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Topics - Bob K

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Main Message Board / Starter Push-Button Replacement
« on: May 29, 2019, 06:20:55 PM »
I am getting ready to track down the cause of recent starting problems, where I push the start button and nothing happens.  (No solenoid click, but can see voltage drop on the panel meter when switch is depressed).   I want to replace the push-button starter switch, as it is original, and easy to do.   I suspect the problem is voltage drop in the start wire to the solenoid.  Will also replace the in-line fuse. (I already replaced the starter ground cable when this problem appeared one time last year). Will try to identify the culprit prior to making any changes. Since the problem is infrequent, I am sure it won't occur during my troubleshoot.  But I'll take voltage drop measurements anyway.  I have the M35 engine with wiring harness upgrade.

I am looking for recommendations for a good quality replacement switch.  I saw one on Catalina Direct website, but maybe there is a better one out there??


Main Message Board / NMEA 2000 network cables
« on: July 30, 2017, 09:45:56 AM »
Want to connect my Raymarine instruments to Garmin chart plotter. The required cables and adapters run close to $200 if using the Raymarine ng cables.  Now looking at standard N2k to try to reduce the cost a bit..  Can anyone recommend a brand/vendor for best price?

Main Message Board / Replacement lighted propane switch
« on: May 05, 2016, 05:31:35 PM »
Found a drop-in replacement on eBay.  Installed and verified working.
Passing this along to anyone else who may need one, as I had a hard time tracking one down.  $5.49!! I should have bought a spare.


Main Message Board / Engine oil recommendations?
« on: November 10, 2014, 05:37:03 PM »
I've been using Mobil 1 synthetic 30W or 10W30 for years in my Universal M35, but when I went to buy some today, I saw it no longer carries the diesel API rating.   So after poking around the Mobil web site for awhile, I finally found a chart showing the API ratings of all of their oils.  The only one which carries the current API diesel rating (CJ-4) is Mobil 1™ Turbo Diesel Truck, offered in 5W40 only.  My engine manual specifies (SAE) 30 HD. (CD) or 10W40).  The CD rating is long obsolete, and I assume the CJ-4 covers it.

So I'm searching for a new oil.  Thought I'd put the question out here before looking further.  Any suggestions?


I just installed a new Adler Barbour CU-100 Coldmachine  and companion VD-150 evaporator.  These replace the OEM Adler Barbour DCM-12 and SFV-1 evaporator.   I hooked it up last night and my hopes for a nice cold fridge were kind of deflated.  It seems to work, but does not seem as cold as the old unit.  The evaporator frosted only on the rear side, whereas the old unit caused frost on both front and back.  I had it on for maybe an hour and the front side never frosted.

Both new and old units have similar cooling capacity specs, so my first thought was that the new unit is not working correctly.  But……after thinking about it, I noted many differences that would justify lower performance of the new one.  The new unit is smaller overall, has a smaller compressor, is lighter weight, runs on R-134, and draws less current.   I know little about refrigeration but these all seem to point to lower cooling capacity when compared to the old.  Note that the new evaporator looks identical to the old one in every aspect except part number, so I don’t really see that as a variable.  The unit came pre-charged - I have no means of checking charge level, but there was negligible charge loss during hook-up.   It did give me a brief fault on initial start-up which did not reappear.  Fault code was over-charge!!.  Not sure if I believe it unless it occurs again. 

I didn’t get a chance to run the unit long enough to stabilize the fridge temp and start the compressor cycling.  Won’t be able to do that until it is loaded with food on upcoming trip.  So I am wondering if I should plan ice runs into our itinerary.

Has anyone else made similar fridge replacement?  How does your performance compare to mine?


Main Message Board / Interesting fix for rudder play
« on: March 09, 2013, 06:07:42 PM »
Just saw this advertised by Catalina Direct -  a method to "inject" new rudder bearings!.  A mixture of epoxy and graphite is injected into the rudder tube while the rudder is installed.   Still requires rudder removal before-hand, to wax the rudder shaft so it doesn't stick to the injected epoxy.  Sounds easier than other fixes.....if it works.   And what do you do if the wax doesn't work????  :cry4`  Wish I saw this when I had my rudder off last year.  Has anyone tried this or anything similar? 

