A very busy week filled with several major milestones just flew by that included some fun birthday celebrations, an eXciting birthday gift and some eXcitement in the Engine Room with Mr. Gee 3.0.
I’ll cover them in that order so let’s jump right in and bring you up to date on the week that was the 14th through 20th of March, 2022.
Christine’s Birthday Breakfast
Captain Christine completed her latest circumnavigation of the sun and started her next one on Tuesday the 15th. We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning with no wind so her first gift was for us to walk over to our favorite little spot on the beach here in Finike which is about a kilometer around the waterfront from the marina.
As you can see they serve quite the traditional Turkish breakfast and the only problem is finding enough room on the table for all the plates!
NOTE: If you look up at the top of the photo above Christine’s head you can see the masts of all the sailboats in the Finike Marina where Möbius is docked.
This is me wondering just how many people they thought were going to be attending this birthday breakfast? We did not manage to eat it all but we put a good dent in it.
On the walk back along the beach, we stopped in to check out this little building that we had passed on all our previous trips to the restaurant. Can you guess what this is?
How about if I include this bench as a very good clue?
Correct! It is a mini library! You pick out the book you want from the shelves here and then walk up the spiral staircase and ……………….
…… read your book while sitting in this 360 degree glass reading room while taking in the view.
Just a few of the reasons we love living here for the past 8 months.
Christine has been researching eBikes for at least a year and so it seemed like the perfect birthday gift. The one she decided on is made in Turkey by Alba and she chose their 2022 Fold2 model.
It is quite impressive with 8 speed Shimano Altus chain shifter and then 5 power assist levels from the 36V/7.8Ah Li-Ion Battery Pack that gives her an average range of 50km.
Sports this easy to read screen and even has a USB port to charge her phone when she is out riding around town.
The box arrived at the marina from the factory in the center of Turkey in 3 days and came almost completely assembled, just needed to have the seat and handlebars set up.
Made with all aluminium construction which we obviously prefer and keeps the weight down to just 19.5kg / 43lbs which is very good for a folding eBike.
It was cold and a bit wet outside when the box arrived so we moved it inside the Workshop and quickly went through the unboxing.
A VERY happy B’day girl was soon zipping up and down the concrete dock behind us at up to 26 km/hr!!!
She has since been out to the market twice and now has about 20 km on it and she says the battery still says full so she is very pleased that all her research paid off. Happy Birthday my Captain!
Guess what? As Mr. Gee Turns is a Trilogy!
Meanwhile, I was making good progress with Mr. Gee as I come to find out that the mystery series I’ve been writing here on the ever elusive oil pressure is a actually a trilogy! Who knew? All along I had thought there was just one dastardly plot to foil me but it turns out that there were three different stories to be told here. I now believe that I am finally ready to write the final episode in this three part series so read on to see how this all ends.
When I left off last week I had just completed checking out the drive gears for the oil pump and confirmed that they were all working properly. All my testing and evidence suggested that the oil pump, which I had recently replaced with a new one, was working properly and putting out good volume and pressure.
This past week I renewed my focus on the second scenario of there being an internal oil leak that was still eluding me and could explain the lack of oil pressure.
In what I now realize was the second book in this trilogy, I had found and fixed the problem with the rubber O-rings so I was very sure that these were now sealing well and if there was a leak it had to be somewhere else internally. With Mr. Gee still up in the air with his oil pan/sump still off it wasn’t possible to run the oil pump so I decided to build a little tank that I could fill with oil and pressurize to simulate the output of the oil pump. Last weekend, in one of our many calls my dear friend Greg and I came up with a series of tests and this was one of them.
Turns out that great minds do think alike as Gary, one of our fabulous followers, left a comment here on the blog with the same suggestion a few days later. Thanks Gary!
Making the most of what I’ve got available and in true McIvor fashion, this yellow 5 liter jug had quite thick and sturdy walls that I thought would work to turn into a pressure oil tank with two modifications. First I needed an outlet in the bottom where I could hook up a hose to carry the pressurized oil from the tank to Mr. Gee so I drilled and tapped, aka threaded, a hole in the bottom end.
