This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Monday, May 31, 2010
At 10 AM I peddled the bicycle to the Columbia premises only about 2 kilometers from the marina with all of my documents in my backpack. I walked in the office and politely asked the lady behind the desk if she hablas ingles? Indeed she did, and very well. I started to tell her my situation and she exclaimed Robert! She knew who I was from an email query that I had sent in more than a week ago which ended in confusion. Her name is Judith and she was very pleasant to work with.
We discussed my requirements and then she gave me a firm quotation (good for 30 days) of $1085.76 to transport the engine from their depot in San Diego to their depot in La Paz. This includes $79.10 for insurance that "covers "truck accident, fire or loss during transit" as well as $98.48 for IVA (a goods and services tax). The freight charge was only $138.18 and the biggest cost component was $678 in "forwarding fees". This seems to cover all of the "import broker" functions and I am not complaining if it delivers my engine intact.
I presented all of the documentation required of me (e.g. passport, temporary import permit, engine invoice and shipping). After photocopying my documents Judith said that she would send me a letter to sign. "Send it? What are you going to do, mail it? Why don't you print the letter now and I'll sign it here." was my response. Five minutes later all of the necessary documentation was ready for presentation to the government. However, that documentation will be held until Columbia is close to receiving the consignment in San Diego. This is because approval of the importation by the Mexican government will include a request that the shipping box be opened and inspected by Columbia personnel.
So as soon as I have the information on the shipment of the engine from Port Townsend to the Columbia depot in San Diego I will pass it on to Judith who will launch the paperwork, which she says will take about 4 days for a response from the government.
The process seems pretty solid to me: only two custodians (the trucking companies), and the engine fully insured while in their custody.
On the way to Columbia I dropped by The Dock cafe and saw Bob Carroll. He will arrive at Pachuca tomorrow morning at 10-11 AM and we will take the boat on an engine sea trial. We'll explore the upper reaches of the bay, which I will find interesting because it offers, among other things, a very delicate approach to another marina. That end of the bay also offers a viable "hurricane hole" in case I get caught outside of a marina - highly unlikely but it is always good to have a Plan B when it comes to survival.
And shortly after my return to Pachuca I got a visit from Peter and Cheryl Ainsworth of Stolen Kiss. They came to say Hasta Luego because they are soon departing for Guaymas near San Carlos where they will hardstand their boat for a few months. It is within the realm of possibility that Brenda and I might get that far when we are trialling out the new Volvo engine, but it is more likely that the next time we see each other will be in Fremantle next April.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I started off by checking the crank case oil and found it to be jet black and exactly at the top mark, evidence to me of no contamination from fuel or water.
I then opened the raw water valve and did a normal engine start, using the starter battery bank only and keeping the engine compartment cover in place. The engine came to life about 5 seconds of cranking and ran nicely at 1000 rpm for the next 90 minutes. Again, the only thing that I could see coming from the exhaust was water
At shutdown time I decided to see how engine would idle at low speed and took it down to 300 rpm where it kept thumping along nicely.
The batteries were less hungry today: taking in 50 amps at startup and 39 amps at shutdown.
My confidence level has understandably taken a leap. So far the engine appears to be running as well as when I left Port Townsend.
Tomorrow I will meet with Bob Carroll to plan a sea trial probably on Tuesday. That will also give me the opportunity to redeploy the anchor, and possibly closer to the marina.
The accompanying plans were produced by scanning a paper document then croping and converting the image to JPEG using PhotoFilter.
The drawings seem to conform to Pachuca's actual layout except that a BUKH engine is shown rather than the SABB.
You can enlarge the images by placing the cursor over them and clicking the left mouse button.
This is a flat front view of the engine in the compartment that does not show the backward tilt of the engine, which further reduces the engine clearance to the bilge.
An explanation of the drawing methodology is given in the following blog entry.
I've had a go at using Photofilter to produce the accompanying image from one of my drawings. The dimensional inputs to the drawings were derived from my measurements and engine specifications supplied by Volvo. The drawings were produced to scale using the OpenOffice drawing package.
The available space in the engine compartment is in blue, with the upper boundary of the compartment not shown.
The Volvo engine is represented by the orange shapes. The pink blocks represents the engine mounts. The current engine beds are represented by the gray rectangle. Note that these engine beds go all the way down to the bilge. Also note that the new engine will have a backward tilt of only 4 degrees, with an angle gear supplying the other 8 degrees.
The engine was positioned in the compartment so that the coupling flange mates with the propeller shaft.
According to the drawing there will be clearances of 35mm (1.25") to the bilge, 155mm (6.1") to the front of the compartment, and 320mm (12.6") to the top of the compartment.
It looks like we could raise the engine thereby reducing engine bed modification by moving it forward and extending the drive shaft in some way (probably by replacement).
This is the most accurate drawing that I could produce and it should be within 15mm of reality. Let's hope that the actual installation bears this out.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The good news is that I got the SABB engine running.
Yesterday afternoon I received a message from Mark telling me that during a telephone conversation with Alaska Airlines he was told that there is a 300 lb limit on cargo carried on their passenger planes. (Say What????) This took me by surprise because I had used the Alaska Airlines cargo rates calculator entering the estimated dimensions of the box and a weight of 500 lb and got back a cost estimate with no caveats. I then visited their FAQ (frequently asked questions) and read in response to question 9 the statement "Because today's modern jet aircraft are generally space limited, rather than weight limited, they can typically carry as much weight as we can physically put on them. Cargo space is the limiting factor." (Bold lettering is theirs.) I have sent a query to the Alaska Airlines cargo support center but I don't like my chances of getting a happy resolution from them.
I searched the internet for another air carrier to do the job but found nothing suitable. Even the vaunted UPS delivers only to the Mexican border. I have asked Mark begin work at his end towards trucking the engine to San Diego, and I will work at this end towards trucking the engine from San Diego to La Paz.
On Monday morning I will visit Eco Naviera to explain the situation and ask them to suspend all activities until I can sort this out.
This morning I went ashore and visited Hamish at Lopez Marine regarding two vents that I would like to order and he asked me how things were going with the engine. I explained the situation and he was emphatic that Columbia is a very professional outfit that will handle the paperwork and transportation very well. Hamish has been using them for years for bringing in all sorts of items from the USA for his business and his clients, so he certainly has credibility in the matter. I plan to take a cab to the branch office of Columbia on Monday bearing every relevant document that I have to see if I can get something formally initiated.
I then went to the Banamex bank near CCC trying to get cash through my Visa card and once more I got the message that the service could not be provided. I am used to this. Sometimes an ATM rejects me and I try the next one to it with success. Sometimes the same ATM will accept me one week and reject me the next. With this branch I had been successful the first time but rejected the last two. This was getting serious because I was running out of cash. I've had advice to deal only with ATM's attached to banks because there has been a lot of card skimming in the outlying machines. The problem is that La Paz has very few bank buildings compared to, say, Papeete where there were plenty of branches and the ATM's always worked. Anyway, to took a long hot walk into the town center and got rejected by another Banamex ATM, then went to a Banorte bank to find that their only ATM was out of order. Fortunately I stumbled my way to an HSBC branch with two ATMs. One was not working but the other one was and it gave me 3000 pesos.
