Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sure they will ...

Yesterday was a good day. The Beast came to life and Kintala was a going concern once again. But the engine run came late in the day and didn't do much more than prove the Beast still had life in it and that the cooling system wasn't spewing raw or fresh water everywhere.

That last was a bit of a concern and the reason the engine run had come so late in the day. For, earlier in the day, spewing fresh water had proved a bit of a set-back. It wasn't spewing really, more like drooling out of the seam between the exhaust riser and the heat exchanger. The seam held together with the shiny new studs and supposedly sealed with brandy new, high-tech, gaskets. It was also the very first thing assembled and thus at the bottom, if you will, of the pile. Getting to it meant taking everything off that we had spent the day before putting on. That was the bad news.

The good news was that, when it comes to mechanical things, the second time one does a thing often goes much, must faster than the first time. I indulged in a few moments of deep depression while watching the drip of cooling fluid, heaved a sigh and a few choice words, then accepted my fate and reached for the ½ inch wrench to start the proceedings. An hour or so later the unit was back up on the bench. A couple of hours after that it was hanging back on the engine.  With the hope of avoiding taking the thing apart a third time to fix a drool, two low tech, home made gaskets were installed and reinforced with ...

No Leak Silicone Gasket
Guaranteed Not To Leak.

It says so right on the tube twice – just in case you didn't see the “NO Leak” subtitle.  It wasn't clear if they really meant it, or if they were just trying to convince themselves (and me) that it would actually work.  But the short engine run at the end of the day proved the advertising.  The wet stuff stayed in the wet stuff tank.  No drips.  No drools.

So today started with a longer run to: a) check again for leaks and, b) warm up the oil for changing. The oil change part didn't happen because it was soon apparent the engine was getting too warm. In spite of the impressive spouts of water gushing from Kintala's port side exhaust, the water temperature gauge climbed right up to 200 degrees and showed no inclination of stopping there. Cue the deep depression once again.  (All gauge readings, by the way, were confirmed with a CEN-TECH infrared thermometer. That thing has become one of the “go to” tools when it comes to troubleshooting. Don't leave the dock without one, even if you don't have a WesterBeast hounding your life.)

Ed Note: And you might want to buy two so you don't have to rescue yours from the galley where your admiral finds it extremely useful to test bread making liquids and pizza pan temps...

Careful to let things cool off a little (the engine, not me) before removing the cap, I did a post run check of the coolant level.  (Having boiling hot and pressurized fluid explode out of the expansion tank of any hot engine will really spoil a day.  I speak from painful experience suffered years ago - and still grimace a little when popping the cap.)

The level was down a little.  Not unexpected. Getting the air out of old marine diesel systems, both fuel and coolant, is a constant source of problems. We really struggled with the engine in Nomad, that thing driving me to near distraction with the gymnastics required to get all the air out of the cooling loop. Something Deb kept reminding me of as I jumped to my normal conclusion that the Beast had come up with yet another way to ruin my day.

Something I grew more sure of with a top off and another run … with the same results. And again. Finally, with a bit of a desperation showing though my normal cheery self, I pulled one of the hoses off the engine that feeds coolant to the boat's water heater. Green stuff was pored in the open end until it flowed all the way around and back out of the engine. It didn't take very much, but it did take some. Then, with the engine running for the fourth (or fifth – I lost count) time, I bled a little air through the valve at the top of the thermostat housing. That puppy gets hot and sits close to a running belt. Some care is needed to get all of ones fingers back whole and unscorched when playing this game, but it worked. The engine settled at 178 degrees, even dropping a little with added RPM.

So tomorrow, with just six days left before Kintala needs to get out of Cooley's, we will try once again to heat the oil and get it changed.

I'm sure things will go just fine.

Sure they will.


Latitude 43 said...

Congrats! You been recognized and appreciated with the Liebster, not lobster, award!

Lacey Jaye said...

Once in the past I had an customers overheating marine engine that would slowly over heat. I did everything I could think of to fix the problem... Then I found out that the customer was draining the cooling system and refilling it with straight out of the bottle cooling fluid. No water!
I am sure you are mixing your fluids to the proper 50/50 mix.

TJ said...

50/50, I use the pre-mix. That way I'm sure the water isn't contaminating the coolant in any way. I'm not always sure that water bought over the counter is as advertised, and there is no telling what is in the stuff coming out of the tap.