Monday, October 13, 2014

Painting Bilgekote in the Engine Rooms

It wasn't fun, it wasn't comfortable, and it was pretty much the equivalent of getting bitch-slapped  - but painting the engine rooms with BilgeKote was definitely worth the trouble.  Its something that I've put off for awhile, and for good reason.  To begin with, there is barely enough room to turn around, and forget about squatting.  But to make matters worse, the curvature of the boat on both sides of the engine slant upward - so there's not even a comfortable spot to stand.  But when your back begins to get those deep aches from leaning over a Yanmar engine and you do try and stand upright for just a minute, you inevitably hit your head on some goddamn piece of boat that comes out of nowhere.

Justin started the project by cleaning and scrubbing everywhere he could reach - wash, rinse, wash repeat.  And I kinda felt bad looking down from the deck - I kept wanting to tell him to, "Put ze lotion on ze skin" but stopped myself - didn't feel like being such a smart-ass that early in the morning.  After an hour of scrubbing, rinsing, and repeating, it was my turn.  We tried to suck out as much water as we could, but I still had to use a towel to dry places that the shop-vac couldn't reach.  I then placed a towel on top of the engine so it could avoid any accidental drips of paint - but there are so many lines in an engine room - fuel lines, water lines, and push-pull cables - and trying not to get paint on them was a trick.  I did have a spare work rag to wipe away any drips that did find their way where they weren't supposed to be - and I used it quite a bit.

This is what it looked like when we bought the boat.

I got a brilliant idea: lets put disintegrating foam everywhere in the engine compartment.  Sure it showers the entire area with non-stop shit, but think of how well it will deaden the sound!
There was some God-awful foam insulation that was close to 2" thick and was stuck everywhere.  I understand the thought behind it, but this stuff was completely non-user-friendly.  It would be impossible to service these engines without giant pieces of foam breaking away and down onto the engine and into the bilge.  So a few months ago, the first step to this process was to scrape the lids and side walls of all the insulation and suck it out with a shop vac - my sons were not happy.  The following picture was the after shot.

But now, months later, it was time to finally paint them.  And to reiterate, I can't stress how horrible this job really was, and the buzz I was getting from the fumes wasn't strong enough to make it any better.  Although I did have a work-fan blowing into the area, it didn't quite makeup for the limited space to work and move around in - my feet, legs, and back were all pretty spent.  The only thing I can think of that would make somebody feel like this was if I exercised - yeah, that's it - it's like I exercised or something.  The final results speak for themselves and I would totally do it all again, but on second thought, next time I'll just let my sons get some OJT on painting BilgeKote.

Port engine room
Starboard engine room


  1. Beautiful paint job. I can only imagine the difficulties with that cramped space!

    Good job!


  2. Thanks Mike! And I really shouldn't complain too much about our engine rooms - at least this boat has engine rooms! They're just not really made for redecorating.

  3. Impressive!

    Deborah (s/v Wrightaway)