|. Sno' Dog - Maintenance and Repairs
Hopefully useful for other PDQ owners - and potential PDQ buyers -
here's a list of recent maintenance and repairs performed on Sno' Dog.
Background... Since buying the boat in May 2006, I have done most of my own maintenance...
I change the engine oil and filter every 200 - 250 hrs. I use a vacuum pump which sucks the oil out
through the dipstick. (Unfortunately, it's just not practical in this boat to access the drain plug in the
engine sump. Although there are after-market kits which allow this, they must be installed before the
engine is put in. I inquired about this when the boat was being built, but PDQ was not very interested,
they said it might void the Yanmar warranty - a convenient excuse, I think.)
Anyway, the only difficult (messy) part of changing the oil is removing the old filter without spilling
oil in the bilge. I usually poke a hole in the top of the filter with an awl. If any oil comes out, I suction
it with the vacuum pump. Then, I put a plastic quart-size milk container, which I've cut in half
longitudinally, under the filter while I unscrew it. If it puts up a fight, I drive a large Phillips
screwdriver right through it and use that to turn it. With an oil pad underneath, the bilge remains clean.
BTW: I've been using good old Shell Rotella T 15w40, haven't felt the need for synthetics so far.
Engine room access is a much-discussed potential negative of the PDQ 34. I must say, with the bed
folded back and all the baffles removed, I find it quite acceptable. Heck, there's actually standing
headroom in there! I gather some large people find it a bit cramped, but for me, it's fine. (There are
certain jobs, however, which are difficult - such as changing the raw water impeller. To forestall
having to do this underway, I had a yard change both impellers last year at about 900 engine hours.
Although the mechanic cursed quite a bit, he managed to complete the whole job in under two hours.)
Before heading south this fall (2009), I noticed one of our "dripless" shaft seals was beginning to
leak. (Up until then, Sno' Dog's bilges had been bone dry.) Turns out, our SeriesOne Tides Marine seal
is not serviceable, but a complete new seal assembly was available from www.tidesmarine.com - for a
mere $135. They sent it (from FL) complete with a Red Hat seal protector which keeps the seal from
being scored (by the prop-shaft keyway) during installation - which does require hauling the boat.
As I mentioned at the end of our 2009
Southbound Log, we had no mechanical
problems during the trip. Toward the
end, however, we started noticing a
sulfurous odor which seemed to come
from the engine compartment. Running
the blowers for a few minutes after
shut-down mitigated the problem. But
once in port at Jensen Beach, I poked
around a bit and determined that one of
our engine starting batteries had died.
(It would drop below 10 volts if left
disconnected for 12 hrs.) Fortunately, a
trip to Walmart solved the problem: Series
24, Marine Starting Battery - $60.00.
|. 12/12/09 - Jensen Beach, FL - Starting Battery, Fly-Bridge Engine Controls, Etc.
|The other problem that's been bothering us for some time is
the stiffness of the fly bridge engine controls. (James
Power noticed this last summer when he used our boat for
PDQ U in Bristol, RI. He tried his best to fix it, but was
unable.) To troubleshoot, I disconnected the four cables
which run between the two controls, and I found that two of
them had more friction than the other two. The Florida
distributor for Kobelt, C.L.Associates, suggested replacing the
cables, and increasing the bend radius of any sharp bends, if
possible. It only took three hours, but I was able to pull out
the two stiffest cables. I was amazed to find that they
measure 34 feet! It's a long way from the upper control to
the lower control! I would have guessed about 20 feet.
Sno' Dog interior in serious work mode!
Caution! Work Zone!
Ever wondered what the back of the wheelhouse
panel looks like? It's actually a thing of beauty!
Click on the photo to see detail of the controls.
While waiting for the new cables, I've been doing a bit
cutting to reduce the sharp bend where the cables run above
the port aft cabin door and up into the fly-bridge channel.
In the photo above, you can see the problem area. The pink
and white chase cords were attached to the two cables
which I pulled out.
A part of the boat you don't normally see... This is looking
up at the cable routing above the port side aft cabin door,
the headliner and trim have been removed - obviously!
