Crane Rebuild/Remanufacture


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A second major project that we completed while in the yard at Southampton was to rebuild our crane. It was in remarkably poor condition. The ram-to-extension bolts were siezed due to lack of Tuff-Gel application on the stainless screws in the aluminum casting; the linear winch had worn away all its bearing material, damaging the sheaves and the inside of the extension; the extension lower-bearing pad wasn’t installed in our crane (probably an early build issue on the ES series), yielding fairly serious damage along the entire length of the boom/extension interface; and pictured above is the damage done by the extension upper-bearing pad coming free due to adhesive failure. Solving this consumed a big parts order and a lot of labour.

Below are highlights from January 9th through 25th at Saxon Wharf, Southampton and Hamble Point. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

1/9/2018
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Disassembling Crane

Roland Mcildowie and Jack Woodford of Proteum preparing to disassemble the crane.
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Removing Extension

Roland Mcildowie and Jack Woodford of Proteum about to remove the crane boom extension.
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Crane Boom Extension

Here you can see the top of the boom extension where an anti-friction pad had come free and the crane has subsequently worn badly in that area.
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Extension Bottom

The crane boom extension seen from the bottom side.
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Forklift

The Saxon Wharf lifting team worked with Proteum to lower our davit boom via forklift.
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Lowering Extension

At bottom left, Saxon Wharf lift supervisor Steve Moran overseeing the lowering of our davit boom extension.
1/11/2018
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Crane Linear Winch

The linear winch in our Steelhead ES1100 crane was suprisingly heavily worn. We’ll replace most of these parts.
1/12/2018
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Crane

We brought our Steelhead ES1100 crane to the Nordhavn Europe workshop at Hamble Point Marina for repair. The crane is in remarkably poor condition. The ram-to-extension bolts were siezed due to lack of Tuff-Gel application on the stainless screws in the aluminum casting; the linear winch has worn away all its bearing material, damaging the sheaves and the inside of the extension; the extension lower-bearing pad wasn’t installed in our crane (probably an early build issue on the ES series), yielding fairly serious damage along the entire length of the boom/extension interface; and pictured is the damage done by the extension upper-bearing pad coming free due to adhesive failure. Solving this will consume a big parts order and a lot of labour.
1/15/2018
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Crane

Jack Woodford of Proteum disassembling our crane to bring the boom, bottom center, back to the Nordhavn Europe workshop for repair.
1/16/2018
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Nordhavn Europe

We plan to spend the day at the Nordhavn Europe workshop in Hamble Point, working on our crane.
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Boom Damage

The damage to the boom where the extension has ground against it. The boom extension lower bearing pad was not installed at the factory so the crane ran aluminum on aluminum (we suspect this was either a build error or a design change that went in after our early serial number was built).
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Cleaning

The problem with the missing lower bearing pad became apparent in early 2013 shortly after we’d arrived in French Polynesia. We addressed it by grinding off the galled-up balls of aluminum and heavily greasing the friction area. It’s worked well for the five years since. Here James is using break cleaner to remove the grease prior to preparing the friction surfaces.
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Sanding Boom

Jennifer sanding the interior of the boom with a power sander to get a smooth, flat surface for the bearing pads we’re about to install. It’s a bit of a challenge in that you can’t get an arm in and see the work at the same time.
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Sanding Extension

James sanding down the outside of the boom extension.
1/17/2018
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Loctite

After discovering the problem with the missing lower bearing pad back in 2013, we reported the problem to Steelhead who sent us some bearing pad material and Loctite 5512 adhesive. The Loctite is several years old, so we weren’t keen to use it given we’d already had an adhesive failure. Steelhead has since changed to a different Loctite product, but it’s flammable, can’t be shipped air freight and none of them are available in the UK. We contacted Steelhead and for the UK geography they recommended the use of Plexus.
1/18/2018
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Lower bearing pad

James inserting one of two lower bearing pads strips into the bottom of the crane boom. We’ll secure them with tape for a dry-run test.
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Upper bearing pad

The new upper bearing pad secured with tape on the boom extension for a dry-run. We’re adding about three times as much pad as was there before. You can see we’ve not yet sanded out the damage inside the boom extension where the linear winch ground against it.
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E. French & Son

The dry-run showed we didn’t have enough clearance to fit the boom extension into the boom with the new upper and lower bearing pads, plus allowing at least a millimeter on each for the Plexus adhesive. So we brought the extension to E. French & Son to machine the surface down by 1.5 millimeters.
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Machining

Our boom extension on the machine at E. French & Son. It barely fits in the shop.
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Beaver

The Beaver milling machine adding 1.5 mm of clearance for the upper boom extension bearing pad.
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Trailer

Neil Russel, director of Nordhavn Europe, securing our boom extension to the transport trailer after machining it at E. French & Son.
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Sanding

One of the challenges of the crane rebuild is previous parts failure have led to metal-on-metal contact and large galled sections of aluminum need to be machined off or the new parts will fail quickly. It takes some creativity to correct the damage inside the boom and boom extension. Here we’re using a power sander on the end of a boat hook to reach into the boom extension.
1/19/2018
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Cleaning boom

We’ve machined smooth the inside of the boom, now we’re cleaning out the metal debris and getting the surface good and clean prior to gluing in the bearing pad. Here we’re using a boat hook with a fabricated pad soaked in Acetone to sweep out the boom.
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Heating boom

