Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Our first Yacht Club raft up 'attempt' this year began with a triumph and ended in a triumph, even though it included two tows and a mechanic visiting our boat.
Going into a narrow creek, and therefore on the motor, the motor RPM's fluctuated up and down. We've had that happen so many times because of a faulty fuel pump in year one that we have the drill down pat.
Mary goes to the bow and clears the anchor, I seriously consider when and where to drop it every second of our progress while my stomach knots and twists around the sudden influx of acid. I undo the jib furling line just in case I have to sail it out.
Last November the filter clogged and shut us down as I was docking - I'm pretty sure that the sailing that day had stirred up more gunk, it was a bouncy sail.
I found a spot in 4 feet slightly outside the channel, turned up and we executed a perfect emergency anchor job and set just as the engine went to sputtering rough at only 500 RPM.
Five minutes, filter off, changed and restart. No bleeding necessary with our Westerbeke's electric fuel pump.
Engine runs at 500 rpm, rough as hell. Oh oh, same as it was before the change of filter (which was indeed full of gunk).
Called for a tow from a Yacht Club sailor still heading into the raft up. Figured I fix it there and get down to raft up goodness.
A buddy with the same engine type comes over, we trouble shoot the heck out of it. Bleed large shooting gushers from every where and eventually 'nail' it to a bad # 1 injector, it's running rough because it's not firing - and floods if I try to get it over 500 RPM on just the two.
Tow BoatUS to the rescue.
I pulled the injector and took it for a test. It was fine. I called around for mechanics, certified ones ya know - because I'm thinking fuel rack injector pump. Eight *&^%47 weeks. I call 'other' mechanics and get a 'tomorrow' deal.
Three guys show up, one can spell diesel. He basically teaches the other two how to bleed a diesel while I watch. Says the problem is my pump is vibrating and causing flow issues. I believe him because he gets the engine to idle smooth for a minute. I pay them a reasonable amount and they leave.
Later, I get the proper sized bolt and secure the pump. Engine runs rough at 500 RPM.
I'm hanging about upside down in my engine and transmission area (where the filer is) and staring about in utter frustration. I notices my secondary 'engine mounted' filter says 'change every 250 hours' - I've got 280 hours on the engine. It can't be the problem here because i AM getting fuel to the injectors, but I change it anyway. Didn't fix the problem.
Back to hanging upside down and staring. Then I notice a ring of pearls at the very top of the glass bowl on the filter. At first I think "how pretty, I've never noticed that before". Then I smack myself on the forehead.
I removed the filter and put the O ring on properly so air didn't get in between the bowl and the filter element.
One tow (895 bucks, but cost me nothing as I have insurance)
One mechanic for 200 bucks a hour -
and one priceless lesson to slow down and get it down right.
And another lesson - if I touch something and a problem occurs I probably caused it.
Occams Razor and all that.
So a month later, Mary is complaining about diesel smell. I smell it too. Normally since our engine is in the cockpit between hulls we have NO diesel smell at all. Now it's all about hot diesel smell. A quick look shows I've got a pool under my engine - there are hoses going to both hulls from the engine compartment, one for engine cooling water, one for the hot water heater take off.
Twenty minutes of wringing diesel into a bucket cleans it all up. I found no source of leaking so I figured it can't be leaking because then air would get in and the engine would not run. I attribute the pool (a half gallon or so, it's got a pan to collect in under the engine - and no drain) to the bleeding done over the last month while 'fixing' the O ring issue.
Another "I touched it, so it's broken" episode.
We motor and sail home. Another, larger pool of diesel. Five minutes later I find that fuel is running out of the secondary on engine filter. Naturally when I first looked I didn't have the pump running so it wasn't leaking. Just as "naturally" I had touched the filter so it must be the problem.
I took it off, I put it on, I tightened it with channel locks. I ran the pump, it didn't leak.
Until the next time I went out to sail.
Turns out not only do you have to have the O ring, you have to have it on properly. This one, instead of going inside the filter and compressing against the ring - goes outside and is compressed by the retaining ring.
The next day I'm at a party and explaining this to a friend - a 7 year old girl standing nearby and listening asks me "how long have you been sailing"
So I say "almost nine years"
She says "shouldn't you know how to do that by now".
I know if I touch it, have some one else check it.
I know not to tell stories like this to 7 year old girls.
Have a good day, and watch what you touch.