Motor Work- another bite of elephant, num num num…..

With all the baby doings in addition to birthdays and holidays we have not been able to make it out to the Bell lately.

However we have not been idle on working on things as I have spent a lot of time in the garage working on the motor.

I had finally got the motor back together and was going through the Moyer Marine manual of check post rebuild.  One of the first steps is to make sure the oil pump is working properly.  To do this you need to crank the motor with no plugs and achieve 20psi of oil pressure.  Of course to crank the motor you need to wire the starter and since I am having to build an entire motor control panel I endeavored to get that done in the process.

New control panel

New control panel

All the gauges are new.  It has fuel, water temp, oil psi and tachometer.  The tachometer is the only non-marine gauge in the panel, it is digital and was only about $15 or so.  I had to map everything out and drill the holes for each component.

For switches it has a run, start and bilge/engine blower switch. The small mark in the middle is the future position of the choke knob.

Next was to wire it.

rats nest of wire

rats nest of wire

I then made a wire harness with all the applicable leads and encased it in fire retardent loom so it looks nice.

Motor ready to fire up.

Motor ready to fire up.

You can see the harness to the right of the bucket as well as a sizable amount of slack bundled that I left to aid in installation on the Bell.

I then tried to get the required 20psi of oil pressure required to have a safe start of the motor. This is done by cranking it with the starter at about 200rpm with no plugs and checking with a manual guage.  I could not get any pressure,  after asking around I surmised I had left out an oil gallery plug inside the engine.

our missing plug

our missing plug

I had to take the motor back apart, removing the flywheel, transmission and oil pan to check all 3 gallery plugs and find which one was the culprit.

After ordering another set of gaskets and putting the motor back together yesterday I was successful in getting the 20psi required.   After which I set the timing and installed the spark plugs and wires.

This morning Lori and I went out and filled the bucket of cooling water and our temp shop fuel jug seen hanging from the hand truck above.

We got her to start and after a bit of fiddling she would idle nicely at 850rpm.

In the video I show the 850rpm (looks fine in person), water temp at 155 and oil pressure at 20psi.   The oil pressure was low still.  I had to replace the old style regulator I had installed with a new style one that originally came with this block, seems the seat for the regulator was worn to match and was not making a good seal, We now have the oil pressure right were it belongs. Note that in the video water is moving through the motor pretty well.

Next up is re-torquing the head bolts and fixing a oil weep on the starboard side of the transmission and a water leak at the pump face.  The transmission will need to be pulled again but it is not the end of the world.

After these last few items are sorted out we can drain the oil and drop the motor on the boat.   Getting closer.

Lunchtime Update.. No we have not given up.

Baby News

As our little girl grows day by day we are pretty busy.  Where does all the time go?


Calm down.....

Calm down…..

The latest scan shows our little girl is developing perfectly.  All her fingers and toes and good movement and heartbeat.

Baby in the belly...

Baby in the belly…

Motor News

Well, I have yet to find the time and get the engine running. 

A few excuses:

  1. 2 days with temps below 40
  2. a few days of rain
  3. Doctors visits for the baby
  4. Having to waste an afternoon setting up a court date for a bs traffic ticket.
  5. Rehabbed my Trek mountain bike after 9 years of sitting in the garage.   I have been using it to commute to work, feal the burn baby…

All that said I have been working hard to get the control panel and wire harness done.   I wil supply some pictures of the panel later when I get to turning up the motor.   

I do have motor oil in the motor, I now need to finish wiring the control panel so I can get the required 20lbs of of oil pressure and then start her up.

Motor in the Raw

Motor in the Raw

After she is idling well we will need to schedule a day with the boatyard to drop her into the boat and also step the mast.

Fuel tank-

We have opted to replace the original fuel tank (30+ years old) and found the best price for a replacement is from Catalina Yachts.  They manufature over in St.Pete so I gave them a call and they said the could  fabricate a new tank for $380+ shipping.  This is good since they have our boats specs and we know it will fit.    

Funny thing is a week after they said it was going to ship we had not recieved the tank or been billed.  I emailed the parts fellow and asked if there was an issue, he responded he would call the subcontractor that did their tanks and let me know when it would ship. 

   Sure enough they had some kind of delay and it shipped that day. We now have a nice new fuel tank sitting in our livingroom and Catalina Yachts have yet to bill us for it.  I have let them know we have the tank. Who knows, maybe it is a freebee?

Mast Work

Yes the mast is now finished.

We have done a lot of work refitting the mast and she is ready to be put back on the boat.

In addition to stripping off the flaking white paint and treating it with Alodine to inhibit corrosion here is a list of some of the things we have done starting at the masthead and working down.

