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Messages - Patches

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Main Message Board / Re: V-birth storage
« on: April 16, 2019, 02:42:23 PM »
Storage really is the Achilles heal of our wonderful boats.

I thought about doing the same, and decided on doors on the vertical surfaces on either side of the V-berth--above where the filler piece rests when not in place.  I found the Teak Isle (12 X 12) "drop in door" at Great Lakes Skipper, GLS Stock #: 7200354-5H294, and bought some twist latches on Amazon to secure them.  Cut the openings using a multi-tool and put them in using 4000 adhesive.  (sorry no photos)  I wanted doors I could remove completely for access, because anything with a hinge tends to reduce the opening size and/or require a certain swing radius, and complicates getting things in and out easily.  I have seen from photos that some owners have used a teak 12 X 12 louvered door in this area--similar to the one for the waste bin in the galley-- and these seem to be readily available online. Again, I didn't want a hinged door.

I also thought about using hatches under the V-berth cushions at the aft end (near the drawers and hanging locker) with integral bins under.  Because the port side space underneath is much smaller than the starboard side, and the taper of the hull side, I decided against this.


Main Message Board / Re: Steaming light solenoid
« on: April 12, 2019, 06:29:27 AM »
I think my boat would like to be adopted by Noah.  Great solutions, great execution.



Checked my setup--since we are just a couple of hull numbers apart.  My bilge drain line has a loop in it. The loop is suspended by a zip tie screwed to the underside of the cockpit on the starboard side, aft of the quadrant.  Looks half-a**ed, but has been doing the job for 28 years.  If you have enough excess hose you could try something similar for the cost of one zip tie and 20 minutes of level 6 boat yoga.


Main Message Board / Re: Diesel in the bilge!!
« on: March 18, 2019, 09:58:40 AM »

I think the bet way to prevent the corrosion is to apply the neoprene strips as described in my post above.  Was easy for me because I did the work on my new tank before installation.  A bit of a hassle if trying to do it on your existing tank.  It is a one person job to empty and remove the tank until you have to get the tank from the aft cabin and up the stairs into the cockpit.  Then a second set of hands is needed.

After looking at the inside of my old tank, it was pretty "chunky/dirty" inside.  If it hasn't been done, I would probably remove the tank to clean it and to check the condition of the bottom for corrosion.  If the tank is fine, you could apply the neoprene strips after cleaning the inside.  If it looks suspect or a leak is detected, then replace the tank and apply the neoprene strips then.

I'd give it a "6" on a scale of 1-10 for boat yoga.


I put in an access hatch as one of my first projects after I purchased my boat last April.  It has made a huge difference in all the work I have performed on the engine since then:  remove and replace heat exchanger, paint rear of engine, remove exhaust flange, remove and install new exhaust riser, all new engine hoses, and all new wiring.

I found the perfect hatch at Great Lakes Skipper for about $90.  The hatch removes completely, and it is about the maximum size to cut into the panel below the shelf behind the motor: 11" X 23".  Part number is 582-1123-05.

Simple to install. Trace the cutout of the hatch frame.  Use a small hole saw to cut the radius of the corners, and your multi-tool to cut the straight sections.  Rough sand the edges of the cutout with 80 grit.  Drill pilot holes for the frame and screw in place.  The frame is gasketed, so no caulk needed for mounting.

Sorry for no pics.


Main Message Board / Re: New Member seeking alternator input
« on: March 10, 2019, 09:32:43 AM »
Thanks Ron:

I re-did my electrical from the Instrument Panel to the engine, using the many helpful suggestions of the members on this forum.  New instrument panel, new wiring harness, fuse on the panel feed wire (red 10 awg), new negative buss bar coming off the starter to pick up other negative wires in the engine compartment, new alt output wire (8 awg) and alt neg (8 awg).

Everything does what it should when I turn the key to "on".  Just waiting for the alternator to come back!


Main Message Board / Re: Diesel in the bilge!!
« on: March 10, 2019, 09:15:02 AM »
Hope it's not your tank. Just installed my new one yesterday, and added diesel from the jerry jugs back in.  Your photos are exactly what I saw about one month ago when I looked in my bilge. Look under the head sink, and with a flashlight you should be able to detect a very thin diesel "slick" coming down from the the forward area of the tank.  Lay a flat paper towel in that area to see it if will take up the diesel.

Noah is spot on about pinhole leaks beneath the tanks.  Catalina installed these directly on the glassed-in shelf on the port side, allowing for the inevitable moisture to collect underneath and the process of pinhole corrosion to begin.