During my ATM walk I decided to get mechanised and picked up a 4 ft chain at a bicycle shop and was directed to another store where I purchased a combination lock. My plan is to take the ship's bicycle to the marina and keep it there all of the time locked to the bike rack. I will have to come to terms with riding the bike on La Paz streets. I see very few bicycles on the streets which worries me a bit, but trying to ride on sidewalks is totally out of the question. Whether I ride it or not, getting the bicycle off the boat will be necessary to make room in the V-berth area for Brenda's visit.
After that setback with Alaska Airlines I needed some success somewhere and I got back to the boat at 2PM determined to get the SABB running.
The first thing I did was to wire a spare starter switch directly to the solenoid as Colin had showed me. This would enable me to start the engine while next to it, which meant that I would not have to trouble Bob to push the starter button in the cockpit while I sprayed the ether at the air intake. (The accompanying photo shows the push button switch with the white cable arcing up and around to the solenoid at the right.)
I removed the starter plugs from the heads and rolled the engine around to make sure that there were no pools of WD40 on the pistons, and no WD40 came out of the holes. I then loaded up each starter cigarette holder with diesel oil and screwed the holders back in hoping to deliver some of the oil into the cylinders in order to improve the piston seal. I then turned the engine by hand and was pleased to see that we had not lost the gain in compression that Colin had achieve in our earlier session.
I then did something that Colin had told me not to do: I put on the tappet cover. Colin wanted it off in case for some reason the decompression mechanism was holding one or more valves open. I didn't think this likely. Sure a head had been skimmed and the valves had been ground and there was one new valve seat, but the changes seemed too small to cause such a problem. My motivation was to avoid oil being splattered all over the cabin if I got the engine going, and I certainly was not going to shut it off once I got it going.
I forgot to do something that Colin had suggested, though I probably would not have done it anyway. To give the engine every chance to start he had suggested that I remove all three fan belts to avoid the load from the alternators.
I did remember to make sure that I removed the panel over the raw water cooling thru hull fitting before sliding back the engine cover, so that once the engine started I could quickly open the valve.
I turned the power switches so that both battery banks would deliver power to the starter. Over the last three days the banks had gone from 12.1V to 12.3V which might be just enough.
Then I got to work, can of starter in the left hand, starter button on the right. I decompressed the engine with the lever at the top of the rocker cover, hit the starter button, and the starter engaged. This was great. I had complete control of the engine: starter, air intake, and fuel throttle on the other side.
I compressed the engine and hit the starter, spraying lots of starter ether into the air intake. It did not take me long to figure out that the bang bang bangs of preignition were really not helping the process very much. I needed ignition near piston TDC (top dead center), not before TDC which would work against starting and possibly crack a piston. I kept the starter going (the hell with the batteries) and backed off with the starting ether, giving the engine just enough of a whiff to keep it interested. Soon I could sense the engine helping itself. I hung in there for another 10 seconds then stopped spraying the starter. The engine slowed down a bit then roared into life. I opened the raw water inlet valve then jumped into the cockpit and slowed the engine down to 1000 rpm.
I looked over the side and could hear gasses but could see no water. There was no need to panic yet because the entire cooling system including the muffler were probably dry.
I went below and turned the switch that activated the alternators. At 1000 rpm the engine was delivering 89 amps to the batteries.
I resumed my watch for cooling water at the stern. Then it came, big spurts of black water. After a few seconds of this the water was clean.
I watched the engine for 30 minutes. There were no fuel leaks, no funny sounds, and best of all the exhaust was water only - no steam, no soot, no white vapor, just water.
The wind was very calm but I figured that it would pipe up soon so I left Pachuca with her engine running and motored across the sand bar to tell Bob Carroll of my success. He seemed as pleased as I was. He mentioned that he thought that the wind would be strong tonight and a few minutes later he told me that he could see it coming across the bay. It slammed in fast and hard so I got pretty wet getting back. But getting wet didn't matter. I found everything in order on Pachuca with the engine still chugging along at 1000 rpm and plenty of cooling water coming out.
At the end of two hours I shut the engine down. I noted that the batteries were still taking 85 amps after the two hours (they must have been hungry). I revved the engine up to 1600 rpm to see the effect on the exhaust and there was none: more water coming out but no steam or smoke. I then went below, shut the raw water inlet valve, revved the engine up for a few seconds to clear out water from the exhaust system, then shut it down.
I'm not out of the woods with this engine yet. Tomorrow I will check the oil levels for evidence of water or diesel contamination. Then will come the crucial test: will the engine start normally.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Alaska Airlines can fly the engine direct from Seattle to Los Cabos International Airport (See http://www.loscabosguide.com/
Yesterday morning I walked over to Eco Naviera, a company in the marina precinct that deals with these matters. They saw no problem in representing me.
The process will be as follows:
1. Alaska Airlines flies the consignment to Los Cabos airport and holds it there until
2. A representative from Eco Naviera signs for it and has a truck ready to deliver it to Customs, not far from the airport
3. When Customs gives the OK, Eco Naviera has the engine trucked to Marina de La Paz
I will insure the engine for the flight to Los Cabos and I have told Yolanda at Eco Naviera that I would like it insured during the transportation by truck.
To me the entire process looks good. Certainly the leg from Seattle to Los Cabos looks good as gold. Eco Naviera appears to be a well established company with high visibility across the laneway on marina premises. Club Cruseros mentions them under "Vessel Services" in their services guide (http://www.clubcruceros.org/
I have presented my passport, temporary importation permit, and immigration status document to Eco Naviera and they have started a file. On Tuesday morning I will visit Yolanda and learn what trucking and insurance arrangements have been made, as well as the costs to me. One of the costs will be for the drive by an Eco Naviera agent to Los Cabos airport to sign for the consignment and truck it to Customs. I asked Yolanda if I could go with the agent and she said OK. I would enjoy the overland drive to the airport and it would give me the opportunity to keep my beady eyes on the engine.
Mark and I continued to interact via email, fax, and Skype telephone calls (three today) on various aspects of the engine preparation and shipment. I Faxed to Mark copies of Neil's letter stating that Marina de La Paz will be doing the engine replacement work and my 10 year temporary importation permit.
In the middle of the day I got a chance to spend a couple of hours improving the side view plan of the new engine in Pachuca's compartment. It is a very accurate scale drawing that will enable me to speak with confidence about that aspect of the installation.
In the late afternoon I succumbed my feeling of guilt at not having done anything physical all day so at 6.45 PM I began to wash the boat which was filthy from the accumulation of many weeks of desert dust. Even at this late hour the sun was high enough to force me to wear a tee shirt to protect myself. The amount of dust I washed off the boat amazed me. When I finished at precisely 8 PM I could see the upper half of the sun disappearing behind the landscape on the horizon.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
He soon established that there was no fuel problem.