  • Installed bird spikes.

    Masthead work

    Masthead work

  • New windvane
  • New LED anchor light
  • New ball bearing sheaves
  • New cotter pins
  • New Forestay
  • New Backstay
  • New upper shrouds
  • New Halyards (3)
  • New topping lift (aft and it will serve as a backup halyard)
  • New masthead VHF antenna
  • New steaming and foredeck light fixture
  • New spreader brackets (CDirect) 
  • New Aluminum spreaders (Catalina Yachts)
  • New Radar reflector on Starboard shroud
  • New deck floodlight on Starboard spreader
  • New signal halyard on Starboard spreader
  • New dedicated AIS VHF antenna on Port spreader
  • New lower shrouds
  • All new interior wiring and coaxial cable with all lights tested
  • All new turnbuckles

When we put the mast up it will be placed on our freshly powder coated mast step with the new stainless plate underneath.  We also have the updgraded lower shroud chainplate kit from Catalina Direct installed.

Completed mast..

Completed mast..

Quite a list.

 In Closing

Hopefully we will have more to report in the next few weeks. 

I depart with a photo of a derelict near Cocoa Village. 

Fixer upper free to good home.

Fixer upper free to good home.

God Bless.

Prospects of adding New Crew…

Happy New Year everyone.

A bit more personal than normal as sometimes it is good to get things on the record.

We bought the Clew a few years ago knowing it was probably too small for more than just the two of us.  This prompted us to purchase the Bell over a year ago and since then we have been slaving away getting her back into shape.

The reason we needed a bigger boat is not only for the considerable comfort factor for the two of us but also for sleeping accommodations when we add to the family.

Since Lori obtained her Bachelors Degree we have been in the hunt for children.  At first we were pretty relaxed about it but after a few years we started to worry.  Just as we were looking into things physically Lori was diagnosed with cancer and at that point survival was the concern and children took a back seat.

Lori licked the cancer and during her chemo we took adoption classes.   10 weeks of courses that are pretty depressing but enlightening as far as what they reveal about the human condition.

Last summer we even had a potential match with a little girl.  She was sweet but for reasons we will not discuss the match did not work.   Truly heartbreaking.

We are still looking to adopt, even attending a matching event last November.  There are a lot of kids out there that need a home.


On a Friday in the first week of November I had a dream.   No big deal but for this one being a bit different.

I had the day off as I had worked the last Sunday. (I work a lot of weekends) Lori had a scheduled blood test we were feeling pretty pessimistic.   It is an routine we have grown accustomed too over the past years.

We got up, dressed and headed over to Quest and Lori donated some more blood to the cause.  We then went to breakfast.    I did not share my dream with her and have to admit we were both a bit snippy with each other.

Lori called Quest at noon and found out they had screwed things up and we would not be getting results until almost the end of the day.  No surprise as we had dealt with Quest with Lori’s cancer and such and they screw things up quite often.  As we were heading home we picked up one of those quick at home tests.

Once at home Lori took the test, the conversation as we did it went along the lines of “well, this is not morning urine so will probably not work anyway.” “I can’t believe Quest.” “We should have bought two as these things are junk.”  all to prepare for the negative results we just knew were coming.

“Hold on, that shows positive.”  ” Crap, we really should have bought two……”

We did not get the results from Quest to confirm it until a few days later.

Now we are into our second tri and things are going swimmingly.

Expecting a girl

Expecting a girl

All of the latest tests come back great.    Our little girl shows to be genetically normal and developing as well as can be expected.

Her foot print

Her foot print

She is expected to arrive in early July.

That Dream

About that dream.  Most of the time I dream very little, but this one was vivid, almost as if we were there.

I was making my way aft from the head/Vberth area holding onto the handrail in the cabin as there was quite a bit of motion, Lori was in the galley making sandwiches,  the companionway was open and a 10 to 12 year old red headed girl was telling Lori what she wanted on her sandwich as she ran the boat from the cockpit.

Make of it what you will.   The wishful thinking of a frustrated man?  A promise? Just a dream?

Well, that is is for me today.    I think I will go out to the garage and work on rebuilding the transmission on our Atomic4 now.

Work, Motor, teasing……

With the holidays and big doings with the family our blog had been on the back burner.   However we have been working on the boat and are making progress.

Here is a photo of our new spreaders.

New spreaders on a the mast

New spreaders on a the mast

Motor Work

Bare block...

Bare block…

had a cool spell lately and that has slowed down the motor rebuild. I have been working on it none the less.

I have previously rebuilt motorcycle engines but this is definitely a step more complex.  Even if the Atomic 4 is a simple four cylinder.