We’re in a cold room so we’re heating up the boom and the air around it prior to gluing.
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Primed

The top of the boom extension coated with red Plexus primer in preparation for gluing on the bearing pad.
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Priming

You can just barely see Roland Mcildowie of Proteum applying red Plexus primer to the inside far end of the boom. The boom looks pretty rough still, but we’ve sanded down all the high spots and will be covering this area with the lower boom bearing pads.
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Upper bearing pad

Applying the two-part Plexus adhesive to the upper bearing pad.
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Placing pad

Placing the upper bearing pad onto the boom extension.
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Lower bearing pads

Applying adhesive to the lower bearing pads.
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Sliding into position

Because the lower bearing pads are so long and accessing the inside of the boom is difficult, we’ve attached the pads glue-side up to a board with two-sided tape. We’ll slide the bearing pads into position on a board, then rotate the board 180° and lower the pads into position.
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Rotating

Rotating the board to place the lower bearing pads inside the boom.
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Pads in place

The lower bearing pads in place just prior to trimming.
1/22/2018
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Crane parts

The replacement crane parts we’d ordered from Steelhead last week just arrived. On the upper left is the old cheekplate that fits along the side of the linear winch head with the new replacement plate to the right. The cheekplates support the winch head and are the contact point with the boom extension as the winch moves back and forth. Perhaps due to design changes, the cheekplates required modification to fit in the extension and the new white inter-sheave spacers were too thick to use. If you look carefully, you can see what caused the linear winch to fail. The plate covering the end of the sheaves was too large in the original design so as the bearings wore, it quickly touched down, grinding up the bore of the linear winch and filling all the parts with aluminum chips.
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Crane line

The replacement parts included a new line for the crane. We actually did carry a spare that we’d ordered from Steelhead, but it appears the wrong part was sent. Here Jennifer is comparing the old line with the new at the Proteum workshop to verify the length is correct.
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Sanding

Probably due to crane design changes, there isn’t sufficient clearance in our crane for extension upper and lower bearing pads. Steelhead does use them now, and the chewed-up boom and extension wear surfaces in our crane were evidence the bearings really are needed. We installed them, but its a lot of work to get enough clearance to be able to use the bearing pads in our crane.
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Cheek plates

The replacement cheek plates Steelhead had sent were too big for our boom extension, so here James is sanding them down to fit. The fun never ends with this job.
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Dry fit

Roland and James (out of the picture on the left), attempting to test-fit the linear winch into the boom extension with the new cheekplate facing out. With the work we did earlier on the cheekplates, it does fit in, but damage from earlier metal-on-metal contact is sufficiently severe inside that the center portion of the extension, where the linear winch runs, will have to be milled out.
1/23/2018
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Extension

Back working on the boom extension to mill out the center portion to give clearance for the linear winch to run and ensure the surface is smooth.
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Winding line

We now have the linear winch properly fitting into the boom extension, so Roland is winding the new line in place.
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End plate

Steelhead has redesigned the linear winch endplate, addressing the fourth problem we had. The old endplate covering the end of the sheaves was too large in the original design so as the bearings wore, it quickly touched down, grinding up the bore of the linear winch and filling all the parts with aluminum chips. The new plate is smaller, and won’t touch down as the bearings wear.
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Cheekplate

The new endplate interferes with the new cheekplate, so we needed to modify it to fit.
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Winch in place

The linear winch assembled and installed inside the boom extension. We’re getting closer to having a functional crane again.
1/24/2018
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Crane arriving

Proteum bringing our crane parts in the trailer from Hamble Point.
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Boom Extension

The boom extension being lifted onto the boat deck via forklift.
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Boom

Transferring the boom from the trailer to the boat deck via forklift.
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Crane

The boom and boom extension back on the boat deck and ready to install.
1/25/2018
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Boom

Roland Mcildowie and Jack Woodford of Proteum installing the crane boom.
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Extension

Sliding the crane boom extension into the boom. The crane almost is back together.
1/31/2018
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Crane

After all that work, it’s great to see the crane operating well. It’s running better than it has for years.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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4 comments on “Crane Rebuild/Remanufacture
  1. Adam Block says:

    What a nightmare. The worst job ever on our 47 was replacing the Amsteel line in the ES crane because the engineers buried the bitter end stud deep inside the base of the boom with no almost no wrench clearance. Reading this post gave me PTSD.

    • You are so right Adam, it was amazingly time consuming and difficult job. I’ll not feel completely relieved until I’ve seen it running for a month or two but it’s sounds great and has worked great so far. I think we have it the way we want it but that work shouldn’t have been necessary and was unpleasant.

  2. Jeff says:

    Hello James and Jennifer,
    Greetings from snowy and cold Minnesota. (2 fresh inches last night) Of course hindsight is 20-20, but knowing what you do now and considering the parts, labor costs and most importantly, extended time spent in the yard, if you had the chance of a “do-over”, would you have chosen to replace your existing crane with a new model?

    • Your right that it was an amazingly unpleasant job and very time intensive. I 100% agree. But, the crane is over $30,0000 new so it’s worth investing a huge amount in it before giving up and replacing. As bad as it was, we would be willing to invest more if we had to. I’m both hopeful and optimistic that it’ll run well for a while as we currently have it.

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