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Author Topic: Lessons learned on strip ships and how to get in  (Read 23967 times)
Darrin
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« on: June 05, 2008, 08:22:12 PM »

To answer both Mark's and RCK's question about how do we get into the Reserve Fleet's, first you need a contact there (I will give you one in an email once I find your email addy's). Second you NEED to designate one person to be in charge of talking to MARAD (Maritime Administration) the reason I bring that up is IF you have 2 or 3 people trying to organize this you will just confuse them or you will you will piss them off enough that they don't want to work with you. I know this because sadly I have done this while being in TVA (my title was Officer In Charge of supply Newport News) and that gave me the authority to start to schedule strip ships for BMM/TVA HOWEVER when the actual person in charge got involved we put so much different information to JRRF and MARAD that they just barely put up with us enough to let us in.

To get into one of these facilities you have to have the "owners" of the title to your boat write up a request to go into JRRF or Susen Bay, Ca or to PRF (Philly Reserve Fleet) or even to the Beaumont, Tx Facility. That request has to come on official letterhead from them and yes MARAD does check to see who "owns" the title to the boats before even thinking about allowing them to go into JRRF or any of the other facilities. Take the Torsk, when we set up a strip ship Baltimore Maritime Museum has to do the request for a strip ship because they hold the title to Torsk. What happens is that our OIC for strip ships types it up and then sends it to them for their approval and then she sends it to MARAD in Washington, DC and then they send it to the effected site.  Another thing to remember is that a LOT of these facilities have done a draw down and are no longer able to pull these last minute strip ships so most are going to a twice a year (spring and fall) strip ships. And at that point it becomes a hell week for them because they now have 4-8 volunteer associations trying to get as much equipment as possible in the very least amount of time and a flip side to that coin is that they are no longer able to let the groups run free on the ships in the strings so they now are having to be there with your volunteers all of the time on whatever ship that they are on.

IF possible and you have someone in the area of the Reserve Fleet please please request that they do a site survey a week or two PRIOR to the strip ship (and yes they HAVE to have permission to do that) if possible so that you have an idea of where your parts are and what frame numbers that your equipment is located.. Things that they need to bring.. A tablet of paper pen/pencil, flash light and a GOOD camera with flash that can be downloaded on the computer so that those involved in the strip ship will have an idea of what you are going to be pulling and where it is at.. While I am guilty of not having the camera and the paper with me at all times I have paid the price more then a FEW times so I strongly recommend these items because it will speed up your expidition more then you will ever know.

Next you HAVE to have a "wish list" of parts to turn into the facility before you are even allowed to go out, it is no longer take what you want and not worry about it, they REVIEW your lists prior to coming out to their facility. SO with that in mind as you start to make up your "wish list" put EVERY thing down that you can possibly think of in getting and then what you are dreaming of. Remember that IF you want water tight components that more then likely you will be shot down on your request due to MARAD having to maintain water tight intergrity of ALL of their ships regardless of their status. And IF you want part of a hydraulic system, fuel oil or sea water system you will need to explain that you are not going to be leaving the piping or whatever you pulled the equipment from without a blanking plate in place and you WILL drain the equipment PRIOR to removal and that you understand that you will have to have the crane there with the HAZMAT bucket to pick you equipment up.

Once you have removed your parts (I personally recommend that you request a crane every time regardless if you need it or not because you NEVER know what you will find) that and I know for at least my vol's we are getting up in age and it is easier on me and my guys to have the crane pick up the gear so we don't have to carry everything down the gangplank to the barge over and over until all of the gear is off. BTW I have had everything from 18 to 75 out there in JRRF and the average age for my guys is 50, remember that the facilities provide NO lunches nor do they provide drinks so you will have to have your vol's bring them or you need to provide them for them.

Now that your gear is off of the barges or whatever you brought out to the fleet you have to have an AUTHORIZED representative to sign for all of the equipment that you have pulled off of the fleet. How that works is that the museum (or the holder of the title) sends a memorandum for record stating that Bill Snuffy has our permission to sign the Parts Transfer Notice (PTN) on our behalf. This also has to be on their letterhead and they may or may not call them to verify that they in deed actually send this letter (happend to me with Torsk) and fortunatly BMM knew me and told them that I had their permission to take whatever I found fit for the museum ships in JRRF.