Studs installed waiting for crank bearings and crank.

Studs installed waiting for crank  and the top bearings.

I made a point to use assembly lube on all the parts as it will be a few seconds before the oil pump lubes everything up. Note in this picture the cam shaft is in place.  It actually goes in after the crank and pistons.

The crank shaft is in and waiting for pistons.

The crank shaft is in and waiting for pistons.

I had a hammer handy, thankfully it was not needed.

IMG_5432The pistons are numbered and the 1 thru 4 with an arrow that needs to point towards the rear of the motor (not the front as it says on the piston). Of course I got this wrong and had to turn all the pistons 180 degrees after install.

After installing all new rings on the pistons I used a ring compressor tool to slide the piston down the bore.

New piston rings.  The top 2 are compression rings and the bottom is an oil sweeper.

New piston rings. The top 2 are compression rings and the bottom is an oil sweeper.

Piston ring compressor

Piston ring compressor

I borrowed the tool for free  from AutoZone for a $10 deposit.  It worked fine until the last piston.  I had checked the gap on the ring by placing them in the bore before install but by the fourth piston and everything working well I did not.  Of course that meant ring 2 was not gapped correctly.   This is thankfully were my previous experience helped. A bit of grinding and the piston was in.



After the pistons were installed I put the 8 tappets in and then the Cam shaft making sure to line up the timing marks. Next up was the valves.

Valve after lapping into the block using grinding compound.

Valve after lapping into the block using grinding compound.

First each valve (in numbered bags) was cleaned and then lapped to match its seat.  Since the block had been cleaned this was required but not a big hassle.  The valves cleaned up nice and matched the well.   The only problem I had was the number 2 intake valve was bent.  I had to take an intake valve off of my donor motor to replace it.

After all the valve were lapped it was time to reinstall the springs.

Valve spring, 2 wedges and keeper.

Valve spring, 2 wedges and keeper.

The valve springs had to be placed with the keeper on the bottom. After that the valve with the stem lubed is dropped in. Then the spring is compressed using a tool bought on Amazon.

With the spring and keeper compressed the wedges in place.

With the spring and keeper compressed the wedges in place.

Although a bit fiddly the valve springs went in pretty easily.

Yay, valves.  The cloth is in place to keep the wedges from falling down into the oil pan through the holes in the bottom of the spring gallery.

Yay, valves. The cloth is in place to keep the wedges from falling down into the oil pan through the holes in the bottom of the spring gallery.

Next up, studs, head, gearbox, flywheel, etc.

Coming attractions

Big really big announcement.  Mast step, running rigging, standing rigging, wiring the mast.  Oh so much…

FCC, seeping, sails and dinner

Friday we received a letter from the FCC. In it our call sign and MMSI code for our AIS and VHF radio.

What a pleasant surprise, and now we are official, Lori Bell is in the worldwide data base.


Ok,  I started this post on my iPhone.  It takes much more effort to peck in a post on that thing.  I tend to be less verbose and not flush out my thoughts as much when typing on it.

First off let me say I really enjoy WordPress as a service.   I use their reader to follow a number of other sailing blogs and enjoy them immensely.

Here are two examples.


These are just so well done,  as our blog tends to dwell on the grind of boat repair these blogs give us inspiration of what is ahead when we finish.

AIS and the FCC

Automatic Identification System-  basically our boat will ping so other boat so equipped can see us on their plotters/radar.

Here is an what it looks like on a plotter, Port Canaveral.

If you are lucky you can catch a cruise ship coming and going.

Anyhow,  a little over a week ago we applied at the FCC for a MMSI and call sign for Lori Bell.  By Saturday when we got back from the boat there was a letter in the mailbox with our assignments.  Wow, what super turn around, good job FCC.

FCC letter, blocks for back haul, boom end for goose neck, piston rings.

FCC letter, blocks for back haul, boom end for goose neck, piston rings.

What a photo

This photo encompasses the major themes of the work on the Bell.  Finishing the electronic, FCC letter.  Rigging the mast and boom, out haul blocks and goose neck. Engine Rebuild, piston rings.

Before the Mast

Mast work continues apace.  The Alodine finish seems to be holding up nicely and is unchanged after two weeks.

New spreader brackets on the mast.

New spreader and brackets on the mast.

Here is a photo of the old spreaders, their poor condition one of our prime motivations on restoring the mast.

In order, Port Spreader, rotten, 37 inches, Catalina Yachts new aluminum spreader 36", Starboard spreader, rotten 34"

In order, Port Spreader rotten 37 “, Catalina Yachts new aluminum spreader 36″, Starboard spreader rotten 34″

Why are the two old spreaders of differing lengths you ask?  Well good question, surely this was some new type of asymmetrical rig?  My guess, no.

