Friday, October 10, 2014

The fix is in ...

Fixing things is a good thing. Maybe not as good a thing as designing a new thing to handle a thing that needs handled, but fixing is a good thing. I like fixing things. I like it more when I know what I did to fix a thing.

The tale has been told how the Merc for the Dink wouldn't merc at all, and right when the need to get off the dock was getting urgent. Flogging it over the course of two days included taking the carburetor off three times. Each time said carb was disassembled, cleaned, and carefully reassembled. After the third time the Merc struggled back into the land of the functioning. It wasn't doing a full merc, but it would merc enough to move the Dink, and that was all that was required to get Kintala off the dock.

So off we went.

Here in Middle River the Dink dock is some 400 yards or more from where the anchor is set. The only way to traverse that 400 yards, particularly against a flowing tide, meant getting the Merc running. That was a witch's brew of full choke, pull 'till it fired, WAY too many revs, no choke, shift, half choke before it died, add throttle - just a  little to WFO - no telling what would be needed, and hold on. An average of three tries was needed to get it all mixed together just right and end up with motivation, and the motivation would come on in a rush. (The reason to hold on.) It was better than paddling and far more exciting, but clearly additional fixing would soon be required.

I put off taking it apart again by hoping that running a tank full of gas juiced up with Sea Foam would chase away what ever little gremlin was still swimming around in the fuel system. I've never actually fixed anything by adding the magic potion, in spite of the claims on thousands of magic potion bottles. (STP, Octane Boost, Bars Liquid Aluminum and - my personal favorite - Marvel Mystery Oil.)  Give the snake oil salesmen their due and besides, avoiding having much needed bits fall to the bottom is more challenging when bouncing around in the middle of Middle River than it is when tied securely to a dock on New River. And if you think about it, hacking away on a Dink motor while bouncing around in the middle of an anchorage is a bit like sawing away at the branch on which one sits. Screwing up too badly means swimming to the parts store. The magic potion couldn't hurt. Maybe it would work.

Things did improve slightly over the course of a couple of days. Sometimes one could get to a partial merc with only two tries at the witch's brew. Clearly half-fixed wasn't fixed enough. We needed a full merc and the magic potion wasn't going to get us there.

This morning the carburetor came off for the fourth time. Once on the bench the same things were seen that were seen the first three times. The same things were done that were done the first three times. And during assembly the same things were checked. I would have loved to have seen, done, or checked something different; but it is a tiny, simple little carburetor with only so many parts.

The Merc is running as well as it has ever run.

Beats the hell out of me what I did to fix the thing.

But I'm glad I did it.


pfrymier1 said...

The 2-stroke Merc I have frequently has carburetor problems if left to sit for every long at all. Running the gas out helps but eventually, it will start having problems. All the carburetor spray and SeaFoam in the world will not clear it. My mechanic, however, never fails. I think there are ports that can only be cleaned by sonication. Anyway, this has been my experience. My father was wont to say, "If you hate a man, give him a used outboard".

S/V Veranda said...

Sometimes you just can't question the universe