Although he could not do a compression test because he didn't have the proper fitting he could tell by feel that compression was very weak. He lifted the rocker cover and after a good look around commented that I had done a good job of reassembling the engine. (Great Colin, so why won't the engine start?) The only fault that he could find was that I had been too gentle with the feeler gauge and the tappet gaps were bigger than they should be, but he said that this would not have caused a problem other than noisy tappets.
We tried starting the engine using more and more starter. Although the starter bank was reading 12.3V he said that voltage under no load means little and the batteries were run down and not turning the engine over fast enough. Then I got the bright idea of combining the house and starter banks (for the first time ever) and we got a bit better performance.
We cranked and cranked and soon I could hear the bang of preignition of the starter gas. We got to the point where the engine was just about to sustain itself but not quite.
At the end of the effort the engine definitely had better compression. I asked Colin if that was because the engine was warmer but he said that the engine had not gotten warm enough to make that a factor. He says one possibility is that some of the rings had gotten stuck in their piston grooves and were not expanding out to meet the cylinder. He thinks that our effort may have loosened some of them. Both cylinders had some compression, one slightly more than the other.
He talked about lifting the engine up to get to the lower end of the con rods but I shook my head and told him that it was not going to happen. "It's easy" he said. "Colin", I repeated, "it's not going to happen."
I then told him that I had been on a parallel track of replacing the engine and he nodded in agreement. I had not told him about my repowering plan for fear of demoralizing him to the point where he would not help me with the engine, but this seemed like the right time to tell him and maybe it took some pressure off of him.
I asked him about the prospects of selling off bits of the SABB and he wasn't aware of many SABBs in La Paz but suggested that I sell it on Ebay. Colin had received $1,000 for a used head from a Volvo engine about the same age as my SABB. He was the second person to suggest Ebay.
He left me with the following plan:
- Let the batteries charge up for a week or more (meaning no refrigerator and relying solely on ice, which is not a problem)
- He left both pistons half way up the cylinder so that I can keep the top of the pistons flooded with WD40, which I will inject through the cigarette holders
- Rig up a switch so that I can control the starter at the engine rather than from the cockpit (He showed me which poles are involved, and the current load will be low.)
- When the time comes drain the WD40 from the cylinders by turning the flywheel while the cigarette holders are out (This is an attempt to free up the rings.)
- Have another try at starting the engine.
Colin thinks that if I can get it running things will snap into place and the engine will run better. Maybe, but even if it does I suspect that it will be very weak.
I'll be doing this as an afterthought expecting a bad result, which won't bother me because psychologically I'm done with the SABB engine.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Yesterday morning I visited Neil at Marina La Paz to show him my drawings and other documentation. He got interested in the project and we spent over an hour working on the documents. At one point he went down to the main office and produced an enlargement of the engine section of the boat plan. Using the photocopier he then adjusted the size of the engine plans supplied by Volvo so that he was able to literally cut the Volvo side drawing of the engine and paste it over the engine section of Pachuca's plan. The result was pretty good.
Neil was satisfied with my drawings and then had a look at the shipping list that Mark had sent to me. He also saw my photos of the engine compartment while I emphasized the ease with which the SABB could be extracted from the boat and the marvelous accessibility of the engine compartment.
It was a good and productive meeting and I think that Neil and I will work very well together.
I then rushed back to Pachuca then motored over to Adios at noon to pick Bob up then motor to Estelle. We were to help Bob motor his boat to a slip at the marina, and he needed to get it over at slack tide. So all three of us Bobs motored to east along the Magote anchorage until we had the fisherman's cross abeam on our port side, then swung to starboard and took the narrow channel to the south side of the bay by heading directly for the municipal jetty. Even though he had a 10 knot following wind Bob swung his big boat into the slip with deceptive ease.
Bob Carroll and I then went to the "Quaker Oil" business where I purchased some engine starter (ether in an aerosol can). We then motored to Pachuca to try to bring her engine to life.
We first tried two starter "cigarettes" that Bob's friend Mike had provided from his stock that he uses to start his SABB engine (with one cylinder, I think). They really did look like cigarettes: complete with red tips. We unscrewed the cigarette holders from each of the engine's heads and they fit nicely. We then screwed the holders back into the head which I had estimated would put the red tips right over the pistons. The idea was that when we hit the starter the engine compression would ignite these starters, producing enough heat to enable the diesel fuel to ignite. Unfortunately this turned out to be a miserable failure. When we extracted the starters we found them intact and covered with what we thought was diesel fuel.
We then tried the ether starting gas. Bob hit the starter for about 5 seconds while I provided the air intake with oblique and minimal whiffs of starter. That didn't work, so we tried again with more aggressive spraying. Still there was no sign of life. On the final try Bob hit the starter button for well over 5 seconds while I gave the air intake a full blast of the starter, directed at about 45 degrees from the vertical tube. From what I had heard this should have been enough to cause pre ignition and possibly crack a head. However, there was not the slightest hint of combustion.
At this point Bob and I were pretty sure that I had a serious compression problem. We were definitely sure that we had gone as far as we could and needed help.
I emailed a report to Colin and that evening he responded with the question of what I wanted him to do. I asked him to visit the boat whenever he got a chance with the suggestion that he do a compression check. He thinks that he can visit tomorrow.
In the late afternoon I set up my storm anchor for a really fast drop in case of emergency. The anchor is now fully assembled, with the stock ready to be locked into the shank. I've connected the anchor rode to the anchor, ready for a hand drop over the rail. The rode is now properly flaked so that it will pay out smoothly. I am pessimistic about the future of the SABB engine and expect a long stay at anchor. I've been told that over time these anchors can get fouled up from the boat's movements and I am reluctant to try to redeploy it without an engine. (If I do it in current I'll drift and if I do it in slack water the chain might drop on top of the anchor and foul it.)
This morning I visited the documents business and was told that they can produce my engine importation permit in two working days for $60. I asked if the papers would be suitable for flying in the engine with Alaska Airlines and they could see no problem with that. I'm told that I could go to Pichilingue and get the paperwork myself but I figure that the cab rides alone would cost $20, and I can't be bothered walking into town and finding out which bus to take.
Back at Pachuca I spent several hours investigating the Alaska Airlines option. During the process I telephoned the Alaska's 1-800 number and learned a bit more about how the consignment would be handled by Customs when it arrived at Los Cabos (not far from Cabo San Lucas). The airline was emphatic that I must have an import/export broker acting on my behalf. I will make enquiries about that tomorrow.
During this time Mark and I were interacting via email on various aspects of the importation and installation process.
In the meantime I am awaiting a response to an email message that I sent to the La Paz office of Columbia Transport requesting an estimate of the cost of trucking the engine from San Diego to La Paz.
Also, today I received a message from Bill Breaker. He and his partner Kristi visited Arnold and myself during our stay in Richmond. During the visit he and Kristi took quite a few photos which can be seen at http://roughoperator.com/
The first photo is of the two Bobs engaged in what appears to be serious discussion at Estelle's helm. We passed that wooden hulled schooner on the way out of the Magote anchorage.
