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Topics - John Langford

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Main Message Board / Replacing M35BC fuel pump
« on: May 25, 2017, 11:09:38 AM »
I just replaced the mechanical Facet cube fuel pump on my M35BC with the contemporary Facet solid state cube fuel pump FAC 40105. It was an easy exchange. The replacement pump was exactly the same size as the original so the mounting holes on the engine could be reused. The fittings connecting the fuel line at both ends of the pump were also reusable. The only additional work required is to add a 3 amp inline fuse. Assumedly the solid state pump is more sensitive to electrical spikes than the mechanical one. I lost almost no fuel in the exchange so that running the pump for a few seconds before starting up got rid of any air in the line if there was any. I have subsequently been for a cruise and the pump performed flawlessly.

My original pump had developed a very slow leak from within the pump at the input end. 

Be sure you buy the new pump from a reputable dealer. I used Aircraft Spruce that supplies equipment for planes. The service was excellent. There are cheaper knock offs of the pump around. The price should be around $50.

Main Message Board / Stack pack pros and cons
« on: September 22, 2016, 09:21:07 AM »
I am reposting this from another forum where it was lost in a broader discussion.

I have the dutchman and like it but I cruise a lot and every afternoon and morning slacken or tighten the Dutchman monofilaments and put on or take off the sail cover, deal with the sail ties etc. I also need a new sail cover and have been thinking about the stack pack option. The pros look obvious: no hauling around of canvas cover, faster deployment of main etc. But what about the cons? Do the sides of the bag bang around when the wind gets up? Does the bag interfere with the loosening of the loose footed main when going downwind. Can the lazy jacks be left up or do they interfere with the sail when sailing? If you don't put on the nose piece all the time are you degrading the luff of main significantly? Are some manufacturers' models better than others? For instance I notice that Doyle seems to use very heavy lines for the lazy jacks instead of something thin and light like Spectra.

I would be interested in hearing views from those who have a stack pack of some kind.

Main Message Board / Voltage oscillations while charging
« on: May 23, 2016, 10:46:09 AM »
I still have a 1998 Heart Interface incharge external regulator managing a Leece Neville 105 amp alternator. This has worked well overall for 17 years. I cruise for two to three weeks at a time with occasional nights at marinas. I only rarely take my 4 Trojan 105 house bank down below 100 amp hours so my bulk charge rate never exceeds 60-70amps with the voltage set at 14.6 or so. The alternator seems to run at a reasonable temperature but I don't monitor that electronically.

To this point, the only odd things I have noticed are tach oscillations and erratic voltage and current readings on my e-meter at startup when the battery bank is fully charged after a night on the AC battery charger. This seems to stop after a few minutes of running when I add loads like the blower or the frig starts cycling. I don't understand this but I believe others have reported similar phenomena. To this point I have been just living with it.

However, recently I have noticed that the voltmeter at the helm is quivering most of the time when the alternator is bulk charging and the e-meter tells me that the voltage is jumping around between 14.50 and 14.85. The belt is tight and there is no slippage.

So here is my question. I think this a new development.  Does anyone know if that much oscillation in voltage is something to be concerned about?

Main Message Board / Fittings below waterline
« on: April 16, 2016, 01:18:23 PM »
I have just had what I think is the original elbow connecting my marelon thru hull to the output hose on the macerator pump split. Fortunately I am present and looking at it whenever the valve is open so there was no problem.

BUT, in the course of replacing it I realized that it was a PVC 1" barb to 3/4" female threaded elbow connected to a short threaded BRASS coupling connected to the Marelon valve. Looking at other thruhulls I found the exactly similar arrangement for the 1" ID galley sink drain. Also the elbow connecting the 3/4 shower/reefer drain to its thru hull is unreinforced nylon. Finally the fittings connecting the raw water filter to its input and output  hoses consist of ABC PLASTIC reducers and unreinforced nylon elbows or tailpieces.

From what I understand of ABYC STANDARDS, PVC, ABS and nylon are verboten below the waterline and all of the above thru hull setups are below the waterline. But my boat had its first insurance survey recently and the surveyor said nothing about any of this.

Some questions:
Are the above arrangements common to all MK IIs?
Are my concerns about the materials used misplaced?
Has anyone else tried to redo these arrangements using marelon elbows, tailpieces and reducers?
Does anyone know if the big black raw water filter is marelon or is it a heavy plastic knockoff?

Main Message Board / Moving primary winches
« on: March 14, 2016, 01:10:16 PM »
I was interested in moving the primary winches on my MK II  aft along the coaming towards the steering station to make it easier to tack and adjust the foresail when single handing. The position I settled on was about half the distance between the present which position and the steering wheel. I asked Gerry Douglas about it and he advised me against doing so because of the relative weakness of the coaming in the area of the large port cockpit locker lid. He did not offer an opinion on the starboard side. The fact that I run only a 130% genoa did not appear to alter his view. BTW, he responded very quickly to my e-mailed question.