Before installing my new tank, I "glued" 2 inch neoprene strips, 1/4" thick- with two inch gaps in between- with 5200 and let it cure for a week.  No contact between the shelf and the tank bottom on the new tank, and no opportunity for corrosion in the future.  Pretty simple to do, and inexpensive as well. Neoprene came in a 10' roll, purchased on Amazon for about $20.  You'll need to buy the 5200 in caulking tube size, which made it very easy to work with.   The process was:

(1) invert the new tank on a flat surface taking care to use several 2X4s spaced underneath to keep the tank from resting on the vent tube or tank fittings.

(2) measure out the strips starting at the forward end of the tank. Cut them to the right length, then measure down another two inches and cut the next one.  Repeat until you have pre-cut all the strips.  When you get down to the pointy (aft) end of the tank, you will find it is best to run the final piece lengthwise.  It will only be about 4" long.

(3) tape the areas where the strips will be placed.  This allows consistent spacing, and the ability to later peel up the excess 5200 which will ooze out when you apply pressure.

(4) Put on vinyl gloves.  Apply the 5200 liberally with the caulking gun to individual strips one at a time.  After you put on the 5200, use a plastic putty knife to spread it evenly along the bottom of the strip. Keep some type of solvent nearby to periodically clean the knife if it gets too tacky.  I  used acetone.

(5) Repeat until you reach the other end. Lay a long length of aluminum foil over the top. This is to prevent the piece of plywood from possibly getting stuck to a strip in the event that 5200 somehow finds its way on the top of one of the strips.   Carefully place a piece of 1/2" plywood, about 48" X 14",  on top of the foil top. Carefully, because the 5200 is still "wet" and will shift if you're not careful.  Now use those heavy, coffee table-type, books to add weight on top of the strips to compress them on to the tank bottom.

(6) Depending on what temperature you are working with--I moved this process inside the house which was about 65 degrees this winter--periodically check the tackiness of the 5200 which will set up over time.  I then removed the "weight" and smoothed the edges of the strips with a caulking tool to remove the excess 5200 before it fully set up.  Then I removed the tape strips.

(7) Add back the foil, piece of plywood, and weight.  Let sit for several more days until the 5200 fully sets up.  This will depend on the temp.

(8) Reinstall tank, new vent line (5/8") and fuel fill (1.5").

Finished product only raises the tank 1/4", and does not interfere with the operation of the manual fuel shutoff located on the tank. 


Main Message Board / Re: New Member seeking alternator input
« on: March 08, 2019, 05:49:51 PM »

The Arco/Mando 60125 alternator is NOT a direct drop in for the Prestolite 51 amp which was original to my boat.  While everything else was a fit, the ear/tab size was about 3/16 wider than on the original alternator.  This created alignment problems with the belt.  Also, the pulley diameter was 2 7/8" vs. 2 5/8" which Ken pointed out would have required a tach recalibration.  Although Leece makes a 2 5/8" pulley you can put on, it would not fit on the 17MM shaft of the Arco.   ASE was very cool about it, and because I had not tried to mount it they allowed me to return it for a full refund. Good people.

I tried initially to find out if my original alternator could be rebuilt.  As I mentioned, my "local" shop--which is still a 40 minute drive--said it wouldn't be cost effective and recommended a new one.  Instead he tried to sell me one I knew wouldn't work because it had no external sense wire.

So I took my old alternator to another shop about an hour away to get a second opinion.  After looking it over, they bench tested it and told me it was putting out 50 amps.  "Nothing wrong with this."  Because it had ingested oil from the crank case breather, he is going to crack it open, check things, and give it a clean.  I'm glad I'll be able to re-use it.  I re-routed the breather tube to the air filter intake per the suggestion of Ken in the tech wiki.  Hopefully that will prevent me having to "check the oil" in my alternator going forward!

Thanks again to all this who helped me sort this out.  Saving now for my electrical upgrade in a few years when I can go to Maine Sail for my needs.


Main Message Board / Re: Fuel Tank Replacement - Plastic?
« on: March 01, 2019, 09:25:16 AM »
I've been trying to resolve my damaged tank issue with Ezell as well.  [Side Note:  my hull no. is 1016, and just two hulls later than Noah's, so the fuel tanks appear to have failed just about the same time.]

Anyway, I concur that the packaging from Ezell was not adequate, and exactly the same as what was described by Noah in his initial post.  I would say that if they continue to package tanks that way, there is a better than 50% chance that the mounting flange will be damaged during shipping.  If you purchase a tank from Ezell, I highly recommend that you ask "how do you protect the tank, taps, and mounting tab when packaging for shipment?" 

Don't get me wrong, Ezell's are very nice folks, and make excellent tanks. You will just be in the position of having to straighten out the bent mounting flange before mounting the tank, and the tanks may sustain some additional scratches. They told me yesterday that all I needed to do was take a hammer and "tap" the bent corners on the mounting flange back into position.  This made it clear to me what the fix would be if I returned the tank, and that is not worth three weeks of my time to have them do it--which they estimated would take "less than a minute."  Plus, the box it came in was in such poor condition it could not be re-used.  Annoying.