The third photos shows me with the cigarette holder in hand ready to screw into the #2 head.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The cylinder ran out of gas while I was cooking so I switched over to the smaller Australian cylinder that I had not used since Hawaii. The gas company in Honolulu had refused to refil it because it was not made in the USA. Carey at The Fuel Dock to her credit would have refilled it except that the cylinder was out of date, so I could not blame her. I've been hoarding that small cylinder all of this time - about a year! - as an emergency backup and to my delight it still had plenty of pressure. I will see if I can get that Aussie cylinder refilled here in La Paz. The large cylinder that is empty was filled in San Francisco so I can't complain about its capacity.
I then prepared a USB flash drive with material that I will show Neil at the marina tomorrow.
Included in the flash drive will be:
- my two drawings of the engine
- photos of the engine compartment
- drawings of the Volvo engine
- installation manuals in English and Spanish
- a shipment list
I will also take a plan of Pachuca that somehow has survived the years. I will have it scanned somewhere and store it as a JPEG file for easy distribution.
Fortunately CCC is open on Sundays so I was able to have a good walk and come back with all sorts of fruit and vegetables. On the way back I purchased 3 punnets of fresh strawberries.
At 4 PM I decided to relax for a while after two hard days of working until after sunset. I had a cooling and relaxing dip in the water then a fresh water bath in the cockpit complete with shampoo. For tonight it would be an early meal and an early bed time.
I checked my Sailmail for the first time in weeks and found three messages from Jackie and Noel. They made it to Ecuador on Pyewacket after 20 days of sailing and a 3 day stop at Cocos. They had gear failure and problems with fishing boats but got through it OK.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
This morning I visited Bob on his boat Estelle.
Bob had been kind enough to lend me his half inch tension wrench and I was very happy to get an opportunity to visit his boat and give him a hand.
Estelle is one of the more interesting boats plying the oceans. Bob built her in Port Townsend over a period of 6 or 7 years. She is a beamy ketch with high freeboard and a ferrocement hull. Bob was very generous with his time and gave me an extensive tour of his boat and then took me through his photo album which showed the key stages of construction. He described how the boat has shallow full length keel giving the boat a 5 ft draft (compared to my 7.5 ft draft). But the boat has lee boards fore and aft that we can swing down as required. For running downwind he uses the rear board only. For upwind work he uses the front board to help trim the boat to avoid weather helm.
After the tour we got down to work which turned out to be surprisingly easy for me. Bob had to go up his mast on a boatswain's chair and I had expected to hand winch him up. Instead I used his anchor windlass controlled by a foot switch. Everything went well and Bob was back down in 15 minutes.
I am presenting a few of the many photos that I took.
A spacious aft cabin with mind boggling views of the ocean, a genuine cast iron bath tub, an automatic washing machine, and a handsome captain. What more could a woman want!
After a small lunch I got to work on preparing the drawings for the repowering project. These drawings will serve two purposes: (1) ensure that the new Volvo engine will fit in Pachuca's compartment (2) assist in the discussion and planning of the installation.
I used the Open Office drawing package because it would permit me to make drawings to very accurate scale and produce results that can be emailed and printed.
The key was to do everything to the same scale. I had already produced front, side, and floor drawings of the engine compartment. This afternoon I produced front and side profiles of the Volvo D2-40 MS15L engine. I went to a lot of trouble to properly position the accurately sized engine mounts.
Then came the interesting part. I pasted the engine profiles on top of the compartment profiles. There was a bit of excitement and apprehension during this operation. I mean, suppose I had missed something and the engine would not fit? It was like fitting in a real engine and after some adjustments the fit was good
The drawings look a bit cartoonish and don't look anything like what a draftsman would produce, but they seem to do the job that I require very well.
The side profile was particularly interesting because it shows the 125 degree angle of the engine beds, the 4 degree angle of the engine, and the 8 degree angle of the propeller shaft flange. It will give us all a pretty good idea of the modifications that will have to be made to the engine beds.
This all came at a price. I didn't get ashore to do some badly needed shopping for fresh food and when I finished at 8 PM I was too tired and lazy to have a bath.
I hope that CCC is open on Sundays.
For poor Bob the 15 minutes turned into more like 3 hours. With the SABB instruction manual in hand Bob watched me bleed the system again and verified that I had followed the proper procedure and that we were getting healthy amounts of fuel with no air.
I then took off the rocker cover and disconnected the high pressure lines at the injectors. We turned the engine over and saw short bursts of fuel coming out. I didn't have enough experience to be sure that there was enough fuel was coming out.
Then I removed the no. 1 injector, connected it to the fuel line, and Bob turned the engine over while I aimed the injector at a paper towel. I saw bursts of fuel spray coming out and the paper towel got a damp spot. Again, was it enough? It probably was.
We checked the movement of the rockers and I re-checked the gaps at the push rods. All was OK.
Bob and I agreed that the problem seemed beyond us. As far as I know the engine needs three elements in order to fire: air, compression, and fuel. All three elements seem to be OK. My next step will be to try a can of engine starter and hope that I don't crack a piston in the process.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I put the SABB engine back together again. In the end everything looked fine:
- No spare bits left over
- Heads and injector bolts tightened to specification
- All banjo washers where they are supposed to be
- Didn't forget the injector seal either
- Tappets adjusted to .3 mm as per specification
- Fuel system bled
- Manifold an mixer mounted and connected up
- Engine and transmission oil levels were ok
- Remembered to open the raw water cooling inlet valve
- Fire extinguisher in the cockpit because you never know.
While doing the tappets I rolled the engine over and over and the rocker gear was working fine.
After the tappet job I re inserted the starter plugs and the compression felt good enough to prevent me from turning the engine by hand.
I bled the fuel line by loosening each banjo fitting at the head and watching healthy streams of fuel with no air coming out.
Everything looked good to go.
But the engine would not start.
It rolled over fine but didn't seem even close to starting. I ran the starter for a few bursts with the decompression lever engaged to turn the engine over with minimal load to the battery, then tried again with full compression.
It was almost sundown so rather than running down the starter batteries I elected to leave it for tomorrow hoping for a solution either from myself or from advice. At this point if looks like a fuel problem. Maybe I didn't do a good enough job of bleeding the fuel line.
The first photo shows the heads, injectors, fuel lines, seals, and valve rockers in place. Fortunately for me, Bob from Estelle knew that he would be away today and came by to see if I would need his tension wrench today. This enabled me to properly tension the head bolts.
The second photo shows the assembled engine ready for startup (so I thought).
I have the head.
I met Colin at the boat ramp at 8.30 AM and he handed over the head.
They did what to me looked to be a beautiful job. They first drilled and tapped the large bolt for an 8mm thread. Then then drilled out an tapped the bolt hole in the block to take the larger bolt. They then screwed in the new bolt with some Loctite to hold it fast and cut off the top of the bolt level with the surface of the head. The photo shows the result.
The cost for the machining and Colin's time was 1000 pesos.
I then got a photo of Colin with his poodle cross. He's in damned fine condition for a man close to 70 years of age.
