Monday, March 19, 2012

The saga continues.......

So as usual, I have spent most of my time digging through post after post and asking really dumb questions to the great guys on the houseboat forums.  If you own a houseboat and need to know anything and everything go to Houseboat Magazine Forums.  The members there are some of the nicest and most helpful you'll meet.  I have asked about 20 stupid questions by now and they have done nothing but help.  Back on topic....  I have been doing some research on just what exactly the electric issues with my boat are.  This is what would have been causing all the pitting that I see on the boat.  After getting the flybridge on the boat yesterday, I went looking for a couple of missing screws in the front hatch.  I got a good look at the galvanic isolator and something caught my eye.  The isolator is connected straight to the hull.  All the reading that I have been doing says that it should be connected to a common ground with the rest of the gear on board. It looks to me that this isn't the case as is shown by the picture below.  I hope that it is correct so that I don't have to do any remediation on this, but if it isn't I hope that it solves my problem.


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I also hope they can provide some guidance as to where I can find the model number for my generator.  It is an oldy, but still runs.
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I wont be able to get much done over that next two weeks as I will be working the entire time.  However, when I get back the boat better be ready to get blasted and painted!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The boat is progressing...

Well, we had some decent weather this weekend and although I lost all day Saturday because I had to work we got a lot done today.  I had hoped to just get the flybridge back on top of the boat, but just the physical moving of it.  We ended up getting it back on the boat, secured, and 90% of the gauges and controls hooked back up.  As usual, I am missing a screw here or there.  Just as a list to keep myself straight here is what we have to do for the rest of the top.

1. Splice the antenna cables back together
2. Splice the horn back together
3. Splice the anchor light back together
4. Hook the depth finder back up.  I might need to replace it as there is a lot of condensation in the gauge.
5. Buy aluminum screws for the hand rails.  We stripped the old ones when we removed them.
6. Put Bimini top back on when the season starts
7.  Reinstall the engine synch
8. Buy and install a cotter (sp?) pin for the starboard shifting cable.  No idea where the original went.
9. Rewire and reconnect the 2nd spot light.  We had no slack to splice the light back together.
10. Clean the whole damn boat!!

11. Buy all my helpers some beer.  It would have been impossible without my wife's family.  Tom, Sherry, Ashley, Nick, Chase, and Bob.

From the pictures below, she finally looks like a boat again!
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boat Pictures

Here are links to a couple of picture albums.  The first is some pictures of our old boat.
http://s348.photobucket.com/albums/q359/jtalberts/DriftRCruz/

The second is a link to an album of our new boat.
http://s348.photobucket.com/albums/q359/jtalberts/Kingscraft%2040/

There are a lot of pictures of just random things that I upload related to the boat, but that is where I keep all of them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The list keeps growing......

After getting the bottom scraped and seeing all the pitting in the aluminum hull, it made it a must to have the bottom sandblasted and painted this year.  I was hoping to put this off until the fall or next spring, but we can't.

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So the list of items that need done on the boat (until I find something else) is as follows:
1. Bottom sandblasted and painted.
         -I will be getting a company called Zanesville Blasting to do the blasting.  He has done this on at least 3 Kingscraft houseboats in the past few years. 
         -I will have it blasted up to the bottom of the deck.  I plan on repainting the boat in the next year.
         -I will use coal tar epoxy on the bottom.  It is tough stuff and far cheaper than the bottom paint.
2. Pull and rebuild port side transmission
         -The transmission leaks fluid into the Vdrive.  I am going to have a friend rebuild the tranny.
3. Get broken rudder replaced
         -I will be using the same friend from the transmission to weld the rudder back together
4. Get outer exhaust manifolds drain plugs threaded
         -The drain plugs barely tighten in the exhaust manifolds.
5. Figure out a way to secure the intake filter so that it doesn't leak.
6. Install bilge pumps
          -Overall I want 2 in the engine bay, 1 in the mid of the boat, and 1 in the front hatch
7. Get battery bank and inverter installed
          -I plan on getting a professional electrician to do this.
8. Test and possibly replace Galvanic Isolator
          -This might be the cause of the pitting on the hull if this went bad
9. Add anodes to the front of the keel
          -Other Kingscraft have 1 or 2 anodes in the front of the boat.  Mine does not.  This could have saved me from the pitting.
10. Paint the decking with non slip Durabak
11. Paint the rest of the boat
          -I think this will wait a couple years.  It is a large job to take on and the time will be tough to come by.

On this list, I would like to get all of these done this year.  I know that is some wishful thinking but I think it can be done.  I just need a little assistance from some friends and it will happen.  Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are definite for this year.  Actually, all of them but 10 and 11 seem like are must be done items for this year.  April is going to be a busy month!!!!

