2009 Activities

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Ship's log - 2009 Activities 


The winter of 2008-2009 was a cold and nasty one by Pacific NW standards. It was hard to get motivated to work on the old girl until spring. The cover worked out fine this winter, with the occasional snow fall smashing down several sections.

Added .pdf 83527 handout document I did get a few things worked on during the winter at home. The dash unit on the bridge with the switches and tachometers needed a rework. The original Stewart-Warner tachometer "motors" would not be used in the future so those assemblies were modified and the artwork recreated.

The second winter project was to start collecting hardware for the air shift system for full bridge control and remove the "shifter jockey" in the engine room. The Portland "Save the PT-Boat" group had successfully changed their manually shifted PT-658 to air, so I stopped by to look at that arrangement.   Link to Website HERE

These photos are just for the coolness factor of the bridge and the engine room with the three operating Packard engines.

24v motor to drive compressor Air tank Control panel with fake old gauges 24v control valves Cylinder mount

The new PT-658 "Boat House" This is a worthy goal to work towards for the 83527. They raised $100K to build this. that sure beats the white plastic tarp and PVC pipe solution.


I guess the unmentioned point of this part of the story is that they have decided to remove the airshift from the PT-658. It turns out that the transmissions they have do not have what we would now call "synchromeshed" gears. Whenever a gear shift takes place you have to be sure that the engine is at idle and the transmission has stopped turning. If not serious grinding takes place. It turned out to be very hard to hold the boat in place in the Columbia or Willamette river current. There was a tendency to shift in and out of gear a lot trying to hold position. So its back to the "MotorMac" in the engine room looking at the tachs and listening to things.

With the engine conversion to the 6-71 with the Twin Disc 8708 transmissions on the 83527, that problem doesn't exist. They were designed to be shifted between neutral, forward or reverse at almost any engine speed.

Now we are doing the design work on the mounting hardware for the shift cylinders. The electrical design is easy since the shift console is already connected to the engine room for the red-green-yellow lamps for the engine order telegraph. We have an engine driven air compressor that was originally mounted on the port engine. As you can see from the manual pages we only have to move the lever about 23 degrees, but the push or pull is very high.

The major undertaking this Spring and Summer is more progress on the crew quarters, crew mess, galley, Chiefs quarters and pilot house. With the help of Brian Goodloe from Everett we started stripping all of the mohogany down to bare wood and applying new stain. These photos show some of the work in process.

Chiefs quarters bulkhead added Between Chiefs quarters and Galley With door Bulkhead roughed in Start of locker under crew ladder
Fronts of actual lockers tacked in place Locker closed in and mess table seating started     Crews quarters locker faces refurbed and in place
Another angle Prep for varnish stripping Document photo for detail Lockers in Chiefs head started Galley layout started
Roughed in shelves Crew hatch getting stripped Brian at work on the mahogany. The door from frame 20 above was very warped. It was disassembled, steamed and twisted. Its still not quite right. More attention later is needed.

When we built the windshield on the open bridge it was slated to be a temporary installation, so cheapo steel sheetrock screws were used to secure the plastic sheets to the wooden frame. Now 5 years later the rusty screws and rusty paint look pretty bad. We decided to replace the screws with stainless steel screws and cleanup and repaint under the plastic. That project turned into a nightmare that required that the plastic for all four panels just be replaced. The sloppy paint jobs of the past and the one totally broken panel (Dan fell into it on a heavy roll coming up the coast) were just too far gone to save.

Add bridge photos here.      

While I had Bryan available we tore out the old steel water pipe that was used for the hot water heaters and the copper pipe used for the galley water system. This was replaced by modern CPVC pipe installed from the aft end of the tank room forward to the crews head. The cold water end will be connected to a fresh water tank in the tank room and be extended into the engine room for a fresh water faucit. From this main line a pair of feeds (hot and cold) were split for the sink in the Chiefs head, galley sink and forward head.

Add piping photos here      

I received a number of emails from Robert Mulhair in CA that had this Pannish Control for sale. It was in the spares kid of the 83 footer that his father purchased in 1968. He has kept it as a memorial to his Dad until now. I have not been able to get any photo or an 83xxx number yet. He finally sold it on Ebay for about $300.


(03-15-2009) We owned an 83 Footer 1968-1969, never knew too much about her history. We have an old photo somewhere with her hull number. My dad bought her in a sealed bid auction in the fall of 1968. Summer of '69 we took her to Catalina Island for the weekend, after dad had loaded her up with 850 gallons of fuel, we ran her up on the step both ways to knock the moss off her, as dad used to say. Sunday, on our return her port engine stumbled and died as we past the L.A. Lighthouse at flank speed on the way back in, and would not restart. We were out of fuel, and limped up the channel back to the slip on the starboard engine. She was a big strapping girl, but after a 1000 gallon weekend trip, dad sold her a month or two later. - Robert Mulhair

Sept 12, 2009 Video Update

  Pilot House   Galley, Quarters  

Work on the crew quarters continued during the fall and progress was made beyond the videos. All new activity is moved to the 2010 Ships Log.

Go to 2010 Ships Log