Sunday, October 19, 2014

Back on the Water

My forward failure was from shattered prop shear pin. Presumably, these should only shear it you hit something with the prop. I definitely didn't hit anything the night we lost forward but... this motor "hits" pretty hard when it goes into gear.

In the last two summers I've spun a prop and sheared off 3 or 4 cotter pins holding the beehive nut. (This has resulted in loosing 2 prop nuts and a prop to the bottom of the bay. The second prop would have been lost also but my son went diving in 12' of water and found it standing on end in the muck off the end of our dock.) Per my friend Mike's advice, I'm now only using brand-new 5/32" diameter stainless cotter pins which seem to be staying put. But now I assume I shattered a prop shear pin putting the motor into gear!

When I took in the lower Amber Marine said "somebody" (me) put a steel shear pin in the prop. I'm not sure if it was mild steel, stainless or what but it was shattered and they replaced it with a brass shear pin. When I bought the boat both the spares in the cowl were steel and this is what i have used as the replacements. Amber made me a custom brass shear pin. Cool huh?

Unfortunately after I reinstalled the lower and was running the motor in a bucket to test the cooling and shifting. As soon as I shifted the motor into gear I immediately sheared the new brass shear pin!  Since I had one spare steel shear pin left in the cowl, I installed that one.

Dinner at Woody's Warf... dock the boat, order the Prime Rib! 

Since the motor hits so hard, in order to try to soften the blow when going into gear I set back the idle as far as I could where it will stay running when shifting into gear. Hopefully this will reduce the shock. Maybe this will also reduce my cotter pin, prop shear pin and prop failures.Time will tell.

To replenish my spare parts inventory I went to West Marine and bought another set of 5/32 x 2 stainless cotter pins. But West Marine didn't have any shear pins the size I needed so after a trip to Minnie's and digging through a bin of ancient shear pins, I found a set of stainless 1/4 x 1-1/4 shear pins for .95 cents for the pair. These went into the boat tool box along with the cotter pins, a spare beehive nut and my off-the-bottom-of-the-bay SMC-626 prop.

So far so good, we ran the boat all day Saturday and Sunday with multiple stops and starts and everything is still in tact. 

Oh yea... reverse? Not yet, I need to re-index the shift arm on the upper shift lever as I'm running out of travel. The shift arm hits the stop just before the transmission shifts into reverse. Brad at Amber says I have reverse it just needs some fine tuning. He offered to do it Saturday night but I figured I'd work on it next week when its out of the water for its mid-week flush and bath. Yes, I take it out of the salt every week and wash the boat and flush the motor. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shattered Prop Shear Pin

Amber Marine has a good lower for me to pickup. They were able to piece together one working lower from the three I dropped off. They took the drive shaft and shift rod from my 60 lower and installed it in the long shaft rebuilt lower I purchased earlier this summer.

The problem? My forward failure was a shattered shear pin!

It appears my lack of reverse was the clutch dogs on two of the gear sets were worn out. This comes from idling too high as you are pushing the motor into gear. Click, click, click, grind, grind, grind, fail, fail, fail.
Part F is the clutch dog. It locks into the gear B and A.

For Reference, here's one from a 75hp McCulloch Outboard (source)

If I want a spare lower (which of course I do) I will need to 1) find a new set of gears or 2) have one of the clutch dogs and gear sets welded to build up the corners and then ground down to the proper profile then sent out for hardening. (eek!)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fix Reverse (and now Forward)

Step 1 - Make Sure the Lower Unit is Working Properly
I was referred to Amber Marine in Costa Mesa to take a look at my lower unit. I'm told Brad guys will actually work on these ancient motors and that he is an honest and skilled guy. So I took all 3 lower units to him (59 Short Shaft, 59 Long Shaft, 60 Short Shaft).

I'm not sure there is anything wrong with any of them but I wanted him to review, inspect adjust, reassemble, reseal and return at least (hopefully) 2 working lowers. My guess if there is anything wrong in the lower(s) it would be in the cam selector or the pin that rides on the cam selector.
The cam selector is shown in Neutral. Move it down for forward, up for reverse.

