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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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A Week of Engine woes....
... that all turned out OK. (though this is going to be a bit long......)
Now that summer's over and I'm reflecting over the great one we had here on BCs inner waters, I thought I'd spell out a bad news/good news sequence we went through at the start of the summer, in early July.
We were on our way to our club's annual July meet at Smuggler Cove, with planned stops at Plumper Cove on the way up and on the way back. Along the way I checked a recently repacked stuffing box to find the gland dry and cool, but noticed considerable water sloshing about under the engine. Quick process of elimination left us with, likely, a leaking heat exchanger core. Raw water was leaking into the FWC side, and overflowing the expansion tank into the bilge.
Stopping in Plumper as planned, we removed the core, tested it ashore and confirmed the failure.. what to do? Carrying on was nixed for now, and I got on the phone to a friend with internet service (we are on an island here, but not far from the city.)
Long story short, my friend located a supplier on line.. gave me the toll free number - I called and was please to hear I was talking to Tacoma, WA, not somewhere in New England. As a result of that conversation I was able to order a part (yet to be fabricated), get back to Vancouver, drive across to Bellingham where the thing was made, and had it in my hands within 8 hours of the original phone call. Kudos to AAA Marine parts of Tacoma, and Seakamp Engineering in Bellingham.
Saturday was spent installing the core, doing a few other chores that cropped up and we made it back to Plumper Sunday for a pre arranged meeting with SNer erps. Had a great dinner/evening with Ray and Sandy and returned home for a last week of work.
Departing again with a healthy engine, we rendezvoused with the friend that helped earlier in the Gulf Islands. Second day out I was appalled to find that there was suddenly a great deal of nice, new green coolant in the engine bilge... WHAT NOW?!?!?. No drips but releasing the cap prompted a gush from the shaft seal on the FWC pump.. great!
Again on an island, but with cell service I called yet another friend who located a part in Nanaimo, and left us a vehicle to go get it from Chemainus. We took the pump off the engine first so we could compare to be sure.. this proved more complicated as we had to remove the timing belt on this, an interference engine..
Carefully marking everything we could think of, off we went to get the new part. We did that, returned to the boat around 1700 and by 1900 we had it back together (after some drama when we noticed the camshaft had moved about 30 degrees in our absence).. spun the engine by hand through 2 full turns to ensure we didn't have any fatal timing errors, and damned if it didn't start right up and run like a top.
Things we recognized/learned:
- If you're not afraid to tackle engine maintenance you can avoid being "stranded" and/or towed ($$$$$)
- It pays to have a good network of friends.
- One must have ALL the proper tools at hand ( I didn't - but my friend had what I needed.. needless to say we went shopping at the first opportunity after that.
- I love my marinized VW.. new FWC pump cost $60.
Feeling pretty good about the whole thing afterwards, we started adding up the costs of these two episodes to someone not familiar/comfortable with these jobs and reckoned that we could easily have been out a couple of grand in towing & mechanic fees, not to mention possibly costlier/harder to find parts with some other brands.
Clearly, if needed, the costs of a diesel maintenance course will pay for itself in no time at all....
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)