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Thanks for the description and photos, Richard!
I had a similar problem when changing my impeller a few years ago – also on a Ford Lehman 90hp – and when trying to change the engine fan belts. (In fact I later found that I’d snapped a tendon while twisting my left hand into position to unfasten the raw water pump’s four front screws!)
So I cut a small access door through the bulkhead, from the saloon into the engine compartment, at about the level of the front of the engine’s alternator.
There were several layers of metal mesh soundproofing and glass-fibre insulation to cut through: I used a teeny angle grinder to cut a square hole, then asked our local boatbuilder at Ramsgate, Steve Parish, to fit some beading to the cut-out panelling, and a fixing catch, so that the removable square panel fits back neatly into the hole, and is completely unnoticeable.
This gives easy access to the front of the engine, is way above floor level (so doesn’t badly compromise water-tight integrity between the engine compartment and the saloon) and makes it simple to change, or adjust, belt tension and to reach the raw water pump.
I’ve been meaning to fit a Speedseal cover, but waited for a “real-world” recommendation from someone who’s already fitted one, to see if it was worth the bother.
You’ve now convinced me!
(I’ll see if I can find the photos which I took for ‘Catalog’ ..I’ll post them here when I find them.)