Saturday, April 30, 2011

Poulsbo Invitational Race-WSSA#4

Saturday was the fourth race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association (WSSA) series. This race is sponsored by Poulsbo Yacht Club. It is a bit strange in that "A" course starts at Battle Pt, has a short beat to University Point, a long run to the #6 dolphin in Agate Pass, a shorter beat around Point Bolin and then a long reach and run into Liberty Bay to the finish at Poulsbo Yacht Club. The total distance for the "A" course is 9.6 NM, but with all the reaching and running, it should be perfect for the smaller higher rated boats.

The forecast for the day was for 5-7 knot winds from the SW possibly shifting to NW later in the day. There was also a chance of rain showers. The forecast was accurate as the winds were 5-9 knots at the start from the SW. The sun was out and even though it was a bit cool, the sun felt nice.

We got a good starboard tack start about half way down the starting line. Dulcinea(J105) started just below us and Reign Maker(C&C37/40 XL) tried a port tack start at the pin end. Reign Maker had to give way to Dulcinea, had to tack away and circle back to the line. After the start, Dulcinea and us continued on starboard toward Bainbridge Island. We were looking for a lift under Battle Pt and stronger winds. The rest of our class started on port tack down the line near the boat end.

We tacked to port and took a long tack to the Gilberton shore east of Brownsville. We gained on Dulcinea and Reign Maker who both took short tacks toward the east. The Boss(J35) was below us and when they finally tacked to starboard, they passed well behind us.

We rounded the University Point buoy first in our class, set the spinnaker and reached toward the Bainbridge Shore. The Boss rounded a quarter of a mile behind us and sailed more dead downwind. During our first jibe, we had an issue with the spinnaker pole jaws stuck open and we lost some time getting it resolved. We jibed again at Battle Pt. The wind lightened some and we sailed hotter angles to keep our speed up. After three more jibes, we rounded the Pt Bolin daymark well ahead of The Boss.

After a smart rounding, we had a short beat around Pt Bolin and then started reaching west toward the entrance to Liberty Bay. We ran almost dead downwind to get around the Keyport Pier, then we reached up again to keep our speed up. Just passed the Keyport Docks, we jibed again and headed into Liberty Bay. Hear the wind shifted forward and soon we needed to put the jib up. We dropped the spinnaker on deck. The rained started coming down for a short time and when it quit, the wind started coming aft again. We reset the spinnaker and carried it to the finish in a dying breeze.

We finished at least 10 minutes ahead of The Boss and much farther ahead of Dulcinea. They should place 2nd and 3rd respectively We saved our time on all the boats behind us for the class and overall wins.

In Divisions II and III, the wind lightened and many boats were caught in the channel entering Liberty Bay. The Division II boat Falcon(Cal 9.2) managed to lead their class home by a big margin and won their division.

It was a great day to be on the water. The light variable winds made it challenging to maintain good boat speed, but our crew of Jim, Kathleen and Michael did a great job and stayed focused to the task.

Results can be found here(when they are posted):

Our track for the day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant-Final Installment

This will be the final installment of "The Great Bronco Engine Transplant" saga. The goal of removing the old V6 engine and replacing it with a 302 V8 has been accomplished. The engine has been started and I have driven the Bronco approximatly 100 miles. There is still work to do. Some small items and cleanup of cable and hose runs still needs to be completed. I also need to tweak the cooling system, maybe a cooler thermostat. The biggest item to finish is the transmission kickdown rod. The old Ford one would not fit. Right now, if I need to shift down on a hill, I do it manually. And that is exciting! Why? Because I took the transmission completely apart to install the transfer case adapter and reassembled it. And when I was done, IT WORKED! There was always something intimidating about automatic transmissions. But this was easy! I also installed what is called a "Shift Kit". This modifies the transmission so that it shifts quicker, snappier and not as "mushy" as it did before. It was a success.

So now, this blog will go back to mainly sailing, hiking and biking. And maybe some new project to report about!

Evrything neatly painted, installed and tucked away. Notice the "old school" original air cleaner!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant-It's Alive!

Today I started the V8 engine that I installed in the Bronco II. After three busy, long days finishing up a long list of small items, it was a relief to hear it roar to life. And that's what it did! I do not have an exhaust system installed yet and I will take it to a shop to have it installed.

