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Topics - John Langford

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Main Message Board / Mk II shaft log
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:54:29 AM »
Does anyone know the precise outside diameter of the shaft log on the MK II? I am going to replace my PSS shaft seal bellows and the old bellows covers too much of the shaft log to give me comfort about the measurement at the front end. Anyone who has installed a shaft seal or replaced the hose on the stuffing box might have this information filed away.

Main Message Board / Replacing PSS shaft seal bellows
« on: January 02, 2013, 01:04:59 PM »
I have had a PSS shaft seal since 1999. It works fine and I inspect it regularly for any sign of deterioration in the bellows or the graphite facing. No problem that I can see. The bellows don't look or feel brittle and there are no signs of cracking. The area aft of the engine in Calypso is very clean nad the bellows have never come into direct contact with oil or fuel. That said, the standard advice is to change the bellows every 5 years or so. Before I contemplate adding that task to my annual haulout this spring I would be interestd to know if others on the list have felt the need to replace their bellows as instructed or have experienced any form of deterioration in the bellows along the way.

Main Message Board / Another three stage smart regulator
« on: October 18, 2012, 04:11:40 PM »
I have been looking for alternatives to the Balmar three stage regulator after too many stories of (1) difficulty programming the beast  (2)  sensitivity to heat and (3) price. I just found the Sterling ProReg B which Electromaax in Toronto sells for around $175. It looks like a good option for alternators up to 100 amps. Note that Sterling recommends leaving the alternator's internal regulator installed as a backup in case the Sterling unit fails.


Has anyone used one of these regulators?

Main Message Board / Hard vang connection to mast
« on: August 03, 2012, 10:53:19 AM »
I recently had to replace the fork shaped fitting that connects the lower end of the Garhauer vang to the fitting at the base of the mast. The fork shaped fitting had cracked and broken across the top of one of the tines of the fork, bending back the other tine of the fitting presumably when I tightened down on the vang. If you have a 1999 vintage MK II you might want to inspect that fitting. I had a repair done locally so I didn't take the opportunity to ask Garhauer if they could still supply the fitting.

Main Message Board / Coaxial cable to masthead
« on: August 03, 2012, 10:46:10 AM »
My VHF radio (ICOM) reception capacity has fallen off dramatically so I did some tests and found that the radio receiver section was fine. So it has to be the coax run to the masthead or the antenna itself. Before going to the masthead to check out the antenna and the coax connection up there. I was wondering if any owners of a MK II who have taken your mast down could tell me how the coax cable running from the radio up through the mast support post in the cabin is connected at the base of the mast to the coax cable that runs up the mast itself. Since the whip antennas are generally pretty foolproof, I am assuming that it is one of the coax cables that is the problem. If so, I assume that I have to take the mast down if the cable has become wet and needs to be replaced. Since I am not too keen to do that I am also considering installing a new antenna on the pushpit or radar mast. So any advice about successful relocations of the VHF antenna at deck level would also be welcome.

BTW, the Shakespeare radio tester I used also provided the option of testing the radio's transmit capacity. In my case the 25 watt setting only produced about 12 watts and the 5 watt setting about 2 watts. The dealer who loaned me the tester said that this is not unusual in his experience.

Main Message Board / Door/drawer latches
« on: September 19, 2011, 02:42:11 PM »
If you own a MkII then your boat is full of the Swedish Mobella door catches. I have now broken the third one, all in the same way. The handle fractures away from the body of the latch. They are $24 each if you order replacements from Catalina Direct but it is possible to glue the handle back together again and put the broken latch back into service. Just release the locking device which allows you to retrieve the second half of the handle from within the body of the latch. Then glue the two pieces together using epoxy and 24 hours later you can put the latch back together again. For some help with the deconstruction and reassembly of the latches scroll the images at the bottom of this page:

BTW, the Catalina Direct website makes it clear that the original construction of the hendle was too flimsy. They claim that the replacements they are selling contain a "new and improved" handle assembly.

Main Message Board / Exhaust riser heat wrap
« on: August 03, 2011, 08:29:20 PM »
Has anyone had to rewrap their exhaust riser recently? I am just about to reinstall a repaired exhaust riser and wondered if a couple of layers of used wrap (which looks like 2" fibreglass tape) is enough to manage the heat from the manifold of the M35BC. Previously I had some bulky insulating material under the tape. It worked fine from an insulating perspective but it also obscured the leak that developed at one of the welds by soaking up the liquid. If I can get the insulation I need from a couple of layers of tape it would allow me to monitor the integrity of the rise much more effectively.

Any ideas appreciated.

Main Message Board / ST50 speed sensor
« on: August 03, 2011, 08:15:16 PM »
My ST50Tridata speed sensor unit failed recently. A previous thread on this site and even the Raymarine web site both note that you can't find a direct replacement for the ST50 , necessitating the purchase of the complete ST60 sensor and thru-hull unit and lifting the boat out of the water to install both. My local Raymarine dealer insists that he has found a replacement for the ST50 sensor unit which is the right OD (1 1/4") to fit into the existing thru hull fitting and can then be wired to the display using a junction box. It is $109 and should be here in a week. I will let you know how it goes.

