It has been very fun and surprising to have so many of you tell me that you anxiously await each weekly Möbius Progress Update and all the more of you finding the ongoing story of Mr. Gee and getting to the bottom of what caused him to suddenly loose most of his oil pressure while out on the first sea trial to be so fascinating. Usually it is Captain Christine who is in charge of writing mysteries and intrigue when she is writing all her best selling marine murder mystery novels under her nom de plume of Christine Kling, so rather surprising that I find myself apparently writing my own “mystery novels” given my brevity challenged NeveraSentenceWhenaParagraphWillDo style!
To be sure, “As Mr. Gee Turns” will continue to be a long running series and this week’s update won’t be the final chapter/novella but many of you will be very happy to know that I have finally dismantled Mr. Gee enough now to have found the source of the sudden drop in oil pressure and a reasonable assessment of the damage done and what will now be required to get him back to better than new condition. So go grab your favorite beverage and comfy seat and come join me on this week’s Show & Tell Möbius update for the week of May 31-June 5, 2021.
Finally! XPM78-01 Möbius Naval Yachts Build Finale!
In what may be THE biggest milestone of this almost four year long Project Goldilocks, we had the official finale of the building of XPM78-01 Möbius courtesy of Dincer and Baris Dinc at Naval Yachts this past Friday, June 4, 2021.
We were not able to get everyone who had worked on Möbius over the years but Dincer did his best to get most and we had a lovely little celebration up on the rooftop of Naval Yachts.
Christine and I created a design for some black T-shirts with the names of pretty much everyone who had ever worked on Möbius and all our great suppliers and you can see the back of one of these with the person on the Right here.
I can’t seem to find the final version which has a LOT more names on it but this will give you an idea of what the shirts looked like.
We will be doing our best to get one of these one of a kind T-shirts out to all those who where not able to attend the celebration on Friday.
Here you can see the fronts of the T-shirts nicely modeled by Dincer on the Right and Yusuf (originally our head Electrician) on the Right.
Dincer very kindly had this eXtremely special XPM78-01 Möbius cake made up and the insides were even better than the outside if you can believe that!
New Navy Neighbors
And before we dive into the whole story about Mr. Gee’s hole, check out our newest neighbor who pulled into the harbour next to us! Last week I showed you the three smaller vessels from the Turkish Navy fleet and this week their bigger brother arrived. Made for great entertainment for Christine and me on our nightly sundowner glass of wine on the foredeck.
For those interested in knowing more about the Turkish Navy, my super sleuth Christine dug up THIS Wikipedia list of all the currently active ships and submarines in the Turkish Navy. According to Wikipedia, as of January 2021, the Turkish navy operates a wide variety of ships, including; 16 frigates, 10 corvettes, 12 submarines and various other ships.
Mr. Gee is not the Only One Left Hanging!
May of you wrote to me (thanks!) to tell me that I kept leaving you hanging as to the root of Mr. Gee’s sudden loss of oil pressure and when we ended last week’s update, Mr. Gee was also left quite literally hanging in his Engine Room like this.
Picking up where we left off last week, once I had Mr. Gee securely and safely raised up about 1 meter above his engine beds, I began the laborious process of dismantling him in search of what had gone so terribly wrong for the oil pressure to have suddenly dropped from its usual 38 PSI down to just under 20 PSI
This cutaway illustration of the Gardner 6LXB lubrication system (click any photo to enlarge) might help you follow along with all the different parts that need to be removed and let you see what all needs to be removed to strip a 6LXB “naked”.
It turned out, getting to the bottom of the Mr. Gee’s problem was going to require me to dig all the way down to Mr. Gee’s bottom end, right down to his massive crankshaft.
I felt a bit like Ruby (one of our boat dogs) digging furiously for the ever elusive crabs she has acquired a delicacy for as they burrow deeper and deeper into the sand below.
This meant pretty much completely dismantling Mr. Gee Humpty Dumpty style and my center workbench in my Workshop soon started filling up with all the bits and bobs as I removed more and more of them from Mr. Gee.
Here I am pulling off Mr. Gee’s tiny little flywheel that weighs a mere 230 Kg / 507 Lbs.
Who knew that my Garhauer 6:1 block and tackle with 10mm Dyneema line for raising and lowering the Tender Davit, would come in so handy!
With the flywheel and all its housings removed, I could now remove the over 40 bolts securing this cast aluminium oil sump/pan and pry it loose from the cast Al crankcase above.
I would estimate that this cast oil sump weighs about 45 Kg/100 Lbs, so I tied a loop of line around the bottom of the front end of the oil sump to keep it suspended and enlisted the help of Captain Christine to help me slide this monster out from under Mr. Gee, out the ER door and out onto the Aft Deck.
With the oil sump out of the way I could start the process of removing all the pistons and connecting rods. Suspending Mr. Gee such that I could remove all the pistons and the crankshaft is a bit tricky. The front end is easy because the big motor mount brackets can be left in place so I have attached a loop of Dyneema line that goes to the overhead chain block and then I put in two more loops that wrapped around each motor mount as a safety backup and this left the area underneath the crankcase completely open.
However the 2 motor mounts on the Aft end need to be removed along with the split cast AL flywheel housings and there just isn’t much left to tie onto that is strong enough to hold the 1000 Kg / 2200 Lb. engine.
No problem, I just grabbed a pair of my adjustable jack stands (doesn’t every boat carry these??!) and built up a platform that spanned across the two engine beds using some square steel tubing I carry as well.
With the tops of these jack stands resting on the wide flat AL surface that the oil sump bolts to, I had full access now to the full bottom end of the crankshaft and the bottom of each cylinder’s connecting rod.
For my growing Gardner fan base, the following two illustrations from some of the original Gardner factory manuals which I am SO fortunate to have copies of, will help you see more clearly what’s going on inside a Gardner 6LXB like Mr. Gee.
The con rod bearings are half shells that are clamped by four large bolts on each con rod. Removing the four nuts allowed me to slide the bottom half of the con rod off crankshaft and then you can push the whole piston & con rod assembly up and out of the top of the cylinder.
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?
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.