26 March 2015

33 steps

Years ago,
when scouting places to move to in San Diego,
the Point Loma area was an obvious choice.
A little bit higher rent,
but a safe neighborhood for the kids,
in a city of a million people.
Typically a place where locking a car or house up isn't necessary.
in the 33 steps from our front door to the wife's car,
if you drop a wallet with rent money in it,
chances are it will be ripped off within 30 seconds.
Obviously I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Who drops important stuff in front of their house?
One of the reasons I had one with bright orange metal-flake.
I've definitely become comfortable in our surroundings.
Sometimes it'll take an hour to load tools or toys up,
nobody has ever taken anything.
That's cause in this area not many people walk!
At noon this is what the nearest cross street looks like.
.Of course the one lucky pedestrian,
a 30-40 year old woman who walked right by me
happens to be a thief.
A neighbor saw the whole thing,
said she picked it up,
looked at me,
and took off!
Sucks when ya trust the neighborhood alley bums more than the upscale looking  exercise women.
Makes me wanna move to a ranch out in the boonies.
Not good times...

16 March 2015

Whabamp II -boston whaler Resto p-4 - minor obsession

A chat with a neighboring landscaper
was the prologue to this months whaler restoration whirlwind.
We discussed how projects were a little like therapy.
Little did I realize 
the "not yet written about" rough weeks to come,
and our theory was tested and approved.
With such a blank canvas,
it's tricky to know where to start.
The main thing to do is just start!
If it takes xxx amount of hours,
not much headway comes out of idle staring.
This is when sanding and prepping come into play.
Some may see it as mind-numbing,
in reality plans are created, 
changed and modified,
as the obsessional seed takes root.
The template and tacked bracket were very similar,
but a sanding session resulted in a small tweak.
It's important to know when to take a step back,
make a change for the sake of improvement.
Since this transom was raised up a couple inches,
more than the 20" outboard shaft length
the bracket didn't need to angle up.
However a foot setback puts the motor 
in less turbulent water,
possibly allowing a higher placement.
It's all experimentation really,
but it was worth re-tacking the bracket a second time.
Fortunately there's 4-hole options on the old 50 hp Johnson.
Thanks to Pigpen and Sloppy for hop-skotching this down from Nor-Cal!
Ya may think it'll be a little underpowered,
but we'll have fun on the cheap.
Day by day,
big holes and imperfections were filled,
then the medium sized.
Inside and out,
a never ending chase-the-tail game.
The schedule -
a little in the morning,
a little at night.
A definite chemical concoction,
the exact opposite of getting clean air on the water.
Epoxy primer and filler 
is much more lenient to harden overnight.
Typical polyester "bondo" likes the days heat.
Now I'm starting to nitpick.
The smallest dots and dinks are filled and faired.
The topsides are definitely sealed up,
it's just hard to not smooth it all out.
Trust me it looks better in the pictures!
Still using my typical paint roller technique.
I was torn on the controls and seat layout.
Who wouldn't want the badass wooden center console,
the trademark whaler look. 
(Nauset, Eastport, montauk)
The problem is that's good for 2 people.
For our needs I went for the currituck style side console.
Won't be as yachty as this one,
just simple dinghy-style picnic benches.
Realistically we're not heavy open ocean cruisers,
we don't revolve solely around fishing,
and we're a 5-person family,
happy with a bay boat.
Really stoked on the craigslist mahogany purchase a couple months back.
It's like the parts of this boat wanted to be put together.
Here was a fix to a lingering detail,
the questionable drain holes.
Not sure why whaler and other manufacturers did this,
the use of a brass or copper tube,
sealed with a rubber o-ring.
Great for salt water right!?
My plan was to egg out the hole,
glue a fiberglass tube in place,
and glass over the whole enchilada.
Three drain tubes later...
Should hold up!
Finally the day came for the big flip.
May be a little early,
but what good is a boat that can't go in the water?
The a-frame put to the test one more time.
Always good to show your kid proper techniques...
Way bigger looking like this.
The bottom will need a ton of work.
Fortunately not as bad as it looks,
water damage mainly to the gelcoat...
...and the resto of the bow's underside lip.
Gotta power through this part.

12 March 2015

How to - change a head gasket

Here's an unintentional project,
that's taken a life of it's own.
It all started with a holey radiator,
expanding to a blown head gasket.
The easy fix would have been cleaning the surfaces,
bolting on a new head gasket,
and fixing the radiator.
That was a 70-30 call,
a steel headed ford 302 should absorb a little heat,
but who knows the continued reliability as a daily driver.
The original engine bay was a nasty mess.
I felt like a high schooler,
pulling the engine out off the street!
The car rope towed to a conveniently vacant garage.
This was a chance to fix other gremlins.
The brakes have never been 100%,
more like 30%.
On went a shiny new disc brake kit.
The tired engine underwent a total transformation.
New everything!
And that's putting it lightly.
New heads, intake, cam, rockers...
Cubic dollars!
Even the oil pump shaft was replaced.
I had heard of these twisting,
but never saw one.
I'd run this engine in the 40.
My budget is the swap a head gasket fix.
New headers were installed,
not without typical "bolt-on" problems.
See anything out of the ordinary?
Usually companies send extra fasteners,
especially when they're cheap steel.
Somehow Hooker Headers sent the only threadless stud in the 10,000,000 they process.
A 69 camaro exhaust was retrofitted to the 69 mustang.
Surprised how similar both cars are.
Then all the rust was cut out,
patches and covered with sloppy bondo.
Some rust was known,
this was hidden under a panel.
It took a crack team of experts to troubleshoot a tuning issue to a faulty carburetor.
Thanks uncle Steve and Mike...
Then of course the special gaskets popped out,
resulting in a major oil leak.
I've done this enough times to not trust gaskets over silicon,
but with the aluminum heads and new intake,
I figured an Edelbrock labeled gasket set would work.
With the engine bay scrubbed,
new motor, carburetor and radiator...
this is like a new car.
We're waiting on a new brake proportioning valve.
the replacement had stuck closed.