Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's alive ...



After nearly six hours of chasing bubbles out of the fuel manifold Kintala's Wester-beast staggered to life like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, shaking and sputtering and barely coherent. It was pretty ugly. We shut it down, poked around a bit, and a diesel guy from two slips over came by to listen to the engine complaints. (He is suffering through trying to get a new-to-him Gulfstar 44 ready for cruising. His engine runs. It is the generator, batteries, and wiring that are the bane of his existence.) We kicked the Beast into motion once again and this time it ran a bit better. Not good, but better. Enlightened opinion was that it would take a few more minutes of exercise to cough up the rest of the air. That sounded reasonable but, then again, I'm not that enlightened. As the Beast continued to chuff and cough I went searching, and uncovered a new fuel leak; this one at the fuel line to the #1 cylinder, at the pump end.

Rats.

I was very careful and deliberate in wrenching apart the 17 fluid connections needed to remove the pump. It should have been 18 but one was frozen so solid there was no getting it loose. Fortunately, that line could stay attached to the fuel filter cap and come out as a kind of dorked up assembly. I was just as careful mating all of those fluid connections back together. Getting these kinds of compression fittings cross-threaded (and thus terminally dorked up) is way too easy when they are new and shiny. Thirty years old, pitted and grungy, threads already galled ... bring your "A" game and hope for the best. My best this time around was 17 for 17 not cross-threaded, but with one leaking anyway. Un-torque and re-torque didn't help and the day was spent. So tomorrow will be day three of pump assembly and install. (Or day 23, it depends on how and what you count.)

Tomorrow is also Sunday so there is no telling if a successful conclusion to this side-trip to engine disasterville can happen. Monday looks to be the only weather window for scooting on out of here for nearly the next week; but if the Wester-beast is still oozing diesel into the bilge we will miss it and have to make a new plan yet again.

I have no intention of letting this blog become just an endless list of disappointments, break-downs, failures and troubles. I don't want this cruising life to go that way either. There are friends who have made it to the islands, others who have managed their first big water passage (and are justifiably proud), and still others who are way out ahead of us but staying in the States this year. We are going to follow along as best we can and are determined to have as much fun as possible along the way. Tomorrow will be another day living on the boat. It is going to be cold and another day spent getting smacked around by the Wester-beast. And it might be one of those days that I get a bit grumpy. But tomorrow will also be another day of living on the boat and being a part of this community. So I'll try not to be too grumpy.

10 comments:

S/V Veranda said...

everybody gets to be Grumpy once in a while. You just have to remember to be one of the other 6 dwarfs every now and then....

Capt. Mike said...

Just for the record, I think you two are as positive and persistent as anybody could possibly be. I check your blog at least daily to see how you are doing and I always see progress. You have fought your way clear from the great lakes to where you are and I have no doubt you will soon be battling your way farther south.

Latitude 43 said...

Sure now you are going to be upbeat. I just submitted your blog to "The Happiness Project" as a case study. ;)

I think you'll be rolling again soon. We'll have a few cold ones ready for you when you get to St Aug.
P

Chuck said...

Hi Tim, Deb.
Chuck Jones here. Pat and I are following your trip with interest. I'm sure you'll get things going soon.

When I rebuilt the old Albin diesel; I bought some fuel line, a tube bender, and a box of fittings. That way, I could replace all the lines, anytime I needed.

Do you have an electric fuel pump supplying fuel to the lift pump? If not; it helps greatly with bleeding the lines.

Alex Rooker said...

Tim,
I'll be in New Bern on Tuesday to have a survey done on a Gemini catamaran. Making the run to Oriental is on my list if time allows. Do you mind folks dropping by?
Alex R

TJ said...

Alex, drop by any the time. Between they weather and the fuel leak it looks like our next launch window will be Sat.

Deb said...

Alex email us you phone # at svkintala att gmail dott com.

Deb said...

Chuck - not a single fitting on this engine has been a standard fitting. They are all weird fittings that don't seem to be available anywhere except for Westerbeke and Lucas dealers. The mechanic that Tim had helping us drove around a whole day looking for the fitting and was unsuccessful, even here in the sailing capital of North Carolina. We do have the tools to do the job, just can't find the parts. The electric fuel pump is on the list of things to add - another T42 owner that we spent some time with has added that to his and you're right it helps. He hooked his up to the glow plug switch so that it pressurized the system every time he started the engine.

Deb said...

Bill - Well let's see...

Grumpy √
Dopey (from the smell of diesel in the air) √
Doc (trying to doctor this Westerbeast)√
Sleepy (exhausted every night from trying to fix it) √
Sneezy (diesel smell again) √
Bashful (ehhhh...nope not Tim ever)
Happy (maybe today she says hesitantly?) √

Deb said...

@Mike and @Paul - it's the good vibes we feel coming from all of you that make it possible for us to drag ourselves out of the V-berth every morning and start at it once again. But then that's what the cruising community is all about, no?