Maiden Voyage Report

A

Andrew Bennett

Guest
Hello all!

I am happy to announce the successful maiden voyage of the "Floatsam" on
Sunday, July 30 in the Charles River at the Watertown boat ramp (just
west of Boston). We spent about 1 hour in the water and took on about 1
cup of water. :)

Pics at:

http://web.mit.edu/abennett/www/Amphicar/index.htm

So much for the executive summary. Here's the dirt:

As luck would have it, the Amphi had arrived on the one week that my
friend Rainer was visiting me. Rainer is a Genuine German Mechanical
Engineer and a fellow motorcycle/car lover (we have also discovered that
he lives only 20 minutes from Hans Trippel himself!). On Saturday
Rainer and I went off to get a grease gun to stick some nice new Amsoil
into the little beastie's bearings. Part of the trip was via freeway
(Rte 128 for you locals) and we learned two important things: 1) we
gradually overheated at 65 MPH, but we were OK at 60 and below. Is this
normal? 2) I lost some steering authority at high speeds. We expected
this because of the hull shape.

Upon our return, armed with oils, filters and grease gun, we finally
bothered to check all the fluids and mechanicals (I know - we should
have done that straight away, but you know how it is when you get a new
toy). We learned that the oil was OK, but a touch low. Ditto for the
coolant. We located 13 grease nipples - 3 under each front wheel, one
under the hood (trunk? Anyway, the front), one under each rear wheel,
one in front of each propeller and one inboard at the other end of each
propeller shaft. ALL of the bearings were low or dry! We used up the
whole cartridge, so I have 4 more in order. I still haven't done the
propellers. We also discovered that one of the transmission mounts was
completely smashed. As soon as I get a Gordon's catalog, I'll get a
replacement. Question for the list: Should I replace the transmission
mounts as a pair, or just the broken one? Also, the gearbox was about
half-full of lubricant - certainly enough to keep the gears covered when
operating. Is this the normal amount?

The next day was cold and drizzly, but as Rainer is leaving in two days
we decided not to wait. All the way to the ramp I was apprehensive
while Rainer tried to think of everything we hadn't checked yet (a lack
of documentation was rougher on my poor German than it was on me). :)
Still, upon arrival we donned our spiffy new life jackets (just in
case), offloaded the family and lined up with the ramp. Up to this
point, our Amphi experience consisted of what we had read off of other
people's web pages. Still, it was supposed to be easy, right? We were
cheered on by about 18 onlookers, mostly a rugby game that stopped to
watch the spectacle. Success! It went right in with barely a splash.
No leaks detected and the bilge pumps (the prior owner installed 2
backups) had nothing to eject. After 15 minutes we docked with a
floating dock to test the navigational properties. By now the
wife/mermaid had decided that we weren't sinking, so the handed my son
Kevin (age 2) to us to take out. The biggest problem all day was
explaining to Kevin when it was time to share the life vest. :) I then
took our friends Chris, Helen and Erin (also age 2), who were kind
enough to video the expedition) out for a little swim. Their pics and
video to follow. We ran the bilge pump a couple of times and managed to
get it to spit water once. Upon finishing the cruise, we opened the
bilge plug. Less than a cup came out. :)

Next steps are to replace the broken mounts and hook up the heater again
(it's been totally disconnected). Also, the generator can't keep up
with the load when the headlights are on. Is this normal?

More as things develop, and a huge thanks to everyone who's contacted me
with advice.

-Drew

--
=====================================================================
Andrew Bennett, Ph.D. Standard Disclaimers Apply
IS Robotics Phone: (617) 629-0055 x286
22 McGrath Hwy, Suite 6 Fax: (508) 664-7738
Somerville, MA 02143 abennett@isr.com
=====================================================================
 
B

Bill Connelly

Guest
Drew:

Congratz on your maiden voyage! I'm still shaking off the voyage back from
the Celina spawning grounds, but have injected my comments below.
~Bilgemaster~

>On Saturday
> Rainer and I went off to get a grease gun to stick some nice new Amsoil
> into the little beastie's bearings. Part of the trip was via freeway
> (Rte 128 for you locals) and we learned two important things: 1) we
> gradually overheated at 65 MPH, but we were OK at 60 and below. Is this
> normal?

Depending on ambient temperature, rate of speed and incline...Sure, it'll
warm up a bit. On an 80 degree day going interstate my temperature gauge
will edge right up to but

2) I lost some steering authority at high speeds. We expected
> this because of the hull shape.
>
> Upon our return, armed with oils, filters and grease gun, we finally
> bothered to check all the fluids and mechanicals (I know - we should
> have done that straight away, but you know how it is when you get a new
> toy). We learned that the oil was OK, but a touch low. Ditto for the
> coolant. We located 13 grease nipples - 3 under each front wheel, one
> under the hood (trunk? Anyway, the front), one under each rear wheel,
> one in front of each propeller and one inboard at the other end of each
> propeller shaft. ALL of the bearings were low or dry! We used up the
> whole cartridge, so I have 4 more in order. I still haven't done the
> propellers. We also discovered that one of the transmission mounts was
> completely smashed. As soon as I get a Gordon's catalog, I'll get a
> replacement. Question for the list: Should I replace the transmission
> mounts as a pair, or just the broken one? Also, the gearbox was about
> half-full of lubricant - certainly enough to keep the gears covered when
> operating. Is this the normal amount?
>
> The next day was cold and drizzly, but as Rainer is leaving in two days
> we decided not to wait. All the way to the ramp I was apprehensive
> while Rainer tried to think of everything we hadn't checked yet (a lack
> of documentation was rougher on my poor German than it was on me). :)
> Still, upon arrival we donned our spiffy new life jackets (just in
> case), offloaded the family and lined up with the ramp. Up to this
> point, our Amphi experience consisted of what we had read off of other
> people's web pages. Still, it was supposed to be easy, right? We were
> cheered on by about 18 onlookers, mostly a rugby game that stopped to
> watch the spectacle. Success! It went right in with barely a splash.
> No leaks detected and the bilge pumps (the prior owner installed 2
> backups) had nothing to eject. After 15 minutes we docked with a
> floating dock to test the navigational properties. By now the
> wife/mermaid had decided that we weren't sinking, so the handed my son
> Kevin (age 2) to us to take out. The biggest problem all day was
> explaining to Kevin when it was time to share the life vest. :) I then
> took our friends Chris, Helen and Erin (also age 2), who were kind
> enough to video the expedition) out for a little swim. Their pics and
> video to follow. We ran the bilge pump a couple of times and managed to
> get it to spit water once. Upon finishing the cruise, we opened the
> bilge plug. Less than a cup came out. :)
>
> Next steps are to replace the broken mounts and hook up the heater again
> (it's been totally disconnected). Also, the generator can't keep up
> with the load when the headlights are on. Is this normal?
>
> More as things develop, and a huge thanks to everyone who's contacted me
> with advice.
>
> -Drew
>
> --
> =====================================================================
> Andrew Bennett, Ph.D. Standard Disclaimers Apply
> IS Robotics Phone: (617) 629-0055 x286
> 22 McGrath Hwy, Suite 6 Fax: (508) 664-7738
> Somerville, MA 02143 abennett@isr.com
> =====================================================================
>
>
>
>
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> amphicar-lovers-unsubscribe@egroups.com
>
>
>
 
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