Budget can rent a Chevrolet Coronado light pickup truck for $110 per day including insurance and unlimited miles. But assuming an optimistic 5 day round trip to San Diego I figure that the total cost of this option would be around $1,000 if I include motel stays and fuel. Other costs would be my time and the uncertain risks of doing the job myself. It is much more efficient to have a trucking company to do a one way trip from the border to La Paz than for me to do a round trip. The truck rental option is off the table.
At 5 PM I noted that the gentle flood tide had almost finished and there was very little current or wind). So I went over the side for some more hull cleaning. To my surprise I was able to complete the starboard side of the hull, the section from aft of the keel all of the way to the bow. I was even more surprised to be able to dive down below the keel and clean its lower edge. I never thought that I would be able to do that. To finish the hull cleaning I must clean the lower third of the port side of the keel (now that I can do it) and a small and easy section from forward of the keel to the stem of the boat.
The top 6 meters of anchor chain are clean. I paid out the last 6 meters of my anchor rode chain partly to have the growth on some of the chain cleaned as the boat moves around, but mainly to feel more secure when the wind picks up at night. At present I have 36 meters (118 ft) of 10 mm (3/8") chain, which will give me a worst case ratio of 5.6:1 at high tide.
But not having an engine made me more careful. The first thing I did was to shackle my spare rode to the end of the anchor chain, just in case I lost the end of the rode into the water. At the moment I am in a position of either paying out another 12 meters of chain and 80 meters of rope or moving the spare rode to my storm anchor which is on deck and partially assembled. I would be able to deploy the storm anchor in 5-10 minutes, depending on how scared I am.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
While I was there I was approached by someone who turned out to be Dan Augustine, whom Arnold and I had met at the Police Jetty in San Diego. Dan and his wife Melinda are at anchor near Pachuca aboard their ketch Natasha. They expect to be in the Sea of Cortez much longer than I do.
Dan gave me an update on a young fellow who didn't know a lot about boats, purchased a neglected catamaran and was planning to sail from San Diego to the Galveston area via the Panama Canal within a few days. The boat was a bit of a mess. Two days before departure the vendor was diving to fix the propellers back on the shafts. I and others pointed out some obviously urgent repairs to be made, such as new bits of rigging, and to his credit he got those things done very quickly. Nevertheless Arnold and I did not like his chances of making the solo trip safely because he had little or no sailing experience.
The good news is that the young man is still alive. The bad news is that he discovered that the keels of both pontoons had been sheared off by some previous owner an the boat would of course not go to weather. So he is still in San Diego trying to decide on whether or not to go to the expense of getting the boat repaired. For the guy it is a tough lesson learned though he still healthy and has a future. I'm no saint, but I'm regularly shocked at the gross immorality of people who sell dangerous junk like this to the unwary.
I saw Bob at the morning kaffeeklatsch outside of The Dock restaurant and he introduced me to Robert, an ex merchant marine - engineer, I think - who had built his own large ferrocement ketch. Robert offered to lend me his 1/2" torque wrench and we arranged for me to visit his boat at anchor at the Mogote not far from Pachuca to borrow the tool for an hour or two.
I then set off to follow up on some suggestions where to get assistance in shipping in the new engine. Both visits were a disappointment.
Raphael at Seamar told me that they have imported many engines, but it was always for normal commercial resale, which meant all duties and taxes paid. He told me that they have never imported an engine tax free under a temporary import license which I have. He could offer me no services as an agent.
I then visited Hamish at Lopez Marine and once again, he has imported many items for his shop and on behalf of others but has never imported anything as large as an engine. He did make some helpful suggestions and asked me to let him know of anything interesting that I learned about my importation task, which I found interesting because Hamish is considered the go to guy in La Paz for anything to do with bringing in parts and equipment.
So neither could help me, though they both told me that the trucking company, Columbia, is safe and reliable, and that my consignment would be insured. (See http://www.bajainsider.com/baja-business/bajaimportexportservices.htm) However, he and others indicated that the shipment from San Diego would be very expensive - up to 28% of the value of the item, depending on what taxes I will have to pay. Hamish suggested that it might be cheaper for me to bring the engine down myself but I just don't know enough about the hazards of getting through the border to contemplate that.
So I think that it will be up to me, with guidance from Neil and others. I have a pretty good idea of what to do, but there must be coordination of the various elements. Hamish gave me the email address of Columbia (which has a branch here in La Paz) and I'll see how much assistance they can give me with the paperwork. Otherwise I'll have to visit Banjercito at Pichilingue, a bus ride away, for an import license. But before I can do that I must get a detail list of the items to be imported, their country of origin, etc. When I visit I will take all of my official papers, including my 10-year temporary import license and visitor's permit.
I telephoned Colin precisely at 4 PM as he had requested and he told me that the SABB head had not been ready at 3.30 when he dropped by the machine shop. I asked me to telephone him at 9 AM the next day (i.e. today).
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Victor took his storm jib to Brenda's house and Brenda is satisfied that she will be able to fit it in her luggage for her flight to La Paz.
As you can see from the photos (with Victor demonstrating) it is a beautiful and well built little sail in new condition. It is on the small side at 30 sq ft but I figure that that is just about what I would need hanked on the inner forestay when either hove to or trying to sail in very heavy weather. It would be used in combination with the storm trysail behind the mast.
I tried to persuade Brenda to take my 390 kg (860 lb) SABB engine back to Australia with her for Victor's boat Chiquita but for some reason she objected, even though I offered to pay for the excess luggage. I'm still working on it.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I checked my email at 8 AM this morning and saw that Colin had responded to my message of the previous afternoon and he wanted me to meet him at the boat ramp at 8.30 AM. Fortunately I had stripped the head of injector and studs so it was ready to go. I was in a hurry but remembered Mark's advice to take the banjo bolt and fuel pipe and I'm glad that I did because they were required to explain the job to the machinist.
Colin had not seen my late confirmation but was wise enough to check at the ramp and found me there waiting. As I was about to step in he unzipped a bag on the seat and out came his poodle. This required an explanation which was that pets are not allowed in his apartment so he sneaks the dog in and out in a bag. The dog has been trained to not bark at home.
Anyway, we went for a ride. On the way Colin explained that he had not been able to get his hands on a helicoil that would repair a small 8mm diameter thread so it was going to be a machine shop job. We stopped at one place where he got a thicker bolt - 12 mm I think. Then we went to the machine shop where he went to great lengths explaining what was required.
The plan is to bore a hole large enough to take the larger bolt, then drill and tap the new bolt to take the 8mm bolt which will be a new one that they will machine with a fuel groove along its length because the original bolt had been galled when the thread stripped.
The job is supposed to be completed tomorrow afternoon and Colin asked me to telephone him at 4 pm.
Colin has done me good. He responded amazingly fast and knew where to go and how to explain the job in Spanish. I would not have had a hope trying to do it on my own.
