Möbius as the four compressors will be mounted below the fridges and freezers in the Basement which has very stable temperatures and lots of ventilation to keep these compressors happy for many years.
STRAINERS & DORADE COWLS:
We also received our dual sea water strainers which mount on the two outlet pipes on the Intake Sea Chest in the Engine Room and filter out any debris, kelp, fish, etc. from getting through. We like these Vetus Type 1900 strainers because they require no tools to remove the clear lids to check and clean the strainers inside. With two strainers we always have a clean one ready for action if the one in use ever clogs.
We also received two of the four Vetus Dorade Cowls we need for the Foredeck and the other two should be here soon. These silicone cowls are eXtremely durable and can be rotated in any direction.
We like these Vetus cowls because they can be easily removed by turning the grey base ring and putting in a solid disc to replace the cowl and completely seal off the Dorade Vent boxes.
Most of the time we keep these Cowls pointing forward to capture the most amount of breezes blowing over the bow at anchor and keeping our Master Cabin well ventilated when it is raining and we can’t keep all the big glass hatches open. Dorade vents also keep the Master Cabin with a healthy supply of fresh air when we are underway as they are built to prevent any water from getting through in anything less than severe weather.
And then if we want to fully close off the Dorade Vents when we leave the boat for long periods of time or in eXtremely severe seas when we might have a lot of green water on the foredeck, I designed this simple screw Up/Down aluminium lids which we can completely close and seal all the vent pipes in the boat by reaching up inside and turning the know on the bottom.
This might all seem over the top “belt & suspenders” design and building to some of you but trust me, it only takes one good dousing of sea water on your bed and other parts of your cabin to teach you how important it is to keep all the water OUTSIDE the boat!
Ask me how I know????
Last “bit of kit” that arrived from Vetus this week is our 2204DE Extended Run Time bow thruster. Bow thrusters are a bit like insurance, something you hope you never need to use but IF you do then you are really glad you have it.
In our experience with our previous boat which was a relatively large and heavy 35T all steel sailboat, I put in a big 48V ABT Bow Thruster which worked very well but we typically used it less than two or three times in a year and often when years never using it.
But as I noted above, when you do need a way of controlling your bow in dodgy situations such as in strong cross winds while docking a powerful bow thruster is VERY much appreciated.
We considered going with a 220V model which has several advantages but decided to stick with 24V DC and go with this Extended Run Time model that can be run for up to 7 minutes without overheating and we rarely need more than short bursts of a few seconds to move the bow.
Thruster tunnel/prop size is 300mm / 12” and has 220Kgf/485lbf of thrust so on those rare occasions when we might need it, this should help us keep our bow where we want it.
Another VERY welcome site this week was this pallet full of all our solar panels. It is a longer story for another post about what a challenge it became to get the size panels we needed when SunPower which we had originally specified could not provide us with any of their solar panels.
After a LOT of time online researching, I finally found and was able to work direct with Lightech Solar in Tianchang China. Meet Arthur, a truly amazing manager and problem solver who worked with me for over a week exchanging drawings and specs.
In the end Arthur offered do a short run of solar panels just for us and to my specifications and dimensions.
Arthur and his colleagues at Lightech were able to produce our 18 panels in a matter of a few days and get them shipped out before they shut the factory down for Chinese New Year.
AND, Arthur was able to do all this for an incredibly low price that worked out to be 25 cents/Watt. He then also arrange to ship them to us here at Naval Yachts for an equally great rate so including the shipping it worked out to 30 cents/Watt. Awesome!
I ordered several extra panels to have onboard as spares and Christine and I will also look at ways we might be able to mount them at a later date to increase our total solar output.
This is the specs and MC4 connectors on the underside of the top 5 panels you see in the photo above. Each of these panels have 54 monocrystalline silicone cells and produce 295Watts.
They measure 1560mm x 920mm which is a non standard size which SunPower X-Series panels use and was exactly the size we needed to fit on the hinged mounting rack that goes in front of the SkyBridge windows.
Eight panels are slightly larger at 320W panels create the roof over the SkyBridge and then the other three go on the cantilevered roof over the Aft Deck BBQ & Outdoor Galley.
The larger panels produce 320Watts from 60 monocrystalline cells.