This allowed me to thread in this brass fitting for the ball valve and hose barb to attach to. The threads did not reach all the way to the top of the hex surface of the fitting so I mixed up some epoxy filler and liberally coated the threads before putting it in place and hoped that it would be good enough to stay sealed when under pressure.
For the pressure, I kidnapped a Schrader valve from a poor unsuspecting bicycle tube in our spares department and threaded the black cap on the jug and screwed this in place with some epoxy to seal it as well.
Now I needed a way of getting the pressurized oil into Mr. Gee so I fabricated a little flanged adapter that I could bolt on in place of the copper pipe that carries the oil from the oil pump up to the Pressure Relief Valve or PRV that you can see in the labeled photo above.
A bit more epoxy sealer and I had this bronze hose barb threaded into and sealed to the flange.
Which I now bolted to the bottom of the PRV where the pressurized oil from the oil pump on Mr. Gee would have normally been attached.
Next I fitted one end of a reinforced hose to the fitting on the PRV and the other end to the fitting on the yellow tank.
The final actor in this scene was my trusty bicycle pump which attached to the Schrader valve and enabled me to pressurize the oil in the jug. Well, Christine actually did all the pumping as I was positioned under Mr. Gee with my flashlight watching the crankshaft area for any signs of oil coming out where it should not.
It was not the most conclusive test as there was of course oil coming out of each of the main and con rod bearings as there should be so oil was dripping down everywhere. But after thoroughly checking from all angles as Christine kept the oil pressurized, I could not see oil coming out anywhere that it shouldn’t be.
That was all the testing I could do at this point but just for good measure I decided to add a second oil pressure gauge to the same junction block on the left side of the oil filter.
Both of these are brand new gauges and the one on the bottom is the one that has been on Mr. Gee since the very first rebuild and had been working reliably. Once again, great minds thinking alike as two days later two other helpful followers, Gary and “Sail Free Spirit” added their comments here asking if it might be possible that the oil pressure gauge wasn’t working? Thanks guys.
Didn’t seem likely as it had been working fine and reading properly for all the times Mr. Gee has been running, about 20 hours in total, but still worth checking right?
Finally time to put Mr. Gee back together again and lower him down onto his engine beds one more time. Not my first rodeo doing this so I’m getting pretty fast and only takes me a couple of hours now.
I filled him up with oil and connected the starter motor so I could use that to crank him over for a few seconds and check to see if there was any movement on the oil pressure gauges. Both needles moved so it was looking promising and I continued connecting water and exhaust hoses and everything needed to start.
As usual, Mr. Gee fired up on the first spin of his crankshaft but my heart sank as I looked at the oil pressure gauge I was holding in my hand! Only 16 PSI when it should be 35!!
But hang on a minute!
What’s up with the second gauge behind it? It IS reading 35 PSI, a difference of almost 20 PSI! WTF!?!?
Now the question became which gauge was correct? Interesting challenge. Fortunately I happen to have no less than 10 other pressure gauges on board, several used ones from back in my mechanic and hot rod days and some brand new liquid filled ones I use for providing pressures of oil, water and fuel throughout the boat.
As you can see here, now things got eXtremely curious! Here I have THREE different gauges attached and THREE DIFFERENT readings; 45, 34 and 30 PSI.
After testing 7 different gauges, I finally got two that read the same! The one on top is one of the new liquid filled gauges that I use throughout the boat and have at least 10 on hand. They have all proven to be very accurate and each one of those read the same when attached to Mr. Gee. The smaller black Gardner gauge below is a previously unused new Gardner gauge that I had for a spare.
Holy jumpin’ gauge needles Batman! We have proper oil pressure!!!!
Connect all the AC power cables to the two Electrodyne alternators.
Reconnect and precisely align the Nogva CPP output flange to the propeller flange and then torque them all down.
