Basement Renovations

 

Fuel Filters, Genset Enclosure, Genset Issues, Fresh Water Plumbing, Lighting, Washer/Dryer, Additional Water Tank, Electric Water Heater

 

The basement of the Pilgrim is accessed by a set of steps in the galley.  Ours contains the battery boxes for the house bank, one 72 gallon fuel tank, three fresh water tanks (150 gallons total), the genset , our fuel filter system, space for the washer/dryer (still in the garage at home) and a number of tool boxes and spare parts.

 

Fuel Filters

 

The fuel filter system is somewhat described in the delivery trip documents, but in simple terms we can now draw fuel from any of three tanks and direct it through any of three filters to feed our main engine.  The genset can only be fed from one tank through one (#3) filter).  Since the diesel tank in the basement is just a few years old, we use the tanks (twin 72 gallon tanks) in the engine room for fuel storage only.  An electric pump is used to transfer fuel from the storage tanks through the #2 Racor (center filter) to the basement tank, effectively polishing the fuel.  When under way, the main engine (and genset) pulls the filtered fuel from the basement tank through the #1 Racor (or #3 if the genset is running) making sure that this fuel is clean, clean, clean.

 

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Generator Sound Enclosure

 

The genset has a very nice sound enclosure box around it.  The only problem is that the soundproofing material has seen better days.  Disassembly showed that the foam had pretty much disintegrated which is why all the soundproofing material in the engine room had been removed before we purchased the boat.  Duct tape isn’t an effective fix.

 

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The only solution seems to have been sandblasting, painting and installing good (Soundown Composite Insulation) sound suppression material.  After trying to clean off the adhesive from the old sound suppression material we gave up and sent the panels out for sand blasting.  That was $30 well spent.  They came back taken down to bare metal and we quickly got a primer coat on them.

 

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Two coats of red Rustoleum pant followed.

 

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We glued the Soundown material in with PL (Loctite) polyurethane window door and siding sealant.  It has the properties of Sikaflex at about half the cost and is available locally.

 

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Use a notched spreader, it isn’t necessary to do the entire region (or probably as much as we did either).

 

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We “clamped” some of the material in place with floor clamps (gravity; lead filled bags in our case)

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The finished panels with new insulation

 

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In our case we went with the highest density 1” material Soundown produces.  It added 34 lbs to the weight of the enclosure. Our dB meter reads 65dB in the galley area with the enclosure in place, the main engine produces 70dB in the same region.  We are working on trying to increase the soundproofing of the engine compartment.

 

Genset Issues

 

Since the genset sound enclosure finally got finished it was time to do some much needed work on the genset itself.  We wanted to swap out the impellor and change the oil.  If you are familiar with the location of the impellor on these units, you already know that it is easiest done without the sound enclosure on.  One thing leads to another on these projects.  Start by simply removing the impellor.  Simple wasn’t a good description.  There was almost no way to get at the cover plate on the thing as there was a large hose in the way.  We were scratching our head over this; who would design such an arrangement that would require a hose to be removed to pull an impellor?   We dug out the parts manual and it certainly didn’t look like the hose should be in the way.  The hose in the manual is a formed hose with a few bends in it.  Ok, order a new hose and hope for the best.  The new hose arrives, we take off the old hose and guess what?  The old hose is the same formed shape as the new one!  Who ever worked on this last installed the hose upside down.  Installing the new hose correctly, we have room to access the impellor.

 

Fire up the genset so we can warm it up to change the oil and….. the hour meter is not working and the temperature gauge is not registering.  A few hours troubleshooting wiring and gauges determines that the hour meter is dead and the temperature sender is bad.  Westerbeke wants almost $400 (not $40, but $400) for a new hour meter.  Not on my watch they don’t.  There is nothing magic about a 12v DC hour meter and one was ordered that would fit the cut out for about $30.  We had to make a circular trim plate for it but that is ok.  We did pay the $80 for the temperature sender but that was (almost) reasonable.

 

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We think we are in business with a fully functioning genset.  Not quite.  We had been putting off fooling with the water intake hoses until the boat comes out for the winter.  You know what they say about deferred maintenance.  I noticed a puddle of water around the base of the genset, which usually isn’t good.  Did I not install the hose correctly?  No, the water was coming from where the sea strainer hose attaches to the genset.  Ok, shut off the sea cock and deal with it the next day.

 

This is the snake pit of hoses as the boat came to us (apparently original)

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When I went to pull the hose I found the following (circled in blue):  First the hose is 1-1/8” (100-1180), but it goes onto a 1” fitting on the genset.  There is only enough space for one clamp, the second clamp is simply crushing the hose beyond the end of the fitting.  Over the years this miss-fit/clamped hose has slowly caused the hose to rip apart at the end of the fitting, you can see the tear between the hose clamps.

 

 

It is time to move the sea strainer to a more appropriate location and install the correct size hoses.  I really hope that the boat didn’t come from Gozzard with this arrangement.

 

We finally tamed this snake pit.  10 feet of hose has been reduced to a little over 3 feet in total, the strainer is mounted such that it can be removed without difficulty and all the hoses are the correct size with appropriate reducers if required.  We still need to re-route that fuel return line from the genset.