Am considering purchasing this anchor.   Does any MK I owner have this anchor mounted on the stock bow roller?   I understand the bail would need to be replaced, but am wondering if that is all I need to do.


Main Message Board / ST4000 autopilot problem
« on: January 03, 2012, 06:10:15 PM »
Autopilot stopped working one day this past summer   When in auto, the compass reading never changed, and the motor never actuated.  It read “A034”.  When in standby mode the reading never changed either, it read “C034”, with the C flashing.

I verified the motor worked by pressing the +10 and -10 keys. 

I also tried the compass deviation correction routine (slow 360 degree circle), but it never displayed the deviation, as I sort of  expected.

My first thought was the fluxgate compass died, but I did a functional (resistance) test as described in the ST4000 service manual, and all connector pin resistances were in spec. 

So I removed the control head this week with the intent of sending it to Raymarine for checkout.  I just found out they no longer service the head, so I am stuck trying to figure this out for myself.   I can gamble and try to find a used head somewhere, but I am unsure if the problem really is the control head or maybe is the compass. 

Has anyone ever experienced this type failure, or can offer some troubleshoot advice?


Main Message Board / Weeping Rudder - Next steps.........
« on: December 02, 2011, 08:03:37 AM »
Several findings have me wondering what to do next…..  the rudder showed weeping with rust stains when the boat was pulled several weeks ago.  This week I drilled a few inspection holes in the sides of the rudder, and when I found water, I drilled quite a few more.  Black gooey water and muck drained out of several of the holes in one area.  Some dripped a bit of clear water surrounding the black water, but by and large the rest of the rudder foam was dry.   I’m guessing the foam decomposed in this one area, causing the void and black stuff.   I never did see any rusty water drain out, but it is possible it was in there with the black stuff.   The void is not too large, maybe an inch or two wide, and 6” vertical, located port side alongside the rudder shaft.  Starboard side is almost all dry.   
I also found the black water when I pumped the standing water out of the rudder tube from topside.
The next finding was when I dropped the rudder to get a look at the shaft where it enters the rudder.  I saw corrosion around the shaft which appears to be surface, but difficult to tell.    Photos of the shaft corrosion and drain holes are attached.

So I am debating my next moves, and if I should be considering a new rudder or not. 

Next step I am considering is to gently drill into the corroded areas of  the shaft  to see how deep the corrosion is.  Will need to do in several areas around the shaft.   If  I see clean metal without drilling far, I suppose I am OK, and have not compromised shaft strength. 

I will also see what has drained out of the holes in the two weeks since drilling them.  Also am considering (but really don’t want to do) using a hole saw to remove a 3” portion of the skin where the void is so I can inspect the shaft and internal steel plate for corrosion.   But based on prior postings (no known stock/plate separation failures), I am not sure this is necessary.

I am looking for comments from anyone else who went through this, as well as suggestions/improvements to my next steps.   Did anyone else see black water/goo?  Does my shaft corrosion look bad?  Maybe they all look that way after 20 years? 
And last, I hate to ask……..has anyone purchased a new rudder lately?  Latest price I found in a search of this forum was close to $2200 plus shipping in 2009.  Yikes.    Thanks in advance for your help ….

Main Message Board / Stiff steering and quadrant corrosion
« on: November 19, 2011, 06:17:39 PM »
The steering stiffened up noticably duing the half hour motor to the winter haulout marina yesterday.  After haul, I inspected inside and out, and saw nothing.  It appears the stiffness is in the rudder, and not the wheel or cables.  I will try adding some oil when I inspect the packing gland - maybe that willl help.  During inspection I noticed big-time corrosion on the top side of the steering quadrant.  Lots of white powder - almost looks like a coating of snow.   A photo is attached though it does not show too good.  Is quadrant corrosion common?  Not sure why it would corrode so much, as it should be dry. Aluminum quadrant against stainless rudder shaft - has anyone ever installed a zinc on the quadrant? 