Pilothouse control head exposed!
(I just sprayed it with white lithium grease.)
Stay tuned... I'll let you know if the new
cables solve the problem - assuming I can
get them back in! HMC 12/13/09
Prosine 2.0 Inverter/Charger - Many problems early on, but it's worked fine for the past couple years. Lots of
posts on this subject, including mine, in the PDQ Forum.
Refrigerator/Freezer - It was cutting out due to low voltage. We fixed the problem, see my PDQ Forum post.
Fresh Water Pump - We've gone through 4 Shur-Flo Smart Sensor 5.7 water pumps! Fortunately, they are
reasonably easy to replace and the company has replaced them FREE. We carry a spare.
Raymarine DSM 300 Depthsounder - We replaced the sending unit which improved shallow water performance,
but, more importantly, we installed a second unit in the starboard hull
giving us "Stereo" - great for ICW passages. See my PDQ Forum post.
Over the years, we've had a few other minor issues. Here's a list with some comments and links:
|. 12/21/09 - Success! New cables installed, the controls now
work very freely. Yeah! The new cables went in without
problem using the pull cords. The sharp bend over the
port cabin door has been reduced slightly. I think the
controls now work better than when the boat was new.
The refurbished fly-bridge controls. They now work
better than ever!
A bit more on the control cable subject... In talking to "Don" at C.L. Associates (in Ft. Lauderdale), I learned
that these Felsted, Series 47, Pull-Pull cables are Teflon coated and require no lubrication - in fact, lubrication is
not recommended. I suppose, one explanation for the increased stiffness of our cables is that the Teflon coating
wore off, particularly in the vicinity of the sharp bends. I noticed that, after the cables were removed and laid
out flat, they moved quite freely. Anyway - $370 later - the problem appears to be solved for now. Plus, I've
leaned a lot about how those cables snake their way 34 feet from the lower helm up to the fly bridge.
01/29/10 - I installed a second Raymarine ST 6001 Autopilot Control Head on the fly bridge...
Ever since we took delivery of Sno' Dog, the only control we had on the fly bridge for our autopilot was
the little S-100 wireless remote. That unit has been troublesome over the years. It's particularly
disconcerting when it quits when the autopilot is engaged. When this happens, you've got to make a quick
trip down below to disengage the autopilot in order to regain control! (Worse than a run-away Toyota!)
To remedy this problem, I decided to install a second ST 6001 control head on the fly bridge.
Fortunately, I was able to find a slightly used unit here in Florida for about half the price of a new unit.
Installing the control involved running a SeaTalk cable from the lower panel up to the upper helm. Time
consuming, but not too difficult. I'm happy to report the new unit works perfectly and allows reliable
operation of the autopilot from the fly bridge. Incidentally, the S-100 can still be used - when it works!
02/10/10 - Hose Leak Floods Bilge! When we shut off the engines yesterday, I heard the water pump
running continuously. First, I first assumed it was a pump problem because we've had so much trouble
with our Shur-Flo pump. But, after replacing the pump (something I've learned to do in 10 minutes), I was
baffled to find that the new pump would not stop running either! It took a few minutes, but I realized that
the only explanation was a leak somewhere in the system. Sure enough, I discovered that the hose on the
aft-deck shower had burst and water was flowing freely into the bilge. In fact, about 40 gallons of fresh
water had drained into the bilge, and naturally, the bilge pump was non-functional! When I replaced the
blown fuse, it immediately blew again. It appears that debris had gotten into the pump and jammed it, So
now we've got 40 gallons of water in the bilge and no bilge pump! But, at least, after hearing Horizon's
horror story about water in the bilge and their chewed-up Oil-Zorb mats, we've stopped using them. So, at
least we didn't have chewed up diapers sprayed all over the engine compartment - as they did. (The prop
shaft coupling acts as a macerator when the water level gets high enough and it makes an incredible mess.)