My task for the rest of this week is to figure out how to attach our AIS antenna, signal flag halyard and deck light to the spreaders with a minimal amount of drilling.   I have some ideas of what may work, we shall see.


Critter photo

Manatees fighting over fresh water.

Manatees fighting over fresh water.

Our neighbor was washing his boat and a good six manatees were jockeying for position under the scuppers to get a drink.

Hoping for a number, ropes and such…

Numbers – Radio and AIS information that need to be done.

Today I was looking at AIS class B transceivers to go with our VHF DCS radio.

In reading about features and such on our VHF and and AIS we will need to program both with an MMSI number.  What is an MMSI number?  Well it is a nine-digit number “Maritime Mobile Service Identity ” that when you use a digital radio or such identifies your boat in a Data base.

If you are not leaving the United States an MMSI number can be had for free at Towboat US.

They put it in a stateside database that the Coast Guard uses.   However this database does not work overseas in places like, well the Bahamas for example.  For that you need to sign up with the FCC and actually get a number licensed to your boat.    Uggggg.

First you will need a FRN number and login, you get this by entering yourself in the FCC database.

After you get your FRN you apply with an form  605 available here.

It states you may also have to do a 159,160 or 1070y,  I did not have to myself, even though I spent a few hours fighting with these forms (going in numeric order) until giving up and doing the 605.  It allowed me to pay the fee online and they sent me a receipt.

When filling out the 605 you enter emergency contacts and some basic ships data that will go into the Coast Guard database.   Cost from FCC $215. Good for 10 years.|135|2028691|2028908&id=1849984


Last week we removed our boom end castings and the mast step to be media blasted and powder coated.   Heard back from the fellow doing the work and it seems our goose neck end casting is shot.

Cracked casting

Cracked casting

Before picture with the casting installed in mast.

Before picture with the casting installed in mast.

This is the type of thing that can only be found by disassembling.  Lori and I got lucky we in deciding to get the ends made pretty again as we could have skipped the step and someday we could be running downwind and Gybe just to have the casting fracture under load.  Not good.

We have a call in to Catalina Yachts for a new casting.  If they can not supply one I have found one from Catalina Direct we can use but it requires a bit of cutting to make fit.  Hopefully Catalina comes through for us.

Also blasted was the mast step.

Shiney blasted mast step.

Shiny blasted mast step.


We decided not to attach our shackles to our halyards with spliced eyes.  Opting instead for the flexibility of knots. So I finished whipping the ends of the running rigging we have on hand.  We do have two more halyards coming as we have the sheaves for 4 at the masthead and a mid mast sheave for a storm sail.

Whipping the ends

Whipping the ends

Working away

Working away

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

Finished but to trim the loose ends.

Finished but to trim the loose ends.

We also purchased some end dip in case we did not like the results of the old school whipping.   I prefer whipping but since we had the dip we opted to coat the whipped ends just for good measure.

Stuff in a bottle.

Stuff in a bottle.

Running rigging whipped, dipped and ready.

Running rigging whipped, dipped and ready.


Hawk in our yard.

Hawk in our yard.

I think this guy is waiting for Abby to come out and play.  He let me within 10 feet or so.

Now we are getting someplace. Outhauls, blocks, tillers, spars.

Spar work continues.

We received new stripper disks in the mail.

Norton Non-Woven Depressed Center Rapid Strip Wheel

Wow, these things work great.   I was able to strip the boom and finish stripping the mast with just 3 of the 5 I ordered.  If we had not chemically stripped half the mast 5 or 6 would have done the entire project.  As they say in the reviews, let the grinder and gravity do the work.  The entire process reminded me of running an orbital buffer back as a junior enlisted in the Navy.

Stripping away the old paint. Grinder works well.

Stripping away the old paint. Grinder works well.

After stripping and polishing up the chemically stripped side we started to apply the Alodine.

Left is after alodine, right is raw aluminum, before treatment.

Left is after alodine, right is raw aluminum, before treatment.

Half way thru treating with Alodine

Half way thru treating with Alodine.

Boom treated.

Boom treated.

The alodine as I understand it is ChromicAcid and possibly Iodine.  It smells of Iodine.  It leaves a things looking browned and with blue rainbow swirls.  A rather interesting one of a kind look.

Working on the boom we discovered the outhaul is not functioning, it seems jammed up.

I removed all the hardware,

Sheaves, outhaul car from the boom.

Sheaves, outhaul car from the boom.

