Saturday, March 8, 2014

Stone Soup engines

We have been having fun hanging out with Shambala.
The other day, we were telling Mark and Conrad the story of Stone Soup. Basically, a stranger wrangles food out of recalcitrant townspeople on the premise that a boiled stone is good, but if you just add a few things it's even better (I guess it's really about working t ogether for the good of everyone). Matt has decided that the diesel engines on Perry are our Stone Soup.

When we were looking for a boat, one of the top "must have" items was newer engines. Perry had relatively new engines (with fewer than 500 engine hours, which are the boat equivalent of miles on a car) and we moved aboard with a long to do list that we were sure did not include engine work.

Fast forward to a year and some months later and the engines are fine so far (the 'stone' that got us to buy the boat--getting tired of this metaphor yet?). However, we have repaired or replaced a lot of the stuff that the engines need: alternator, transmission, exhaust elbow, transmission cables, raw water pump, fuel pump (multiple times), reconfiguring poor fuel pump placement, and various bolts loosening and falling out (including the propeller shaft decoupling from the transmission).
That's not even counting things like the new cutlass bearings or the new shaft that got rid of our port engine shimmy.

Just to make sure we hadn't become too complacent in the last couple of weeks, our starboard engine sputtered and died as we were pulling into Black Point. It wasn't an issue because we still had our port engine (although I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as we motored through the crowded anchorage). After we stopped, Matt saw that the exhaust elbow had broken off and was spewing exhaust and water everywhere. He spent the next day fixing that issue (fortunately we had spares onboard as we had the same issue on the port side and knew it was just a matter of time for the starboard engine) with much swearing, borrowing of tools, and a re-injury to Matt's already bruised coccyx. He wasn't sure how the exhaust issue caused the engine to die, but we convinced ourselves that the issue was fixed.

I love this shot. The kids reacting to the blow hole.

After spending a few fun days in Black Point, we started pulling up our anchor to start heading south. Shambala was just ahead of us and heading out of the anchorage. Just as the anchor was about to come up, the starboard engine died. Damn! Clearly it wasn't the exhaust elbow and, after checking things out, Matt determined that it wasn't air in the lines. The engine wasn't getting diesel. There was a blockage in the fuel line...somewhere. After extensive troubleshooting (basically taking apart the fuel lines piece by piece)  and becoming coated in diesel, Matt isolated the blockage and was eventually able to blow it clear it using the dinghy pump. We are up and running again, for the time being. And we're hoping there aren't too many more pieces that can break.

Assuming all goes well, we will head south towards George Town in a day or two. Unfortunately the winds are not cooperating so it looks like we will have to motor. At least we are heading towards a place with supplies if (when?) something else breaks.

1 comment:

  1. Stone Soup....that was one of my favorite stories. Matthew do you remember me reading it to you?


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