Saturday, March 8, 2014

Beware The Ides Of March

It's the beginning of March and looking for projects that I can complete indoors.  The key switch was unreliable and the tachometer was faulty as well.   I wanted to keep the same instrumentation cluster that Westerbeke provided.  The plexiglass was was all scratched and there was no cover over the key switch.  The upper left hand corner and bottom right hand corners of the instrumental panel were broken off.  Below you see the repaired instrument panel casing.  I used JP Weld as the moldable ingredient to build up the corners.  I created some "corner moulds" using stiff cardboard and poured in the JP Weld like it was cement being poured into columnforms.  Let it cure for 48 hours in my basement.  A little sanding and some black paint and we were as good as new. 

Figure 47
Instrumentation Panel

I then went down to the local hardware and had them cut a piece of Lexan 2'x2' 1/8 inch and came home and measured it to fit.  I needed it to be pliable so that I could get it back into the original position on the face of the instrumentation panel.  If you look closely, I made 45 degree 1/2 cuts at each of the corners so that the corners would not be pressured during the installation of the Lexan.  Figured it would be a good way for any water to drain out if condensation appeared.

Having accomplished this, turned my attention to the Johnson key switch that Andy had located last year to replace the one that was not working reliably.  This switch is the kind where you put the motor key in, push it and  make a quarter turn to the right to warm the glow plugs.  Then after the presribed time (depending on the outside temperature), you then complete another quarter turn to crank the engine. The switch was a little sticky.  I took care of this with some dry lubricant, the same stuff you use on your masts to help the sails hoist easier.

Figure 48
Into the ABYSS - The backside of the
Helm's Instruments Panel
Next, I turned my attention to the rear of the instrumentation panel seeking to understand why the tachometer was not working well.  I sat down at lunch and reviewed the engine wiring schematics in the Westerbeke Owners Manual.  Located the "brown" wire in the harness that goes from the harness to the alternator.  Found a loose connection and presto, we have RPMs being indicated.  Of course I did this with continuity checks while not running the engine.  Remeber I am a rookie at all this stuff. :)