Yesterday was remarkably easy – I expected a struggle to get the prop off, but was disappointed. . . I rented a prop puller from the local rental center ($8 – I was elated that it was so cheap!) – nice that the local rental center caters to the local boating industry! Went back to the boat and cleaned the bottom paint off the prop nuts. After I figured out the geometry of the prop puller, the prop was off the shaft in minutes. Unfortunately, I failed to get a photo of the prop puller on the prop, but here it is piece-meal:
There is a fork with two tines on the left side which goes behind the prop and around the shaft. The protrusion on the right centers on the aft side of the prop shaft. The only trick is to make sure the end on the shaft is perpendicular to the direction of the shaft – it needs to be squarely centered on the end of the shaft so that the force applied doesn’t cause the tool to slip off the shaft. After it’s set and tightened with firm pressure, a tap with a hammer at the shaft-end side breaks the friction bond of the prop with the shaft. Fortunately, I had applied water-proof grease to the shaft last time I installed the prop, and it came off easily. The right tool makes a huge difference. Once the prop was off the shaft, I marked it so as to reinstall with the same orientation (not flipped front-to-back).
Everything on the engine is disconnected, and it’s ready to come out of the space. I’ve heard from another Watkins owner who described the process for moving the engine out of the compartment. I think I’ll give it a try with a friend to help. Doesn’t sound too bad.
Basically, the engine has to slide out of the compartment with force applied via the lifting ring from above. There will only be a moment or two when the engine is fully supported from above. I will use either the boom vang suspended from the boom, or will rent a come-a-long and suspend that from the boom.
Once out of the engine compartment, I’ll set the engine – still on its mounting feet – on to several large timbers, then slide it forward on the cabin sole out of the way.