One the way back Colin explained one problem of the design of the SABB. Because there is a section of fuel line inside the rocker space a fuel leak in one of the connections will not be directly detected and will wind up in the engine oil. It will be up to me to keep a regular check of the oil level and make sure that it has not gone up. I mentioned my plan to run the engine for a while without the rocker covers to look for fuel leaks but he pointed out that the splash type rocker lubrication would spray oil all over the cabin.
Along the way we stopped at other places where he was trying to find bits to fix things that in the USA or Australia would be thrown out and replaced with a new one. One of the items was a thermostat that had had a very hard life. In fact it looked like a piece of junk. But Colin said that in Mexico it would take months to bring in parts like that and he has no choice but to fix them.
He said that I was very lucky to have rotated my engine soon enough to prevent a complete seizure due to the salt water invasion. One of his customers went on a trip not realizing that he had a salt water problem and the engine was so seized up that Colin had to break the piston to free things up. (He got the engine running again after a bore job, new piston, rings, head, etc.)
We discussed the torques that I had been using on the injector and fuel line bolts. He thought that they were too high, even though it is what the book said. To be honest, they seemed too high and next time I'll use an ordinary short wrench and go by feel. If I get a leak I'll simply go back in and tighten some more.
I returned to the boat, cleaned up, changed clothes, then went back to the marina to see either Mac or Neil. Neil was there and we had a good chat. I told him about my selection of the Volvo engine and asked him if Joel's shop would install it. He replied that he could see no problem because the installation process was similar for most marine engines. This was a relief to me because I knew that Joel had been Yanmar certified and I feared that there was a slim chance that he might install only Yanmars. Neil mentioned that Joel is very good with the alignment process, which was another relief to me.
My other question also had a favorable answer. He could see no problem in having the engine delivered to the Mexican trucking firm Columbia in San Diego.
Neil then spoke at length on techniques for producing good drawings of the new engine on my boat for the mechanics. He said that the better descriptions I produce the faster the job goes. So I'll be spending a lot of time in the next few days on this documentation effort.
He quoted a labor charge of $35 per hour which was somewhat higher that what Mac had said but is still OK with me.
I am purchasing the Volvo D2-40 from Mark's Shoreline Marine Diesel in Port Townsend. Mark knows me, my boat, and the diesel marine engine business very well. He has been extremely helpful in helping me through the issues and choices in this engine selection process which a boat owner will trivialize at his peril. Mark will prepare the engine, pack it in a robust crate, then ship it to San Diego.
I then went on a long walk to Ace Hardware at Cinco de Mayo street to address my need for a torque wrench. My preference was to purchase my own torque wrench but they did not have the brand that had been recommended to me and the one on offer was priced at just under 3,000 pesos (about $240 USD). That was a bit rich for my blood. I then asked for an adapter so that I could use the 3/8" torque wrench on my boat with a 24mm socket requiring a 1/2" drive. They couldn't help me there either. I wasn't too upset because I had another day in which to find something, otherwise I would ask Joel for a loan of his, which I'd like to avoid because they are not supposed to lend out tools.
I arrived back at the boat and had a disgustingly healthy fruit lunch of an apple, a banana, an some strawberries. It was my third day without beer (sigh).
After a short nap I telephoned Mark. He answered my outstanding question on access to the oil filter, which will be obscured by the end partition of the galley drawers. He reckons that I will be able to reach it from above and there should be enough room for backing it out of the threads. On that basis we proceeded to the details of the process. We discussed some options (e.g. instrumentation, harness length, high rise elbow). We each have things to do. I'll send him some measurements of my exhaust system and visit Seamar about the transportation of the engine from San Diego.
Mark sent PDF files of the engine installation manual in two flavors: Spanish for the installers, English for me. I had a quick look at the English version and I think that I will find it very useful during the next few months.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
My SABB reassembly effort came to a screeching halt when a 5/16" bolt hole stripped on the no. 1 head.
Things had been going very well. I had fitted both heads with their bolts snugged up until I could obtain a torque wrench with a 1/2" drive for the 24mm socket that Bob had loaned to me. I had then decided to proceed with installing the injectors and fuel lines
For the injector work I was careful to use the 3/8" drive torque wrench that Bob had loaned to me to tighten the injector bolts to the prescribed 22 ft-lb. For the fuel line bolts the book stated that the torque for all other 3/16" bolts should be in the range 14-17 ft lbs. This seemed a bit tight to the feel of my hand but I was dealing with fuel line which had to be well sealed. I fitted both fuel line bolts on the no. 2 head to 15 ft lbs with no problem. I then started torquing up the two bolts on the no. 1 head in slow steps seesaw fashion when the one on the head stripped out.
The accompanying photo shows problem area, which is trickier than it may appear because that bolt hole is the channel through which fuel passes from the injector pump to the injector. The bolt has a slot along its length, no doubt to allow fuel to pass through. Tapping for a bigger bolt would require modification of the short segment of fuel line between the edge of the head and the injector, shown in the photo. A new bolt would have to have a slot in it.
I need professional advice on this one and will send a message to Colin.
This is a big shame because even at my slow and deliberate pace I was on track to be ready to test fire the engine well before sundown.
There was nothing to be done but to take the no. 1 head off the engine and remove the injector and 4 studs in preparation for yet another trip to a machine shop. After cleaning up the cabin I consoled myself with a dish of yohhurt and fruit.
I'll note some technical things for the record.
I measured the distances from the pistons at TDC to the top of the cylinder. The gap for no. 1 cylinder was .047" and for no. 2 cylinder it was .043". Colin wanted me to check this to be sure that one of the rods had not bent. With a difference of .004 in my measurement I figure that both rods are either straight or bent the same. [Note: I've just thought of looking in the manual, which states that the piston top clearance is 1-1.5 mm, which equates to the range .039-.059"]
I fitted the no. 2 injector with the proper copper seal which was 2 mm thick. I fitted the no. 1 injector with two thinner seals which had a combined thickness of 2.5 mm.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
This afternoon I made a shopping foray to CCC. I had been out of fresh fruit and vegetables for days and knew that I would be too busy with the SABB engine for the next day or two for shopping. I came back with bananas, apples, oranges, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and yoghurt along with less interesting things. One the way back I purchased two small punnets of fresh strawberries for 20 pesos from a roadside vendor that Bob had recommended. Back at the boat I sliced up a banana, drowned it in yoghurt, then sprinkled the dish with chopped fresh strawberries. Yum!
After a short nap I did some preliminary work to clear the deck, so to speak, for tomorrow's SABB reassembly effort. I remove both copper seals from around the cylinders and was disappointed to see that their diameters were a bit wide for the spread of the flame from one of my gas stove burners. I had to settle for heating the first seal in sections. Unfortunately I was not able to reach the cherry red stage of the metal and I had doubts about the success of my effort. I threw the seal in the water and heard the zzzttt sound indicating that the ring had gotten very hot. Then I compared its stiffness with the untreated seal and the difference was amazing. I may have not done a perfect annealing job but I achieved at least partial success. As a bonus the quenching process threw out most of the carbon coating that had been clinging to the metal.