It took only three or four tries of 20 seconds to get it to start. We did not even use any starting fluid or gas. The transmission pops right into gear and I backed up and went forward several times in the parking area. I may go out after dark for a short drive to check the shifting.

Of course, it not longer has a V6 engine, so a rebadging ceremony was needed!
Check out this video!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant-Getting Close To Startup

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant is rapidly heading to conclusion. I will be so bold as to speculate that within another week, I should make the first attempt to start the engine.

Since the last post, I removed the engine to finish some items and clear some of the interferences. While the engine was out, I painted the frame in the engine bay. I pounded on the flange/tunnel area to try to get more clearance for the headers. I put the engine back in last Friday. Still had a little interference with the oil pan, so I lifted the engine, reformed the corner of the pan a little. Good clearance now. So I put the engine back in. Still had interference with the right header. So, Monday I pulled the engine out again, found a bigger hammer and beat in the area in the tunnel that was hitting the header. I put the engine back in and now I have plenty of room between the header and the body. I reconfigured the heat shield and riveted it back in place. Not pretty, but should work. Hooked up the heater hoses and made a bracket to hold them from swinging around.

Wednesday, I installed the transfer case. It weighs about 60 pounds and is awkward. I am working on the floor without jacking the BII up, so I did not have room to "bench press" it into position. Didn't want to get under it anyway. I do not own a transmission jack either. I floundered around some before I thought of using my motorcycle lift. It is a lot like a transmission jack and is low enough to fit under the vehicle. The input spline needs to line up with the transmission output shaft, so it took some effort to get it all lined up.

While the engine was out for a week, I tried to get the company that supplied the headers and mounts to come up with what was wrong with them. They still hit on the drivers side. First they wanted pictures. I sent them. Next I called them and about two weeks ago I got in touch with someone. He said that they had a 302/BII conversion coming into the shop that afternoon and would take pictures. Nothing. I called and left messages. No response. I even sent them another email Monday about a question about torque for the header bolts. No answer. I finally gave up and engineered my own fix. I added 1/4 inch spacers between the engine and the mount and rounded the frame half of the mount. I now have about 5/16" clearance. It infuriates me when a company won't answer or respond. That is worse than the problem itself. To me it shows a complete lack of respect for the customer. I will never buy from this company again!

Yesterday I hooked up the B&M cable shifter and put the interior together again.I also installed the radiator and was going to install the mechanical fan. It would not fit, it hit the crankshaft pulley even with a spacer installed. I could not put a longer spacer in because I was already close to the radiator. The pulley has four grooves for all the accessories and is very long. I originally bought an electric fan, but thought that it was too tight to install it. So I took a look at the electric fan again and was able to figure out a way to install it offset from the water pump pulley. It offsets to the driver's side edge of the radiator. I hope it will move enough air to cool adequately.

Today I went for a parts run to one of the auto parts store. I had a shopping list that included spark plugs, air cleaner, engine paint, radiator hoses and some miscellaneous fittings. I was most concerned about the radiator hoses as this is a custom installation. I told the salesman what I was looking for. I made up sketches of what I needed. We looked through his stock and found a hose with the correct end connection sizes and correct angle and straight lengths. And it looked like it could be cut into three pieces for all the parts I needed. Sure enough, after I cut it, it fit great. Still need to trim some on the upper. The upper hose has the remote fill in the middle of the hose. My radiator is the Advanced Adapter radiator that fits forward towards the grill underneath the radiator/hood support. There is no room for the fill connection in the radiator.

Today I also fabbed some stronger fan supports to the surrounding structure. I was drilling a hole in one of the small parts and handholding it(no gloves). When the bit broke through, it grabbed and spun the part. Not sure exactly what happened, but it must have sucked me in and grabbed the sleeve of my coat too. The end of my thumb was torn up the worst(will probably have a strange thumb print) with lots of blood and my palm swelled up around where the thumb joins. I got all the bleeding stopped and bandaged up. There was some other cuts on adjacent fingers. I think I will put the drill press vise back on. This sort of freaks me out. A few years ago one of my coworkers was using a drill press at home with gloves on and wrapped a finger of the glove around a 1/4 inch bit and lost part of his little finger. And today as I was drilling, I was thinking of a rerun episode of American Chopper where Rick(one of the experienced fabricators) did the same thing with gloves on and got his hand mangled. I think I came out of this well.

