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.
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!
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.
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 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!