Regrettably the Good News/Bad New duopoly continues with Mr. Gee and is leaving all of us “hanging”. Good news is that he started up just like his typical self, first touch of the start button. Bad news is that the oil pressure was not up to what it should be and given that he is essentially all brand new parts wise I knew it best to shut him down right away and spend more time figuring out what’s still ailing him. More Good News in that I’ve been able to check off a few more items on the ever present To Do list but Bad News is that for all of us who are anxiously awaiting to see and hear Mr. Gee spring back to life, he is going to keep us hanging a bit longer.
Workshop of Many Colours
Starting off on a bit more positive note, one of the To Do list items I was able to check off this week was my testing of some improvements to the Workshop. A few months ago Christine came across these fun interlocking foam squares that they were almost giving away at Turkey’s version of Home Depot so she picked up three boxes of them for me to try out.
The floor in the Workshop is made from some sheets of a fabulous composite grid that is typically used in chemical plants and the like and it worked out eXtremely well for creating the floors in the Workshop, Engine Room and Forepeak. Under the grid flooring there are a LOT of equipment such as pumps, plumbing, and wiring, all of which I need to keep a regular eye on to spot any leaks or problems early before they turn into big problems. Any other flooring would have kept everything hidden whereas the open grid let’s me see right through all the time so that very much goes in the Good News column.
However the down side of the grid is that it is so rigid and sharp edged that it is tough on your feet when standing on for long periods and even worse ANYTHING you drop goes right through into the space below and I need to play an all new version of “Go Fish”!
Oh, and of course all the bits of day to day “droppings” from working in the Workshop all go down there too so I need to take up the flooring and clean it all out every few months.
BTW, if you don’t already have one of these flexible “grabber” tools, I HIGHLY recommend you go get one ASAP. Trust me you’ll thank me. I have several of these, some are the very simple basic type that are good for getting through really tiny openings but this is my eXtreme version that has both a magnet and an LED light on the end with the four gripper jaws which comes in VERY handy on many occasions.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in Wayne’s World!!
I’m experimenting with a simple system that I can cover the grid with that is still very easy to remove when needed but when in place is “good news” for my feet and reducing the amount of “fishing” I need to do with all the bits and bobs I drop each day.
In addition to these coloured tiles I’m also testing out a single piece of similar dark Grey foam that I’ve rolled out in the walkway from my WorkBench alongside the Engine Room so I’ll be able to see if the longer length or the jig saw tiles work out better. Next month or so of daily use will help me evaluate the pros and cons of each type and see which is the Goldilocks just right choice for the whole Workshop or if I need to keep searching.
As in life it is so often the little thanks that please me the most and while I’m embarrassed by how long this has been on my To Do list, I FINALLY bolted my big cast iron vice to this center workbench using three 1/2” SS bolts like the one circled in Red. Rock solid now and something I use pretty much every day and can’t imagine being without.
As bonus, I’ve got one of my metal storage drawer stacks conveniently located right underneath and so I just pull out the top drawer and put a piece of plywood on top to catch the dust from cutting and filing things in the vice. The aforementioned floor coverings will now catch such dust too but this little dust shelf catches most before it hits the floor and makes cleanup with my shop vac even easier.
Meanwhile, back in the ER…….
Mr. Gee Keeps Us All Hanging!
At the end of last week I had run out of time and left you all hanging at this point with Mr. Gee fully back on his “feet” bolted to the Engine Beds and just needing a few more connections with exhaust and cooling before he was ready to start up.
To make sure all the new oil had fully filled up all the pipes and passages in the lubrication oil system I hand cranked him for several minutes with the compression levers all on and the fuel shut off. Just before I ran out of steam I was able to see the needle on the oil pressure gauge start to rise letting me know that oil was now flowing everywhere it should be.
So on Monday morning it was Start Time!
Good news is that as usual he started up the very first touch of his all new Start Button.
Not so good news is that I could immediately see that the oil pressure was lower than it should be so I shut him down right away.
Don’t have a photo of that moment but here is the gauge on the Left side of the oil filter.
FYI, it is reading zero here as the engine isn’t running.
In the photo above and here you can see the Pressure Relief Valve on the Right side and the slotted adjustment screw. This is used to adjust the oil pressure when running to be 35 PSI @ 1000 RPM which is easily done by loosening that lock nut and turning the adjuster screw Up/Down.
Turning it clockwise/down increases the oil pressure so I turned it down several turns and restarted Mr. Gee.
Good news, oil pressure was up to 25 PSI and further turning of the adjuster brought it up to 35 PSI.
Bad news is that this required several more turns of the adjuster which is WAY too much from what should be needed so I shut him down again.
I spent the next few hours going over EVERY possible thing that could be causing this lower oil pressure, did more testing and slept on it overnight but there was just no option but to get Mr. Gee back up off his feet and back to hangin’ in his Engine Room.