And with all that done Mr. Gee is now running like his famous self and oil pressure is holding steady at 35 PSI!
So here at last is the video that so many of us have been waiting so long for:
I am putting together a longer video tour of Mr. Gee that so many of you have been asking for and hope to get that posted later this week. We are experiencing excruciatingly slow upload speed right now for some reason but hope to have those fixed soon.
In putting all the evidence together now, here is what seems to have played out. Rather than a single problem causing the oil pressure to drop, it seems that there were three completely separate problems that shared the common thread of low oil pressure.
Series #1 Massive Overloading. In the first episode an inept captain who had been hired to do the first sea trials, had pushed both throttle and pitch levers to their maximum position and left them there causing massive overloading on a brand new engine. This lead to rapid wear on the main bearings and caused the oil pressure to drop.
Series #2 Too Tolerant O-Rings. After the second rebuild to fix the damage caused by the massive overloading all seemed to be well and the engine ran with full oil pressure for the first 7 hours of sea trials. Then it started to drop off slowly again. After tearing down the engine once again, I discovered that the O-rings sealing the crankshaft main bearing oil pipework had been damaged on installation because O-rings with maximum sectional diameter happened to be installed in grooves with minimum depth such that there was more rubber than space and the O-rings were pinched and sliced open when they were installed. After about 7 hours of run time these damaged O-rings began to leak which caused the oil pressure to drop once again.
Series #3 Faulty Oil Pressure Gauge In this week’s final episode of the trilogy, for reasons that remain unclear at this time, the oil pressure gauge that had been working fine, continued to show pressure but as was in fact showing 20 PSI less than the actual oil pressure. Over adjusting the PRV had been successful at raising the oil pressure so that this faulty gauge would show 35 PSI but what I went on to discover with a second gauges was that in fact the actual oil pressure was about 55 PSI! The oil pressure had been correct 35 PSI with the PRV adjusted as it should be with about 5 threads showing, but because the gauge was just off by about 20 PSI it was only reading 15. Truth is always stranger than fiction right??
This latest situation with the new Gardner oil pressure gauge working fine for many months and then suddenly giving a false reading that was 20 PSI lower than the actual pressure present remains a mystery to me. I guess this is another example of how assumptions can always bite you in the #$ss and that I probably should have tried swapping out the gauge sooner. Having had the gauge be reading correctly right up until it didn’t took me by surprise as normally these mechanical oil pressure gauges either work or they don’t. I’ve not previously experienced this sudden change in the pressure reported by the gauge itself when the actual oil pressure stays the same, but I am now!
Hardy Orzikowski on the Wika blog has a very thorough and well written article called “8 Common Reasons For Pressure Gauge Failure” and that offers some insights into what might have happened with the gauge on Mr. Gee.
As you can see these mechanical gauges are very simple and not too much to go wrong with them but obviously its possible. I may open up the one that failed to see what I can find inside but so far nothing appears to be amiss, all clean and it does work, just all of a sudden not giving the correct reading. For those of you with some thoughts on this please put them in the ‘Join the Discussion’ box at the bottom.
While I won’t feel like this final episode is completely finished until I put 20-50 hours of sea trials on Mr. Gee 3.0 but right now both Christine and I are feeling the best we have in many months as this mystery series seemed to be unending.
There are a LOT of lessons to be learned here and I will be processing all this for some time. And while it has been an eXtremely long and winding road, it has not only lead to what appears to be a very happy ending, it has also reminded me just how fortunate I am to have such a supportive Captain and such awemazing friends, family and followers who have been there throughout this entire trilogy. Thanks and I am eXtremely grateful to ALL of you!
Hope you will all stick around for the fun part of enjoying the flip side of when you make it through a big storm at sea with how much better you appreciate the sunsets that follow. My sincere thanks to ALL of you who have been on the adventure with me and I’ll continue to do my best to bring you more interesting and entertaining content on topics other than oil pressure!!!