The Engine Comes to Life!

For those following, the last update on the engine was a long time ago when I had begun to reassemble the thing.  Here are all of the previous posts concerning the rebuild:

Part 1: On to the Engine!
Part 2: Some Engine Work Photos
Part 3: The Rusty Bolt Nightmare
Part 4: Ready to Reassemble
Part 5: Painting the Engine
Part 6: Reassembling the Engine

I mentioned in the last post that I only had a few items remaining, but unfortunately those items took me many months to complete.  I sort of left the engine at that state and ignored it for a while as the job of sealing up the boat became a bigger priority.

The hold backs came in the form of the transmission, alternator, starter and wiring.  The transmission was sitting by the engine for the whole rebuild, I figured it just needed a paint job and that was it.  But while it was sitting I noticed that it began to leak oil out of the shaft seal, so of course that needed to be fixed.  Turns out that the nut holding the coupler on was a very special type of nut that needed a very expensive type of wrench to get off.  I did the math and it would cost less for me to take the transmission in to get a full service as well as the seal replaced than to buy the actual tool.  So I took it in to a local shop and got it fixed up, sealed up and working well.  It got a paint job and was ready to be installed.

The tranny fresh from the shop, ready to be painted.  Note the weird nut holding the coupler on.

The tranny fresh from the shop, ready to be painted. Note the weird nut holding the coupler on.

I installed the starter motor and alternator.  As far as I knew, both of these pieces worked fine before I took the engine apart.  It would always start up very quickly so I had confidence in the starter, but I didn’t know for sure if the alternator was going at full strength.  I assembled the engine and connected the wiring harness, just to see if the starter motor would crank over.  I turned the key and nothing happened.  Welp…time to trouble shoot this mess.

In order to give my self some piece of mind, I took the starter and alternator into a shop to get checked out.  Turns out the starter needed a new solenoid, and the alternator was putting out only about half of its rated amps.  I wanted to upgrade the alternator to a higher output unit anyways, so I purchased a new 80 amp (55 amp was the original) alternator.  The starter was in decent shape after the solenoid replacement, but the shop had a smaller and more efficient starter in stock that I could buy at a decent price.  I bought it and will have the original one as a back up.

Old and new: Starters & Alternators.

Old and new: Starters & Alternators.

Then came the issue with the engine wiring itself.  The original wiring was poor quality, un-tinned wire without heat shrink terminals.  The connections were loose or corroded, and in the end I decided it all needed replacing.  Instead of shelling out big bucks for the official Yanmar wiring harness,  I rebuild the wiring myself using high quality materials.  In addition, I had to re-wire the instrument panel as it was a complete mess of corroded terminals, and I needed to add new male-female connections to replace the wiring harness.

What have I gotten myself into..

What have I gotten myself into..

The great part about having to re-wire the engine and instrument panel, as well as the alternator was that I got to learn all about marine DC electricity and how to efficiently put together safe and relivable connections.  All of which I will need to do plenty of when re-wiring the boat.  It forced me to break out the batteries to see how they are, to start to figure out how I will be wiring up my charging system, and overall mapping of the electrical system.  The engine and instrument panel wiring will probably be one of the most complicated electrical nightmares on the boat, so getting it out of the way early leaves me full of confidence to tackle the rest of the electrical system.

All of that took a bit of time working on and off while focusing on other projects as well.  This weekend I finally had all of the pieces together, and decided to see if I could crank the engine up…….

Other view from the phone camera I was trying to (unsuccessfully) hold…

and with that…the engine project is complete!!  I just need to put her back in the boat when the engine room is all ready, align the engine to the shaft, and hook it up.

To put this all in perspective, I had ZERO mechanical skills going into this entire project.  Now I just finished a major engine rebuild successfully.  There is no excuse for you to not learn the skills you desire, with the internet at your fingertips you can find all the information in the world…or at least get pointed to a book with the info.

Very very happy right now :)

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4 Responses to The Engine Comes to Life!

  1. frank says:

    Congratulations! Its looking and sounding GREAT! Thats a huge project.. Impressive

  2. James says:

    nice dude! purring like a kitten

  3. JasonS says:

    Very nice! What an accomplishment and a great step in your project

  4. Katy says:

    Congratulations! That was a lot of work over many moons.

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