Tricks and Tips for Awkward Spaces

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Recently I've been working under the cockpit, with the usual issues. A few approaches and modifications have made things easier, or at least possible.

--Nonskid for slip issues. The footing in my cockpit lazarette hatch is bad. The hull slopes, stand in it and -- oops. After three years I greatly value the two square feet of nonskid paint I applied for better footing.

Universal 5432 Thelonious II  (29).JPG

--Ratchet wrench for hose clamps. Two sizes covers all. When a hose clamp faces the wrong way, a screwdriver in confined spaces is awkward.

--Remove stuff for access. It took me a stubborn while to realize that, for any work in the bowels of the boat, it makes things much easier to clear the way first. On my model, the waterlift muffler and hose to the exhaust elbow come out pretty easily, which really clears the way to the stuffing box or engine. So does one end of a cockpit drain hose, if the hose is in the way. So does first removing all the gear down there (although I don't have any gear down there). The time spent is worth it, and once done a few times becomes routine.

no mufffler .JPG
Easy access with muffler removed from its platform

--Tie-Away. The maze of components-- hoses and wires--can often be lassoed and dragged aside for better access.

--Access ports. When a recurring job is easier from behind a bulkhead, an access port can be installed. Every subsequent owner will thank us.

Further ideas?
 

Keith Parcells

Contributing Partner
On the universal diesel engines, un-clamp the heat exchanger to move it up slightly (use Christian's tie away technique, perhaps) for access to the transmission dipstick & fill hole.

By the way, be gentle with the tie-away technique on the old wires because some are brittle or have poor or marginal connections after all these years and my be easily disconnected.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
kneepads, flashlight, handy tools, protective hat, cell phone, several wire ties, 2-way radio and large heavy duty belt so someone can pull you out butt first if necessary...and always, always make sure someone is within hollering distance!!!
 
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bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Headlamp for hands free task lighting. And a portable lantern for overall lighting.

Reading glasses- ever tried to focus on something when you can't move your head more than a few inches away from it?

Something to put in the lazarette lid latch clasp to prevent it from latching should the lid accidentally close on you!

A small piece of dense foam flooring or similar for padding the unavoidable hard spots one finds when contorting around corners, on top of thru hulls, etc.

Light rubber-covered cloth gloves to help prevent fiberglass spikes and pokes when reaching into blind spaces.

A small bucket to hold all the tools and supplies you might need, to prevent multiple trips/struggles in and out of the lazarette.

An old towel to spread out underneath your work area to catch the fasteners etc. that you will inevitably drop so they won't migrate to inaccessible bilge areas.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
- take a video with your phone, instead of a still photo, of some back-there inaccessible point of interest - at least part of the video will show what you're trying to see when you can't get a single pic to do it
- little mirror on a telescoping handle: either get one with a directional LED light built into the mirror's frame, or shine a flashlight on the mirror to illuminate what you're trying to see.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
A nut driver for hose clamps is better than a screwdriver and may feel better than a ratchet and socket for applying torque. I can't believe it took me over 30 years of working on cars and boats to make that realization. Good grief.
Agree about the nut driver. Also a 5/16" deep socket, on a quarter inch drive ratchet with a short drive handle. Keep a 1/4" socket handy, too.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
little mirror

An iPhone set to selfie makes a great mirror, and can video it. Obvious? Yes, to the 12-year-old girl who showed me.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
little mirror

An iPhone set to selfie makes a great mirror, and can video it. Obvious? Yes, to the 12-year-old girl who showed me.
This lighted mirror works well to see a work area you can't illuminate/see with your phone in selfie mode, and to guide placement of a tool when you can't see it directly/easily. I used it this last weekend to position a drill under a galley cabinet that I couldn't get my head and arms into or see directly:
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
RE Post #10, good little telescoping mirror. Useful for up-close view of hidden stuff, where the lights work. Utility of a dental mirror. Not good for view of objects far away.

aa IMG_6688.JPG...bb IMG_6687.JPG
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
A bit larger than a “small space idea” but a hidden treasure of storage space on at least the E32-2’s!!

Starboard side settee has a nice upper shelf in back of it - BUT - underneath, in back of the seat back, is a huge area just waiting/begging for your usage if you just remove that seat back panel!
A1E5C5CD-5A1E-4F84-B8FB-2348E5B036ED.jpeg

We finished it off cosmetically first with the idea it’s GREAT hidden storage for valuables or even a long gun should one want or feel necessary.
1CE08E88-DA85-489F-A0DE-CFD3BE671D62.jpeg

Our choice was for electronics for LED floor lighting, a coated solid steel lockbox and a shelf for whatever we want hidden.
5DFAF8EC-CD92-4A41-AAC8-B908594094F8.jpeg
With the seatback back in place, it’s not an area for most boat invaders to suspect exists or take the time to look for!!
243F674E-3D6F-4014-BC83-D1519857C9B5.jpeg
...Hope this “inspires”!!!
 
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