Out came the chain blocks and Dyneema lines, off came the exhaust, engine mount bolts, sea water hoses and alternator cables.
What I needed to do was get the oil pan off so I could fully check out the lube oil pipework and oil pump inside and to do that I would need to lift Mr. Gee up in the air about a meter or so as you’ve seen me do in the past. Hopefully I do NOT need to remove the crankshaft this time so I could leave Mr. Gee and Ms. Nogva all hooked up and lift them up as a single unit which would be MUCH less time and effort.
This requires decoupling the prop shaft flanges from the Nogva and unthreading the Pitch Control Rod that you can see here sliding into the center of the Prop Shaft. Red jack is underneath to support the Prop Shaft at the right height and keep it all on center.
With all that disconnected it only takes minutes for me to lift Mr. Gee as much as needed using the chain blocks up above.
Weighing in at about 2000 kg/4400 Lbs, I want to be eXtremely sure that he is well supported and can’t fall down on me so I set the bottom of the Nogva down onto a steel tube spanning the Engine beds with a block of wood underneath.
Harder to see but at the front I run a double set of Dyneema lines from a second overhead steel beam and down around the front engine mounts on either side.
Before removing the lube oil pipework’s, I wanted to pressure test them to see what that might tell me so I built this little adaptor using a bit of aluminium flat bar and the valve cut from the tube of a bicycle tire.
This copper pipe that delivers the pressurized oil from the oil pump to the pipework inside the Oil Sump. This allowed me to bolt my adaptor in its place with the tire valve easy to access.
Making it easy to connect my bicycle pump and pressurize the pipework system inside.
Good news is that it worked like a charm.
Bad news is that the results didn’t tell me much with the Oil Sump still in place so time to take it off.
Once the Oil Pan/Sump is off I was able to test the pipework’s again but the results were still inconclusive so I removed the whole pipework’s from the crankshaft Bridges.
Here is the whole pipework assembly minus one of the cast iron pipe connector fittings at the far upper end.
Good news is that I *think* I found the problem and have been discussing with my team of experts at Gardner and elsewhere.
Bad news is that I’m going to replace all this pipework assembly with ones from another 6LXB at Gardner Marine. Not a problem but it usually takes at least a month, often more to get parts shipped from England to me here, and now with all the shipping and supply slowdowns it takes even longer. So I think there is a flight to England in my not to distant future!
For now this is where I am going to have to leave all of us hanging, while I continue the pursuit of this latest chapter in the seemingly endless Oil Pressure Killer mystery.
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.
To end on a happier note, one of the other To Do list items I attended to this past week was mounting the new luggage rack system onto our intrepid bicycle.
Christine found this very well built all aluminium rack online and was able to get it delivered in just a few days via Amazon Turkey.
She also found these two even more impressive pannier bags which are fully waterproof and made to clip On/Off the bike rack.
Christine looks after all our grocery and other shopping at the weekly local fruit and veggie market which is a few miles down the road from the marina and so this setup will make her life MUCH easier.
A happy Captain makes me eXtremely happy so all’s well here in Finike Marina and aboard the Good Ship Möbius.
Thanks for joining us again this week and please do keep contributing all the great questions and comments you have on these weekly Update postings by typing them into the “Join the Discussion” box below.
I’ll be back with the next chapter for you next week.
I love the workshop mats, great idea. But good luck finding a lost screw in that visual chaos!
Hey there Colin! Hope your day on Gambier is as sunny and warm as our is here on this Valentine’s Day.
I’ve only had the foam flooring in the Workshop for about a week now but seem to be working out very well. Noticeably nicer on my feet and surprisingly not hard to find the nuts and bolts and such that I’ve dropped so far. Everything seems to contrast well with the admittedly “chaotic colours” in those kids room tiles, so all good.
This is unbelievable, how much patience you have for this oil pressure problem Wayne. I follow your progress every week, and I sure hope you’re on the final leg now. Those bike panniers look very good. With our e-bikes, we just bought a plastic basket, and tie wrapped it in place!
Hi there Wade and a very happy Valentine’s Day to you and Diane.
As a fellow boat builder and owner, you know that patience is a requirement and this ongoing oil pressure problem with Mr. Gee is certainly testing mine of late! But I’m hot on the detective trail and will solve it eventually.
The bike panniers seem to work very well according to Captain Christine after her first test run with them to the veggie market yesterday. She is also finishing up her research into what e-bike she is going to get and will use the same pannier bags on that when it arrives in the next month or so I would guess. Both the bags and the rack were great deals and delivered to us here quickly so you can text Christine for the info if you’re intrested.
Hope we can get together with you before we all cast off our dock lines and leave Turkey.
Hi Wayne and Christine, long time follower of the blog.
