C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Engine Haul Project - week three update

Piece by piece the engine compartment is growing closer to re-installing the engine..
October 14 - still missing shaft, water lift muffler, exhaust hose, and engine
Installing the sound proofing took two days.  Installing the mounting boards and other engine components atop the sound proofing took another day.  Next up was a day devoted to installing battery shelves, installing the battery straps, wiring the four new Full River six volt house batteries into a 12 volt / 448 AH bank, and re-calibrating the existing Victron Energy BMV600s battery monitor.

Today I re-wired and re-plumbed the bilge float switches and pumps.

unique and reliable bilge pump system designed by previous owner
C'est la Vie's bilge pump arrangement was set up by the previous owner.   For a narrow, inaccessible bilge the system works very well.  The float switches are very high quality & reliable Ultra Safety Systems Pump Switches.    The lower float switch operates a remote bilge pump located in the starboard cockpit locker.  Since this pump relies on suction it has a scrum box in the bilge and a screen pre-filter in cockpit locker.  The upper float switch operates the high volume bilge pump located just aft of the switch in the bilge.  The upper float switch also activates the high water alarm. I replaced all the hoses and cleaned up the wire routing.

Installing the new cutlass bearing proved more challenging that expected. First the existing set screw is located directly below the bolt securing the shaft log to the boat.  This renders the set screw useless.  I ground down and sanded smooth the numb of the old set screw that extended into the log.  The best solution  for locating a new set screw was to drill into the solid fiberglass of the hull and tap a new set screw from the outside of the hull.
Tapping a new set screw in the shaft log.

The only time the set screw will need to be acceseds is when the boat is on the hard.  The only issue with locating the set screw on the outside of the hull is how to seal access hole to prevent water damage to the hull.  I'm toying with two options.  First inserting a rubber stopper and then cutting it flush with the hull.  Second packing some plumbers putting to protect the hex head of the set screw, filling the outer hole with low density filler, and then marking the location.

The cutlass bearing proved stubborn and consumed  few hours to coax into the shaft log.  With some assistance from the boat yard, we improvised a "puller" consisting of an all thread rod, two large washers, and two nuts.  This allowed me to press the cutlass into the log and then use a hammer and wood block for additional persuasion.
coaxing the cutlass bearing into the shaft log.  The small hole to the right is the set screw access.
Finally persistence won the day and our new cutlass bearing is in place.
new cutlass bearing and set screw in place.
 The rebuild kit for the drip-less shaft seal and the newly re-faced shaft couple are both in hand.  I plan to re-install the couple, shaft, and shaft seal tomorrow.  I'll re-install the prop once the bottom painting is complete

Little progress has been made on the engine itself over the last week.  The diesel shop installed new tips on the fuel injectors.  I've cleaned the heat ex-changer core and installed a new impeller in the water pump.  But, I am still waiting on the the mechanic to return with the other engine parts.  I've got about a 12 hours of work left inside then boat and then I'll be waiting on the mechanic and parts.

Oh, and since accessing the engine exhaust thru hull to replace the hose required removing the propane locker from the lazurette it seemed like the opportune time to paint the lazurette.  Now the bow anchor locker remains the lone interior area we have not repainted on C'est la Vie.

The stainless steel pendulum in the lazurette is for the Cape Horn Autopilot.  I elected not to paint the mounting pads for the autopilot.  These are wood cores fiber glassed in place.  The fiberglass is semi-transparent and allows visual inspection of the integrity of the wood core.

More images are available on our album devoted to this project - Engine Haul - fall 2012


  1. Beautiful progress. I love watching it chug along.

  2. Thanks Tate. Often feels more like meandering along then chugging. How is the rigging project going on SV Sundowner?

  3. Thanks for photographing everything you've done for C'est La Vie. It is a MAJOR help and inspiration for the rest of us. •• We have a '68 M34 and after two years of ownership are planning her first haul out. Of course to save time/money we're trying to get as much as possible ready beforehand -- centerboard, shaft, etc. What is the OD of your cutless bearing? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Oops, that didn't add my name -- Paula from Bradenton

  5. Paula, I is good to know that there are others out there working on keeping their M34 alive and well. Please share some images of your M34.

    Unfortunately I do not know the OD of our cutlass bearing. I took the old one into the boat yard manager and he ordered an new one to match.