Your gear is loaded now in your vehicles that you brought and or rented for the trip and your PTN is signed and you take a copy of it WITH you reason behind this is that IF you get stopped you have an official document to show the officers that you have NOT stolen the equipment and two you will have to turn a copy of it in to the "owners" of the title (MARAD does send a copy it is however nice to turn the origional in to them so that the know what you got before MARAD sends them the list), and please please make sure to thank the folks at the MARAD facility and get their names and email addy's (fleet sup) so you can send them a thank you card or note, it also helps to send them a certificate of appreciation for the hard work and dedication of their employees of the facility... There are two reasons behind that, first it shows them that you really do care about the help that they gave you and two it starts to grease the skids if you need to get back in because those groups that have had a bad name have to fight a hundred times harder to get back in then those who do that.

What do I recommend that you bring with you to a strip ship?Huh?

First and foremost:

FLASHLIGHTS and replacement batteries for them, while some if not most or all of the ships have live power on them there are those that have no power or very little light in the lower levels of the ship and it really sucks when the power runs out of your flashlight and you have to feel your way out of the dark compartment and back topside (happened a few years ago on the Ex USS Sunbird when we were pulling a compass repeater out of the Aft Steeriing and we had to feel our way out using a lighter to light the way) Personally I take two if not three lights just in case on of the vol's doesn't have one and I really hate being in the bottom of a ship and no light (especially one that I am not qualified on or never have served on)

Next I make sure that my vol's have a lunch and snacks and water or some kind of non-alcoholic beverage with them (aparently that used to happen years ago, but not on my watch though)

Long pants with steel toe boots are required, however you can get away with wearing regular boots (not cowboy boots though), hard hat's and flotation devices are required in the fleet and most if not all of the reserve fleets supply them.

IF you go without these tools you might be foolish or stupid your choice.

Standard box end wrench set, a decent set of screwdrivers, a complete set of metric and standard sockets with extensions (this will save you a LOT of time). a Cresent Hammer (or wrench your choice) a pair of Vice grips is almost invaluable, a medium pair tends to work best but at least make sure that someone in your group has at least one pair of the medium and a pair of needle nose (normally not required though). A mulitimeter just in case you are pulling equipment that may still have power attached (DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING on those vessels), a good pair of dykes (linesmans cutters, wire cutters), HAMMERS have been known to be used in removing equipment so please bring a good one.  A hacksaw also will come in handy when removing equipment that is wired with armor covered wiring and for those bolts that no longer want to play. Buckets and/or duffle bags IF you forget those you will be hand carrying EVERYTHING and that sucks even worse, garbage bags just in case, towells just in case or something to pack your "delicate" items with (i.e vacuum tubes). Gloves while not required and used maybe once or twice will save your volunteers hands.

Now for the extra items that you will need to consider bringing depending on the size/weight of the equipment....

Tag lines (normally 50-100' long) those may be provided for you BUT make sure that you have them just in case you don't want your hard work being bounced off of the hull of the ship that it was brought off of or the ship that you have designated to remove you gear from..

Block and Tackle OR a good chain fall, this will help you extract the heavy equipment from the bowels of the ship that you are on because most of their block and tackle along with the chain falls have been removed already.

A GOOD heavy line (preferably 2-5 ea) preferably 50-100' long to lower your equipment off of the ships due to not being able to have a crane pick your equipment up and this will also help in bringing your gear up or down the stairwells.. While parachute cord works in some cases it does not work when you are man handling a 500lb piece of equipment from CIC down to the main deck or worse yet from the Lower Level of the ship to the main deck.

Battery powered drill with a full set of drill bits and easy outs... A "gator" socket wrench for those who don' t know what that is it is a 1" socket with pins inside so that it will grab damned near every bolt or nut, mine sadly was left on a ship along with the socket wrench and a set of Vice Grips on the USS Sunbird because of no light.

