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    august 2020


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04/08/20 Tues.  It's been a holiday over the weekend in Kudat, so we've done very little.  Yesterday, I helped Neil launch Shelley, then we anchored her in the pond and moved Rhumb Do alongside another moored boat.  Then returned to Shelley and brought her into the pond and moored her to the mooring we had been on - then turned Rhumb Do around and rafted her to Shelley.  Today we went into town and checked in with Jabatan Laut, Health Department and Immigration.

06/08/20 Thurs.  I stripped down the steering pedestal lower gearbox today, taking out the 2 roller bearings, 2 oil seals and the 2 needle bearings - all of which will have to be renewed.  The plan is to go down to Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday and look for a bearing shop there.  Fixing the worn splines on the pedestal downshaft and the gearbox input shaft may take a little longer before finding a solution.

07/08/20 Fri.  We all (Neil, Craig, Josephine, Ana and I) went to Cottage, a small restaurant across the golf course this evening for dinner - not a bad steak either - and had an enjoyable evening catching up with all the news from the last few months.  A small mishap on the way home though.......we had left our dinghy at the army pontoon, which is made up of modular plastic interlocking units which have been deteriorating in the UV light for some years.  When I stepped onto it, my foot went straight through as far as the knee, the broken plastic top of the unit sprung back and I was trapped!  After some pushing and bending of the plastic, I managed to get my leg out but not without a few cuts and grazes which stung all night long and kept me awake.  So it will be a few days of limping around from now on!




09/08/20 Sun.  A local guy, James, one of Craig's friends, picked us all up this afternoon and took us to Roby's Secret Bar up near the tip of Borneo.  We spent a few hours there sitting by the sea having a few beers and pizza's -  a very enjoyable break from life onboard!














11/08/20 Tues.  Neil, Ana and I got a taxi this morning at 6.30 and headed down to KK arriving around 10am.  We went straight to Inanam and dropped my pedestal downshaft and gearbox input shaft off at Jesselton Engineering for them to repair/modify as best as possible.  Then we went to KK Bearings and managed to get the two roller bearings and oil seals but the needle bearings are not available anywhere in KK and have to be ordered in from West Malaysia.  My leg injuries are healing nicely and will be ok by the time we go back I hope!




13/08/20 Thurs.  After buying some material to make rainwater catchers for both Shelley and Rhumb Do, we got a taxi back to Kudat, arriving around 5.30pm.  I will collect my pedestal shaft and bearings maybe next week.  Other jobs to do are the Smartbank battery charging system which has been giving me problems for a few weeks, and I have a new one on order from the UK.  My house bank batteries are not holding power overnight, so I suspect one or more are at the end of their life - or the fault is coupled somehow to the Smartbank problem.  On the steering system, the final reduction gearbox will need to be stripped down and refurbished and of course, that is in a very difficult place to access!

15/08/20 Sat.  Made the water catcher for Neil today but he had underestimated the amount of material needed, so we gave  him ours in order to complete the job.

18/08/20 Tues.  I disconnected all five batteries today and checked voltages - the engine battery is 13.2v, batteries 1 & 2 are 13.1v, battery 3 is 13.0v and battery 4 is 11.4v.  So it looks like battery 4 is kaput.  It's a little strange because all 4 house batteries were replaced at the same time, Number 3 gave up in March this year and now Number 4 is very low.  I will go in search of a replacement tomorrow.

19/08/20 Weds.  Bought a new battery in town and replaced the dead No. 4 house battery.

21/08/20 Fri.  The battery situation is now much improved!  On the steering front things are not so good!  Having removed the bevel gearbox and found several problems, I want to remove the reduction box (that's the one that converts rotary movement to linear) to see if all is well inside that one, and to replace the tie rod ends of the bar to the rudder head.  However....it's in a very awkward position aft of the fuel tank and under the bilge pump, flanked by the hot water calorifier.  There is no access from the engine bay.  Access is by emptying the port cockpit locker and crawling inside but for me that is very difficult.  There is a 4" square hole in the aft cabin bulkhead through which you can get to one of the tie rod ends.  Ana can get into the cockpit locker and do some work with my directions but we have spent two days now trying to remove the 'arm' from the top of the gearbox which may allow us to drop the gearbox from it's bracket and wriggle it out through the narrow gap at the side of the fuel tank.

22/08/20 Sat.  After much frustration, I finally managed to remove the arm from the top of the gearbox but still cannot get to the three securing bolts that hold the gearbox to the steel bracket.  The fuel tank is going to have to come out!