Anyway, I plan to give it a go with a hammer, and then put 1/4" neoprene strips, 2" wide and spaced every 2", on the bottom with 5200 to keep the tank from sitting directly on the shelf to prevent future pinhole corrosion.  This method is well explained elsewhere on the inter web.

I also want to note that the vent on the Ezell tank appears to be positioned slightly further forward on the tank, which may require a longer vent hose to the fitting on the transom.



Main Message Board / Factory engine wiring questions
« on: February 23, 2019, 04:42:16 PM »
I have a 1990 C34 1.25.  I am putting my engine back together after making many of the suggested upgrades. Full disclosure:  I have a poor understanding--but getting better-- of all things electrical in my boat.

When hooking up the new harness, I note that I have two "4 AWG" positives coming off the "C" post of the battery selector switch and running to my engine compartment.

One of the 4 awg wires looks to be bundled with the two positive cables running from the selector switch (1 and 2) to the two batteries in the battery compartment.  It runs from the selector switch down under the macerator pump, takes a hard turn aft through conduit into the compartment under the head sink, and then goes around to the back side of the engine before ultimately attaching to the starter post. A negative follows the same path, and was bolted to the bell housing.

The second 4 awg wire runs from the "C" post down by the macerator and then out into the central bilge area.  From there it joins a negative wire in some clear tubing/housing and pops up in the floor of the engine compartment-roughly under the alternator.  This positive wire is also connected to the starter, but the negative was originally connected to the "-" on the starter--not the bell housing.

As some of you know, I am staying with a small 51 amp alternator, internally regulated, for a while before doing a larger battery bank upgrade in a few years.  I'm trying to figure out why I have two 4awg positives, and two 4awg negatives coming into the engine via different routes.  It would seem that a single 4awg positive and a single 4awg negative would handle it--No?

My new internally regulated alternator, with the AO and remote sense wires will run to the solenoid post, and should charge the batteries back through one of the 4awg positives to the "C" post on the selector switch, correct?

Or do I need to keep both of those 4 gauge positive wires connected to the starter?

If not, was the intent that one of the 4awg positives (the one running under the floor/bilge area) could/would be used for the AO to go directly to the batteries if the owner later upgraded?

If so, can I use that positive for that purpose when I upgrade my battery bank in a couple of years, and also upgrade to an externally regulated alternator?  Or is the 4awg too small for that purpose, and I should really be going to a 2awg for the AO when I upgrade later?

Thank you in advance!  I appreciate any enlightenment you can provide.


Main Message Board / Re: Fuel Tank Replacement - Plastic?
« on: February 23, 2019, 03:49:03 PM »
I had the exact same shipping experience from Ezell.  My tank arrived yesterday in a very poorly packaged shipping box-- consisting of two overlapping Walmart boxes taped together.  Like your tank, my mounting flange was damaged and can't be mounted on the tank shelf.  There is also a large scratch on the bottom corner where the box blew apart, and a ding in an upper corner where it hit something hard en route.

After receipt, I called them immediately but they were already closed for the day. I then sent an email asking to be contacted Monday.  When ordering the tank, Ezell was easy to work with and the turnaround was pretty quick.

I'll let you know how things go concerning the damaged tank.  It cost $110 to ship the tank UPS ground (I live in the PNW), and I'm not inclined to bear the cost to return the tank for repairs.


Main Message Board / Re: 1990 c34 & Patches' weblog
« on: February 07, 2019, 07:48:03 AM »

Another recommendation I would make is to wait for, and get, the boat you want.  There were many Catalina 34's made, and there are both subtle and substantial changes in the boats--depending on the model year you buy, and the upgrades the boat has received.

I specifically wanted a 1990-1993 or so model because a swim step was important to me.  I ended up with a 1990 Mark 1.25 which has a sugar scoop transom step, but it is not a "walk through" (better known as the Mark 1.5)  I looked at Mark 1.5 in my area, and read the "pre-listing" survey authored by a surveyor.  I noticed that the survey said "rust streak noted as coming from keel stub/keel area."  Major red flag.  When I asked the broker about this, he threw up his hands and said "Catalina smile, they all are like that!"  They're not, and we walked even though this boat was kitted out pretty well, and the engine appeared to be in very good condition.  I also noted stress cracks at the chainplate deck penetrations which helped us walk away.

Other boats I looked at had CNG stoves.  Where I live, that is not a simple fuel source to locate, and conversion to propane (tanks, tank lockers, stove, solenoid switch) is going to be north of $1000.

The moral of the story is don't be penny wise and pound foolish.  If a boat has had a serious electrical upgrade, has a new canvas setup with a bimini and dodger ($6000), or new sails ($4-5000), it will usually be selling at a price that is much less than if you (1) bought a the boat under $30K, and (2) decided to make those upgrades yourself.  Just sayin'.