Has anyone else had any thoughts about making the primary winches more accessible to a single hander? As it stands, I have to move in front of the wheel to tack and then get up and get forward every time I want to make an adjustment in the sail. In an area of flukey and variable winds that can get a bit tedious. Don't even get me started on the issues associated with managing the mainsheet when running dead downwind in a bit of a blow.

Main Message Board / Cleaning the holding tank:a disgusting story
« on: November 27, 2015, 11:03:18 AM »
A warning: sensitive readers should move on the next topic on the message board!

I recently completed an in-the-boat clean out of my 15 year old holding tank. Very worthwhile but not much fun. I took this on as I noticed that the capacity of the holding tank seemed diminished and occasionally the macerator pump seemed to be labouring when I was pumping out the tank offshore. When I opened the tank access port I noticed two things beyond the obvious evidence of recent use. First, the side and especially the sloped surfaces of the tank were covered with a heavy layer of dense but brittle calcium deposit which broke into slabs and detached from the sides of the tank when prodded smartly but carefully with a large screwdriver. Second, there was a significant build up of sand-like sediment along the whole length of the bottom of the tank. This sediment was deep enough that it partially covered the outlet to the T leading to both the deck pump out fitting and the macerator pump.

I set about cleaning the tank. The key tool (beyond long rubber gloves) was a large powerful shop vac with a hose and end fitting that went into the tank access port and still allowed me to manoeuvre it inside the tank. I also needed to make up a prodding and scraping tools hose clamped to a strong but somewhat flexible metal handle that allowed me to first detach and break up the calcium deposits in the distant front end of the tank and pull those calcium chunks and sediment towards the aft end of the tank so I could further break the calcium chunks into smaller pieces and vacuum them and the sediment up. This was the most difficult and unpleasant part of a generally unpleasant chore. Along the way I had to keep pumping more water into the tank as the shop vac seemed to do a better job when the sediment etc. was wet. Several discrete trips to the marina heads on shore with the full shop vac in a wheelbarrow were required. Except for a scrupulous clean up, that's it. At my age, this is not a job I will have to do twice!

When I closed the system up and used the macerator for the first time with only water in the tank I noticed that the chopper made some strange noises as it dealt with smaller chunks of calcium and some sediment that had been inadvertently pushed into the exit lines during the cleaning process. From the sound of it, you would not want to expose the macerator to too much of that stuff.

I will entertain questions but will NOT provide photos:)

Main Message Board / Dutchman and new loose-footed main
« on: November 16, 2015, 05:43:13 PM »
Reading the loose footed main thread I remembered that I had not reported on an interesting experiment with my Dutchman system. I found that tightening the Dutchman prior to dropping the sail caused the control lines to pull the foot of my new loose footed main up in an arc even if the outhaul was fairly tight. This caused the sail to fall of the end of the boom when I dropped it. So I unstitched the two Dutchman "envelopes" from the foot of the sail, stitched some light line to the bottom of each one and slid them into the slot on the top of the boom. This allows me to really tighten the Dutchman control lines and now the sail falls properly onto the boom again. When going down wind and freeing up the outhaul, I also loosen off the control lines and this allows the main to assume its more curved shape. I read a note in a recent sailing mag issue that also noted that terminating the control lines on the boom rather than the sail also would allow me to change the control lines so that the sail folded in the opposite way thus reducing dangers associated with always folding the sail the same way. I haven't tried that yet.

Main Message Board / Another Autohelm 4000+ issue
« on: September 19, 2015, 06:05:28 PM »
The Autohelm drive ring on my wheel was making harsh sounds during a recent voyage and then broke into two parts making it impossible to steer until I removed it from the wheel. Not the best situation when underway😬 in this case the problem was the fracturing of two of the plastic posts supporting small plastic wheels which allow the rings to turn smoothly.

The good news is that I was able to fix the problem relatively easily. I didn't think gluing the posts back together would be strong enough so I drilled holes in the spot where the broken posts were secured to the ring and used longer metal screws through the body of the ring to reattach the posts around which the wheels revolve. It now runs quietly and smoothly.

Perhaps the more important message is that you shouldn't hesitate to gently pry the two parts of the drive ring apart if it isn't functioning properly. My local Raymarine technician warned against doing so arguing that in many instances it was impossible to put the two rings back together again. After my experience I think that opinion is rubbish and probably self serving. He wanted to sell me a new drive ring and motor. The two rings come apart easily and go back together without a problem.

