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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 12 2006 at 12:49 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Van,

Yes, the Aetna digital tachs are great instruments and I considered using them too when one of my original tachs failed and I had difficulty in finding a new one.  But, I found an original replacement and it was much cheaper.

The original tachs can be adjusted and I have an optical tach (good to 1 rpm) with which I occasionally calibrate them.  I think my calibration is good to better than 3 rpm and it doesn't seem to drift much from year to year. 

Tachs, by the way, are the only instruments on the engines which have digital senders so it is easy to get great accuracy with a digital tach.  But temperature and oil pressure gauges use inaccurate analog senders which have large errors.  Digital displays may improve the display but the accuracy is still very poor.

In one of his previous posts John of Fantasy says "I find the scale on my temperature gauges to be particularly difficult since there is so little needle space between 160 and the dot that is supposed to be 200".

He must be using some other brand of temp gauges.  I'm sitting here looking at one of my VDO temp gauges and there is more than 1/2" between the 160 and 200 F markings.  The tip of the needle is 0.02" and there are markings at 160, 170, 180, 190 and 200.  I can easily read my gauge to 2 deg and with a little squinting even 1 deg.  But I can't believe it (because of the analog senders) to even 5 deg.

By the way, that's another great picture of your boat.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 12 2006 at 12:52


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Fantasy
"Navigator"




Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: December 12 2006 at 15:05 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Pete,

All of my gauges are Teleflex and I assume they are original.  If I had your gauges, I probably wouldn't be swapping mine out.  I just took a photo, since I can't find any teleflex online with the same face.  Sorry this close shot is a little blurry and that the flash reveals that I need to dust.

As you can see, trying to determine if I am in the 160 to 185F operating range from a quick glance is pretty much impossible.

John



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"Fantasy"
460 Chris Craft Constellation
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 12 2006 at 19:17 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

I see what you mean.  Those gauges are pretty much unreadable.  I don't have any easy solution.  It's hard to believe that Chris Craft gave you such a lousy gauge.  I thought everyone got VDO gauges but I guess I was wrong.

However, almost any analog guage is just an ammeter and what the face of your gauge is telling me is that your sender is very nonlinear.  This could be a serious problem for your digital readout.  However, according to Cruzpro they can compensate for the nonlinearity of the Teleflex sender.  So it should work (at least on a one sender/one guage basis).  But if they are one sender two guage units anything could happen.

The best picture I have seen on the web of the VDO temp gauge is at www.eguages.com. If you find your way to that site you should be able to find the VDO Standard Line guages.  They are fairly cheap but you have to buy two gauges and their corresponding sender at the same time.  The gauges and meters don't have to be matched but you will need two gauges and one sender for each function.  That would set you back about $100 per engine per meter type or about $400 for eight gauges and four senders.  And of course the result is only as accurate as the sender.  Standard Line gauges are getting hard to find.  You might want to buy one of the more modern lines.  Installing them should be a snap and VDO is fairly cooperative on helping you find the right gauges.

Check to see what happens to your temp gauge if you disconnect one of the gauges.  By that I mean one gauge in the system.  For example one of the two gauges in the starboard engine temp gauge system. If the other gauge goes ape you have a two gauge/one sender system and will have to be extra careful in installing a new digital gauge.

In order to check my temp guage system I put my sender in a pot of water on the stove and slowly heat up the water.  The sender is attached to the boat's wiring system by an extension cord so that I can read the temp guage as the water is heated up.  I use an accurate calibrated chemical thermometer in the pot of water to check the guage.  Works pretty well for a while but the sender tends to drift after a few months.

Good luck,

Pete37



Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 11:08


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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 12 2006 at 19:34 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Greetings Pete,

Your letter was forwarded to me by a friend in my marina who is an owner of a '85, 50' Constellation.  I am in the process of restoring and upgrading the sisterhsip of his boat.  It is owned by my best friend who lives in Nashville, also the home port of his 50.  These two 1985 boats also have another sistership in our same area, MN.  All three boats were ordered from the Chris Craft dealership, located at Afton Marina, on the St. Croix river.  Bare with me because this gets even more complicated.  All three boats were delivered to the marina within a week of each other.  This Spring, by friend in Nashville asked me to bring his boat up stream to MN and put it in my slip in Bayport Marina, on the St. Croix, and completely redo the boat, as it needed the work desperately and he didn't have the time.  Oh my, the things our friends expect us to do for them!

Enough history for now.  Besides a great deal of cosmetic work inside and out, we're giving the boat a complete electronics upgrade.  The only thing we're not adding is auto pilot and sat. TV.  It's getting an inverter, new VHF's, GPS, Chart plotters up and down, radar, and all new gages.  Both the flybridge and lower station intrument panels are being refabricated with the chart/radar screens being built in.  All the nav. equipment is Raymarine.

The boat didn't have a radar arch as original equipment so we have one being fabricated.  My question is can someone out there give me advice on mounting the arch.  It appears the aftermarket arch I've ordered is similar to yours, Pete.  If you or anyone else can provide me with this advice and possibly pictures, I'd really appreciate it.  My friend,  the owner or the boat, would really like to hinge the arch so he can tip it back if need be to clear a bridge or low slip cover.

This looks like it's going to be a great forum, and I'm looking forward to sharing info and stories with everyone.  I've gotten to know this boat very well over the years and I hope I have something to offer the others on the forum.

Ken

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 12 2006 at 20:54 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken,

Got your post. Welcome aboard!  Since you are heavily involved in a massive Connie rebuild this site may be of considerable use to you.  And I suspect that we may learn a lot from you as time goes on.

You are taking on a massive project! I've been working on my Connie for over twelve years and still have projects on my "Things to Do List" from 1994 that haven't been completed (although hundreds of projects have been).  The boat tends to get better and better in some areas but at the same time she's getting older and older in others.  My handwritten "Things to Do List" of 1994 has expanded into a typewritten Things to Do book for 1997 and I find that now I am getting better at writing up the things I should do than at actually getting them done.

Among other things in life, I am an amatuer genealogist and it sounds to me like I will need a genealogical table to keep up with what who is doing for whom on whose boat and where.  If your friends aren't too bashful please send me their names and/or hull numbers of their boats and I will send them an invitation to the site.  

If they have 1985 boats, I have probably already sent them a letter so just tell them that I don't bite and maybe they'll join in.  But I may have missed some names.  I believe I am still searching for 1985 hull numbers 116 and 120.  The only 1985 boats I am showing now in your area now are "Easy Money" in IL, "Grand Illusion" in MN, "Katherine" in MO, "Rite Weigh" in MI and "The Bristol" in WI.  But boats move around a lot.  There is no prize awaiting hull #s 116 and 120 just a hearty "Welcome Aboard".

It sounds like your friends who are doing these massive overhauls have deep pockets.  I'm retired now and have to be careful about my rebuild and upgrade projects.