There are lots of Catalina 34s out there, and you've done well to identify it as a great boat.  So don't make your purchase price too rigid given what later costs to upgrade could be.


Main Message Board / Re: 1990 c34
« on: February 05, 2019, 06:44:26 PM »
I own a 1990 C34.  I can tell you that I have had to address the following critical things since taking ownership in April 2018.  I have the Universal M25XP engine.  Hopefully, the current and prior owners of your boat have made some of these upgrades:

1.  Replacement of the dangerous "trailer plug" wiring harness ($130 from Catalina Direct (CD);

2.  I replaced the original engine instrument panel while I was at it-- since several gauges did not work, it was old with bad connections in the back, and the panel was cracked at the housing corners ($580 from CD);

3.  I just found out my fuel tank is leaking.  After consulting the various posts here on the subject, I decided to completely replace the tank through Ezell's Tanks in Florida ($541 + shipping)

4.  Raw water strainer was originally poorly mounted directly to the through-hull valve (under head sink) in a horizontal fashion and was designed to leak.  I purchased a new one and re-plumbed and mounted it to the bulkhead under the Racor fuel filter. ($30 + new hose and fittings)

5.  Exhaust riser (black iron pipe) was leaking.  A direct stainless steel replacement from CD was $380, and they won't sell it to you unless you also buy the thermal jacket for $160.

6.  If you need to replace the exhaust riser, it is likely you will also need to replace the exhaust flange.  I did, and it required removing the exhaust manifold first.  That is about $100 from CD (and Westerbeke) with the gasket. If you have have to take the manifold off to move the flange like I did, the gaskets are $9/each X 3 gaskets. 

7.  New heat exchanger from Toad Marine Supply:  $350.  Mine was original and failing at the mounting welds.

Less "critical" things include:

8.  My boat came with an older Autohelm ST4000 (wheel-type) autopilot.  These are not great autopilots, but I managed to fix mine and it is working.

9.  I had to replace the original propane tank because my local propane source would not fill it due to no OVP valve.  This required a new tank lid because the new tanks sit higher in the tank. ($70 at CD)

Otherwise, things were still working pretty well.  The boat sails very well, it is comfortable, and has just about the perfect layout below for 34 feet.  Many replacement parts are available from Catalina Direct.

I can tell you that one of the great things about the Catalina 34 is the access provided to everything.  Engine access is good, and the panels in the aft cabin are easily removed to access the steering quadrant, water tank, stuffing box, and fuel tank. I did cut an access panel in the rear of the engine compartment which allows better access to the transmission, heat exchanger, and shaft coupling.  Great Lakes Skipper carries the perfect size Jim Black hatch which fully removes for about $100.  Similarly the holding tank, macerator pump, and starboard water tank are easily accessed.

Also, you can't buy a sailboat for which there are more knowledgeable owners willing to help you with the inevitable questions/issues you will have.  It is really extraordinary.  In addition, the Tech Wiki section provides tremendous background and education on all of our boat's systems.

Other than that, get a good surveyor and take it for a comprehensive sea trial.  Good luck to you!



Main Message Board / Re: Fuel Pump to Ignition Switch Wiring for M25XP
« on: January 30, 2019, 12:32:27 PM »
Thank you for your replies!  Will attach to the "on" pole of the switch where the panel feed (red #10) wire connects.

Main Message Board / Fuel Pump to Ignition Switch Wiring for M25XP
« on: January 28, 2019, 10:28:50 PM »
My apologies in advance for the simplicity of this question, but I can't locate the answer from any wiring diagrams i've seen.

I have the M25xp engine, circa 1990, and am replacing the engine panel and wiring harness (both from CD).  I tossed the terminal strip and butt connected the harness to the new panel wires with marine heat shrink connectors.  I have suspended and secured the harness so that the weight of the harness is is supported--not by the butt connectors--but by securing the harness to the aft panel of the port lazarette.

My fuel pump is activated by a separate red wire which runs from the ignition switch on the panel.  I know because I removed it from the old panel.  And that's my problem because I don't remember which post I removed it from on the old ignition switch. Doh!

The switch on the new CD panel--like the old one-- has "on" and a "momentary" key positions, the latter which you hold to heat the glow plugs.  The "on" looks to be fed by the #10 "panel feed" wire off the solenoid "+".   The "momentary" looks to be fed by a white #10 which goes to the glow plugs.

Is the red wire to the fuel pump supposed to attach to the post on the ignition switch with the red wire (on), or the post with the white wire (momentary)?  My thought is to the same as the "red" (on) because that would mean it runs any time the panel is (1) "on" or (2) when engine is running.  If connected to the white (momentary) then the fuel pump would only pump if I was trying to preheat glow plugs.  But alas, my thoughts when it comes to things electrical are often "off."

Thanks in advance for your replies.



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