Main Message Board / Need AC charge - Upper Chesapeake
« on: May 26, 2011, 02:40:36 PM »
Does anyone know of a marine AC service tech in the upper Chesapeake area?  Located Middle River

It’s time to rebed a leaking chainplate, and I’m thinking of using butyl rubber instead of my usual polysulfide with hope that it will last longer.  I’m not sure if this will work though.  I’m looking for tips/ advice for this job. 

I saw Mainesail’s excellent write-up on rebedding stanchions with butyl tape, and that seems like a fairly straightforward process.  Chainplates, on the other hand, have a gap surrounding them and the deck cutout.  This is normally filled with polysulfide (or whatever your  choice of goop is) prior to bedding and screwing down the rectangular deckplate.  So what is the best way to fill this gap with butyl rubber?  My plan is to clean out the gap as best as I can and then fill by cramming bits of butyl tape into the gaps until it is filled and flush with the deck (easier said than done?). Then I will bed the deckplate over top of this with strips of tape in a similar fashion as Mainesail outlined for  stanchion bases.  Since there is a also a small gap between the chainplate and the deckplate, some butyl will be visible, and exposed to the sun.  I assume (hope) it is UV resistant, as butyl rubber is used in roofing.

I am concerned that the two screws which secure the deckplate to the deck will not exert enough pressure to adequately squeeze the butyl , and  I may end up with stripped holes.   I already use oversize screws  here.

I am also concerned that the butyl might not stick well to the chainplate, because the pressure is not directly on (orthogonal to) the chainplate, but rather is downward (parallel to the chainplate).

So as I write this, I am starting to convince myself that butyl might not work for this application.  Anyone have any thoughts to share?  Maybe I’ll be the guinea pig?

Main Message Board / Velcro dots for curtains
« on: August 09, 2010, 07:14:45 PM »
I am looking to find replacements for the velcro dots that the salon curtains stick to when "closed" or covering the window.  The dots are 1" diameter, beige in color.  The dots look to be adhesive backed, and mounted on a disk which is then screwed into the wall above the port.   I found one supplier of the adhesive dots at $25 for a roll of 800!!   I'll gladly share if others are interested, and there is no cheaper alternative available.

Main Message Board / Boat US Christmas Cards
« on: October 13, 2009, 07:16:55 PM »
Just got the yearly sample pack of Boat US Christmas cards.  Is that a C34 on one of them?  Sure looks it to me

Main Message Board / Rudder stops and broken steering cables
« on: July 09, 2009, 08:29:12 PM »
There was a post last year where the need for rudder stops was questioned.  Well, here is plenty of reason to have them……..

Our steering cable broke during a tack in a narrow channel the other day.  (For you Chesapeake sailors, it was the entrance to the Magothy River).  The ultimate cause of the break was a misalignment between the molded fiberglass  rudder stop, and the rudder stop post located on the steering quadrant.  The misalignment allowed the cable end to ride up on the steering gear located at the top of the pedestal..   The cable broke at the thimble where it attaches to the chain .  The broken cable was frayed, and the thimble was mangled.  It appeared that the fraying had occurred over a long period of time as the thimble rode up onto the gear each time the rudder was turned hard to starboard.

Wear marks on the rudder stop show it worked at one point, but the worn rubber bushing on the rudder stop post eventually allowed  the post to pass right by the stop.  The attached photo shows the wear marks on the molded fiberglass stop.  The rubber bushing shown in the photo is an oversize replacement which temporarily fixes the problem. 

The second photo shows the top of the rudder post.  See the offset to starboard?  If the post was centered properly during manufacture, there would have never been a rudder stop alignment problem.  This problem took 17 years to show up!

You might want to check to see that your rudder stops are present, aligned, and working properly.   Easy enough to do, and will prevent a repeat of our experience.  I might add that this bit of bad luck ended nicely, as we got to our destination using the emergency tiller, rafted up with a friend as scheduled. and he got us access to a car.  We were able to get to WM and make up a new cable.   Had it all repaired the next morning.   Made a spare cable while I was at it. 

I  am surprised the rudder post was offset so much.  Seems it should be easy to keep it in line during
manufacture.  Has anyone seen this before?

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