There are about four Connies in my marina and probably about four nearby.  One or two of them have hinged radar arches.  But getting drawings of the arches will be difficult.  You will probably have to take dimensions, make your own drawings and have them custom fabricated.  Boy, will that be expensive!  Perhaps you could find someone who would loan you one for use as a model or mold.

I'll try to get some shots of radar arches but it will be difficult since most of the Connies are under covered docks.  Who is rebuilding your FB instrument panels?  Mine needs a refurb too but I'm not sure I can afford it.  You will need a hinged arch if you are going to do the Erie Canal.

If you are going to do an electrical overhaul you should have a set of the Connie circuit diagrams.  I have a set which I can have xeroxed at Kinko's if you want one.  No charge other than the bill from Kinko's and postage.  There are four large (desk size) drawings and a bunch of small drawings.  I should warn you that these drawings are not perfect.  There are a lot of changes that were made without ever being documented.  But they are a good starting point.  For example there are about 150 junction points on about 12 junction blocks under the starboard side of the lower console.  Do you know what they all do?  Do you know how the "or" switches on the FB work?

Generally, I have found the electrical workmanship on the Connies to be pretty good.  Where it gets dicey is "owner added modifications" which don't follow any known rules of construction other than what was conveniently available at the local Five and Dime store. 

Good luck with your projects and welcome aboard,

Pete37



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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 12 2006 at 22:53 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Hi again Pete,

Thanks for your quick reply. 

The owner of the Connie that forwarded your letter to me owns the "Grand Illusion", now renamed the "Stella Maris".  The boat I'm working on is now named "The Good Life", originally it was the "Lori Al", then the "Northwestern".  It's home port, as I mentioned is registered as Bayport, MN, however the owner lives, and normally docks the boat in Nashville.  The third boat is, I believe, on  the Mississippi in St. Paul.  I'm not sure on that.

As far as the arch goes, I have a fabricator on the coast that has the mold.  However, the owner of the "Good Life" is very interested in hinging the arch, like I said, but I and the person helping with the installation are very concerned about structural integrity.  I'll know more when they ship me the arch.

I already have quite a few of the original drawings.  Some are actually Uniflite originals.  I'll make a list of print numbers and page numbers.  If you have any I don't already have, certainly I'd be interested in getting them.

The installation of the electronics is being done by a local marine electronics contractor that I've known for years.  He does a great job and he's let me be his helper.  That's saved us quite a bit of labor and I've been able to learn a lot.  We are doing the electrical panels.  All the gauges are being replaced.  I have a supplier that is fabricating the new panels for the flybridge and the lower station.  I just received the three lower station panels and they did a great job.  All the small gauges have been relocated to the side panels.  The tachs are being moved to the above compartment.  They're a little high but I think they'll work fine there.  The center panel was cut out to accomodate the Raymarine E120 display for the chart/radar.

As in the previous few posts, I too am concerned with getting an accurate temp. reading from the gauges.  These three 1985 boats were built with the same Teleflex gauges pictured here.  I am sitting here with a complete set, for upper and lower stations, of Teleflex gauges, waiting to be installed in the new panels.  I'm wondering if I need to return them all and replace those with VDO's.  I haven't had a chance to see what they look like yet.  Maybe the VDO temp. gauges will look OK with the new Teleflex. 

That's all I've got for now.  I'll try and check in tomorrow.  I'll try and get those hull numbers for you.

Thanks again,

Ken

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 13 2006 at 01:54 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken,

Sorry I misinterpreted some of what you said in your post.  I thought you were looking for a new radar arch but really what you are looking for is a way to hinge it.  I've seen a couple of Connies with hinged radar arches but Ive never seen them with the arches folded down.  I think there's one here in the marina and I'll try to see if I can get a picture of it.

I guess early in 1985 Murray Chris Craft was still working with Uniflite drawings.  My drawings are 1987 wiring diagrams and may be less accurate than what you have for a 1985 boat.

Based on what you have said there are three guys (Tom, Dick & Harry) in your area (Bayport, MN) who all own 1985 Connie 500s.  Tom is your friend from Bayport Marina who owns the "Stella Maris".  Dick is your friend from Nashville who owns the "Good Life".  And Harry, who you don't know, owns a Connie probably in St. Paul.  All these names are of course fictitious.

I sent Tom, the owner of "Stella Maris", a letter which he obviously got and passed on to you.  Dick, the owner for "Good Life", also got a letter and Harry is the owner of the third boat but you don't know his name or exactly where he lives.  I checked my records and Harry's boat is probably "Easy Money"  Harry also got a letter and probably lives in South Beloit, IL.  Haven't heard from Tom, Dick or Harry but some folks are nervous about answering letters from people they don't know.  It's Dick's boat that you are working on in Bayport, MN. 

It sounds like you are going at it hammer and tongs and have the job pretty well in hand.  I rarely use the lower station on my boat so there wouldn't be much point for me to worry about modifying it.  And I wouldn't spend much money on it either since it's mainly a decoration to impress the guests.  The visibility from the lower station is very poor but in colder climes the lower station may be important. 

I'm not a salesman for VDO but I think the Teleflex temp gauges are dangerous.  With those things you could be running your engines in an overheat condition and never know it.  You should consider replacing them.  The replacement doesn't have to be VDO but it should certainly be something better than the Teleflex gauges.  Running your engines at the proper temperature is serious business.  I'm not totally satisfied with VDO but they are as accurate as any system with an analog sender is going to get. 

Digital readouts may look better but they won't improve the accuracy.  However, if your owner wants a gee whiz looking console and doesn't mind spending the money get the digital readouts.  In general, I don't like Lcds because they don't show up well in low or bright lighting conditions.  Leds are much better if you can find them in a marinized instrument.  The old fashioned illuminated ammeter may not be high tech but it's readable in nearly any lighting condition. 

One of the weaknesses of the Connie electrical system is that it does not seem to have an independent instrument ground.  The grounds for the instruments are lumped together with all kinds of other housekeeping loads and that contributes to instrument errors.  This will be a problem even if you can find completely digital instruments.

I don't know whether the boat you are working on has oil pressure and temp alarms but it should (at both lower station and flybridge).  I have alarms which ring a buzzer and show a light whenever the oil pressure is low or the temperature is too high.  They have paid off on several occasions.  If you avoid burning up one engine the alarms have paid for themselves a thousand times.

On a 1985 boat the windshield wipers are probably about to go.  You generally don't think much about them but like PFDs when you need them you need them bad.  The key point is to make sure that the shaft which supports the wiper arms is well lubricated.  What usually happens is that the nuts holding the wiper arms to the shaft get corroded and can't be removed.  And when that happens you can't remove the wiper arms to lubricate the shaft.  The wiper motors are no longer made and as far as I know are no longer available.  But if properly cared for the wiper system should last forever.  As in many other things " A stitch in time, saves nine".