I've been meaning to buy a manual pump, guess I'll do it now! Fortunately, we had one of those little
drill-operated pumps which we were able to use to drain the bilge. Now, all I had to do was replace the
pump - which appeared to be terminally jammed. I was able to find a new Rule 1100 pump right here in
Islamorada, but naturally they've changed the design slightly, so it doesn't just pop back into the floor
bracket. But it was no big deal to install the new bracket and, with new fuses in the control panel, things
appear to be back to normal. Phew! It's amazing how much chaos can be created aboard a boat by a small
event. I'm just glad it didn't happen en-route to the Bahamas. Now, we need to find a replacement hose for
our aft-deck shower. Anyone know a source?
A small aneurysm in our aft-deck shower hose caused a big mess in the bilge. Above: detail of problem.
Click on photos to see larger image.
02-13-10 - Happy ending! I'm happy to report that a new hose was found (at Home Depot) and, with one adaptor
fitting, it was inserted successfully to replace the burst hose. Now, we just need to remember to turn off the
shower at the source to relieve pressure on the hose. (We had been leaving it on and using the shut-off at the
shower head to control the flow. Bad idea!)
The new hose - with adaptor fitting to fit
existing aft-shower faucet connection.
Installing the new hose. I'm back behind the engine compartment.
The prop shaft seal and (new) bilge pump are visible between my legs.
Photo by Nancy - who also passed me tools while I worked back there.
04/04/10 - Finally received our new
four-bladed propellers! Hoping to install
them soon. Will let you know the results.
|04/18/10 - In an effort to stop
occasional discharge from our hot
water heater's relief valve, I installed an
accumulator in the hot water line. The
photo at right shows the installation -
which was very simple, actually. I just
inserted the little tank in the hot water
line as it exits from the heater. Only
one fitting (49 cents at Home Depot)
was required to complete the job.
So far, it appears to be doing the job. I
believe the cause of the problem was
that there was no expansion possible
when the water heated up, so a
pressure spike was causing the
pressure relief valve to discharge.
Installation of new accumulator in hot water line near heater in the port hull.
Click on photo to see larger image.
Accumulator Tank info: Jabsco Model 30573-0003, 0.65 L. (West Marine $57.99)
04/17/10 - Props installed! Test Results are
now posted on Performance Page. Check
it out. We now have a 20-kt powercat!
Sno' Dog now has 1560 engine hours, still
|I hate water in the bilge! Hopefully
this will solve the problem.
12-16-11 - Replaced sea-water pump on rear air-conditioner. This pump had been making noise recently,
then, on a cold day when we tried to get some heat in the aft cabin, I noticed an error message on the control
panel. Sure enough, when I looked outside, there was no water coming out of the aft outlet. I was able to
find a replacement pump (a Dometic PML 250) at a local dealer: ITR Marine here in Port St Lucie, FL, but
even with a 20% discount (so he said) the darn thing cost a whopping $265! Installing it was reasonably
straight forward, the hardest part was detaching the the white rubber tubes which have gone undisturberd for
6 years. I finally got them off with the use of a hair dryer which helped to make the tubes more pliable.
In the photo above, you can see the offending unit, it's the red object on the left - mounted to a block on the
inside of the port hull. The new unit runs quietly, and the problem appears to be solved.
05-04-12 - Added New Bearings on Propshaft - to help stabilize
the shafts & prevent leaking of the (TidesMarine) seals.
After reading (on PDQ Forum) about the work done by Stuart Yacht
on "Catatonic", I decided to try the same thing on Sno' Dog. The
photo on the left shows the new bearing as installed by Stuart Yacht.
Stbd. side shaft with new bearing installed.
Catatonic undertook this modification primarily to eliminate noise and
vibration, but in our case the primary motivation was to eliminate leaks
from our TidesMarine shaft seals - which occurred mainly at cruise
speed. We assumed that this leakage was caused by shaft vibration.
There is no doubt that the added bearings decrease that vibration. The
shafts now run at all speeds with virtually no vibration and the there is
absolutely no leakage. The boat as a whole now feels noticeably
smoother at all speeds. I think this is a very worthwhile modification;
and Stuart Yacht is certainly the place to do it. We are 100% satisfied
with their work.
Mouse-over the photo to see a close-up of the
new bearing without the TidesMarine seal.