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Old 11-06-2017, 09:04 AM   #1
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Manatee Engine Hatches

I have three large deck hatches over the engine room. They are heavy and difficult to handle and remove safely unless you have a helper. Has anyone hinged these large hatches to make it safer to open them ? Any and all ideas for hinging them and type of hinges used appreciated.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:10 AM   #2
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Opps forgot to post a photo of the hatches. They probable weight about 30 lbs eash.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:42 AM   #3
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While the idea is novel, the practicality might be otherwise. You could establish hinges (don't see a real issue there), but if you had to remove the hatches, now you really humping some heavy, awkward pieces of bulk that would require two people.

If this were practical... it would have been done long ago I think.

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Old 11-06-2017, 11:15 AM   #4
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Make them lighter

My hatches were very heavy when I purchase my Californian. I made them lighter by installing a removable aluminum strut in the center where the two hatches meet up. This allowed me to remove all the structural materials off the old hatch. Now my hatches are basically a piece of plywood with carpet on them. One of the best things I ever did on the boat. Have pictures of the aluminum strut and socket in the link.
http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s24/salon-floor-4767.html
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:36 AM   #5
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It looks like our hatches could be twins. . I hinged the aft hatch and added gas/spring struts. Trying to figure our the strut was hard and I don’t think I have it quite right, almost though. I could go a little heavier maybe. The hatch stays up on it’s own without resting against the door frame. The struts make it much easier to lift. The hinge is a standard 1” piano hinge. If you need any specifics let me know.
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:36 PM   #6
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I’ve been hashing this over as well, Bill. Most tadical and effective solution I’ve seen yet is the Anderson’s Mango Mama. All three hatches drilled for pins, then glued together and with a gas assist. I’ll see if I can get a better picture. Of course, if you have a built-in settee like mine, you’ll need to relocate one of the table mounting stanchion bases. Only downside I see is checking sight tube for fuel tank.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:18 PM   #7
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Interesting plan Larry. I think i might hinge them on the aft side. I have a built in settee but my table is mounted on a base plate with felt pads so I can slide it into any position. There’s a real safety plus in stabilizing them, I’ve had a few close calls reinstalling them and missing the edge they nest in, bad news hitting the engine top area. More photos would be great.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:51 PM   #8
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Probably the main reason I haven’t done it yet is I still manage to handle them OK, and I cant decide which way to hinge them. If you hinge them aft, wouldn’t it block youe exit? What if they were hinged like a tri-fold door. They would slide easily on teflon rail toppers. Which hatch section do you remove most often. For me, the center one for oil & fuel filter checks. Being able to hinge that on the port side would make the easiest access. I check sight tubes for fuel with the most forward hatch. Again, tilting to port would be the most convenient, but the hatch has one of the two table mounting bases there. At the very least, I’ll need to change the table mount to something like yours. Maybe it’s time to do it.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:01 AM   #9
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Larry after seeing you re-engineer the transom door I will defer to any of your ideas. If money was no problem I’d tie all three together and install remote controled hydralic/electric powered hinges to open to starboard.
There’s a fairly new SeaRay Sundancer at our dock and a switch on the console opens the whole aft area over the engines and generator area so it can be done.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:54 PM   #10
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Thanks! I'm liking the hinge & struts setup on the aft hatch on the 42.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:36 PM   #11
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Ok, so here is a better shot of the integrated engine hatches on Mangoo Mama. In addition to dowel pinning and gluing the three hatch covers together, Bob added a sheet of rubberized lead to reduce noise. I can only post one photo at a time from this I-Phone so the close up of the mating seam area will be in the next post.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:38 PM   #12
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Here’s a closeup of where the hatches are butted together.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:48 PM   #13
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Finally, Bob installed two assist gas shocks. Pulling the first foot or so takes some effort, but beyond that it takes itself up. The gas—assist shocks disconnect easily so the whole hatch can lay back on the fwd settee area. I asked Bob if he has found any regretson doing the design and he says “none”, but it’s apparent that the step in or out of the salon doors is awkward. I may decide to mate the front two and keep the aft most cover on a separate hinge. Still can’t decide which way to tilt toward.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:56 PM   #14
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Bob just completed this engine swap of a Yanmar 4JH-HTE 140 HP. from the old Volvo 100 on Mango Mama. Clean as a whistle, quiet, smooth.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:47 PM   #15
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Thanks Larry, I now have plenty of ideas on hinging my engine hatches. Like you I’m still working out on paper which method to use, I’m inclined to hinge them port or stbd. Researching piano hinges I was amazed at the various sizes available.
My Volvo TMD31A is still running great but good to know the Yanmar Bob installed fits nicely into the engine room.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:04 PM   #16
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And if the integrated gas-assist engine hatch isn’t enough, check oit Mango Mama’s amidships galley hatch. Almost the entire sole opens for simple step down and in reach of machinery & tankage. Must be at least twice the size of mine.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:15 PM   #17
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You could use electric actuators instead of gas struts and do the remote control opening thing... gas struts always seem to have a short life, in my experience.
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