The wiper system is rather tricky and drives the wiper blade shaft by an indirect idler arm.  It is also hard to get at and involves removing a lot of finished panelling.  It's a job you would rather not do unless you have to.  I've done it once and hope I never have to do it again.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 13 2006 at 08:05


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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 14 2006 at 14:33 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Hi again Pete,

Yes, "Tom" forwarded your letter to me.  And yes, it is "Dick's" boat I'm working on.  "Harry's" boat name, however, was/is Miss Harmony.  For a few years it was in our marina, then he moved it to St. Paul, where I believe it still is.  I haven't a clue though, on the hull number.  Sorry.

Concerning the lower station, both "Dick" and I have gotten quite comfortable using it.  It especially works out nice when docking or locking through alone.  Also, here in MN we have enough inclement weather where it's much more comfortable to drive from below.  Six years ago, when "Dick" and I were moving the boat from here to Nashville, we were on the Mississippi in central Iowa, when we drove into a blinding snow storm.  We couldn't see past the bow pulpit, and had no radar at the time.  Things got quite tense to say the least.  All we could do was watch the depth, and hope we wouldn't run into a wing damn or tow.  That's  one reason why we're installing a full compliment of nav gear at the lower station.

The temp gauges have always been a major concern for us.  We certainly understand the importance of accurately monitoring the temp.  I was planning on installing all the new Teleflex gauges in the new panels this week, but am going to hold off until I can check out the VDO's.  I'm having a hard time finding them on the previously mentioned site though.  Advice?  And yes, the boat does have the alarms, and they've been tested.  I sure hope I don't ever hear them when under way.

Thanks for the heads up on the wipers.  On the way to Nashville, we had run into a lot of rain.  The Port wiper motor quit on us.  After being shut off for a while and cooling down, it would work, but we only used it intermitently.  Thank goodness it wasn't the center one that we lost.  I will definitely give them some TLC first thing this Spring.  Are you folks here on the forum aware of the Uniflite parts site?  They list three or four wiper motors.  Maybe one of them will replace ours if we need them.  That site is www.web4wise.com/seacure/   which is Sea Cure Technology.  You probably already know about it though.

Now maybe you can answer a question I've asked many about.  Our boat has two shore power inlets on each side.  Shore power one and Shore power two.  One is 50A/125V and one is 50A/125V/250V.  On the AC panel I'm given the choice of Shore power one, Shore power two, and Shore power one AND two.  I understand the first two and have used both at any given time.  Please expain the use of choice three, Shore power one AND two.

Thanks,

Ken

 

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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 14 2006 at 14:38 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Pete,

Just to clarify something in my last post.  When I said I used both Shore powers at any given time, I didn't mean at the same time.  I've never tried selecting both Shore power one AND Two.

Ken

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Furman1
"Deckhand"




Joined: November 27 2006
Posts: 227
Posted: December 14 2006 at 15:20 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

I had a special electrical cable made up with a standard 50amp hubble plug on the shore end (with one prong taken off) and the boat end with the 50/125 plug on the boat side. In this way I am able to plug in both cables and use switch position 1&2 and get 100amps to the boat if I need it. I have used it and it works fine espeically at docks with 208 power. By the way I also added Glendinng Cable master at the transom on the port side. If anyone is interested I can indicate how I routed the cable.

Furman



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Ken27
"Deckhand"




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Posts: 138
Posted: December 14 2006 at 15:51 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Thanks Furman,

I suspected that would be the result, however, I can't imagine ever needing that much amperage.

Where in the world did you find the space to mount the Cable Master and the barrel for the power cord on a 50' Connie?

Ken

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Furman1
"Deckhand"




Joined: November 27 2006
Posts: 227
Posted: December 14 2006 at 20:22 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

In the closet in the master stateroom there is a dead corner that you can't hang in.  There is plenty of room for the reel and storage container in that corner. By the way you don't lose any hanging. If you remove the lights on the port side of the master and replace them with smaller lights you can bury the piping for the cable behind the valance and go to the transom there.  The "dead" corner of the closet is directly beneath the electrical plugs on the port side and you can go straight up and tie in there. Because of the long run you have to "help" the cable exit (lightly pull) the transom.

Furman

 



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Ken27
"Deckhand"




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Posts: 138
Posted: December 14 2006 at 21:25 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Hello again Furman,

I understand now, how you did it.  The hanging locker on this boat is on the starboard side, with the master head on the port.  I suspect they are the same, just reversed.  The boat I'm working on is an '85.  What's yours?  I'm really not familiar with others.

I assume you're docking stern to.  In both marinas this boat is in, the docking is always bow to.

Thanks for the info,

Ken

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Pete37
"Commander"




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Posted: December 14 2006 at 21:42 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken,

I think Furman has pretty much explained it but let me put my 2 cents in.  Your boat is set up to take three 50 amp 125 volt circuits.  Two of them are in the 50 amp 125/250 volt plug that you are using now.  The third is in that special 50 amp 125 volt cable that should be stashed in some remote corner of your boat.  It's probably never been used.  If you hook up the boat to a 50 amp 125/250 cable and a 50 amp 125 volt cable you can theoretically draw 150 amps at 125 volts.  That's because the 125/250 cable has two 50 amp circuits and the 125 cable has one 50 amp circuit.  In addition the 125/250 volt plug can take 250 volt loads.

Unfortunately your dock also has to be set up for the boat and you won't find that setup in many marinas.  The only time you would use it would probably be on a 100+ F day when your air conditioners are working their tails off, your wife  decides to cook an elaborate 8 course meal and your guests are taking long hot showers.  I am fortunate in that a Connie owner had my slip before me and set up my slip for the 150 amp system.  Therefore, it should work.  But neither he nor I have ever used it.

As far as I know, Chris Craft was the only company that used that type of system and there aren't any instructions that I've ever seen on how to use it.  Plug in everything, turn on the power, cross your fingers and stand by with a fire extinguisher.  Furman is the only persor I know of who hooked it up but there may be some other owners who have used it.  Most of the time the boat works fine on a 50 amp 125/150 cable which supplies 100 amps at 125 volts plus the capability of handling 250 volt loads.

If you have lost your 50 amp 125 volt cable you are in trouble.  They cost about $500.  If anyone has any further infomation I think everyone would like to hear about it.  So far I've put that project on my "Nice to do Before I Die" list.

The 50 foot 50 amp 125/250 volt cable is kind of a horse to handle so I use a 25' shorty cable when docking at my slip or at any marina where the shorty will reach.  I made it up out of some 50 amp 125/250 volt cable plus some rebuilt burnt out plugs that had been discarded at my marina.  Yes, you can buy parts for the Hubbel plugs and and some of the other brands.  The shorty cable takes the wear and tear of most of your docking, is easier to handle and is less attractive to a thief.  And since the boat inlets are about midships it works pretty well whether you dock bow in or stern in.

