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Topics - John Langford

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Main Message Board / Grohe sink faucet repair
« on: January 02, 2010, 03:43:04 PM »
A friend with the same Grohe galley sink faucet in a C400 that we have in the C34 MK II passed on the serial number for the "ceramic headport" required if your faucet begins to drip or the action on one of the faucet handles becomes overly rough. It is: Grohe 45 882 000 883. They are quite expensive but even if you need two the total is quite a bit less than replacing the unit.

I haven't done this yet so please bring along your faulty "headport" to be sure that it matches the one you are being offered as a replacement.

What ever happened to faucets that only required a replacement washer?

Main Message Board / New main ordered
« on: January 02, 2010, 03:10:51 PM »
I just ordered a new cross cut main for my MK II tall rig from Bill James at FX Sails. What a pleasant and informative experience. He spent 45 minutes on the phone with me, talked me out of buying the offshore version of the main (which would have been more expensive) and generally gave me at least as much professional attention as I have ever received from UK or North in person. And the price is outstanding for a sail made with premium dacron in the United States. More than can be said for the so-called majors. With the difference I can buy a stack pack of some sort and still save money.

The sail will be delivered in 5-6 weeks and I am looking forward to seeing if it lives up to its promise. I will report back.

Happy New Year all.

Main Message Board / Lengthening battery boxes
« on: August 24, 2009, 10:00:20 PM »
Since I just asked a question, maybe I can compensate by providing some useful information.

My original 4D house batteries recently failed after 9 years and when I did the measurements for new deep cycle 4Ds or 4 6 volt golf cart batteries, I found that the lovely original equipment fibreglass battery boxes were too short for either option. So I  lengthened them to accommodate the new batteries but still fit into the space under the starboard saloon bench of my MK II.

To lengthen them I first made a male mold of the inside of one of the box using wax paper and expanding foam. I then ground down a 6 inch area midway along each box and cut them both in half. I put the mold inside the first box with a flexible layer of plastic sheeting (to keep the heat of the resin kicking off from melting the mold) and a new layer of wax paper, adjusted the length of the two box sections to the desired new length and laid up about five layers of roving and mat. Repeat the process with the mold and the second box, do a bit of tidying up with a grinder when the glassing has kicked off and you now have two longer boxes.

The two pairs of Trojan 105s are like a miracle after nursing the commercial 4Ds along for the last couple of years. I strongly recommend this upgrade.

Main Message Board / Black dust
« on: August 24, 2009, 09:08:42 PM »
Over the last month, while cruising, my starboard aft engine mount has created little piles of black dust at the back end of the mount on the engine bed. The dust seems to come from under the mount. As the dust increases it falls aft off the back of the engine bed and settles on the floor at the back of the stringer. This is caused by engine vibration I presume. If I clean up the dust a new pile is created after a few days.

The mount seems fine otherwise. The rubber or neoprene seems ok (not sticky or degraded in any obvious way) and the engine runs and sounds the same (very smooth) with no alteration in vibration that I can discern. The bolts holding the engine to the mount and the mount to the bed are all tight and nothing has moved. There is nothing similar happening at any of the other mounts.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? The mounts are original equipment which makes them more than 9 years old.

Main Message Board / Lewmar folding wheel
« on: October 01, 2008, 09:48:21 PM »
A search suggests that a couple of owners at least have replaced their Edson 40" wheel with the comparable Lewmar folding wheel. Any thoughts from anyone who has made the switch? Does it make it possible to walk by the wheel without climbing up on the seat? Does the Ray Marine autopilot fit ok? Any problem fitting the wheel to the Edson pedestal?

Christmas is coming so I would appreciate any advice.

Main Message Board / Kiwi Prop replacement
« on: August 21, 2008, 03:51:10 PM »
I wanted to report very fine customer service on the part of Kiwi Props in New Zealand.

Without warning one day in late June my 2 1/2 year old Kiwi feathering prop refused to go into reverse. In fact, when you put the boat into reverse the engine stopped immediately. The boat had just been hauled and the prop greased and painted. A local diver confirmed that there was nothing hanging on it and the prop and blades were moving freely. There was also nothing wrong with the transmission.

When I reported the symptoms by e-mail to John Blundell at Kiwi Props, he immediately replied that there had been an internal bearing binding problem with a couple of dozen props in the range of my serial number (#6081) and he offered to replace the prop at no cost. A week later I had a new prop by courier which was easily fitted and works perfectly. I sent the original back to New Zealand by surface mail.

I consider this to be service above and beyond. Since a fair number of 34 owners have bought Kiwi props I thought this story might be of interest.

Main Message Board / diesel in aft water tank
« on: August 05, 2008, 04:59:06 PM »
After all these years making sure I had the right tank, I managed to put one gallon of diesel into the almost full (42 gallons) aft water tank on the first day of our summer cruise. That was two weeks ago. Beyond feeling incredibly stupid, I am looking for information on fixing the problem.

Here is what I have done so far. A nearby marine facility pumped everything out of the tank within 2 hours of the event. I then added about 15 gallons of water and a lot of Sunlight dishwashing detergent and went sailing.  I welcomed passing power boats as it helped slosh the brew around in the tank! After a week I pumped out that material (no sign of diesel) and repeated the soap and water treatment. The second treatment has been sloshing around for a week.

So, what do I do now? One suggestion was to pull the tank (I am assuming I can get it out through the aft cabin), put in an inspection port and get it steam cleaned. Another approach would be to clean it in place. I saw Jon Schneider's advice on the Board re using Oxyclean, but I couldn't find any other references to cleaning water tanks fouled with diesel.

Any advice about cleaning the tank would be welcome. We do use the tank for drinking water, coffee etc. so I have to get it really clean.

