If you read our story “The Way The U.S. Coast Guard Replaces Its Largest Ship’s Motor Is Mind-Blowing” last week, you’re recall how the U.S. Coast Guard had to cut a giant hole in the hull of its largest ice-breaking research vessel, the USCGC Healey, in order to replace a motor that had been damaged in a fire. Since then, the team has installed the new propulsion motor. Here’s a full video showing what it takes to do a motor swap of this scale.
When I wrote the original article, the Coast Guard had inspected and cleaned the Healy’s hull, cut a big hole into it and installed rigs to extract the old motor. The new one would be installed with the help of a massive crane.
The old motor was still in place at the time, but now it has been successfully swapped, as a public affairs representative from the Coast Guard emailed me yesterday to share the video below. It shows the entirety of the motor swap process from start to finish (minus the welding of the hull).
The process is mesmerizing. The motors are the size of a small house (remember: the new motor actually sat in a building specifically built for it for more than 20 years!) and the crane looks like one of those All Terrain Armored Transport vehicles from Star Wars.
Amazingly, the whole motor swap process took only about a month, which — if I had to guess — is probably less time than a typical engine swap in an automobile. Mostly because, let’s be honest, far too many wrenchers let their projects stall for far too long. Well, at least I do.