Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things I like, (that normal people don't).

It turned out I was wrong about things not freezing on the boat. The fresh water side of the engine cooling loop was iced up and when the engine tuned over the impeller got damaged. The engine had not turned even a full revolution before the battery died, but it was enough. The battery problem became the focus of my troubleshooting. It was turning into a long day.

It had started out pretty well. We had swung by the shop to pick up Deb's bike from the shop and then headed off with me following her to the lake. Little Nomad sat content in her slip but large sheets of ice laid throughout the shallowest parts of the marina. Ice makes a weird noise, similar to that made if you strike a taught cable, a zinging rip of sound, when it is disturbed. The sound of ice gives the marina a whole new and somewhat alien feel.

We treated the head, installed our big cabin cover for the first time, and pulled the Bimini cover. Then my engine struggles started. Even on shore power the batteries were dead, making it impossible to turn the engine over to suck anti-freeze into places it needs to be. The afternoon was fading and Deb still had a hour's ride to do. I finally talked her into heading off to get home before the sun and temperatures both fell, leaving me to play with the boat.

Marinas are a lot like airports deep into night; cold, often windy and mostly abandoned. This was suddenly a very familiar place; just me, a machine and a problem that needs fixed. I was having a blast. I do get a little frustrated working on the boat once in a while, mostly because I'm not always sure what I am doing. Airplanes I know; motorcycles are a long time hobby, but little Nomad's quirks often have me puzzling out systems that (if I do say so myself) are often poorly designed and badly executed. With some troubleshooting it appeared that our shore powered batter charging system wasn't doing its thing. I borrowed a charger and eventually got enough juice into the starting battery to turn the engine over. But even then Nomad was not sucking water as she should which led to the damaged impeller. Changing that was quickly done but by then batteries were once again flat. It was time for a strategic retreat. The weather is supposed to get warmer for a while, I have a few days later in the week when I can take another crack at it, and fun or not, I was just about done in with an hour's drive home myself.

Half way home I figured out what I should have done to do to the engine. It will be a simple procedure and may become the preferred way to treat the engine. The electrical system I simply have to tackle one problem at a time until I get all of the issues resolved. It is going to take some work.

In the morning the jet goes to the shop for some work. Deb's bike need steering head bearings. Nomad needs a new charging system, wiring, and engine work.

I am a happy man.

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