Main Message Board / Raymarine autopilot update
« on: July 29, 2015, 01:39:15 PM »
Has anyone replaced the drive ring (the doughnut on the wheel itself) and motor on their 2000 era ST4000+ autopilot? The old one is black and the replacement unit is anodized aluminum I believe. I am interested to know if the connector to the back of the motor is the same (and wired the same) for both generations. I am getting some not healthy noises out of my drive ring and can see a need to replace it and the motor soon.

Main Message Board / Garhauer E Z Glide Genoa Car System
« on: February 25, 2015, 02:01:50 PM »
I just installed my new Garhauer adjustable genoa car system. It looks good overall although I haven't taken it sailing yet. However, I just wanted to mention that despite the fact that I specified that the system was for a Catalina 34 MK II, the cam cleat fitting at the aft end of the system was not welded to its track fitting. As a result the cam cleat fitting hits the gelcoat on the coaming when you pull on the line.

So be forewarned that Guido and company will not immobilize the cam cleat fitting without much more specific instructions than I provided. An earlier post on this board suggested that they were aware of this problem and would weld the two pieces together if you specified it was for a Catalina 34.

Main Message Board / Pedestal guard sealant
« on: December 16, 2014, 04:54:47 PM »
On earlier versions of the Mark II (mine is a 1999) the 1" tubes of the stainless steel pedestal guard terminate on the cockpit sole in black composite (plastic?) fittings which are screwed into the sole. The pedestal guard tubes are subject to a fair amount of stress as the top of the guard is a favourite hand hold in heavy weather. Because the sealant is applied between the bottom of these two fittings and the non-skid pattern on the sole I have had trouble keeping them watertight with the result that in heavy rain I can get leaks down into the pedestal base cover in the aft cabin and eventually down into the bilge. The later MK IIs overcame this obvious design flaw by elevating the termination point of the tubes above the cockpit sole and getting rid of the non-skid pattern at this point.

Has anyone with an earlier MK II model had the same problem and come up with an effective solution for sealing the connection between the pedestal tubes and the cockpit sole? In my case, the job is complicated by the fact that both tubes are filled with instrument wiring, making it difficult to lift the SS tubes and their plastic "feet" to clean under them and the cockpit sole non-skid before reapplying sealant. I think the last time around I used Sudbury Rule Elastomeric which has served me well in other circumstances in which fittings might move in use.

I was chatting with a very knowledgeable diesel mechanic and he mentioned that the Kubota engine coolant pump for the M35BC was less than half the price of the Universal replacement. Has anyone had to replace this pump and discovered the appropriate Kubota crossover number?

If you had a big enough tractor sales operation in the neighbourhood it might be possible to bring the pump in and compare with those available. But you need the exact number if ordering online as Kubota produces a number of variations (different connector locations) on this basic pump.

Beta Engines makes no effort to hide the identity of the Kubota engine which they marinize, even providing all the original tags and parts information with a new information. I wish that Universal/Westerbeke was as forthcoming.

Main Message Board / vented loop hose barbs
« on: May 28, 2014, 10:01:42 AM »
I am renewing the raw water hose from thru hull to exhaust riser on my 1999 Mark II. When I tried to remove the old hoses from the Forespar vented loop under the head sink, the 5/8" hose barbs came away with the hoses. It looks like the barbs were glued into the body of the vented loop, possibly with two part epoxy. Has anyone ever encountered this problem and tried to refasten the barbs into the body of the loop? I am looking for suggestions about adhesive options that work with Marelon. The hose barbs fit snuggly into the body of the loop but they definitely need to be secured with some form of adhesive.

Main Message Board / Lewmar Opening Port Gasket
« on: March 04, 2014, 11:16:47 AM »
I was getting leaking from one of my Lewmar #1 opening ports (1998 vintage). I read all the posts on the topic, replaced the two o-rings on the locking handles, and checked the frame bolts for tightness (they were tight) but the leak persisted. The frame sealant looked good and the water seemed to be coming from around the base of the black rubber gasket. So I removed the gasket, cleaned it and tried to refit it. And here is where I ran into a problem. It didn't seem to want to stay in place so I ran a bead of sealant around  the narrow crevice in the frame that was designed to retain the thin edge of the gasket and pressed the gasket into place. This seemed to work. A day later I sprayed the port with the hose and it seemed to be dry. But I haven't had a solid two day Pacific Northwest rain as the ultimate test.

I can't find any instructions from Lewmar online. Has everyone who has removed and refitted the black gasket has to use sealant to retain it?

Main Message Board / Raw water hose replacement
« on: September 21, 2013, 03:42:07 PM »
Does anyone know if there is any problem with using high quality auto radiator hose to replace the various runs of 5/8" ID raw water hose on the Universal M35BC. The marine equivalent is twice the price and looks very similar including the internal fibre reinforcement required to stiffen it. I am coming up to my 15 year insurance survey and don't want to be told that I have to  the job a second time. I am only considering it at all because the original hose is showing signs of superficial exterior cracking.

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