At about $500 dock cables are worth stealing.  In some areas wise boat owners lock their cables to the boat.  Of course one of those Cable Master reels solves the problem by permanently locking the cable to the boat and has much more pazzaz than a grungy shorty cable.  But Cable Masters do cost money (about 1BU which is very close to a K$) versus a shorty cable at about $200.

Along those lines, never clean your power cables.  The grungier they look the less attractive they are to a thief.  I keep my shorty dock cable super grungy.  That plus the fact that it is only 25' long makes it nearly impossible for a thief to resell.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 14 2006 at 22:28


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Fantasy
"Navigator"




Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: December 14 2006 at 21:58 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Ken,

I've seen Furman's cable master set up and it's really neat.  Unfortunately, I have a 46 and the closet(s) are different, with two smaller units port and starboard, so it won't work for me. 

I'm not positive but I think you might have enough room for a cable master forward, behind the washer/dryer which is accessed through the rear closet panel forward of the washer.  It's a long run to splice it into the system but I think it's doable.  The cable feed-out could be next to the dryer vent below the bow seat.  Some of the Jefferson look-a-likes are set up that way.

John



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Furman1
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Joined: November 27 2006
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 08:47 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Ken, Mine is an 86. I have had it about 10 years and have added a lot of stuff. If you're redoing an 85 here are a few things to consider.

While I was runing the cablemaster to the transom I also ran the water conection there also. I purchased a quick conector from Hattaras and with both hooking up at dock is easy.

I removed all of the flybridge bench seating and replaced it with new custom built that doesn't have any wood in it.

I extended the swim platform to 54 inches deep. My wife and I are scuba divers and this helps us get on and off the boat. It also helps when docking as it is easier to  get off the boat. I plan to have a davit made so I can store my inflatable on the swim platform also.

I built in the moniter for the chart plotter in the over head of the lower helm.

I added close circuit tv with a camera to the stern to be able to see the aft of the boat. ( and protect the 54 inch swim platform)

I upgraded the Northstar Loran to DGPS

I replaced the alum. water tank (salt water got to it)

I replaced all of the fuel lines (mine started weeping diesel through the lines) I added fuel shut offs on the rear tanks (mine didn't have them) BTW 360 lf of fuel lines

I replaced all of the AC lines and plastic thru hulls (210 lf)

I added Block Heaters (If you do nothing else do this) Everyone I've talked to said that this will add 100's of hours to the life of your engines

I replaced all of the water line conectors (the alum. compression type) with Quest fittings

I added Walker Air Seps (keeps the engine room a little cleaner)

I added an oil changing system ( makes life a little easier)

I painted all of the exterior wood with Awgrip Cream two part paint. Exactly matches gel coat and lasts about 8 years doing nothing to it

I will be adding a holding tank and removing the Lectra sans

I will be adding inverter/chargers (saves fuel and extends the life of the gen.)

There's probally more but can't think of it now.  Hope this gives you some ideas

Furman

 

 

 

 

 



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Fantasy
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 10:01 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Furman,

Have you decided where you will put the holding tank?  That's on my list too.

John



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Furman1
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 11:09 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

I'm going to put it in the sunken area in the generator room forward of the ladder.  I've calculated and should be able to get about 60 to 65 gals there. I will then put a removable wooden platform over it. This way it will be fairly close to the exit points on the existing system. (on the 500)

Furman



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Pete37
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 11:55 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John & Furman,

My San X systems bought the farm a few years ago.  Parts for them are no longer made or available so I had to replace them with a holding tank.  I decided that I would put the tank on the floor of the generator room.  That's the same location that the San X systems were in which made the replumbing much simpler. 

I put in a 28 gallon tank which at a half gallon per flush is 56 flushes.  Some of the newer heads are advertising one quart per flush and Vacuflush even advertises one pint per flush.  According to Peggy Hall "The Headmistress", the old electric manual toilets with integral raw water intake pumps use 1-3 gallons per flush while the newer electric macerating toilets which draw off the onboard pressurized freshwater system use only 1-3 quarts per flush.  That's an enormous (4:1) difference.

Some people have been saying that 28 gallons isn't enough and Peggy recommends at least 40 gallons for a 50' boat. But when running inland there always seems to be a pump out station nearby and most pump out stations here in MD are free (if you buy fuel from the station).  If you are offshore then you can pump directly overside. 

I think you could probably get a 40 gallon tank on the generator room floor but it would be very cramped.  I've been running for two years with the old Galley Maid water gobbler heads without any problems on a 28 gallon tank. My tests of the Galley Maid heads indicate about a half gallon for #1 and two gallons for #2.  And at the end of the day you should pump another two gallons through to clear the lines.  Generally the midship guest head gets nearly all the use.  The master stateroom gets a small amount of use and the forward head is rarely used.  Put your best equipment in the guest head.

I put removable floorboards over the the tank so I wouldn't have to walk on the tank when servicing the generator, air conditioning system, water heater, oil exchange system, fresh water system and other equipment in the generator room.  They are supported by the main fore and aft stringers.  There is a clean out port on the top of the tank which can be accessed by removing a section of floorboard (no tools required).

The installation went reasonably smoothly and I am going to use the tank monitoring system from the old San X units to keep track of the tank level.  Haven't done it yet though.  The plastic tank is somewhat translucent and you can tell the level by just looking at the side of the tank.  The tank is plumbed for both overside pump out and connection to dockside pump out facilities.  The overside pump was one of the old pumps from the San X system.  It was still in great shape and works fine.  I used all of the old sanitation hose and had some left over.  I didn't replace it because one of my next projects is to replace all the heads and they may use smaller pipes.

It's hard to find good locations for a large holding tank.  The only place in the engine room would be between the engines.  You could probably get a 60 gallon tank in there but you would have to relocate and rewire the batteries.

A small tank could be put below the galley but that doesn't seem to work very well and the access hatch is fairly small.  You would probably have to have several small tanks connected together to get a large volumn.  Aft of the engine room there really isn't any place to put a holding tank and also it isn't very desirable because even a tiny leak would be very unpleasant in the living spaces.

When it comes to painting parts of your boat to match the hull, Interlux makes two paints specifically for that purpose.  The color of the off white gel coat used in most Connies is called Hatteras Off-White and Interlux makes Hatteras Off-White 4208 and Hatteras Off-White 1990 4218 which match the Connie hull color very well.  I've been using the 4208.  But color matching varies with the amount of fading in the gel coat so you should look at both paints and decide which gives you the best color match.  Custom mixing of paint is also available today but my experience has been is that colors produced by custom mixing vary slightly from batch to batch even if the same formula is used.  These slight color variations are quite noticeable when placed alongside each other.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 15 2006 at 12:36


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Ken27
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 14:00 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Greetings John, Furman, Pete, and everyone else.