In the beginning I was buying into the Gardener but as time goes buy and I’ve done my own research I’m more and more sceptical. Current issues aside which seem like a right pain in the proverbial.
The elephant in the room to me that is never addressed is despite all its m fuel ‘efficiency’ etc the reason they don’t make motors like this anymore is they can’t actually meet any modern emission standards due to NOT been turbo charged. Whilst I respect this is a good thing in regards to KISS and not having to deal with electronics or other complications introduced by a turbo, frankly it’s not great for the world, on a long range expedition vessel.
Given the current issues, I struggle to understand why you persist with this engine? A pair of modern turbos (or hybrid turbos like a UK manufacturer is bolting on) would have been far better IMHO.
Otherwise I wish you well in the good ship mobius, which seems extremely well thought out to meet your needs.
Hi Daniel, thanks for joining us for such a long time now.
I don’t have the time right now to do your very good question justice but I’ll do my best to cover the highlights.
First and foremost I hope I’ve been clear in my writing on the blog that the purpose is to share the work and decisions we make in designing and building what we think is the “Goldilocks” boat that is just right, just for us. There is no intent to suggest that our decisions are best or even good for most others. I do my best to explain what went into all our decisions so that they can be understandable in this context. However, everyone’s context will be different by varying degrees and so I do apologize if my writing in the blog has been misconstrued to me suggesting that others “buy into” the decisions I make for our boat or that a Gardner would be the best choice for others.
The largest incentive I have for writing all these weekly updates on Möbius is that I might be able to do some “paying it forward” by sharing all of our experiences and lessons learned so that others might gain some useful insight when making their decisions. Christine and I learned SO much from all the many others who went before us and shared their experiences so generously that we wanted to follow suit and do the same with ours. We as individuals and our use cases make for a very unique combination, as do any other boat owners and so what is “just right” for us, is most often going to be just right for “just us” alone. This is very much the case with our choice to go with the Gardner 6LXB to power our boat Möbius. Unlikely to be the best or even a good choice for most or perhaps all other boats and owners. So I don’t think there is anything to be “skeptical” about, the Gardner is simply what we think is the best choice for us and Möbius.
Regarding the “elephant in the room” as you called it, my perception is that the topic of Gardner engines not meeting current emission standards comes up regularly and is well discussed. I know I certainly get the question a lot and read all the various discussions about this that I am aware of. Gardner ceased production in mid 90’s, and production had already started to decline a lot in the 80’s so certification and emissions testing is not really feasible for these or any other vintage engines. Not too surprising either that with all the developments in the past 25 to 40 years modern production diesel engines have improved substantially in many ways.
I can’t say for sure but I don’t know that this is directly related to the lack of turbo charging and in fact, Gardner engines in the 90’s such as the LXCT did have turbos. Based on my reading of all the history of Gardner and indeed engines of all kinds, the requirements of diesel engine powered vehicles and vessels changed dramatically over this time period. Factors such as power to weight ratio, size constraints for engine rooms and under hood on vehicles, travel speeds on roads and water and the overall demands of the buying public all changed at an exponential rate and so engineers and designers changed accordingly to keep up.
Government emission standards were certainly part of this change, going from non existent to extreme in some cases. In the beginning emissions could be improved through better engineering of the engines themselves, but if you look at what has been happening on this front with diesel engines in trucks and marine applications over the past 10 years or so, this reached a point of diminishing returns and the manufacturers had to turn to “post combustion treatment” involving the installation of pollution control devices after combustion has already occurred. Basically various ways of treating the exhaust after it leaves the combustion chamber. I don’t keep up on this technology too well but common examples such as selective noncatalytic reduction (SNCR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) processes and more recently the requirement to use DEF or Diesel Exhaust Fluid, in order to reduce NOx emissions in particular.
All well and good, but something I have oft wondered and pondered, with no clear answer I might add, is whether there might be a bit of “not seeing the trees for the forest” in this process of reducing emissions at any cost. For example, I think it is quite well documented that overall efficiency of many modern diesel engines has actually declined over the years and I believe most of this is due to losses that some of these emission controls introduce. I wonder if by focusing on measuring the output, or lack thereof, of harmful emissions and the resultant lowering of efficiency, is the “net net” result positive or negative? My simple minded example or question would be that if there were two otherwise identical boats, one with a 2022 model modern engine and one with a 1972 Gardner 6LXB such as we have, and they both set out on a passage side by side to travel say 1000nm, at the end of this passage, how much fuel had each engine consumed and how much emission had they created? I think the answer is reasonably clear on the first point, with the Gardner being more thermally efficient it would have burned some amount less fuel. However what is not as clear, at least to me, is what would the total amount of emission output look like? I guess a simple way of phrasing my question is that if a given diesel engine consumes less fuel to do the same amount of work, does it emit less total pollution than a less efficient engine for that same amount of work? I don’t want to belabour this point and I am certainly not in any position to evaluate this and get real data, but in my macro view of the big picture, I wonder how far apart the old and the new really are? I may be completely off base with this and just flat out wrong, but it would seem to me that the more efficient an engine is, the less fuel it consumes and up to some point, burning less fuel would produce less emissions for the same amount of work.
