And so despite that Jesse had probably hoped to spend his brief pass through town out enjoying a blue lagoon somewhere, I had no choice but to tackle the engine repair before my brother arrived the following day! We pulled off the stairs to survey what we were up against:
The engine was definitely high…way too high!? How could the mechanic have thought that it would work like that? Nevermind that now, he was on vacation and there was nothing to do but try to fix it. I begrudgingly pulled out the tool boxes from under the nav station and we got to work. We loosened the bolts and I attached the main halyard like usual to the engine and raised it off the mounts to remove the small spacers that the mechanic had inserted to hold the engine off the place where it had been ever so slightly touching the engine pan. (Which the mechanic believed to be the reason I had broken two sets of motor mounts in less than 3 years.) I lowered the engine down again and we tightened it all back up and started the engine. Could it have really been that easy?
No…still much too high.
“Now what?” I pondered.
“We could cut out a piece of the fiberglass just under where the engine is touching?” Jesse suggested.
“Brilliant!” I agreed, “Hmmm, how? Too tight for the hand saw, chisel? Hmm..the dremel!!”
And so we set to carving out the area where the body of the transmission slightly touched, then put everything back together again.
Still too high!?? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Apparently, the new motor mounts had been aligned higher than the old ones…careless mechanic!!!!!
And so, what were the options? Drill out the motor mounts so that the engine sat lower? But that meant drilling through ¾” steel and wait…my drill batteries were both dead.
“We could remove the spacers under the mount feet and cut them in half?” Jesse suggested.
“Brilliant!” I thought. “They’re aluminum. That’s soft enough we can cut them with a handsaw!”
And so we commenced attempt #3, raising the engine and removing the mount feet. We had to pull off hoses running between the water tanks and reach into the awkward little holes to access the nuts of the mount feet. Next, Operation Score and Saw commenced. By scoring the 4” plate at the middle and holding it in my vice, we sawed slowly through the plate, taking turns as darkness fell and mosquitoes nipped at our ankles and backs. I went for headlamps and some bananas and bug spray.
It was nearly 11pm when we finally got everything back together. But it was PERFECT! The shaft was centered beautifully in the v-drive, and the engine wasn’t touching the hull at all…we’d done it!! Covered in aluminum shards, dripping sweat, and scratching at fresh bug bites, we high-fived as the engine spun smoothly in reverse at the dock. YAY!!! The next morning I thanked Jesse profusely for his help as he got in line at the airport. Less than 15 minutes later, my big brother James came into view on the tarmac.