Thank you all for the great advice and suggestions.  It seems when I think I've got THE plan, someone comes up with another that makes more sense.  This forum is a God send.  I wish it had been created a year earlier, but better now then a year from now.

My two cents on the holding tank.  The boat I'm working on was converted to a holding tank probably ten or more years ago.  The tank was installed in the gen. room, forward of the ladder as was mentioned above.  The largest tank that they could get through the boat and in place was installed and I believe it's either 55 or 60 gal.  I keep meaning to calculate the actual capacity, but haven't yet.  For those that might not know the formula it is cubic inches divided by 231 equals gallons.

Everyone is willing to pass on and share all their projects, I'm more then happy to return the favor.  A couple of the smaller things I've done to improve the operation of the boat is first I mounted the search lite on the bow pulpit.  We do a lot of night boating so this made a big improvement in that the beam is lower to the water which makes spotting buoys etc. much easier and also the helmsman doesn't have to look through the glare off the bow from the light on the front of the bridge.  When I was pulling the wires for this I also pulled another two sets and connected a remote Up/Down rocker switch at each helm to raise and lower the anchor.  This makes single handling anchoring much easier.

I don't know about later models, mine is an '85, but mine only has an AC fresh water pump.  Until we installed an invertor, the gen had to be running just to wash your hands.  I'm still considering installing a 12 Volt fresh water pump.  What have you folks done?

Another small thing I did was install a gas shock on the hatch to the flybridge.  That hatch is very heavy as we all know, and very dangerous.  This only cost about $25, shock and two hinge brackets, and makes it much more safe and a heck of a lot easier to open and close.  If anyone is interested I can provide the supplier I found on line and the PN's.  The shock has a rating of 90 lbs.  It works great, but I was even thinking about replacing that with one rated 120 lbs.

Thanks again to everyone,

Ken

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Pete37
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 15:11 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi: To All You Guys with Heads,

 

As I mentioned in my previous post my next project is to replace all the heads on my Connie.  I am presently using my oft repaired Galley Maid heads which were original equipment that came with the boat.  I have become very expert at repairing them and can overhaul one in about 8 hours (including removal and reinstallation).  But itís hard work (particularly the removal and reinstallation) and with three heads I am finding that about one breaks-down and has to be repaired each year.  Repairs and parts are available from RAZ Marine 1-800-824-1186 (talk to Yossi Raz) in FL for those of you who wish to continue repairing your Galley Maid heads.  He will overhaul your present unit for about $500 but this is more than the cost of a conversion kit to one of the more modern heads.

The problems I have with the Galley Maid heads are that they are very prone to failure, they use too much water, they are located in a horrible position to service, they have very complicated plumbing systems and they leave raw water in the bowl which stinks up the whole boat.

The major failure mode is that the bearings in the motor rust out.  They do this predictably about every three years.  Additional problems with the pump rotors and stators occur about every five years.  The result of these combined failure modes is that somewhere between one and two out of three will need to be serviced every year.

As mentioned by Peggy Hall ďThe HeadmistressĒ, electric macerating toilets with integral raw water intake pumps require 1-3 gallons per flush.  This requires a much larger holding tank than the modern 1-3 quart per flush fresh water heads.  And in the case of the Galley Maid heads it also requires larger, more expensive sanitary hoses to connect the components.  If youíre flushing with fresh water it also places a strain on your fresh water tank capacity.

Because the Galley Maid heads use remote macerator pump systems the pumps must be located in locations remote from the heads and on Connies those locations are, the aft port and starboard corners of the engine room and the bilge under the galley.  All three locations are difficult to get at and can only be accessed by midget, double jointed contortionists.  And I in my 60s at more than 14 stone donít fit in that category.

The plumbing system looks like a cross between a steam locomotive, an espresso machine and a bagpipe with pipes and hoses leading from and going to a multitude of locations.  The modern fresh water supplied heads have much simpler plumbing.

The final and perhaps most vexatious problem with the Galley Maid heads is that they leave raw water in the bowl.  And this water has little bugs, plants and organisms in it that in the summer heat die and ferment causing a most unpleasant odor which stinks up the whole boat.  To be fair, all raw water supplied heads have this problem and Raz Marine does have a kit which will convert the Galley Maid head to fresh water.  But it ainít cheap or easy to install.

All of these problems convinced me to change to new heads.  Most of you have probably already trashed your Galley Maid heads.  I am likely to be the only one still using them.  Vacuflush is the obvious answer if you can find the space to install them and the cash (about $2400 plus installation for three).  But I would like to do it a little more economically.

In my search for a replacement head I have found three principal candidates; The Jabsco Quiet Flush Conversion Kit #37055-0092 at about $492, the Raritan Sea Era 160LF012 (or 160LF912) Conversion Kit at about $365 and the Wilcox-Crittenden Newport Electric Toilet at about $379.

All three heads have about the same size, the same construction and all are basically constructed of plastic.  All three have fresh water supply at about a quart per flush and all three assume that you will use your existing bowl with their converter.  If you want a new bowl that will cost $30-$60 more.

The basic difference seems to be the reliability of the manufacturers.  All suppliers I contacted gave Jabsco high marks on the reliability of their heads, ease of obtaining parts, service and customer support.  Raritan got good ratings from most suppliers but many didnít deal with Raritan and simply didnít know how to rate them.  Wilcox-Crittenden got bad ratings from everyone I talked to.  Most said that while the head itself may be a good product it was simply impossible to deal with the company.

Not surprisingly the price seems to be related to the customer service supplied by the company.  Based on the comments above, I have dumped Wilcox Crittenden and am now leaning toward Raritan on the basis of price.  But if you know of any major problems with any of these products please let me know.

Raritan, Sealand, Jabsco and others all make ďdesignerĒ heads at considerably higher prices.  But the improvements seem to be more form than function and in many cases the form interferes with accessibility for maintenance.  The mere fact that these designer heads look more like your toilet at home doesnít impress me.  I donít expect a marine head to look like a house toilet.  And I donít want my guests treating it like a house toilet and throwing all kinds of debris into it.

My plan is to buy and install one head (in the guest head location) this year and test it for one year to make sure I donít have a lemon.  Then next year I will replace the master stateroom head.  The forward head will probably remain a galley Maid head.  It only gets used rarely.  I will repair one of the two spare Galley Maid heads removed from the boat for use as an instant replacement for the forward head.  The forward head will also act as an emergency head if for some reason I donít have fresh water pressure.