Total Wp of all 14 panels we will originally install works out to 4.405kW which is a bit less than the 5kW I was aiming for but close enough and they fit within the dimensions we had originally designed for so we are VERY happy.
If we find locations to add the other three panels our total Wp would go up to 5.635 Watts and we have several options in mind for expanding our solar further that I will show you later.
Whew! As I said at the outset, another very productive week for Team Möbius and if you’ve made it this far, even if you skipped ahead, congratulations and thanks SO much for your perseverance and patience with me. It really means a lot to both Christine and myself that so many of you would take time to join us on this eXtreme passage through the past 2+ years.
Don’t forget to leave your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I hope we will see you here again next week.
Another great post!! A thought about anchor wash downs…one thing I have always thought was cool on some larger Nordhavn’s is the permanently mounted/plumbed nozzle below the anchor pulpit that is a hands free way to wash the chain and anchor as it comes up.
Hi Donny. Yes, I’ve been toying with plumbing in such an automated system but I think it will stay on the “nice to have” list for now. We have high pressure deck wash pumps for both fresh and salt water quick connect outlets on the Forward and Aft decks so I think we’ll try these out for the first year or so and see how our anchoring cleanup goes. I think these built in sprayers could be helpful but I think you would still end up needing to clean up the anchor itself and other anchor crud that makes it up onto the anchor deck so you would still want to have a spray nozzle on a hose for that so I think these permanently mounted washer nozzles might not be as well used.
However they definitely have a high Cool factor! 🙂
Looking good you guys. When’s launch date?
Hi Tim, looks like you have been having fun on the water lately, well done.
My favorite answer to “when do you launch” is Thursday.
I’m just not saying WHICH Thursday! 🙂
Still a bit of a moving target and we find it best to just think of our Launch being ASAP. We are all pushing as hard as we can to get her in the water but with this being such a customised boat and the very first of the XPM’s things often take longer than expected.
To be a bit more specific, our hopes are to be in the water this summer and be able to start doing a few months of full on sea trials in the Med before we start heading West for our Atlantic crossing. Not looking too likely that we’d be able to do the Norther crossing from the Azores to Newfoundland before mid June or so when cyclone season starts so more likely we would go south along the West coast of Africa down through the Canaries to Cape Verde Islands and then do the South crossing over to Trinidad or Grenada around November or so.
But if you stay tuned to the blog here you’ll know almost as soon as we do just when we’ll be launching and where we are headed once we do.
Thanks for joining along Tim!
Never lauch a boat on Friday 🙂
I appreciate that Gardners have tremendous reputations, but it is unusual that 50 years have passed since your engine was made and yet I guess you feel a better product is not made today. You are installing an old engine in a vessel that is otherwise built from brand new best-you-can-buy-today components. And being a single engine motor yacht, I guess its the most mission-critical part of the boat.
I respect the fact that you are clearly thinking through what you are doing and will have good reasons. What are they? And why do these reasons over-power the benefits of buying something new.
There must be others who want a simple, efficient, reliable, robust engine for a mission critical application – is there nothing new out there to compare?
Did you consider any new engines – or put it another way, if you had to fit new what would be the next best option for you?
And wouldn’t two modern smaller engines, even intrinsically less reliable engines, have worked out statistically more reliable through redundancy.
Hi Nigel, great questions and ones we get a lot about our choice of the Gardner 6LXB to power our Möbius. You can likely find most of your questions answered in a bit more depth by hitting the “The Gardner” button on the top of every blog page and that will bring up the list of posts I’ve done so far about the Gardner. The first one “Mr. Gee is in the House!” would perhaps be the best place to start and I think it has the answers to most of your questions and if not please let me know.
I’m “brevity challenged” as you know by now, but here is my best attempt at some quick responses to your questions.
First let me be sure to give my usual disclaimer as with all my writings, that I am NOT suggesting that a Gardner is the best solution for anyone but us and Möbius. Indeed I doubt it would be a good choice for most people and boats, but we think it is the Goldilocks “just right, just for us” engine choice.