Refigerator truck/two wheeled dolly, these will save the back of you and your volunteers if you are pulling heavy gear (ie 50lbs+)

These are the lesson's learned from a Torsk Volunteer who has 40+ strip ships under his belt here in JRRF in the last 4 years. IF you want to make the same mistakes that I have made please disregard all above and if you want to learn from my mistakes take the lessons learned and apply what you can to your organization.

Darrin
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Rick
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 10:47:53 PM »

Darrin,
Thank you.  this is all good information.  We are definaltely trying to repai some of this damage that was done in the past.   This is a long and arduous process though.   

Rick
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Darrin
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2008, 11:37:36 PM »

Rick,
the ONE big thing that I forgot to mention is that MARAD USED to have a list of all of the ship in their inventory and let's take Batfish for instance right now and you want her to return to a late '40s early '50s configuration, you will need to go through the list and then write EVERY boat down OR print out the list of what is where and then do the painfull research of what ships were commissioned during that time frame or before and then figuring out what class they are and when their last shipyard date was...... HOWEVER IF the ship is OLDER then what time frame you are trying for... Sorry Paul and Rich, while there is gear for you we don't have much if ANYTHING here in JRRF for a WWII submarine that the time line is set at roughly 1944 or 1945.

Once you have your list composed of the stuff that you need and the ships that "might" work remember that IF you are trying to go to a Tender or a ASR most have been gutted out, my advice is to take the most off the wall shot in the dark because you will find that they haven't been stripped much due to that. With that being said I have pulled...... again sorry Paul and Rich...... 5" 38 calibre dummy rounds out of a ship that was supposed to be striped clean of her equipment and ALL of her dummy rounds turned in, am I going to tell you which ship?Huh?Huh? maybe and that is a SLIM chance and that is IF I know you.

Now if you are going for the mid to late '60s era like Torsk the opportunities while are more open right now then a straight forward WWII boat, HOWEVER with Torsk she was built in '44 and sank the last Japanese warship in WWII so that means that she is still a WWII boat but she has been modified throughout the years, So while we still are on the prowl for WWII and early '50s and '60s parts we can relax a little and if needed we can buy our parts off of Epray if we are unable to acquire the parts through normal methods.
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Mark Sarsfield
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 09:18:03 AM »

Well, Rick, it sounds like we have our work cut out for us for a "want" list.

Darrin, this is valuable information that you are passing on.  Thankfully, we're not on the prowl for 600 lb. pumps or compressors.  A lot of what we need would be small piece parts, light fixtures, etc.  Still, knowing how to get in there is 75% of the battle.

Do, you know of any ships or boats off-hand that might have old 1MC equipment, porcelain enamel light fixtures, and perhaps very old fluorescent fixtures?
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Mark Sarsfield
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"If you have one bucket that can hold 5 gallons and one bucket that can hold 2 gallons, how many buckets do you have?" - IQ test from Idiocracy
Darrin
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 12:59:03 PM »

As far as the MC stacks go, sorry... I have been on most of the ships in the dead fleet and we are in need of parts also for our stack, while ours isn't in bad shape it needs a complete overhaul and that means that it will need to be carefully disassembled and a wiring schematic made for it after the power has been removed to it and then period correct or replacement wiring that looks period correct needs to be put in place of the brittle cased wiring that is in there.

For the want list or wish list please go to www.usstorsk.org and you can review ours and print a copy so you have a guide line, ours used to be 3 or four times the size it is now and that is because of strip ships and volunteers donating their own money and time in researching the gear and then buying it or asking for help and someone happens to know someone who might know someone else who they think have that piece of equipment.
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Mark Sarsfield
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 01:05:53 PM »

Once we have a work shop set up in the aft battery compartment I'm going to remove amplifier A from the 1MC stack and start the overhaul process.  The guy that restored the Silversides 1MC said to leave the original wiring alone, if possible.  It's asbestops with a cloth covering.  So, it's not going to catch fire.  However, if the cloth and asbestos have crumbled from a certain spot, then it may need to be repaired with heat shrink tubing or replaced completely.  Our 1MC wiring is stiff and brittle, but about 95% is in good shape.  My intention is to "molest" it as little as possible while removing and repairing the equipment.
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Mark Sarsfield
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"If you have one bucket that can hold 5 gallons and one bucket that can hold 2 gallons, how many buckets do you have?" - IQ test from Idiocracy
Darrin
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 04:43:29 PM »

