It’s a Head-Banger

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This is the story of those little metal tabs hanging down in the engine room of our boat, why they are there, how much they hurt when your head makes contact with them (and it will), and what we did about it.

One of the things you almost never fully learn until you have owned a boat for a while is whether or not it’s serviceable. Over the years, I’ve seen a great many components on various boats literally “built-in” where, if you need to replace these components or even service them, the boat needs to come apart. I’ve seen some pretty destructive jobs where the entire salon and windows had to be torn out to replace engines. Knowing this, when we were in the boat market before buying Dirona, serviceability was an important consideration for us. However, no matter how much you know, you never know enough and the only really true test of a boat’s serviceability is to wait 5 to 10 years.

We do almost all of our own service work, so have a pretty high bar for what it means to be serviceable. Dirona has done super well by this measure. Ironically, a particularly good example of forward thinking on Nordhavn’s part is also a minor irritation.

Nordhavn, unlike the majority of recreational boat builders, puts service panels in the salon floor so the floor can be opened up to lift out the entire engine. It’s remarkably nicely done and far better than the norm. Most sales folks explain “you can just rebuild it in place”. I agree it might be possible but, as a licensed auto mechanic who used to work on exotic cars, I’ve seen my fair share of very tight spots to work. Serviceability is super important in a long-lasting ocean-going boat.

These little clips are what holds in place very large openings in the salon floor. These are well-made little clips. The floor boards never move, shift, creak, or rattle. But, these clips stick down into the engine room and, well, can be a bit of a head-banger.

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Earlier today a potential future Nordhavn owner was complaining about having caught his back on one of these clips while moving through the engine room. It really isn’t that bad, but it did remind me the little clips are a bit annoying. From day one I was planning on removing the tabs. But after the first few times of banging your head, you learn, and it really doesn’t happen frequently any more.

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But our engine room frequently has visitors interested in seeing and learning more about the boat and guests do find these little “head bangers” fairly frequently. So, we decided this morning at 8:55 that they needed to go.  At 9:39 the job was done. I should have done this years ago.

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This is a small, easy to make change that actually does improve the engine room.  I love having them gone almost as much as I love having a serviceable engine room where the entire engine can be lifted up through the salon floor without having to tear the boat up.

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7 comments on “It’s a Head-Banger
  1. Chris Barber says:

    James: “… and you will”
    Me: “I just did”
    I’m fixing this asap!

    • Love it. What I can’t figure out is why it took me something close to 9 years to decide to make the change. You’ll like it.

      • Chris Barber says:

        It’s just not entirely clear to me how you operate the latch once the tab is removed. Before removing the tab, you would have pulled the tab forward, away from the hatch frame, to open it… but now what do you grasp in order to do that? I guess you grab the two edges of the latch body and pull that out?

        • It flips open with a screw driver. But, honestly, I would be happy screwing the entire thing down if that were the only solution. These hatches only come out when engines are replaced. Basically, I would be happy to put up with 10 min to undo these in the rare case of engine change but that’s not needed. The cut off hinges just pop open.

  2. Stewart says:

    Saw the orginal post in the Dreamer’s group James and loved the solution you came up with so visitors to your engine room don’t get clipped!

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