Painted out the frame in the engine compartment.

The engine going back into the Bronco for hopefully the last time. Using the motorcycle lift for lifting the transfer case into position onto the transmission output connection. The new transmission adapter fit great!

The radiator hose cut into the three pieces. The left piece is for the lower hose and the two right pieces are for the upper hose with the remote fill/pressure cap tee in the middle of them. When I bought this, I did not know what this hose was for. I did an Internet search from the part number and found out that it was for a Chevrolet Blazer.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club-Rich Passage Ramble-WSSA N0. 3

Yesterday was the Rich Passage Ramble race. This race starts at Port Orchard, goes out Rich Passage, leaving Blake Island to port, Bainbridge Reef buoy R4 to port and return to the finish at Port Orchard. Total distance for the race is 20 NM. This is the third race of the West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. The forecast for the day was for light winds in the morning possibly increasing to 10-20 later in the day. There was also a chance of rain.

The race started on time with winds to 8 knots from the SE. We got an excellent start, set the spinnaker and led for a while until "Dulcinea"(J105)reached past us. The wind lightened some as we approached Waterman, when the boats behind brought some new wind and closed up some on us.

As we entered Rich Pass, both "The Boss"(J35) and "Reign Maker"(C&C 37/40 XL) passed us, but they stayed toward the right side of the pass while we stayed more in the middle with better ebb current. At Pt Glover, the wind came ahead, the spinnakers came down and the beat started. The wind was a pleasant 8-10knots and shifting more toward the SW. We passed "Dulcinea", "The Boss" and "Dulcinea" before we exited Rich Pass.

We stayed on one long tack past the west end of Blake Island. There we short tacked close to the South Shore for current relief. We stayed ahead of the other boats in our class. The strategy on "The Boss" seemed to be to stay in our wake as we sailed in formation around Blake Island.

After rounding the SE point of Blake Island we reset a spinnaker and had a short run north along Blake Island and then a nice close reach toward the Bainbridge Reef Buoy "R4". "The Boss" stayed close, but as we approached the buoy we gained some distance on them and kept gaining on them as we entered Rich Passage against the still ebbing current.

We sailed toward the south shore of Rich Passage and then tight around Pt Glover looking for current relief and back eddies. The wind got light near Pt Glover and "The Boss" and "Reign Maker" sailed up to us. "The Boss" sailed to the end of the back eddy, struck out for the Bainbridge Island shore and was swept east. "Reign Maker" stayed close to the shore and would not venture out into the flow until we sailed out towards Bainbridge.

We sailed closehauled toward the Bainbridge Island shore and were swept east until we were about halfway across when the current lightened and we started getting into favorable current along the shore. We short tacked along close to the beach. "Reign Maker" followed our example and the two boats gained on the rest of the fleet. At Pt White, the current relief disappears and you have to muscle your way through the 3 knot current for about 100 yards. Fortunately, by that time the current was under the bow, setting us to the left and away from shore. "Reign Maker" was still in our track and should have been able to overcome the current, but they chose to tack away and headed into the middle and got swept back into Rich Passage.

As we escaped the pass, we took a long tack to the East Bremerton shore. One other boat, "Dulcinea", followed our lead exactly and was the next boat to escape the pass. We short tacked up the shore and had good favorable current. Near Pt Herron, we were looking for a current lift from the current flowing out of Pt Washington Narrows. But the wind also increased to 12-15knots and lifted us 30degrees above the finish line. Unfortunately the lift did not continue and we had to make one short tack to cross the finish line.We gained on "Dulcinea" and the rest of the fleet to win first in class and overall.

This was a great race for the crew of "Great White". The wind blew the whole day, the sun came out and there was no rain. Thanks to the crew of Michel, Walter and Jim. I like the races through Rich Passage and around Blake Island. Current is such a big factor in these races and after racing in this area for 35 years, I have developed a set of "rules" that I follow for sailing in the current. They again worked for this race.

Results are here:
Our track for the day.