I removed the end caps from the boom,  those as well as the the mast step are going to be powder coated.

Mast step removed.

Mast step removed. This is the part on deck the mast sits on. Held down to the deck by 4 bolts.  It fits inside the base of the mast and is normally not visible.

Once the end caps were off the boom I had to remove the old outhaul setup.  It had been bolted in at mid boom and I had to use a big screwdriver and hammer to sheer off the last 2 bolts that had not rotted off.

Out came this.

Harken magic outhaul.  Seized up for some reason.

Harken magic outhaul. Seized up for some reason.

I have ordered 2 new blocks and plan on reusing the old jib halyard to build a new 6 to 1 internal outhaul.

Old jib halyard.

Old jib halyard sitting on the old standing rigging which is going to the shop.

Heading in the right direction.

Whats that? A new tiller is what it is. We can actually steer our rudder.

Whats that? A new tiller is what it is.

Also in addition to putting on our new tiller our new Mainsail is done and ready to be picked up.    We have our old standing rigging in the Escape and will be giving that to Mr Morgan to make us new.

The engine block and head are at machine shop getting cleaned and sleeved.

Abby approves of the work.

Abby approves of the work.

Another list.

It’s lunch an I want to organize my brain. Here goes with yet another To Do list.

Besides the complete rebuild
Controls, gauges, wiring harness, fresh water cooling, fuel tank sorting, alignment with the shaft.

Bring standing to Mr Morgan for fabrication of all new stuff, finish stripping and alodine treatment, new running rigging install. Rewire of mast. Drilling deck plate.

Fix bow pulpit break, replace bent stanchion, install bow roller and Mantis anchor, remove old head vent and seal hole, rebed fresh water deck fitting as they leak, weather board for companionway. Install tiller.

Install AIS,VHF and chart plotter and network all together. Install new 12v outlets port side. Install 2 more light fixtures, one for galley and one for Nav station, Finish running light upgrade install. Buy and install auto pilot and network it.


Purchase Achilles lt4 tender.

Pistons and Spars

Spar Work

More spar work done last weekend.

Angle grinder on boom, a photo study.

Angle grinder on boom, a photo study.

After stripping half of the mast last weekend we opted to try angle grinder stripper disks as we did not care for the results of the stripper.

We were gave these disks a try.

3M 9682 SandBlaster 4-1/2-Inch Multi-Grit Surface Conditioning Disc
by 3M

The first issue we had is this type of disk requires an adapter be purchased for the grinder.  $12 for the adapter and $12 for 3 disks.

They actually worked.

Stripping the boom.

Stripping the boom.

The boom 60% done.

The boom 60% done.

Unfortunately they wore thru too quickly.  6 Disks ( 2 packs) got us about 60% of the boom done.  They wore out quick and started to wear down the adapter.

We ordered some Norton stripper disks for the grinder,  hopefully we get everything stripped and polished next weekend and can treat both spars with Alodine.


We are pretty much done stripping down the motor.

This afternoon I removed the pistons,crank shaft and cam shaft.

Crank sans pistons and rods

Crank sans pistons and rods

Interesting in that all the rods are marked with the cylinder number (1 thru 4) Makes it easy to keep them in order.

Interesting in that all the rods are marked with the cylinder number (1 thru 4) Makes it easy to keep them in order.

Piston and rod in my dirty hand.

Piston and rod in my dirty hand.

All that is left is to drift out the bearing surfaces for the camshaft (hope to reuse) and remove the bolt and screw on the oil galleys.  A few minutes work hopefully.

Next will be taking the block and head to the machine shop for a hot dip and have the motor resleeved.

Looking at our early model head I came across something that worried me.

Water jacket erosion in early model head

Water jacket erosion in early model head

More erosion

More erosion

I worry that the jacket is too far gone to be worth using.   My new style head has no such erosion.  I was hoping to go with the old style and forgo a thermostat but may have no choice in the matter.

In closing

Abby dog says " Hello, I love running in the yard. It is much more fun than being in my kennel."

Abby dog says ” Hello, I love running in the yard. It is much more fun than being in my kennel.”

Ropes in the mail. Rigging that stands and runs.


Received our new running rigging today.

Abby approves.




I promptly busted out our waxed whipping twine and got to work.



I still have to splice the shackles on the halyards but they are currently on the boat.


We picked up our repaired jib last weekend and put a deposit on a new main.

Scott stopped by the mast today to verify some measurements and suggested replacement of the standing rigging. Well, no surprise there. It will be nice to know the rigging will be top notch.

In closing

I leave with a photo of BB16, from a time when men were men, ships were steal and burnt coal.