I then did the valve seal test that Mark had told me about on both heads. The process was to flood the area above the valves with mineral turpentine and see if any leaked past the valves. All four valves were tight as a drum. I suspect that whoever was supposed to grind the valves the first time either honestly forgot to do it or did one damned sloppy job. Perhaps the knowledge that we were going to check the results focused his mind.
The attached photo shows Pachuca's first course for the evening meal from the galley: flame grilled copper seals to be followed by steak fried in olive oil and smothered in onions with boiled potatoes, carrots, and broccoli on the side.
When I walked into the injector shop I thought of my friend Reg who had worked in a similar shop in the days when injectors were actually fixed and not replaced in Australia. The shop was in an outer suburb with dirt roads and did not look like much from the outside, but it had what looked to me to be good equipment inside and Colin said that they knew how to use it. At one bench a man was manually working a pump and watching the spray pattern emerge from an injector nozzle. There we picked up my Bosch injector with its new nozzle at a cost of 700 pesos. They did not have a copper seal as thick as the original SABB one so we got two thinner ones and Colin said that it would be OK to put one on top of the other.
Colin got a call from his Mexican girl friend saying that an outdoor light needed for a party had to be repaired urgently so off we went. There was already a ladder in place against the wall and I kicked myself for having left my camera on the boat. This old ladder was made of wood with unevenly spaced rungs of various thicknesses held on by rusty nails. Someone had extended the ladder another 2 feet, then somebody else had nailed on a third extension. While we were there a truck backed up to deliver plastic party chairs and I noticed that it had a rag for a fuel cap. After two trips to the lighting place near CCC and several trips up the ladder by Colin and myself that job was done. Terry, Colin's girl friend, invited me to the party.
Then we went around looking for a shop that could skim three cylinders off an old Volvo MD3 engine. The first two shops were set up for skimming heads and had no way of firmly fixing cylinder blocks, but fortunately the third shop was able to do it.
We also visited another shop where we were able to get the right bolts for my injectors.
Colin charged me 1500 pesos for 2 hours of his time running around on my behalf and the head valve work.
For me it was a very interesting morning where I got to see areas of the city that I had no hope of seeing on my own. La Paz has all sorts of little shops that specialize in all sorts of things, and many of these shops do excellent work. However, these shops are often in out of the way places and are not much to look at. Nevertheless they are there if you can find them. I was told early in my stay that you can find anything you want in La Paz if you look hard enough.
Colin told me that one thing that he likes about Mexico is that what matters is whether you can do the job, not the qualifications that you have. I suspect that this is similar to the US or Australia in the '40s and '50s. These days you get people like me, who got A's in the two welding courses that I took at Midland TAFE back in Western Australia, but can't weld for nuts. (I was brilliant with the theory but need a lot of welding time to learn the practical.)
Colin is a good talker and I learned all sorts of things about Mexico from him while we were driving around. Some things were minor, such as the explanation of why so many cars on the road have no license plates. (They are unscrewed by parking inspectors and not given back until the fine is paid.) Some things were bigger, such as property ownership laws for non-citizens.
I got back to the boat too late to do any serious work on the SABB engine. However, tonight I will try to do a process called annealing [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annealing_%28metallurgy%29] on the copper seals between the cylinders and the heads to make them softer. I'll try to heat them cherry red on my gas stove then quench them in water. Normally I wouldn't try do do anything like this myself but I don't have much of a choice. (Having to do it because I don't have a choice seems to happen a lot to me in this cruise.)
I started the day with a Skype call to Colin who had sent me a message that the SABB heads were ready. I agreed to meet him at the boat ramp at 8.15 AM the following day. He asked me if I wanted to accompany him to the diesel injector place a bit out of town and I agreed.
The advice that I received about timing my dive with the and of the flood tide proved to be very good because I was not bothered in the least any current trying to drag me away from the boat. The port side is now clean from the stern to just forward of the mast. I also managed to clean the top third of the keel.
At one point I did something that I knew was a danger and came up and clunked my head at the end of the ladder but fortunately it missed my eye and did not break the skin. Another time I came up completely disorientated and confused because my boat and ladder were missing before I realized that I had come up on the wrong side of the boat.
Not long after that I visited Bob on his boat Adios where I had a good look at his Yanmar 30 hp setup and we spent about an hour going over the measurements and layout of the Volvo D2-40 engine. This was an extremely productive session for me. There is nothing like bouncing ideas around with somebody else.
The 3 cyl, 40 hp Yanmar was much too wide for my engine compartment and after double and triple checking the measurements it looks like the Volvo will fit very well. I also like the idea of 4 cylinders because I think that it will give smoother and quieter running.
I plan to visit Mac or Neil at the marina on Monday to confirm that they will install the engine and that my transportation plans are OK.
See http://www.volvopenta.com/volvopenta/global/en-gb/marine_leisure_engines/c_diesel_sailboat/Pages/d2_40.aspx and disregard the gray sail drive part of the engine photo.
Friday, May 14, 2010
They were aware of my repowering project and offered advice on engine selection, matching the propeller, etc.
I mentioned my hull fouling problem and from what they told me I must retract all of the complaints that I have been making about the antifouling work done in Port Townsend (and it's a good thing that I didn't name the company). It turns out that the warm and nutrient-rich waters of this bay provide what must be the ultimate conditions for marine growth. According to them it doesn't matter what antifouling is used - there will be fast growth. I asked how barnacles could survive on 3 layers of 80% copper hard antifouling and the reply was that the antifouling will slow the growth down but it will not stop it. I grumbled that I had had my hull scrubbed in Ensanada maybe 6 weeks ago and was told that I was doing OK. One man at the table has his hull professionally cleaned every month. That's par for the course in La Paz. I had been living in a fool's paradise in Australia, where I didn't have to look at my hull for up to 3 years.
I told them that I had seen a cigarette butt floating by as I did my diving and wondered what else was going to float by. The advice was to dive immediately after the flood tide when fresh water has flowed through this narrow neck of the bay into the large area further up. And oh, by the way, never mind the few boats dumping their effluent into the water; there is a sewage plant at that back end of the bay. Nothing like local knowledge (says he tight lipped).
Later Bob told me about Lycra body suits that in Queensland are called stinger suits. It turns out that there are invisible critters in these waters that can give painful stings. Also, the Lycra suit would also protect against barnacle cuts. Bob will tell me where I can have one tailor made in one day for about $40.
The Lycra suit and a cover to protect the Zodiac from the intense sun are two items on my list as a result of my extended stay in La Paz. I also plan to formally join the Club Cruseros, which is not very expensive.
This morning I got the following message from Colin regarding the SABB:
Robert, heads are ready, in the back of my truck, Injector was firing at 850psi should fire at 1470, nozzle no good, new nozzle and injector cal will cost 700pesos I told them to go ahead, will be ready tomorrow, do you want to go to the diesel lab with me?
I telephoned Colin from the boat do discuss it. They tried cleaning the injector but the nozzle had been damaged by water. Colin thinks that the water invasion has been going on for a while. The only path that he could see was through the exhaust system. I told him that the antisiphon valve had checked out OK. I passed on a suggestion from boating friends in Western Australia to keep the seawater inlet cock shut when the engine is not in use. He thinks that is a good idea so I will adopt that practice in the future.