Steve N. took this picture of us from the bow of "The Boss". He says that the owner of "The Boss" likes bow shots. I would think he would like a picture of us from the stern better.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Taking A Day Off To Go To The Beach

Some people think it is silly that I should want a day off. After all they say:"everyday is a day off" since I am retired. Well, I have been very busy and have put off going places or doing "fun" stuff. I have been working long hours on my car project(The Great Bronco Engine Transplant), working some on the yard and even helping others with some of their boat issues. There is nothing wrong with any of those items, but I wanted to get away if even for a day. So when I told my mom that I needed a day off, she agreed immediately.

So today I drove the truck to the ocean and walked on the beach. The truck was full of gas and I replaced the brake pads yesterday, so it was ready. I left early in the morning headed for Westport. I stopped at Aberdeen for breakfast and still arrived at Westport by 0900. I did not do much there. I walked the path down the beach, watched the fisherman unload their catch, walked the main street(almost all the stores were closed) and ate a great lunch of Fish and Chips at "Bennett's Fish Shack"("we are open seven days a week").

I started home by 1230. I took a different way home. I took some back roads from Cosmopolis to Montesano and then took a side trip to the site of the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant. It was never finished or operated and now the site is an Industrial Park. The cooling towers and reactor containment structures are still standing, but falling into disrepair. From Satsop, I headed into the hills to the north and drove the back way through Matlock passed the penitentiary to Highway 101 and from there through more back roads to the south shore of Hood Canal near Alderbrook.

It was nice to get away today. Oh did I tell you that it rained hard all day? Did not dampen my spirits!
The old lighthouse at Wesport. Still operates and is the tallest in Washington State. Downtown Westport.
The Pacific Ocean.
Trying to not get sunburned.

The walkway along the shoe.
Fisherman unloading crab.
Yum! Fish and Chips at "Bennett's Fish Shack".
One of the cooling towers at the site of the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant.

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- Fabrication, Assembly and Disassembly

After the engine was installed, the real work started in earnest. Now was the time to fit up all the systems needed to operate the vehicle once the engine is started. I finalized the wiring harness and soldered the joints together and bundled it neatly. I had several interferences to resolve as well as fabricate brackets and plates to mount new components. I had to modify the power steering pump bracket to accept the Bronco power steering pump. This part has been fun as now I can implement all the plans I have made. It has also been tiring as I have been working 6 to 8 hours a day. This is the heater plenum that mounts on the passenger side firewall. I had to cut a corner out to clear the valve cover. This is a known problem on 302/Bronco II conversions. I found a heavy plastic rectangular water bottle that I cut up to patch the hole.
The oil filter won't fit if it is left installed on the engine, so I needed to install a remote oil filter kit. This mounts on the radiator support. I had to fabricate the bracket to mount it with.
Another view of the remote oil filter.
I had to modify the throttle cable bracket to accept the Bronco II throttle and cruise control cables.

I built a plate to mount the new shifter. It needed to cover the hole in the floor and I added a stiffener on the underside.

Here is the new shifter installed in the Bronco. I completely hooked it up to the transmission and tested it before I took it out again.

This is how the valve cover clears the heater plenum now. The transmission dipstick tube clears everything too.

And here is the engine coming back out again. It gets easier every time I do this. I removed it so that I could finish work on the engine and to clear the interferences that I learned about when we put the engine in. I also installed the oil pan with gasket for the final time and have scheduled some time to touch up the paint

This is one of the interferences. The motor mount hits the front tube of the header. I have called the manufacture twice and emailed him pictures. He agrees there is something wrong, but has not offered a fix yet. He was suppose to look at a 302/Bronco II conversion and get back to me on Friday. Here it is on Monday and no word back from him yet. I will probably call him early tomorrow. He is starting to hold my progress. I am ready to put the engine back in and start hooking things up.

I had to replace the brakes on my F150 truck Sunday, so when I was at the parts store, I also bought the hose adapters I need to hook up the transmission cooling lines to the radiator. After the latest order from Summit Racing arrives tomorrow, about the only major things lacking will be the radiator hoses. I should be able to get them locally. My special synthetic transmission fluid should be here by the end of the week. I could have this engine installed, hooked up and running in just a few days if the header/motor mount interference gets resolved.