Its important to remember that the lower is a sealed unit that needs to be properly sealed and pressure tested after reassembly, I figured having a pro perform these inspections/repairs is the way to go.  

Step 2 - Make sure the Upper Shift Mechanism is Working Correctly.
If the lower unit is correct then the only other culprit would be the Upper Shift Mechanism. There is a shift arm on the starboard side of the motor that is clamped to a rotating shaft. The shaft has another arm (under the power head and inside the motor case) that is attached to the top of the shift rod. If this has slipped or moved then the full shift travel would not be transferred to the lower.
If the lower is fine, I will pull the power head to inspect fix the Upper Shift Mechanism.

Hopefully I'll know a little bit more about my motor in the next couple weeks. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Only Break Your Leg on the Last Run of the Day

One of the things on my "to do" list has been to sort out an issue with our lower unit on the Flying Scott as we have never had reverse. At the beginning of this season I adjusted the shift linkage on the motor and voilá I had reverse! But no forward. I then swapped my original lower for a lower unit off a 1959 Flying Scott parts motor I bought last year. (So far I've used the starter, a cowl latch and the lower unit from this motor. So I'd say I've gotten my $50 worth out of it.) The lower was a direct swap but I still had no reverse.

The key to success to having no reverse is to always dock where you
can pull out
or... have a small boat.

I determined either 1) both lowers had a failed gear slide or 2) the upper gear shift connector had slipped. Since servicing the upper gear connection would require removing the power head, I decided to adjust it to allow forward to work and to live without reverse for another summer

Ultimately the goal was to keep the boat in the water until after a scheduled September visit by our daughter and her boyfriend. All summer, Karen has been insistent that I don't mess around with the lower unit and that I don't break something trying to fix something. In August I bought a newly rebuilt 1959 Flying Scott lower on Ebay and had it ready to install. But given my promise, I decided to wait to mess with it until after summer was over.

After our successful family weekend visit and because the weather has been so nice, in mid-September we decided to keep the boat in the water through the end of October. We figured we'd enjoy a few more weekend harbor cruises before we called it a season. I though maybe I'd swap the lower at the end of October to test it before storing it for the winter. This would tell me if the problem was actually the lower or if it was in the shift linkage below the power head.

Then last Friday night it happened. We were cruising to have dinner and stopped by a friends dock to chat. When I fired the motor and pressed it into forward... nothing but a revving motor. Did I loose a prop? Did I spin another prop? Is forward gone the same place reverse went? As the tide was drifting the boat down the channel out towards the open ocean, I grabbed my Coast Guard mandated paddle, jumped up on the bow and paddled back to the dock. (Ok I only got about 15' from the dock but the tide was going out.)
Paddling against the tide going out to sea.

Fortunately our friend Larry was coming in on his inflatable and he saw me paddling. He came over to help saying "Either that's the worlds largest canoe, or you need help." Larry towed us back to our dock during what may have been one of the best sunsets of the summer. Safely back at the dock in the dark I decided to wait until morning to investigate.
Whats better than having a boat? Friends with a boat.

Sunday checked the prop nut and prop and verified I still no reverse OR forward. Along with the paddle, fire extinguisher, horn, life jackets and throwable flotation device, one of the first accessories we bought for our Dorsett was a Sea Tow membership. We finally got to use it. We had "Rio" from Sea Tow take us over to the Newport Dunes where I keep the trailer so I could pull the lower unit.

Getting my money's worth out of my Sea Tow membership.

My goal was to just swap the lower with my newly acquired lower unit and put the boat back in the water. Unfortunately when I went to do the swap I realized the rebuilt unit was off a long shaft motor and would not fit my short shaft motor. With my head hung low, I loaded both lowers into the back of my truck and put the boat in dry dock until I can get a known working lower on the motor. Last run of the summer = broken lower leg.