23/08/20  Sun.  Ana went to the market this morning and while she was away, I took the angle grinder to the fibre glass which holds the top of the fuel tank, and cut it all away.  Neil and I then pumped out the 120 litres of fuel into a spare tank on his boat, and then removed the fuel tank from the locker.  Now there was space (but not much!) in which to remove the bolts and the gearbox.  I am glad that it is now out as operating the input shaft by hand shows some problem with the inside.  Tomorrow I will strip it down and see what's happening inside.  On the up side, when we removed the tank and tipped it on end, a whole load of slimy gunge came out, it was like jelly and needed pulling out of the 1.5" filling inlet.  Think of the consistency of a jellyfish - that's what it was like.  Not diesel bug and like nothing I've seen before.  Good job that was found too or it could have led to a sudden engine stop in heavy weather!  Now of course, we have no steering and no fuel - so no engine!

24/08/20 Mon.  With the gearbox stripped down, I can see the bearings are 'sticking' a little, a problem is that one face of the bearing is actually the worm drive shaft, and it's pitted.  I don't think I will be able to do anything about that but will try to replace the bearings in KK again, along with the oil seal.  The gearbox is actually full of heavy duty gear oil rather than grease - and of course it went everywhere when I took the bottom cover off the box!  Booked same hotel in KK for Thursday and Friday night.

26/08/20 Weds.  This morning I took out the 1" diameter tube which connects the transfer box to the rudder head.  It's 120cm long and has a tie rod end at both ends - one left hand thread and one right hand thread.  That in itself is a problem....both ball joints on the tie rod ends are worn, the threads are Whitworth and there are no alternatives available in Kudat - or at least no shop keeper wants to look for an alternative.  The first automotive shop we went to today looked at it, asked what vehicle (as I knew he would) and when I said it wasn't from a vehicle, he just gave it back to me and said "we don't have".  That attitude is prevalent in Malaysia and it really winds me up, especially when I saw the same guy selling a similar product at the shop just two days ago!  Whitworth threads are no longer available anyway, which I knew, but I need these joints with the same taper, just a different thread, then the 120cm tube can be replaced with a new one with matching threads.  Going to KK tomorrow morning, so I will have to trawl the shops there and see if I can find anything suitable.  The ply base that supports the fuel tank is also at the end of it's life, so that will have to be replaced - this steering repair is expanding into a bigger and bigger job each day!

27/08/20 Thurs.  Our usual driver down to KK, arriving just after 10am.  The second shop I tried for tie rod ends had them!  The guy just went out the back and brought two from a Daihatsu 3 ton truck - perfect!  Then we went to Jesselton Engineering a collected the modified pedestal downshaft, the first bevelhead gearbox input shaft and the repaired steering wheel input shaft bearer.  A quick visit to KK Bearings to collect my needle bearings and buy two thrust bearings and another roller bearing. 

28/08/20 Fri. This morning after breakfast, we went to HSK Engineering (where the parts shop guy told us to go) in Penampang and asked about tube and left hand threads.  That's when the fun started!  We have to find the tube ourselves and were told to go to Maefare 4 X 4 in Dongongon, where we got a 120cm length of 1" tube for 15 ringgit.  Back to HSK Engineering......"wrong steel" the guy said, "they shouldn't have sold you that, go to Borneo Auto Parts and get the right stuff".   Off we go again, several miles to the place and bought two anti-roll tubes from some wrecked car (one wasn't long enough) cost this time was 160 ringgit, then back to HSK where we saw a different guy.  He told me the first tube was OK and he could cut both left and right hand threads for me but not before I went back to Kudat.  OK, Neil was staying in KK for a few days, so no problem.  Back to Borneo Auto Parts to return the now unwanted anti-roll bars and get a refund - five and a half hours of chasing around to get the parts needed.  We returned to the hotel exhausted!

29/08/20  Sat.  Breakfast and a bit of shopping (thin plastic to make shims).  Then pack up, check out and walk to Cosy Materials to collect our ordered material to make rain catcher.  A spot of lunch, then over to the bus terminal to wait for Kadapi, our taxi driver.  Now, HSK phone me and tell me I can pick up the tube at 3pm!  After a bit of discussion with Kadapi, who was still on the way from Kudat, we grabbed a taxi to Penampang and HSK and got a coffee while the machinist finished the job.  Then another taxi back (with the now threaded tube) to meet up with our ride back to Kudat.  The journey back was longer than usual because of heavy traffic and rain and it was 9pm by the time we were back onboard.  A hectic two days!

30/08/20 Sun.  Cleaning up the gearbox bracket and various other parts today in preparation for painting.  The fuel tank flooring is going to be another difficult job as some of it is glassed in and I cannot see what 'should' be holding it up.  I will have to cut it out before looking for suitable ply to replace it.

31/08/20 Mon.  We ran out of gas yesterday lunchtime, fortunately Sony Bumi supermarket was open on restricted hours today because of Merdeka Day (Malaysian Independence Day), so we were able to go there and get a refill bottle.  Spend all day rebuilding one of the steering gearboxes and prepping the torsion tubes for painting.

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