Modern diesel engines are extremely well built and have come a long ways since they began in early 1900’s, however the priorities which they are designed for are very different from ours and our use case and this is a big factor in why they are not a good fit for us. For example, HP/Weight ratios have become more and more important in most vehicle and vessel applications so the manufacturers have been working very hard and being very creative in ways to reduce weight and increase Power outputs. In our case we were able to work with Dennis our Naval Architect to design Möbius such that weight of the Gardner was either a non factor or a plus. This involved things like getting it very low down, minimizing the down angle using a prop tunnel and going with a CPP propeller. In our use cases Torque is a higher priority than KW or HP and the low revving Gardner fits this to a T giving us gobs of torque and a super long lasting low revving engine.
One of our four fundamental priorities with Möbius and the XPM’s is Efficiency and believe it or not, the Gardner is still one of the top three of any production diesel engine in terms of thermal efficiency being able to deliver just a tad over 40% and so when coupled to our Nogva CPP that enables us to dial in the just right load at any speed in any conditions, we are able to run the Gardner at this upper end of thermal efficiency almost all the time and reap the huge benefits of much lower fuel consumption and therefore much longer range and must reduced fuel costs over time.
The Gardner scores similarly high points in our rating system being such an incredibly KISS Keep It Saft & Simple engine. Fewest moving parts, no turbo, mechanical fuel injection, no electronics, no electrics other than starter/alternator, low revs and able to run on almost any kind of diesel fuel if needed. This is in stark contrast to modern diesel engines which have become more and more complex and more and more reliant upon sensitive electronics, ultra high fuel pressures in common rail fuel injection, extreme “fussiness” with quality of diesel fuel and more and more post combustion treatments to meet ever escalating government requirements which now requires the use of additional devices and liquids such as DEF which becomes very challenging for boats that are designed to cruise extensively in the most remote areas of the world.
The Gardner is also eXtremely well suited for repairs and rebuilds as needed over time as evidenced in some of my more recent posts as I share my rebuilding of Mr. Gee. The only parts of the Gardner which are no longer manufactured are the major castings such as the all AL cast crankcase and oil pan, the cast iron heads and cylinder block and the chrome molly crankshaft. Every other part is still being made and is available, and surprisingly affordable today and I’ve got the invoices to prove it! I have bought literally every part there is and so when I’m done Mr. Gee will effectively be a new, perhaps even slightly better than new, engine with all new cylinders, pistons, rings, bearings, seals, injectors, pumps, etc. Being such a relatively “simple” engine and with the Gardner company having built every component entirely in house, they are a dream to work on with every thing being so easy to access and service. With the good set of spare parts I carry and an equally thorough collection of tools and metalworking equipment along with my very handy former experiences as a HD mechanic, antique car restorer and custom motorcycle builder this adds to my confidence that I have reduced the likelihood of not being able to keep Mr. Gee running to as close to zero as is possible with no shore side assistance needed. Again, a huge factor given our eXtremes of remote locations and very long passages.
We did consider modern diesel engines when we first began our design process but the reasons above and many others led us to believe that these engines were all trending towards the directions I’ve noted above and which are at odds with our use cases. So we broadened our thinking and our searching and concluded that a Gardner was the best choice for us. The top two engine manufacturers that we would have gone with otherwise were six cylinder John Deere and Scania engines, both of which are excellent choices so those would be my answer to your question about “next best option if you were to fit new” question.
I won’t venture off into the near religious debate over single vs twins other than to state the obvious that we are strongly of the Single persuasion. I am of the opinion that a well maintained, well chosen and installed single is the most reliable setup for an eXtreme Passage Maker type boat and use case.
So let me end where I started, by saying that as with everything I write here in the Möbius.World blog and the decisions we make in designing and building Möbius, I am only trying to explain our rationale and reasoning in the hopes that by sharing the reasoning behind our decisionsa and all our processes of building will be useful to others as they make the choices that are Goldilocks just right, just for them.
Hope this and the previous posts help in this regard to answer your questions Nigel and please do dig in deeper with more as they come up. I welcome and value probing questions as they make me rethink those decisions and either confirm that they still make sense or help me see a better way to build our Goldilocks new boat and home.
Thanks for your interesting reply Wayne. It’s surprising that there is not a new product to compare with (and even improve on) the Gardner somewhere. But I am sure you would have found it, if it was out there!
Have you had to consider the twisting torque on the boat from a single slow engine turning a big prop? I dont know if this is an issue or not with your set up. I know you offset a single engine on a RIB slightly off-centre to counter this.