One problem with fresh water heads is that you must have pressure in your fresh water system.  If you donít have water pressure you canít flush the head.  So I am going to install a PAR water system pump run on 12V in parallel with the 125 VAC water as a backup source of water pressure when the generator is broken or simply not running.  I get these pumps nearly for free.  And in the event that both pumps are broken you can use the forward head.  Talk about ďbelt and suspenders.Ē  And in case you donít have 12V DC.  Well, thereís always the bucket.  I expect my total cost for two heads and the PAR pump will be about $720 plus a fair amount of my own labor.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 15 2006 at 20:52


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Posted: December 15 2006 at 15:21 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken,

I also put a shock on the flybridge hatch several years ago.  As you say it is an inexpensive and very useful modification.  I purchased my shock from West Marine.  They are available in a number of sizes.

As to the DC water pump, I am planning to install a PAR pump next spring as part of my head upgrades.  You probably remember them as the old black bakellite pumps with the rubber belt.  They are very reliable but eventually the rubber dampers inside fail and the owners throw them out.  I've got a collection of about four.  They cost up to $400 and with new rubber dampers at about $90 they are as good as new.

Pete37



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Fantasy
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 15:30 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hey Ken,

I'm on my third fresh water pump in almost 7 years.  The first one aged out and I think the second one ran dry.  Both times I've replaced it I've thought "this is stupid, I should be putting in a 12V."  We liveaboard full time and do a lot of travel/anchoring and, although we have a 3000w inverter, that big water pump is inefficient.  At night, the inverter usually shuts down about 4a.m., mostly from the refrigerator draw (another inefficient beast) and I have to start the gen.  Maybe next time the pump goes, I'll go 12v.

I did convert the anchor wash down to raw water with a 12v pump mounted under the forward head floor.  That way my mate doesn't need to worry that she's using up all the fresh water on board.  BTW, she is my remote windlass control but can get crabby when it rains.  Yours is probably a better plan.

John



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Posted: December 15 2006 at 15:59 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Pete,

I replaced one of my Raritan Crowns with a Tecma Silence head in 2002.  Although it is sold by Wilcox, it is Italian made.

It has operated perfectly in that time, although when I received it the electronic control unit was bad.  I called Wilcox and they shipped a new control immediately with return packaging for the old one.  No charge.

I especially like the control unit which allows you to either fill the bowl or just rinse and evacuate it, similar to a urinal with little water used.  It also has a "holding tank full" LED warning light built into the control face.  But, probably the best feature is that it is so quiet.  After the Raritan meat grinder, that's a real blessing.

I don't remember the cost exactly, but $700 sticks in my mind.  Here's a link:  http://www.wilcoxcrittenden.com/sanitation/electric/tecma_si lence.asp

John



Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 11:10


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Pete37
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 19:27 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

That's a nice looking unit but when I went to the site you mentioned I didn't really get much information on the head.  And when I called a few days ago to see if I could get any more info from Wilcox on the Newport model I got nowhere.

I'm surprised that you have burned out your fresh water pump three times in 7 years.  Mine's nearly 20 years old now and chugging along without a complaint.  I think that replacing it with a DC pump might be a mistake.  Most of the DC pumps I've seen are no where near as durable as AC pumps and don't have the same capacity unless you go to a very expensive pump.

I'm wondering whether you have the same pump that I do.  Mine is a TEEL Cast-Iron Shallow Well Pump System Model 1P979E with a rating of 780 gallons per hour (13 gpm) and has a 1/3 hp  115 volt motor. It's maximum load rating at 125 Volts is 7.0 amps.  To do the same thing at 12 volts you would need a load rating of 70 amps.  That could be a battery bank buster if you ran it much.  You definitely would want a centrifugal pump and a motor without a comutator because it is the only type which will last a long time under heavy use.  That's probably why your pump is AC.

The Jabsco PAR diaphragm pumps I have suggested as backups are no where near as durable as a centrifugal pump and only put out about 4 gpm but they are capable of running a few sinks and a shower on a light duty basis.  This is enough for nightime sink and toilet duty.  By hooking it in parallel to your AC centrifugal pump the Par pump would only come on when your boat had no AC power thereby keeping the use down to reasonable levels. 

Don't confuse the output ratings of centrifugal bilge pumps with the ratings of centrifugal water system pumps.  The bilge pumps output at only a few psi while the water system pumps must output at 40 psi.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 15 2006 at 20:45


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Fantasy
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Posted: December 15 2006 at 23:33 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

The original pump was a Teel.  When it failed, I took apart the pump section and found that the seal was bad and the bearing had seized and also there wasn't much metal left on the impeller.  That was in 2002, so it was about 17yrs old.  I could have rebuilt it but thought I might just as well get a new one from Lowes for less than $150.  Swapping it out was a faster solution but not necessarily a better solution.  The second pump may have run dry and overheated the pump shaft bearing (I didn't take it apart) but since it was less than a year old, Lowes replaced it.  The newest one is working fine but I don't think it is of the same quality as the Teel.

I understand the electrical requirements but my thinking was that the two of us could get by with a smaller capacity 12v pump when we're on the hook (at marinas, we're usually on dockside water).  Add in the inherent inefficiency of inverting from 12v to 115v for a small bonus.  The other issue is that when the house batteries are low, the inverter shuts down while a 12v pump would continue to work, albeit at reduced capacity but enough for a flush or two after a 4 a.m. nature call (an important consideration at our age).  But I agree that a parallel pump, tee'd off on the suction side before the check valve, is probably the best of all worlds.

I had Par diaphrams on my last boat for both the fresh water supply and shower discharge.  They worked pretty well for four of us, although the shower discharge was a maintenance issue, even with a strainer attached.  A little noisier than the newer centrifical pumps but still a real good unit.

John



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Pete37
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Posted: December 16 2006 at 00:13 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

It doesn't have to be a PAR pump.  I used PAR as an example because I have a collection of four just waiting for an application.  West Marine (p. 411) sells an Automatic Pressure Water Pump with a 5.0 gpm capacity for only $159.99.  It draws only 11.5 amps DC so the wiring harness wouldn't be too heavy.  There are also two similar Shurflo pumps on the same page.  They are usually used as the primary pump on boats in the 30-40 foot length range but would do nicely for light sink, shower and toilet loads on a 46-50 foot boat when the AC pump and/or dockside water is off.

You have somewhat restored my confidence in the TEEL pump.  Mine at 20 years is showing signs of age but so far is operating fine.  I've had several occasions where the tank went dry while I was away and the TEEL pump ran dry for hours or days with no problems.

Putting in the tees and one way valves for the DC pump shouldn't be too difficult and there is plenty of space next to the TEEL pump to install the DC pump.  Run a power line to a vacant spot on the lower console Accessory Ciruit Panel and you should be in business for less than $175.

Because of the problems with the polybutylene pipes in Connies I never leave the boat on dockside water.  I simply refill the tank as needed and use the TEEL pump all the time.  This has the advantage that the water in the tank is constantly being replaced so I don't get stale smelly water from the tap.

Pete37

 



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Posted: December 16 2006 at 09:28 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hey Pete,

That's similar to the pump I used for a raw water anchor washdown.  It works very well and is quiet.  The draw is about 138w versus over 800w (+ inverter loss of maybe 20%) for the AC pump.  Although it's an intermittent load, I try to save juice wherever I can.

