Some Stuff About Autumn Dream

Well the end of the season came a bit early for Autumn Dream this year due to some travel and a mechanical issue with Autumn Dream.  As all of you know she is up for sale and so this is a tell all entry, if any potential buyers are reading the blog.  Mid-summer we were doing an overnight at out favorite anchorage.   We had a great run to the anchorage, no issues or concerns.  Dropped the anchor and spent a quiet evening on the hook.   Next morning was a Saturday and a stunning one at that.  So we just stayed and enjoyed the day.  In late afternoon we decided that due to a weather front moving in early Sunday we should return home, so we started the engine and hauled up the anchor.  Once the anchor was on board Beth put the transmission into gear and headed Autumn Dream toward the entrance (exit?) of the anchorage.  We were running at an idle speed about 800 RPM.  I returned to the pilothouse and noticed a thumping ( or vibration) that  I had not noticed previously on the run out here.  Beth will tell you I am obsessed with vibration and noises from the boat.  Basically I know what she should sound like and I know when something is not right.  So since it was only slightly different we continued on.  As we are in a no wake area we maintained the idle speed till we were out of the river an into the bay.  The thumping continued.  Once outside of the last navigation marker we ran the engine RPM up to our cruise RPM of 1500.  This gives a nice speed of between 5 and 6 knots and low fuel burn.  Perfect for a slow trip back to Dighton.  At 1500 RPM the thumping went away.  So no big deal.  As we progressed  on out 2 hour voyage I could detect that something was not right.  A different vibration was happening on the boat.  Well we played around trying to find the cause of the vibration.  No luck.  Beth could not feel the difference but I could.  She thought I was nuts.   Well no real issue getting back to the home mooring.  Well once back home and a few minutes with Dr. Google revealed that the problem was most likely that the transmission damper plate was starting to fail.  For you non boaters a damper plate is like a clutch in a cars manual transmission.  The signs of damper plate failure are as I described.  Thumping at idle speed and then it quiets down while running at higher RPM.  Also damper plates tend to fail around 3000 hours of running time.  We have about 3500 hours on the engine and transmission and I don’t believe this job has ever been done previously.    So after further investigation this is a pain in the neck repair but probably the most inexpensive boat part you will ever buy.   In speaking with Tom the boat yard owner he tell me that I can do this job but it will be a pain.  Dr. Google also has may instruction thanks to other boat bloggers!  So Autumn Dream is on the hard for the season and now I’ll start the damper plate repair along with some other fun.  Even though she is for sale we will continue to maintain here in A1 condition and do our winter projects.   So on the winter project list is Fix Damper Plate, replace stuffing box flax, see if I can eliminate the window rattles, and of course do required off season maintenance projects like take care of the bottom paint, and stuff growing on the shaft an prop.  In the following pictures you can see the hull condition when she was hauled .  Also want to replace a few of the coolant hoses on the engine as precaution and change out the actual coolant.  While doing the damper plate replacement I’l also change the transmission fluid.  So this will be a pain but a learning for me!  What follows are some photos of Autumn Dream at hauling and the crud growing on the bottom and running gear!

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Dirty Prop! Yuck!

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Shaft with Crud. Bottom Paint did nothing to stop hard and soft growth!

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Autumn Dream Looking Good after Haul!

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Autumn Dream with Rudder Removed! (just in case I need to pull the shaft!)

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Big heavy rudder!

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Location of where damper plate is located inside the green bell housing at the top of the photo.

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Propeller shaft and stuffing box!

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Slightly Fowled Propeller shaft!

Next post will show the cleaned shaft and propeller!

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