Take pictures of it before you take it apart and draw a schematic up on it before you take one piece off of it because if you don't have the manual you will have a hell of a time in restoring it, when dealing with the wiring make sure that you are wearing gloves and make sure that you discharge the capicitors before you try to deal with them becuase they hold charges for YEARS and they will knock the living hell out of you if you aren't carefull. Good luck in your restoration of the stack and post pics as you get them so we can all see what is going on and that and when you are done you can post the before and after pics.
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Mark Sarsfield
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 07:39:34 PM »

I have a lot of before pics.  Gil sent me the manual on a CD.  It has schematics, but it's an operators manual.  Not a repair manual.  So, there will still be a learning curve.  I'll definitely discharge all caps.
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Mark Sarsfield
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"If you have one bucket that can hold 5 gallons and one bucket that can hold 2 gallons, how many buckets do you have?" - IQ test from Idiocracy
Rick
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2008, 08:39:27 PM »

Darin,
Again, Thank you

This all falls into line of the early leasons learned out her in my quest for grants and spare stuff.  We must have an idea of where we are going befor anyone will take us seriously.  If not wiel will remain where we are (just look at the past) or even worse.

Rick
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Darrin
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2008, 10:50:18 PM »

Rick,
IF you have questions please ask, while I don't have all of the answers (probably only a few) I am willing to help you and the others here on this bbs with trying to restore your respective submarines. When I started working on Torsk I was all about it and read everything that I could read about the Tench class and the WWII submarines in general because there isn't a whole lot of info for the 423 (schematics and other drawings) and then read the HNSA manual on restoration of a museum vessel and then there was a lot of blood sweat and head aches as I slowly learned the boat (and not completly yet either and this is after 4 years of on/off again time onboard when I can sneak a weekend or a day up to be on her to work). I wish you well in your endeavors to restore her, don't lose the faith and make sure to take a break from her from time to time so you don't burn yourself out.

Darrin
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torskdoc
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2008, 05:09:59 AM »

Once we have a work shop set up in the aft battery compartment I'm going to remove amplifier A from the 1MC stack and start the overhaul process.  The guy that restored the Silversides 1MC said to leave the original wiring alone, if possible.  It's asbestops with a cloth covering.  So, it's not going to catch fire.  However, if the cloth and asbestos have crumbled from a certain spot, then it may need to be repaired with heat shrink tubing or replaced completely.  Our 1MC wiring is stiff and brittle, but about 95% is in good shape.  My intention is to "molest" it as little as possible while removing and repairing the equipment.

A couple of items on the Amp's.  You have the same unit as we do. Geezerchief((ETC(SS))ex RD2) on Torsk has been working on ours on&off for the last two years as time pemits.

1.) The main power transformers have more than likely leaked.  They are on the back of the center bulkhead behind the amps.  Test them 1st and check for leakage.  They are hard to find and run at least $100 each if you do find them. 

2.) Get a couple of different tube testers.  The 809 and 811A tube are 4 pin.  The epoxy holding the base has more than likely failed and will need to be re-epoxied.  The tubes run about $40 ea.  Test ALL of the tubes and replace ANY that are on the low side of good.

3.) Wiring (physical) should be ok but you will need a lot of patience with it.  Try and keep as much as possible.

4.) 90% of the resistors (mostly paper wound) will be out of spec.  Plan on replacing ALL of them. 

5.) Pots, and switches are odd size and spec.  They aren't available from Radio Shark.  Clean the pots and rotary switches and re-use if possible.
 
6.) If you have to replace the transformers you WILL have to dis-assemble the case.  There are NO intermediate plugs/connectors/jacks to make disassembly an easy task.  I say easy in a relative way.  It will probably take two days (8hours each) to tear it down enough to get the transformers out.  Yours is more accesible than ours is BUT your's is right in the main passageway.  I'd plan on doing the case when the boat was closed (good winter project). 

Geezer has managed to get the transformers but we're waiting on Eacho to get done in the Radio Room so the two of them can get on the 1MC.  Probably this fall and winter. 

