Has anyone an "expert" who can offer guidance/tips on doing this? Dancer is in Portland, and I believe the yard is inexperienced with Parkers- so help and advice would be very welcome.
There used to be a detailed explanation of how to service the 325/335 keel on the website. If it is not still there I will happily send you a copy. Also I have the guide from the original owners' handbook which I can send too.
Maintaining the keel ram is essential, there was recently a picture on the forum of the disaster that can occur if it is not done.
The ram needs to come out and have the anode on the lower end changed once a year or at a stretch every other year. It is not a difficult job but can be a bit of a fiddle; my wife and I can usually do it in about three hours from start to finish; it can be done with one person but is quicker and easier with two. Once they understand what to do, I would expect any reasonable boat yard to be able to do the job for you.
We are on the east coast but with a bit of luck someone nearer will be able to show you what needs to be done.
I think I have a photocopy of the owner's handbook-pages 2A-E seem to deal with the keel? I also have a couple of A4 sheets entitled Lifting keel- procedure for replacing hydraulic ram anode (16 steps) & Tools/equipment required. Some handwritten notes include details of anode- ZSC 35mm diameter, is this correct to your knowledge?
I have not found anything on the website, could you (or anybody else) direct me?
Crucially, Lee, Boatcare manager at Portland would be interested in talking to someone who has done the job- would you be up for that by any chance? I could give you his number.
PS Does the 3 hours include other hydraulic maintenance checks, or just for the anode?
Attached ( I hope) is a scan of the information I have on keel maintenance, the first four pages are from the Parker handbook and the last three are the instructions that used to be on the PSSA website.
I am not sure what hydraulic checks you have in mind, all I have ever done is check the oil reservoir level whilst the keel is fully down.
Three hours or there about covers opening up the keel box, removing the bolt at the lower end of the ram, removing the top hanger pin from the ram, disconnecting the hydraulic hoses, lifting the ram out, changing the anode then replacing the ram, pin, hoses and bolt. It is all pretty straightforward although getting the lower bolt and top pin back in can be a fiddle.
I would be happy to chat to Lee at Portland, I will email you my details.
Thankyou so much for all the information! I have passed it along to Lee, and if you could speak to him that would be brilliant! I have my grandchildren coming overnight, so will be a bit preoccupied with my "bubble" today & tomorrow, but will pick up again Sunday if not before.
New/updated articles are welcome!
I remember Dancer when she was with a previous owner. It’s good to know she remains in good hands. You mentioned “boatcare” and Portland. This means you are with Dean and Reddyhoff, now Boatfolk. Me too, at Deacons at the top of the River Hamble. Parker 325 Kerenza is also based at Deacons. I don’t know how much boat servicing owner Jeremy has received from the Deacons team since he moved here but I will ask him. Nick, manager of boat care across a number of boatfolk yards, has an excellent reputation. If there’s experience here he can pass it on to the crew at Portland.
When the weather is fine a number of Solent based association members, me especially, love to head down to Weymouth. If the weather and timing are convenient this summer, perhaps we could meet up in Portland or Weymouth. Fingers crossed for a good season and good luck with your maintenance.
I just tried to call the 325 owner in Deacons but he, Jeremy, is not in at the moment. I will try again later.
It is not necessary for the keel to be fully lowered, in fact it is a bit easier if it is not, but it does have to be lowered sufficiently for the lower bolt through the keel to be accessible.
When changing the anode it is best not to disturb the lower eye through which the lower bolt through the keel attaches. This eye is screwed in and if you don't replace it exactly as it was before the effective length of the ram is altered.
It is helpful if the open end of the hydraulic hose can be blanked off. The weight of the ram cylinder will tend to force fluid up out of this hose thus allowing the ram to slowly 'collapse', i.e. the ram will push itself back inside the cylinder. If this happens the top of the ram will no longer align with its hanger and you will then need to try to pull the ram up so you can fit the top bolt - no easy feat given the weight of the ram and the outside casing will doubtless be slippery with hydraulic fluid etc.
Be careful that the anode is not significantly thicker than the one it replaces otherwise it could foul against the bottom of the cylinder when the keel is fully lifted.
When Tilikum was new I used to replace the anode each year but after a while I stopped doing this as I tend always to leave the boat with the keel up, the anode is therefore out of the water, if I am not on board. Depending upon how much sailing one does, I find that replacing it every 3-4 years is in practice quite sufficient.
It looks like you have all the help you need with this but if you need any more advice I am happy to give it.
Best wishes, Heather