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My relationship with diesel began when the Admiral and I sold our outboard powered Macgregor 26X and upgraded to a Freedom 32. The Freedom was priced according to the neglect it had suffered for years, but a fixer-up bargain was just what we were looking for.
My initial diesel lesson was impellers, quickly followed by a bad exhaust elbow, cranky instrument panel, faulty sensors, overheating cooling system, vapor locks, wobbly engine mounts, and various lesser gremlins. Every docking was an act of faith, and every weekend a new opportunity to embed grease under my fingernails and smear my blood on the cabin sole. Thousands of dollars and three years later I was ripe for a way to free myself from the tyranny of my diesel.
I found the electric motor converts and joined that small band of fossil-fuel rebels. It may have been a conversion more emotionally driven than intellectual; but, I was hooked..
I studied and surfed the internet for a year while slowly indoctrinating my dear wife. With her grudging blessing I began buying parts, for I had determined to build my own system from scratch. After months of unsuccessfully playing engineer and tweaking a sort-of working electric system I discovered Electric Yachts. My hard won knowledge convinced me I needed a professional, turnkey system. Although there are several companies offering various groupings of components, the one piece drop-in unit combined with a good price made the decision to use the Electric Yachts unit easy.
Although I received my system in April, Mother Nature thwarted me with record high water until July. Since I was replacing the prop and shaft seal at the same time as the motor I did have to have the boat pulled.
Three days were devoted to ripping away all the old equipment, then one bright morning I started at 8:30 am with just a bare prop shaft resting in the cutlass bearing. I installed my new Kiwi, composite, three blade prop in about one and a half hours, then the new PSS shaft seal in just under an hour. I hoisted the Electric Yachts motor aboard, adjusted the mounts a couple times, shimmed the unit to true it to the prop shaft and drilled the four new mount holes. I screwed down the lags, securing the new motor to the diesel bed and tightened down the coupling connecting the prop and motor shafts. This took about an hour and a half to complete.
I did a few boat contortions running the two control cables from the cockpit to the motor and plugged them in. Since the batteries were already in from my first electrical attempt all I had to do was connect the positive and negative cables (supplied by Electric Yachts) to my master switch.
By 3:00 pm I was powered up and spinning the prop. A cautionary note: because the cutlass bearing and drip less shaft seal should not be run dry, any out-of-the-water testing should be only a few seconds to prove everything working and correct prop direction.
The maiden voyage was a success! One word of warning however, once you are no longer listening to a diesel chugging there are a whole host of new boat noises you will hear and wonder about. You will also hear all the comments of other passing boaters who are trying to talk above their engines.