The last factor worth mentioning I think, is that if one takes the whole “cradle to grave” big picture in term of engine choice in this case, I wonder what the overall total of energy consumed and pollution or other results would be when comparing the “recycling” or re use of an already existing vintage engine such as our 6LXB versus the manufacturing of a whole new engine? Not sure this question has a very definitive answer similar to my question above about efficiency and emissions, but in my mind there is something to be said about how much less total overall energy would be used and how much less pollution created if we were to do more to reuse what already exists rather than manufacturing new? I think about this in the macro context of the world at large and our part in all of this and wonder for example how much we might tip the balance of the negative effects of our overall big picture energy and pollution consumption by dramatically reducing how much we buy new vs reusing old?
Shifting gears and finishing up with my comments for now, the choice of engine for any boat is as with most decisions, very much a collection of compromises due to all the conflicting requirements to meet a set of design and use goals. In our case and as you noted in part, things like the KISS or Keep It Simple & Save is indeed a very high priority which factors into every decision and was very much a part of the decision to go with a Gardner 6LXB engine. Other major factors were reliability, longevity, ease of and lack of maintenance over the years, continuous duty cycle, ability to fix and repair with only the tools and equipment I have on board. Well into the design phase, we had planned on using John Deere engine, a new JD 6068 TFM50, which would have been a very good choice as well. However this fell off the list and put me on the path that led to Mr. Gee, when JD informed us that there were a number of parts on the list of “spares” that we had submitted with our order that they could only supply as direct exchange with the part we sent back to them. We discussed this at length with them but as they explained, they are only able to send out items such as the ECU and other “black boxes” after they have updated the new one with the accumulated data from the old one. Makes sense, and for most people this would work out fine, but was simply too much of a risk and lack of fit for us and our travels to eXtremely remote locations.
Finally, to address your question about “why do you persist with this engine?”, which is a question I get from quite a few people I might add, my best answer is that I still believe it is the Goldilocks, just right, just for us, engine. As you hinted at, my persistence and patience is certainly being put to the test of late and I do go through these arguments in my head and with Christine as well. But so far I continue to believe that when I take all our priorities into consideration, for our use cases and for me personally, a Gardner 6LXB is the best choice and I will persist until I no longer think so. I would not expect you or perhaps anyone else to agree or buy into this choice and that’s just fine and as it should be. I know I overstate this whole “Goldilocks” perspective but I truly believe that all that really matters is that we all strive to find what’s just right, just for us in life and understand others from this same point of view.
Well, yet another painful example of Waynesplaining a response to your very thoughtful question Daniel, so I will mercifully leave it at that for now. A great topic for a much larger and longer conversation which I hope I can contribute more to in the future and my sincere thanks for you raising these points. I hope you and others will continue to make these valuable contributions to the blog.
I also love a good vise setup, but you went 110% with the pull out surface.
You two are Proof that The best boat to get is a used one from a smart captain.
Much too generous with your compliments Richard but I’ll gratefully accept. The vice setup did work out nicely and I’ll eventually make up a bit more of a custom built “dust shelf” for it do improve on the already not too bad way the smaller one I have now is working. I also have my bench grinder/wire wheel beside the vice and so I’ll be installing a built in vacuum system on that to grab the fine metal bits of grinding dust and dirt it throws off and I’ve got some ideas on how to morph that into a kind of built in vacuum setup for that whole center workbench so stay tuned for more Wayne’s World tips and tricks on that.
Would the “home” base folks have caught all this the first time through the rebuild?
Is your experience why the “home” folks are reluctant to have folks do their own rebuild?
The advantage to you now is that you are an “experienced” hand.
Old saying, “experience gives the test first, and the lesson afterward.”.
Hi John and happy Valentine’s day to your and yours.
The situation with Mr. Gee has all the Gardner experts equally as perplexed and vexed by this oil pressure situation as I am. I have quite the virtual team of experts who I’ve been working with very closely from the beginning and they continue to join me in figuring this all out. So far we can’t discern any difference in what I’ve done vs what they do when rebuilding their many LXB’s so that’s been adding to the mystery but we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually and I may fly up there to bring them all my “samples” and “evidence” so we can noodle over it together in person.
Very much the test first, lesson afterward situation to be sure!
been watching you blog with baited breath… just wondering have you checked or swapped out the oil pressure gauge?
Good thought Brad and yes, have swapped it out and have another digital sender in place now as well.