If subsequent XPMs were built for others owners, does your research indicate they would have Gardners or modern engines (or electric hybrid !!!!). Could the design be modified for dual engines, shafts, rudders? Could the engines go under the saloon to make more accommodation? Or would the changes here ripple into a complete rethink of the whole boat ?
One thing doing this more difficult is emission standards. You simply could not certify older diesel engines to be built as new today. Strict emission standards necessitate all sort of control electronics and all that.
Quite right Andy and as I noted in my reply to Nigel’s comments below, I marvel that today’s manufacturers of production diesel engines are able to not only meet these ever stricter requirements as well as building dependable, high power to weight engines.
Glad to share what I know about these Gardner engines and explain why our 6LXB fits our use case and this boat so well. And please don’t misconstrue my comments and reasons to be a negative comment on modern diesel engines. Today’s diesel engines are an absolute marvel of engineering to be sure and they tend to deliver very good and very long service if used as intended. The manufacturers are under severe constraints and requirements they must meet for the various and growingly strict EPA and other government requirements which adds to my wonder that they are able to do so. However I must say that I think there is a certain degree of missing the forest for the trees kind of syndrome in these anti pollution requirements that are increasingly having the effect of making the engines less and less fuel efficient in terms of power delivered per volume of fuel. The focus of the requirements and the way they are measured is on output of emissions, which sounds like it makes sense but it is in the absence of any measure of efficiency for the primary purpose of generating torque and power. Said more simply, for a given ocean crossing our Gardner will consume a significant amount less volume of fuel than a modern engine would in the same boat, same crossing. So while the Gardner is indeed producing greater amounts of different forms of emissions, it is also consuming less fuel to do the same job, so I wonder if there is a net benefit?
And I should also add that Gardner engines went out of production for a reason; they were not keeping up with the demands of the marketplace and the changes needed in power and weight to match the rapidly changing conditions of roads, speed limits and faster route completion times for trucking companies and the like to be competitive. So I hope I have been clear that I am NOT saying that a Gardner engine is better than a modern diesel engine or that anyone else should be using one. As with pretty much everything I write in this blog, I am only trying to explain the logic, however flawed, behind why we make the decisions we make. At the end of the day I think “best” of anything, only makes sense relative to you and your use case and so we do our best make choices on this basis and hopefully end up with our latest Goldilocks boat that is just right, just for us.
We have put a lot of thought and engineering into the design of the XPM78 relative to what other owners will want and I believe that the design is very adaptable. I would not imagine that any of the future owners would find that a Gardner was a good choice for them and so they would almost certainly chose a new engine from the likes of John Deere, Cat, Cummins, Scania, etc. Electric, hybrid or otherwise is not currently able to work for passagemaker types of range and use cases. They may do so in the future, but I think that is a long ways off yet. Dennis, our designer at Artnautica, already has version of the XPM design with twin engines and I suspect a good number of future XPM owners might want to go that route.
Engines under the salon would indeed completely change the whole boat and would indicate to me a mismatch between the use case of the XPM and significantly more accommodation. However there are other ways of increasing the accommodation within the XPM design and Dennis has several new designs he is developing for prospective new XPM owners with up to 5 cabins for example.
Hope that helps and thanks for the thoughtful questions Nigel.
no electronics of any kind … drop the mic !
that is a whole category of potential problems that just does not even enter the equation
The absence of any electronics on our Gardner is one of the more amazing characteristics to be sure and one of the key reasons for our choice. Indeed it is close to having no “electrics” of any kind. While we do have an electric starter and the Gardner will power two very large alternators, once the engine is running it requires zero electrical power of any kind to continue to run. In some of the conditions we have experienced out at sea over the years, that can be a VERY BIG DEAL for us.
I really like those snap fittings … being able to easily replace these panels is going to be great … when something is so easy to replace/recover … it takes pressure off of being careful/worried all the time so a great peace of mind … and then the access is fantastic !!! and don’t get me started on those dope hinges !
Yup! I’ve been a long time FastMount fan and I “amortize” their cost over the years of ease of servicing and living with this easily maintained and eXtremely robust panel system.
Glad you like the hidden hinges almost as much as we do and wait till you see the drawer and cupboard latches that we’ve covered in some previous posts.