While you are waiting on parts/timing/etc. for the 1mc,  you can go thru and check all of the mic's with a meter, double check all of the speakers with a dummy source, and the klaxons on the boat, replacing that which is missing.  Especially check and repair all the contact makers for Diving alarm, Collision Alarm, and Gen'l Qtrs.  Everything run thru the 1mc.  They can be broken out of the loop and tested with a generic PA AMP.  you just have to figure out the wiring. 

Hope this helps.

Torskdoc/Larry   



 
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Mark Sarsfield
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 08:55:31 AM »

Thanks, Larry.  What you described was/is my plan.  In the short term we might hook up a digistore that will play sounds when a switch is activated.  We want to run the unit through the original contactor switches in the con until the real deal is restored.  Meanwhile, I have a laptop that plays alarms through the reproducers, but it isn't quite the same as pulling the switch.

All klaxons/H-9 horns are gone from the boat.  I'm sure that they were/are a prized possession for looters.  Probably the original vets each took one home after they brought the boat to Muskogee.

I also would like to bring a small kid's wagon on board to wheel these heavy components through the rooms as best as possible - with the occassional heave-ho through a hatch.  With a work bench set up on board, we can work on it as time permits and without interference from visitors.

I figured that the resistors and caps would all be oddball values (from design) and that most or all would be junk by now.  I have a Heathkit leak tester for the caps and I definitley plan on replacing all of the resistors.  Several people have told me to do this, including a retired A.F. radar tech.  I sometimes log into the Antique Radio forum to pick the brains of the guys that like repairing this vintage stuff.

The glue on the bases of the glass vacuum tubes are definitely dry-rotted.  I was told to buy some stove gasket cement to reglue the bases.  I have an old tube puller that I'll probably have to use and someone did donate a tube tester and a huge box of NOS (new old stock) vacuum tubes.  I have recorded down all of the tube types in the 1MC stack and printed out all of the tube specs for reference.  This will definitely be a long-term science project, but she'll run like a champ once she's cleaned up.

I might go hunting for new transformers with the expectation that they are blown or on the verge of blowing when they get juice for the first time in 40 years.  Please provide us with the specs so that I can't start the goose chase.   crazy2

Thanks for all of your help. 
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Regards,
Mark Sarsfield
USS Batfish reenactor



"If you have one bucket that can hold 5 gallons and one bucket that can hold 2 gallons, how many buckets do you have?" - IQ test from Idiocracy
Darrin
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2008, 06:24:07 PM »

Mark,
knowing that you have the manual for the stack and that you have NOS vacuum tubes go through your list and see what tubes that you don't have and that you need because we may have some extras that we can send your way. Chief Bill (Geezer Chief BTW is 76 years young) is our resident expert and he has done miracles with our stack and the rest of the boats electronics, sadly we don't have but a couple of people to take his place and Larry is able to take over his job in keeping our stack alive if needed, Chief Mike Eacho can step in and fix it but he is also one of our two resident electricians onboard.

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Mark Sarsfield
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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2008, 10:10:41 PM »

I'll put it on my To Do list to review the NOS stockpile and tubes that are lacking.  It may be some time before I get to it, though.
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Regards,
Mark Sarsfield
USS Batfish reenactor



"If you have one bucket that can hold 5 gallons and one bucket that can hold 2 gallons, how many buckets do you have?" - IQ test from Idiocracy
Brian Flynn
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 11:22:05 AM »

I'm late getting in on this list, but had one thing to take (or leave behind) that is pretty important - take reasonable expectations.  You might be in good shape, but your volunteers may be 40 year old computer jocks whose exercise consists of moving their hand from the keyboard to the mouse.  There will be things you can't do and the conditions on the ships can be absolutely brutal.  Use reasonable judgement on what is possible.

On our last trip, we found 2 pallets of 5" handling shells (all bronze), perfect for the museum's CG Cutter Taney.  Unfortunately, they weighed about 50 pounds each and there was no way we were moving 200 (5 tons) of them up from the hold.  On this same trip, we had a crew working in a superstructure radio room with no ventilation in 120+ heat.  Everyone stuck it out and we got a lot of great antique radio equipment out, but to say it was miserable is a gross understatement.

Brian
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