Main Message Board / Backup regulator
« on: July 24, 2011, 12:08:15 PM »
Many of us have installed external smart regulators with more powerful alternators. I was wondering if anyone had identified a suitable, inexpensive external auto regulator unit that might be used as a backup if the smart regulator failed mid-cruise. The previous smart regulator I had (made by Cruising Equipment in Seattle which was swallowed up by Xantrex, I believe) actually had connections for a backup regulator. I appreciate that the backup would not be "smart" but at least it would do the job until one could replace the failed unit.

The idea is that if I can identify and buy such a unit it and add it to my spares, it almost guarantees that my Xantrex unit will never fail:)

Main Message Board / Mast wiring
« on: May 29, 2011, 06:33:02 PM »
I was interested in changing the coaxial cable run to my VHF antenna at the masthead but I realize that I don't know how that run is structured. Did Catalina provide connectors for the coax, mast lights, etc. above the deck at the base of the mast so that the mast can be removed?

Note: I have a 1999 MkII with a deck stepped mast.

Main Message Board / Storing second propane tank
« on: January 30, 2011, 08:59:06 PM »
I have just removed a reluctant Espar hydronic furnace unit from my MkII. Tearing out the furnace and valves, gallons of ant-freeze, the head tank, many many feet of wire and heater hose and three fan units gave me incredible pleasure. I am now moving on to install a beautiful Dickinson P12000 SS propane heater on the port side bulkhead above the settee. It will use under an amp per hour to run fan and solenoid and be simplicity itself...with a flickering romantic flame to boot!

So here is my question. I want to carry an extra 10lb aluminum propane tank and I wondered if anyone had come up with a good way of storing it. The options so far would include
- putting it on or even in (by cutting a 10 1/4" hole in the seat and creating a SS holder like the one for pop tins) one of the cockpit pushpit seats which I rarely use in the Pacific Northwest
- building a holder for it on one of the seats on the swim platform with a strap to retain it to the transom
- creating a longer outboard motor holder hung from the rail (since I mostly use the heater after I have put the outboard away for the fall and winter) to which I could strap the tank.

Any and all ideas gratefully received

Main Message Board / MkII mast head anchor light bulb replacement
« on: November 16, 2010, 05:03:37 PM »
I finally got to the top of the mast and replaced the very inefficient incandescent anchor light bulb with Superbrightleds tower bulb #1156-CW18-T. It fits inside the bulb cover, works like a charm and draws almost no power. The price was $18.95. A very good and inexpensive upgrade and made in the USA.

Main Message Board / Flexifold three blade pitch
« on: July 03, 2010, 03:04:04 PM »
I have just installed the three blade flexifold prop on my Mark II. After looking over the posts and hearing the recommendation of Dan Tucker  at Flexifold .I went for the 10" pitch

There was one dissenting voice on the list that found the 10" pitch to be overpropped. That dissenting voice is right! I am hittting 6.4 knots at 2000 rpms (tach recently adjusted using electronic tach) and 6.9 knots at 2250rpms. At 2500 rpms the swim grid is awash and I cannot get the engine above 2700rpms (with smoke) when 2900-3000 rpms is recommended in the manual. Dan has agreed to change the blades but I thought others would be interested in my results.

BTW it is a beautiful prop and goes smoothly and quietly into forward and reverse. Still lots of prop walk in reverse. The sailing preformance is excellent with virtually no perceptible drag.

I am a bit surprised that so many other users have not found the 15x10 to be overpropped.

Main Message Board / Coolant change M35B
« on: March 08, 2010, 12:33:06 PM »
I went to change my M35B engine coolant for the first time and ran into a snag or two. First, the manual points you to coolant drain plug on the starboard side of the block above the forward engine mount. But when I opened the plug and took off the radiator cap I got no flow whatsoever. I noticed in a later M35B manual from Westerbeke that they show a picture of a different drain plug but I can't locate anything resembling that drawing on the engine.

I then wondered if undoing the petcock on the heat exchanger would drain the block as well as the HX but it didn't want to move with hand pressure and I was reluctant to put a tool to the flimsy handle.

Finally, the manual shows a petcock on the top of the thermostat for bleeding air while refilling. I have no petcock in that location so I was wondering what alternative techniques M35B owners have resorted to...assuming I can get the old coolant out:)

I have searched the archives but found nothing specific on a M35B coolant change. Any advice appreciated.

Main Message Board / Dutchman on new sail
« on: January 10, 2010, 08:12:57 PM »
Has anyone modified a new main sail to accommodate an existing OEM Dutchman system? I am awaiting delivery of a new FX mainsail and instead of buying a new Stackpack type lazy jack system I was wondering whether adapting the new sail for the existing Dutchman system (which has always worked well) wouldn't be a better option. The new sail will be loose-footed so the Dutchman tabs will have to be fastened to the foot of the sail (but without the connection to the boom). The fairleads for the monofilament will also have to be added after the sail arrives. Am I forgetting anything?

Any advice welcome.

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