Re: the Teel, you could open it up to inspect/replace the shaft seal and impeller but as you probably know, you are likely to break off the 20 yr old steel casing bolts (I recall that I broke at least one).  One of those issues that can turn a small job into a big pain.

Re:  the poly pipes, whenever I have a fitting that fails, I replace it with a brass compression fitting.  As long as the pipe is seated properly, the compression washer sinches the pipe tight.  I keep a variety of these on board since they seem to go at the worst time.

John



Edited by Fantasy on December 16 2006 at 10:31


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Pete37
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Posted: December 16 2006 at 12:00 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

If you have an inverter a second pump may not be necessary.  It depends on how long the pump runs for your nocturnal use of the sink, shower & toilet facilities.  If you have only about 5 minutes of use in the evening the extra battery power used with the inverter would be (800-138) x 5/60 = 55 watt hrs.  At 12 volts thats about 5 amp hrs.  And on a pair of 8D 200 amp hr (400 amp hr total) ship's service batteries that's only 1.25% of your battery capacity.  I don't think you would have to lie awake all night worrying that because you flushed the head or washed your hands the batteries are going to go dead.

Unless you have leaks in your water system the water pump should never cycle on unless you use water so there is no water pump standby load to worry about.  Similarly, your hot water heater isn't likely to cycle unless you use hot water. Your refrigerator is probably the biggest power consumer at night.

I suspect that when my TEEL pump finally buys the farm I will simply replace it with a new one.  But then I haven't checked the price on it lately.

Regarding the polybutylene piping, I have been replacing my broken fittings with QEST (that's Qest not Quest) fittings whenever they break.  When I first got the boat there were a lot of fittings which had been "fixed" by backyard plumbers and I had a lot of fittings to replace.  But now the fittings rarely break. 

The QEST fittings are very good, are designed for use on polybutylene pipe (and other types of pipe) and require no tools other than a wrench to install.  I've never had one fail.  An alternative to the QEST fittings is the SeaTech line of fittings carried by West Marine.  The disadvantages of both types of fittings is that they are bulky and relatively expensive ($5-$8 each).  But now that the fittings rarely break that's not really a problem.   I've never used brass compression fittings only because I haven't seen anyone recommend them for polybutylene pipe.  They may work fine.

However, even though I now have the plumbing system in pretty good shape and fittings rarely break there is still the possibility that a fitting will burst so I avoid leaving the boat hooked up to dock water.  With five bilge pumps, I doubt that a break would sink the boat but it might give the pumps a real workout.

BTW if you are in the market for pumps I would recommend you get a copy of the DEPCO Pump Co. (www.depcopump.com) catalog if you don't already have one.  They have an enormous selection of pumps.  It's a good reference even if you don't buy from them.  But their prices seem pretty good.

Pete37

 



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Posted: December 16 2006 at 12:48 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi To All You Guys with Heads,

As part of my head renewal program I want to re-wallpaper the heads.  The old wallpaper (which is peeling) makes the heads look shabby.  I've tried to glue down the existing wallpaper with no success and if I can't glue down the existing wallpaper I suspect that my success with new wallpaper won't be any better.  I've used normal pastes and pastes specially formulated for wet locations with about the same unsatisfactory results.

Has anyone re-wallpapered their heads?  What success did you have?  Do you have any secrets or tips on re-wallpapering?

Pete37

 



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Posted: December 16 2006 at 17:26 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Pete,

The main issue with the water service is when the invereter shuts down, primarily from the refrigerator's draw.  It would be nice to have a 12v back-up pump, which would still work at reduced output on low batteries.  I now go low-tech with a container of water on stand-by next to the head.  It works.

I started using the brass fittings on my last boat, about twenty years ago.  The only time they have failed me (once) was due to installation error.  I've also used the Qest's and find them to be OK but a nuisance in tight quarters because of their size, but either is better than the crimped fittings.

Sorry I can't help with the wallpaper question.  I've never had any long term luck with wallpaper in bathrooms and it's got to be worse on a boat.  My head walls appear to be covered with a formica-like product.  Come to think of it, maybe a vinyl product and contact cement would work.



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"Fantasy"
460 Chris Craft Constellation
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 16 2006 at 22:14 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

From what you say your inverter has some sort of switch that shuts it down when the battery voltage drops to a certain level.  After that it stays off until you start the generator or plug into dockside AC.  In that situation a DC pump in parallel with the AC pump would make sense.  Having at least one head, probably the forward head, with raw water pickup would also work.  That's one reason why I may leave the forward Galley Maid head in service.

The crimped bands work fine if the fittings are made of brass rather than the old grey acetal plastic.  QEST makes brass fittings of similar design to the old acetal plastic fittings used with the polybutylene pipe.  They can be held in place with bands but they only work with their new Qestplex pipe.  The normal QEST fittings also work with Qestplex pipe.  I bought some Qestplex pipe but haven't had any occasion to use it.  If you need more pipe for a project you will have to use Qestplex pipe because the polybutylene pipe is no longer made.  I'm not sure whether the brass fittings you have would work on Qestplex or not.  While the OD is the same the walls are thicker and it has a smaller ID.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 16 2006 at 22:17


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Ken27
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Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 17 2006 at 14:47 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Hello again everyone,

Early on in our project to upgrade the '85, we thought about flow meters, however, one of our consultants tried his best to discourage us from adding them.  What is the general opinion of the group?  What are our choices and how much of an investment are we talking?

Thanks,

Ken

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Furman1
"Deckhand"




Joined: November 27 2006
Posts: 227
Posted: December 17 2006 at 15:20 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

All in all about 3 to 5 boat units (boat unit= $1000.00) I like them, I have the kind that gives mpg and that way I can see exactly how much fuel I am burning no matter what the currents are doing.  If I am going with the current I can cut back on to take avanange of the fuel savings. If I am going against the current I can bump it up a little but still know how much fuel I using. When I am up on plane, I try to turn it off so I don't see the $$$$$'s go by.  All in all I'll probally never recoup the cost by fuel savings.  One extra advantage is that when you fuel up you will know to the gallon how much it takes to top off.

Furman



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Fantasy
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Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: December 17 2006 at 16:06 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Ken,

I had them on my last boat and they were fantastic.  I never trusted my fuel gauge but always knew what was left with the floscan, as Furman says, to the gallon.

They were gas engines and the installation was fairly straight forward.  However, the newer models they have, combined with the need to calculate the diesel return make the job a bit more complicated and more expensive.

If I were to do it now (and I may),  I would get the multi-function models that are a tach, flowmeter, gallons used and hour meter.  That would free up space for some other instruments I have in mind.

At this point in your project they might be just the ticket.  Once you spend all that money on new gauges and refits it will be hard to justify an upgrade later.  Spend it on the floscans now.