 

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Fresh water system plumbing replacement

 

The previous owner had installed a series of PVC valves and piping that allowed transfer of water from one tank to another.  We found this to be a source of multiple air leaks and since we were going to replace all the (original) water lines, removed these items.

 

PEX brand tubing with stainless crimp rings similar to miniature hose clamps were used to re-do all the water lines.  Getting rid of that old, skanky tubing as well as the associated hose clamps was a welcome relief.  The last straw was when we forgot to shut off the pressure water pump before leaving the boat one evening.  When we returned the next day I heard the water pump running.  Odd, I thought.  Well, it turns out one of the almost inaccessible hose clamps on one of those old water lines had worked loose enough to allow water to spray all over the basement.  Pretty much a full tank of water had been pumped into the basement in a fine spray.  Since I was in the middle of another project and had open tool boxes, I had boxes of water that I could easily empty out if you don’t mind having soggy tools.

 

I had a spare (cheaper) water pump so I plumbed it into the system for when the main pump has problems.  Swapping some fuses (pumps are fused near the pumps themselves) and re-routing the inlet supply should have us operational in a few minutes.

 

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When replacing the head with a Vacuflush we plumbed in the waste line with 1-1/2” PVC all the way to the vacuum generator which is located in the engine room.  Unions were used to allow us to easily remove sections of PVC if that ever became necessary.

 

 

 

The main water pump started to fail on a cruise this summer (2013).  No problem, simply switch over to the backup pump.  We didn’t realize that that (cheaper) pump really needed an accumulator tank so it was confusing our on-demand water heater which senses pressure changes to know when to fire.  We only had to live with that minor issue for the last few days of the cruise so it wasn’t really too much of a problem.  After returning we ordered a re-build kit for the “good” pump and added the very nice stainless steel accumulator tank (which came with the boat but was never installed). 

 

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To make a long story short, the rebuild kit didn’t fully solve the problem with the pump.  Close but no cigar.  In addition, when you read the fine print you find that an accumulator tank screws up the operation of pumps that don’t require one, now you have to have a shut off on the accumulator when using the one pump; this is getting complicated.  It turns out the big pump was way too big.  It was rated for a flow rate we would never see as we aren’t drawing water in multiple places on the boat at the same time.  We could buy two very nice matching pumps that didn’t need an accumulator tank for less than it would cost to replace the big pump so that is what we did.  Now we have pumps that look and act the same without having to turn this or that on or off.  The on-demand water heater doesn’t get confused and the flow rates at the faucets are the same regardless of what pump is on line.  Sometimes the problem is trying to use what you already have.

 

 

The labeling for the fuel distribution valves was sort of crude.  Since we have the technology (and materials) we made a replacement.  We actually did this over again as we removed the starboard aft fuel tank (it was leaking) and replaced it with another water tank.  Putting a piece of tape over the Stb Aft label was just too crude.

 

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You spend enough time in the shadows and decide that enough is enough.  Since we are on a LED kick we thought it prudent to replace the fluorescent fixtures with energy efficient lighting that was actually bright.  Taking out the old fixtures gave us pause as the insides of some were rather “cooked”.  Maybe that is why the boat came to us with a box of brand new fixtures (same type).

 

Three strips of LED’s and the basement is as bright as a subway.

 

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Washer/Dryer Installation

 

Since it is about time we do something about the washer/dryer, and have literally exhausted all other possibilities on where to put it we decided that the only place it can go is where the second bank of house batteries used to live.  We reduced our house bank from eight to four batteries a year ago and the space has only been used for storage.  If there was another inch or two of clearance in the basement we might have been able to find a different location, but it HAS to go on the port side, just to the left of the bottom of the stairs.

 

Out came the sawszall and we went to work.  What we found hidden under this “shelf” was a hole that was partially drilled through the bottom and not fully filled before somebody must have changed their mind.  Interesting to say the least.

 

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We now have room for the washer/dryer and can get some paint on this area to pretty it up.

 

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The dryer needs to be vented so we are running a three inch vent line through the cabin sole and through the cabinet on the aft end of the galley.  This gives us access to the cabin sides for the actual venting.  We need to find (or design and fabricate) a cover for this hole.

 

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We “printed” and appropriate sized flange for the hole in the cabin side for the dryer vent and also made a “screen” to keep bees from nesting in the opening.

 

 

We were able to find a cowl that fit over the opening (the screen was sized to the cowl).

 

 

Getting the washer/dryer below was interesting, but it was accomplished by the skipper and the female mate without anybody getting injured or scratching any woodwork.  I believe it weighs 175 lbs and you have to take off the basement hatch for clearance.

 

 

Since we are always looking at ways to load up the 8kw generator when using it to cook, we decided why not heat hot water also.  This way when we are plugged into shore power we always have hot water without having to use the on-demand propane system now mounted outside the cabin.  A decent sized expansion tank was also plumbed into the system, the hot water tank being six gallons. Having two sources of hot water requires some switching of valves and there are a fair number of one way valves to prevent any backflow issues.

 

 

 

 

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