Thursday, 6 May 2010

The engine stand made the work much easier as I didnt have to lift or bend too much.

The cylinder head with valves in and cam over the top, ready to be mounted on the block
This is the block after i cleaned it up, ready for rebuilding
All engines need cooling and most car engines have a water filled radiator. On a boat, that hot water can be used to heat domestic water in a storeage cylinder via an indirect coil, and when that reaches the required temperature, the excess will be cooled via a tank welded to the boat keel.
The beauty of keel cooled engines as opposed to a wet exhaust cooled system is its all self contained and no raw water comes aboard and no weed can get stuck in filters. Most important in a muddy, weedy river or canal. This is called engine marinising, - converting from car to marine use

The gearbox also needs cooling and is done in a similar way using a keel tank. The engine transmits power via the flywheel through a drive plate into the gearbox and then its speed is reduced by a 2;1 ratio before it turns the prop at the stern. This also means I can keep the engine revs lower to make less noise, use less fuel whilst maintaining the same speed.
Almost all marine engines are puropse made for boats so in order to replace the car gearbox and mount the new drive plate, a bell housing has to be installed. I initially bought a bell housing from Lancing Marine, but after a lot of hassle, delayed delievery and then the wrong parts were delivered, I got rather cross and decided to make my own.
If Lancing had sent the right one, it would have been hard enough to copy theirs and replicate but as it was completely the wrong size and a different shape to my engine block, I had to start from scratch with some stiff paper, and acurately make a pattern to work from.

This type of problem solving is what I enjoy and do best. I love the challenge and the feeling that I won. Money cant buy that feeling.

The engine also has to produce electricity to keep the house battery bank topped up. This will be 12v and will be provided by a second alternator, the first one will also help out when its done its job of charging the engine starter battery.
The house battery voltage will be changed from 12volts to 240volts via an invertor, and then supplied via normal domestic sockets after passing through a fusebox.
12 volts will also be used for low power items like lighting because thats the most efficient way of doing it.

Inverting 12 to 240 volts is also ineficient. Losses of conversion waste energy and running a large 3kw inverter is also wasteful, so I shall split the load into two ring mains, one for smaller all day type loads and another for larger items like the washing machine and microwave which arnt used all of the time.
Here we are at last, the long awaited Blog about my project boat.

I first started planning this particular boat in mid March 2010, and I have allowed evolution to take its course. As ever, its not so much a case of knowing what I want, but more of knowing what I dont want.
Add to that a steep learning curve, and 'Artimis' has slowly taken shape in my mind.
I did start out by making sketches and drawing plans but after many revisions, it seemed futile to try and capture the vision on paper. I have a 3D mind and have had no problems envisioning it from every angle in detail.

Since inception, I have had a lot of decisions to make concerning overall dimensions, interior layout, engine, electrical systems, heating and ventilation, plumbing etc, but ive whittled down the options and arrived at my prefered optimum design.

I had initially intended fabricating the steel hull and decking myself, but once I had got several steel prices, I decided to also get prices from a few boat builders and found that due to the bulk purchase power of a boat yard, it was cheaper to outsource fabrication.

I have chosen M&D Boatbuilders in Stourport. A father and son team who employ a small team of welders and specialise in steelwork fabrication. Their informal and down to earth, easy going method works well for my common sense view on life. No bull, no smooth talking salesmen, an open house welcome and an invitation to muck in whenever I can, whether it be welding or painting.
That makes me and other customers, feel close to the project and very much a part of the growing boat.

Since booking my build slot, the price of steel has started to rise. I guess its a good sign the recession is over and demand is growing for raw materials. A bad sign for the final consumer.

During the wait, Ive kept busy sourcing materials and parts, the hardest of which to find has been the things that keep the water out and let the light in.

Some call them windows, other say hatches or ports. Chose your title, I prefer windows in this case as thats exactly what they are.

The boat design is my personal adaptation, a cross between a widebeam canal boat and a replica Dutch style barge. The usual type of windows typically used in canal and river boats are single glazed in aluminium chanel frames. Experience has showed me that they are insecure from a security point of view and have no thermal break or insulating properties. Condensation readily forms on the frame and glass resulting in damp curtians, water marks on the hull interior and loss of heat in winter.

UPVC is the way to go. These windows have excellent thermal qualities, are highly secure and maintenence free. Unfortunatly, I found that domestic frames are 70mm deep and far too thick for my 50mm hull. I looked at making wooden frames that would accept 25mm glazing units but they would be prohibitivly expensive and cumbersome.
Then by chance I came across a company who make caravan windows with the right depth frame and at the right price. Thats one major hurdle crossed. They are now on order and delivery will coincide with the hull completion.

The next major hurdle was the engine, heart and power plant of the whole boat. It not only provides propulsion but hot water and electricity too, so Its the most important single item on board.
Several factors to contemplate when selecting an engine include cost, reliability, availability of parts, longevity, running efficiency and simple to work on. Something that does exactly what it says on the tin is hard to find but Ive found it.

The Peugeot XUD9 engine has been used for over 20 years in millions of cars ranging from the 206 Peugeot, through all Citroen diesels to Fiats and Fords.
Ive had two cars with the 1900cc non turbo diesel and have been impressed with the reliability and fuel economy. They take a beating and still come back for more. They have been well trialed and have an excellent track record.

I have chosen a 1900cc Turbo version out of a '95 Citroen Xantia.
I bought it off Colin, who bought it to marinise for use in his boat but then decided to stay with his BMC. I also bought a Newage PRM gearbox to fit to it. Im not going to use the turbo because I have more than enough power from the 70HP naturally aspirated version and there are no complications to running this engine without the turbo, but it will make it more fuel efficient and produce less heat in the engine room.
It also has the Bosch fuel pump, as opposed to the Lucas Cav versions.
The beauty of the Bosch pump is it will run on a variety of different fuels including veg oil and bio diesel. I forsee global fuel problems one day soon, so aside from being environmentally aware, its good to have duel fuel capability and redundancy options.

So far, ive stripped the engine, cleaned it, had the head skimmed, ground in the valves, replaced the big ends, piston rings and completely rebuilt it.