Here is a link.  The site has a search engine that will tell you what meters are available for your engines as well as pricing.

http://www.floscan.com/html/blue/dieselmodels.php

John



Edited by Sonja Lowe on May 07 2014 at 09:38


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Pete37
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Posts: 2317
Posted: December 17 2006 at 18:06 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Guys,

I had Floscans on my old 33' Egg Harbor.  That was a couple decades ago and I haven't felt the urge to add them to any of my boats since then.  I have accurate fuel gauges (VDOs naturally) and I trust them.  They've never let me down.  So I know exactly how much fuel I have at any given time.  I can read them easily to about 1/16 tank which on a 200 gallon tank is about 12 gallons.

On diesel engines measuring the fuel consumption is much more complicated than on gas engines because on a diesel engine only 10% of the fuel into the engine is used for propulsion.  The other 90% is used to cool the injectors and is cycled back to the tanks.  That's why your fuel tanks heat up so much on long runs.

The problem is solved by having two fuel gauges one of which measures the fuel into the engine and the other measures the fuel out.  The fuel consumed is the difference which is computed by the Floscan meter.  But differencing is always an inaccurate process and therefore a diesel fuel consumption meter is always much less accurate than a gasoline fuel flow meter.  Because of the differencing problem an instrument which is basically 1% accurate on a gasoline engine (difficult to get) becomes only 10% accurate on a diesel.   As a result diesel mpg meters only give a WAG (Wild Assed Guess) of the actual fuel consumption  As with many other gauges, they produce numbers but the question is are they believable numbers?  And as with other instruments, digital displays don't make them any more accurate.

If I was intent on adding more gauges, I think an exhaust temp gauge would be much more useful.  I like John's suggestion of the multi-function gauge.  Mpg gauges are mainly a gimmick but for those who like to look at gauges the multi-function gauge lets them look at mpg without wasting a lot of space on the dash.

I'm not quite sure why anyone needs minute by minute fuel consumption updates.  We are not flying jet fighters.  Most Connies have four tanks capable of holding a total of 600 gallons.  Even at max rpm it takes 15 hours to use up that much fuel.  And when it comes to detecting problems with your engines the tachometer is usually a much better indicator of a sick engine than a fuel flow gage.

I think I agree with the consultant.  The mpg meter is a low priority instrument but if you have no other way to spend your money go ahead and put it on the dash.

Pete37



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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 18 2006 at 15:27 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Thanks guys, for all the advice on the fuel flow meters.  That's what's really great about this forum.  There's a wealth of knowledge out there that all of you have and are more than willing to share it.  I hope I can return the favor many times over.

A little bit of trivia.  The '85 that I'm working on is spec'd to have twin  200 gal. stern tanks, however, they're labeled 195 gal.  Not a big deal unless someone gets too adventurous some day and needs to use that 5 gal. in each tank that ISN'T there.

I really like the idea of painting the teak trim on the boat.  Teak refinishing is one of my least favorite jobs.  We have a teak swim platform and I wouldn't paint that.  My concern is getting good adhesion to the teak.  I'd hate to have it start peeling.  Do any of you have any tricks or advice on the proper pretreatment and application of the paint?

Thanks again, and here's hoping everyone has a happy and safe Christmas.

Ken

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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: December 18 2006 at 15:31 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Congratulations to Pete37 for your 37th post!
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 18 2006 at 18:27 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken27,

I hadn't been counting but now that you mention it I see that the number of posts is right under my name.  I started the site Nov 12 which was 39 days ago so that's about 1 post per day.  You joined Dec 12 which was 6 days ago and now have 10 posts which is about 1.7 posts per day.  Congratulations! You're outpacing me. 

We now have 77 posts which is almost four times the number of posts of the next most popular topic.  We also have 1386 views and top all the other user topics by a wide margin.  Keep up the good work guys.  Hope you are getting something useful out of the site.

You really can't trust published tank volumes much.  They only apply if the tank is perfectly level.  When the boat is underway it has a trim of about 7 deg.  Depending on whether the pickup is at the back or front of the tank you can gain or loose at least 10 gallons. 

I nearly ran out of fuel one time and the engines started sputtering.  But as soon as I pulled the throttles back to idle the boat leveled out and the engines started running smooth again.  They stayed that way long enough for me to go below and switch to my forward tanks.   I don't know whether that proves the pickups are forward of the stern end of the tank or not.  Last time I looked they seemed to be near the stern.  But then the tanks may not be mounted horizontally.

Another factor to consider is that when a boat is under way there is a lot of sloshing and that can cause the engines to sputter long before you're out of fuel.  All the boat reviewers rate the tanks at 90% of their published capacity which would be 180 gallons for the Connie's aft tanks.  I wouldn't depend on more than 180 gallons even if I had a super-duper digitized Floscan. 

And that assumes you have no crud in your tanks.  If you have crud don't depend on more than 150 gallons.

I agree with you, varnishing is one of my most unfavorite jobs too.  The only job I can think of that tops varnishing on my unfavorite jobs list is changing the engine oil.  But both jobs have to be done.  And nothing degrades the appearance of a yacht more than painted over trim.  My suggestion is to grit your teeth and do it.  That's what I do although, admittedly, not as often as I should.  If you can't do it, hire someone to do it.  Sorry, I know you didn't want to hear that. Cry

But what's the point of dolling up the interior of your boat with all kinds of exotic electronics if the exterior looks seedy?  BTW, I think the trim is mahogany.  At  least thats what my varnishing guy told me. 

Now don't get the idea that I'm so rich that I can have my varnish done every year.  But one year I got so far behind that I had to call in a pro.  He charged only $500 bucks to do all the trim but recommended that the toe boards be painted.  He said they get too much wear and tear to be practical for varnish.

BTW, I took a look at Bayport Marina the other day.  Winter, has really set in.  No leaves on the trees and nearly all the boats out of the water covered with blue poly tarps. Hundreds of empty slips.  I only saw one boat that looked like a Connie.  It was over by the travel lift slip but appeared to be only about 48' long.

But I was a long way off (22,400 miles to be exact) and couldn't see the details (I was looking at it via Google Earth).

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 18 2006 at 19:08


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Furman1
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Posts: 227
Posted: December 18 2006 at 19:36 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

 

Pete, I agree, that if someone paints their exterior wood with a pine top and a bucket of s**t it would look bad. I painted the exterior wood with Awgrip Cream which is an exact color of the gelcoat on the 500's.  I personally think the exterior of the boat looks as though it is all gelcoat. I have seen too many 500's with the exterior wood discolored by water getting under the finish even though there is a good varnish job on it. I can't seem to be able to get the photo's to show up on the site.  If I could I would post pictures so everyone could make there own decisions.  Maybe we could a boat beautiful contest.Big Smile

Furman

 



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