Why and Where it began.

I have decided to create this page for a few reasons.

1. I would like to track everything that I plan to do with my new houseboat.
2. I want to help others that will follow this same path years from now.

      Now it is time for me to give you some back story.  Our town has a yearly festival at the riverfront that is called the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival.  A few years ago, my wife and I noticed a neighbor that had a houseboat tied up to the docks.  I always loved having a boat when I was young with my family and most of the memories I have of family in Indiana was swimming in Lake Monroe.  My wife and I loved jet skis, but I was afraid that we would get tired of them fairly quickly.  Upon walking seeing our neighbor's work in progress houseboat, we knew that this is what we wanted to do some day.

     Fast forward to last July.  My wife and I are sitting on the beach watching a lifeguard ride a jet ski up and down the shoreline.  I turned to my wife and said, "When we get home, we are going to buy a jet ski."  After returning home, we came to find that no dealership within 50 miles of us sold new jet skis of any brand.  On a whim, we decided to go to our local marina where I had seen a few houseboats listed for sale.  Having never owned a houseboat, we didn't quite know what to look for.  Gary, the harbor master, decided to show us a boat that he knew was a pretty good beginner boat that wouldn't be a lot of work or a lot of money.  He showed us the "Prince of Tides".
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It was a 1966 Drift-R-Cruz houseboat.  It had a Chrysler 318 wideblock with a Dana 90 stern drive.  A week later, we were the new owners of the boat.

          Having never driven a houseboat more than 10 minutes, I enlisted the help of our neighbor once more to help get the boat down river to where we would dock the boat for the season.  A few days later, we enlisted his help once more to get the boat on the shoreline for that years Italian Festival.

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       From that point on, we spent the rest of our free time on the boat until we pulled it for winter in November.  Having a list of things a mile long that I wanted to do to the Prince, we made the decision that we would like to upgrade to a larger boat that would possibly require a little less work.  No more than a week after we pulled the boat, I was on my way to searching for a new boat.  We knew that we would want at least a 36 foot boat.  Having looked at a few fiberglass boats, I decided I would try and look for an aluminum boat.  I wanted the assurance that I wasn't going to have to redeck the boat every 10-15 years or have to rebuild the structure due to wood rot.

     On December 6th, I finalized the purchase of a 1971 40' Kingscraft houseboat.  It has twin Chrysler 318 engines with Paragon PV33 Vdrives.  The interior was remodeled 5 years ago and requires very little maintenance.  I purchased this boat in Cincinnati, OH and here is how I found it.

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     The outside of the boat could use a new coat of paint in the next couple years, but over all it is in very good shape.  We decided mid February that we were going to get the boat transported while the river would cooperate.  We had to first dismantle the flybridge to get the boat below the required height for transport on the highway.  Luckily my brother lives in Cincinnati and he had some friends that could give us some help.  We were able to get the flybridge removed in just about 3 hours.  Here is she is ready to be loaded on the trailer.


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     The next week came and we were to meet the transporter at the boat at 7am to get her on the road.  The transporter didn't get on site till about 9am so that set us back.  After second guessing where we should load the boat, we finally went with our original plan.  We decided that we would try and get the boat loaded at the ramp right next to the boat.  After attempting this for about 30 minutes or so, we determined we couldn't get the trailer deep enough in the water to get the boat completely on it.  We decided to go with Plan B and pull the boat at the deeper ramp in the marina just behind where the boat was located.  Having driven this boat for 30 total minutes, it being the largest boat I have ever captained, I had to cross a shallow silt bar to get into the main channel that connects to the other marina.  I was more worried about getting too close to the other end of the channel that I neglected to realize I had about 25 ft of boat left I needed to account for.  I ended up getting stuck on the silt bar.  It stalled my port side engine immediately.  My initial thought was that I just bent/broke the prop shaft.  After about 10 minutes of rocking the boat back and forth, I was able to pull her free and head towards the marina.  I was able to fire up the port engine and noticed that the prop was pushing.  I was pleased to know that I didn't break it off.   I did however break something off.  After getting the boat on the trailer, an observer informed me that I broke off the port side rudder.

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    The rest of the boat was no worse for wear and we got the rest of the boat prepped for the long road home.  The time was 1:30 pm.  We were way behind schedule with a 5-6 hour drive ahead of us.  Well, it was a stressful drive home
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    However, it finally made it to its new home, and this is how it sits as I write this.
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So that is the story that leads up to where I am today.  I will be using this blog to keep everyone up to date with the work on the boat as well as a reference for all the work I have done to the boat.