BTW, I don't need any help with the self-recrimination. I am very good at that on my own.

Main Message Board / Golf cart batteries
« on: November 18, 2007, 08:31:51 PM »
Following up on a couple of threads about batteries, I would like to know if anyone with a 1999 vintage MkII (Calypso is #1431) has replaced their 4Ds with 4 East Penn, Interstate or Trojan 6 volt golf cart batteries. I have done measurements of the boxes holding the existing 4Ds and I am concerned that the golf cart batteries won't quite fit them. I would like to make the switch but I don't want to have to cut up or replace the existing boxes.

If you have done it I would love to hear about it.

Main Message Board / Oily air filter
« on: October 11, 2007, 09:47:09 PM »
The air filter on my M35B does not appear to be dirty but it always shows evidence of a little oil in the metallic filter element itself and the foam cover over the filter intake holes. I am assuming that this oil comes from the valve cover blow-by hose that terminates against the side of the filter.

Is there any way to get rid of that oil flow? There isn't much and it doesn't leak down into the sump or cause any other significant nuisance. But it offends my sense of order!

Main Message Board / PBO on Honda generators
« on: September 30, 2007, 12:10:44 PM »
Some of you may have run into the British magazine, Practical Boat Owner. It is filled with very useful stuff for - guess what - practical boat owners. The most recent edition has this answer for a reader who was worried that he got a ground fault reading on his polarity tester when he was using the Honda 1000EU generator to run his battery charger. Adjusting the prose for North American English and the fact that we use 110 and not 230v AC, the answer was as follows:

"Don't panic!. The Honda generator's output and the AC power you receive when in a marina are set up in different ways. 110V AC power from the grid is properly grounded, but also the Neutral and Ground conductors are bonded together. The Honda's Neutral and Ground are not connected together therefore your polarity tester will show a ground fault. This does not mean the Honda unit is unsafe. The same goes for some DC to AC inverters."

Main Message Board / Xantrex chargers and Honda generators
« on: September 16, 2007, 11:04:30 AM »
I posed this question to Xantrex Technical Support:
Can you please tell me the maximum input AC wattage that the Truecharge 20+ and 40+ battery chargers would require?  I occasionally want to use a Honda 1000 watt AC generator to power the charger and want to be sure that it that the model I buy does not require more than the generator will deliver.

And I got this reply:
The specifications you asked for are as follows:

TC20+  414W at 120V
TC40+  765W at 120V

The total input power required will be higher if the input voltage is lower than 120VAC.  Inversely, if the input voltage is higher than 120VAC, the total power required will be lower.  The maximum power the charger will require is at 90VAC (the lowest voltage the charger will accept) and is as follows:

TC20+  585W
TC40+  1080W

I have installed the Truecharge 20+ and would expect the Honda to run it comfortably in "econo-fuel" mode.

It is interesting that one cannot directly extrapolate input AC wattage requirements from output DC wattage (which in the case of the Truecharge 20+ would be about 264 watts as the charger - true to its name - does deliver up to 22 amps).

Main Message Board / Lavac head
« on: September 10, 2007, 10:03:57 PM »
When I tried "Lavac" in the search function I was asked if I meant "Lava" which I thought was quite humorous in the context of the inquiry. The search suggests that no one has tried to replace the OE head with a Lavac unit. This is the manual toilet that uses a separately located diaphram pump to create a vacuum and thereby empty the head after use. It is reported to use very little water and therefore greatly extend the life of the holding tank while cruising. A number of users have reported great satisfaction with the Lavac. See:

Is there anyone out that has secretly been enjoying the pleasures of the Lavac who would care to weigh in on this compelling topic?

Main Message Board / Mast head anchor light bulb
« on: September 07, 2007, 08:57:33 PM »
I asked this question before but it was buried in a long exchange about lighting.

I want to replace my masthead anchor light bulb with an LED bulb. I have Hella nav lights at deck level on my 1999MK II but I haven't climbed to the masthead to see if the anchor light is also Hella and check the bulb type. Does anyone know if it is a Hella "all around" light and if the bulb is a Bay(onet) 15S? I am hoping that the DR LED Polar Star 40 is the right bayonet bulb but I don'twant to order one if it isn't. See:

Main Message Board / Piezoelectric engine alarm
« on: August 27, 2007, 11:28:32 AM »
The Catalina engine panel (for the Mk-IIs at least) incorporates a continuous/intermittent (oil prsssure/water temperature) piezoelectric engine alarm made by ICC, Mfr no: BRP4535S -24-CD. The tend to fail because of their exposure to the elements. I found the exact alarm at Allied Electronics ( for $7.95. They ship fast from Texas for Americans and for Canadians, from Toronto, thus avoiding onerous customs brokerage costs. Very good service.

Main Message Board / Lighting upgrade - LEDs
« on: June 11, 2007, 03:25:48 PM »
I just upgraded almost all the lights on board my MkII using LED lights made by Doctor LED (see and distributed in Canada by Steveston Marine in Vancouver. All of the Frilight fixtures in the headliner take the MR-16 LED. I also replaced the dome light over the sink with the Doctor LED dome light and a couple of brass gooseneck lamps took the G-4 replacement bulb. With all 8 lights on I am drawing .8amps in toto as opposed to ten times that amount with the halogen and Xenon combination I had before. The light is bright, white and easy on the eyes. The LEDs are set up to run on 11-15 amps so you can run them while the battery charger is churning out 14.4 volts apparently without damaging them. The life span is 10,000 hours so let me know if you would like to be mentioned in my will.

This is a great upgrade for power stingy cruisers. DoctorLED has a replacement bulb for Aqua-signal anchor lights. It is on my project list but in the meantime my Davis cockpit light will have to do.

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