Obelix open heart surgery (part I)

Or how to extract an inboard engine in 30 steps.

Equipment

  • CRC/WD40
  • Spanners
  • Hammer
  • Electric drill
  • Grinder
  • Crowbar
  • Chain-block x2
  • Lashings x2
  • Wooden blocks
  • Straps with ratchet x2
  • Sacrificial towels
  • Dan (a friend with lots of equipment borrowed from his boat builder dad, it helps, a lot)
  • Patience
  • Time: 10 hours (excl. prep work the days before)

STEPS

  1. Remove all secondary bits from the engine block while still in place (injector pump, )
  2. Spray CRC/WD40 on bolts holding the engine to the gearbox and hull – every evening during the week preceding the operation
  3. Wake up early-ish
  4. Put on blue overalls, ready to roll
  5. Loosen the bolts that needs undone (easier said than done, fortunately no knuckles were harmed in the process)
  6. Build a structure to secure the gearbox (horizontal beam fixed to holds screwed on the engine room walls)
  7. Secure the gearbox so that it doesn’t collapse when free from the engine (using the aforementioned structure, strap, and wooden blocks)
  8. Remove bolts on gearbox (x12) and screws fixing the engine legs to the boat (x8)
  9. THINK
  10. Grind the one bolt that refuses to give (near miss: a towel used as rag nearly caught fire)
  11. Jump in the car to get Dan’s scaffolding equipment stored in our friend Gaspar’s garden
  12. Build a makeshift crane in the cockpit
  13. THINK
  14. Jump in the car and rush to the nearest construction site to collect some additional wooden bits to brace the scaffolding with diagonal beams.
  15. Secure the engine to the chain-block
  16. THINK
  17. Move the engine horizontally front to back to come free of the gearbox shaft (involves crowbar)
  18. Lift the engine through the cockpit hatch
  19. Remove cockpit awning and metallic structure holding it
  20. Slide engine backwards rolling the metallic tubes
  21. Rotate engine sideways
  22. Build a second makeshift crane hanging from the boom for transfer on the pier (using main halyard + jib halyard as backup, and reef line used as out-haul)
  23. Wait for the rain to pass (includes preparing and drinking hot chocolate, and ordering some takeaway pizza in anticipation of the evening celebration)
  24. THINK
  25. Secure engine to the second crane
  26. Put back engine room lid
  27. Lift engine enough to clear cockpit walls and winch
  28. Push boom to the side
  29. Lower engine in trolley
  30. CELEBRATE!

Once again I couldn’t hold my cry of elation when the whole operation ended successfully. Dan’s family heard us a few piers away and immediately joined the party, followed by our friend Max (who conveniently came to offer his help once everything was over ;P). I escaped to get our pizzas, which must have been waiting to be collected for a good couple of hours (I was resolutely optimistic about the time it would to complete the job). And as I returned with our large luke warm Il Giardino and Sotto il Mare (from Toni’s), and our kids who had spent most of the day watching cartoons and playing computer games in the marina lounge, we were offered extra pieces of pizza left over by our pier neighbour Rod. We must have been hungry by then (~7pm) as the pizzas all disappeared in a flash, while Dan and Max were busy discussing Classic Yacht Association related stuff…