A strong step forward today in just a couple of hours of work. Access was still difficult for working on the engine bed. As I began positioning the drill (with extra long bit) over the bolt hole to over-size it, I couldn’t get the drill to stand up straight. The exhaust elbow was in the way. I took it off, which was far easier than I could have imagined, and also discovered a brittle hose in the process. This is a good thing, because I don’t think it would have lasted another season.
With the elbow out of the way, I could drill with impunity. Opening up the original bolt hole revealed “dark matter,” not nice, bright, clean saw dust. So I drilled another hole a couple of inches away. More dark stuff. Another hole, more mulch. Then I started angling the bit after the hole was drilled – and found nothing solid below the .25″ top layer of glass. After 5-6 holes, it was apparent that there was nothing but rot underneath the fiberglass.
At this point I pulled out the angle grinder, donned respirator and face mask, and started cutting the glass from the top of the engine bed.
That was all I had time to do on the engine bed today. But while bent double in the engine room I started a couple of other ancillary chores. It is time to renew the hose between the shaft log and the stuffing box, so I removed the securing bolts and set screw from the shaft coupling. The shaft will have to come out, of course, to change the hose.
I continue to be impressed with PB Blaster – the penetrating lubricant that un-sticks things long stuck and rusted. These bolts came right out.
However, the shaft is pressed into the coupling with a key, and it is going to take more than a wood block and hammer to get the shaft and key unlocked from the coupling. All I managed to accomplish with the hammer was smash my thumb. . . didn’t take long either.
If hitting your thumb with a hammer doesn’t get the shaft uncoupled, the next best method is to press it out with a socket between the coupling plates. Requires longer bolts and nuts for the coupling, and a little more time, but it’s painless. Unlike whacking the thumb.