I will meet Colin at the ramp at 8.15 AM tomorrow and go for a ride with him to this diesel lab place. He said that he'd have to charge me for two hours of his time and I told him that I understood that this running around takes time and I had no problem with paying for his time.
By the way, I ran into Roger Wise, "Mr. Cold Beer" who repaired my refrigerator, yesterday morning. He told me that someone named "Mike" from a boat named Beyond is running a 2-cylinder SABB, probably a 2G. He is anchored at the Magote and Bob knows him. Mike might provide an outlet for my SABB engine. I hate to just trash the engine if some of the parts can be used by someone else. (Think about it: a nearly new head, recently serviced injectors, starter, ... Wow, I wish that I had had that opportunity.)
I've pretty well made my engine selection but I have a few things to check on before I make an announcement on the blog.
Today will be busy for me. First, clean the shaft area aft of the engine. I exposed it last night to take some measurements and photograph it and will take the opportunity to clean it and dry it out. Then I'll go diving at 11.30 AM for some more hull scrubbing. I plan to visit Bob's boat Adios to look at his engine setup, then I'll have to go ashore and walk into town to visit an ATM. It may not sound like much but for me it is a full day.
If the SABB parts thing goes OK tomorrow morning, I'll spend the weekend reassembling the engine while sneaking in an hour a day for hull scrubbing.
Ah, this lazy idyllic cruising life! It's just like those pictures in boating magazines. (yeah, right.)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
They seem to do the repowering with the boats in the water rather than dry land. The boat would be towed (if the SABB isn't running) to a jetty where they would lift out the engine. Then it would be towed to a slip in the marina where the installation would be performed.
Mac told me to expect the entire process to take 3 months, which I am hoping was an overly cautious estimate. I've been told elsewhere that the engine installation itself takes about 2 weeks. Also, the labor charges are somewhere in the $25-$30 per hour range.
The next task was mine: engine selection. I got back to the boat and went over the figures and discovered that the 40 HP 3 cylinder Yanmar that I had my sights on was much too wide for my engine compartment, particularly when we included the alternator. The only two options that I could see were either the smaller Yanmar 30 HP or another brand.
If I change brands then I will have to revisit Mac and Neil because the seem to work mainly with Yanmars.
I did some more diving. My primary objective was to read some numbers that are supposed to be stamped in the boss of the propeller. These numbers will describe the pitch of the propeller, among other things. I worked hard at cleaning the propeller and although I could see remarkably well I could not see stamped numbers anywhere.
While I was doing this I felt scratches from small barnacles well below the waterline so I started to experiment with scrubbing the hull. Using the boarding ladder as a base I cleaned the aft third of the port side using a long handled mop to remove the slime and then a small piece of wood to scrape off the scores of small barnacles that had attached themselves. I figure that I can clean the entire hull with a total of 6 hours of work. ... I've already grumbled about my profound disappointment with the very expensive anti fouling job I had done in Port Townsend.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I have just checked out the anti siphon valve.
I left the hoses in place and removed the nut holding it to the bulkhead so that I could work with it. It was already in the "open" position because when I blew down it the air passed through with no movement of the valve. When I sucked up the valve closed blocking the flow of air. The action of the valve was amazingly free and effective given the salt water environment it must deal with. There was no hint of stickiness or poor seal.
The photo shows the valve where Zee re sited it to get it higher above the water line. According to my measurement it is about 900 mm (3 ft) above the waterline, 250 mm (10 in) from the center line of the boat.
The compartment itself is 560 mm wide and 900 mm long. The sliding cover gives 570 mm of head room. The distance from the base of the sliding cover to the bilge is 400 mm. The distance from the rail to the bilge is 350 mm.
I then had a look at the specifications of the Yanmar 3JH5E KM35P, the 3 cylinder 40 HP engine (continuous 35 mhp rating, actually) that I have been told is the right size for this boat. It looks like the Yanmar mounting bolts are 412 mm apart (plus allowance for the 206 mm x 60 mm pads), so I could get lucky and have a relatively simple mounting job. The engine weighs 173 kg (381 lbs) which should considerably lighten Pachuca's load.
The engine will definitely fit in my compartment. The only tricky part may be finding room for the 160 amp alternator and hopefully the 80 amp alternator too.
This afternoon a bit of diving and was amazed to find that using a tape measure and a caliper underwater works OK. I needed to get information on my propeller and shaft for my meeting with Joel.
I've got a "right hand" 3 blade propeller. The distance from the center to the outer edge of the blades is 9". The width of the blades at their widest point is 7" The propeller shaft has a 1.25" diameter. These measurements were the best that I could do under water, but they should be fairly accurate. The prop measurements should be within 5 mm. The shaft measurement should be exact.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Stephen did some quick research and set me up with all of the information that I needed in order to do the valve lapping myself using grinding paste.
This morning I received an email from Colin to meet him at the boat ramp at 3 PM with one of my injector bolts and he would replace the two missing ones as well as the injector seal. He doubted that the injector bolt was made of stainless steel and he asked me to test one with a magnet and let him know the result as soon as possible. I don't have a magnet on board but soon figured out that the small compass at my navigation station would serve the purpose. Sure enough the bolt deflected the magnate indicating that it was not made of stainless steel.
I telephone Mark and he said that it would be a no. 8 grade nickel plated bolt, but he still needed to see the thread. I had sent him photos of my work with the #2 head the night before and he agreed to take the head and its injector out for checking and remedial work. I told him that I appreciated what he was doing and that I would pay him for his time and materials. He said that it was OK because he now had less of a work load and the doctors had sorted out his medication.
I ran into Bob at the marina and told him that Colin was back. "The good Colin or the bad one?" he asked. I told him that it was the good one.
Shortly after 3 PM Colin showed up and I told him about the valve leak failures, in particular the two valves of the #1 head whose valves had already been ground. Colin didn't question my finding and said that this has happened before. Before I knew it we were heading in his car across town to the shop where he gets the heads done.
A small hairline crack was noted in the #1 head and out came the fact that I had had the head skimmed. Colin never has diesel heads skimmed and told me that the important zone above the piston area had been OK. The outer areas had been rough but were not so important. Anyway, he figured that what was done was done and I had been doing my best. The hairline crack was maybe 10 mm long near the injector port. Colin had a good look at it and concluded that it must be some casting defect because he had never seen a crack in this area. No crack had been detected before the skimming and the head had never given a sign of this kind of failure so I tended to agree. Besides, I told him, I had no choice in the matter. I was not going to order another new head. I picked up one of the valves and asked if any of them were bent or warped. Colin replied that they were OK and they did look OK to me. So we left the heads for a valve grinding and Bob will pick them up tomorrow. He will take the injector to another place. I asked him to email me when all was ready.
During our drive we discussed my engine. He is now pretty convinced that the antisiphon valve failed and water backed into the cylinder heads, causing the #1 cylinder to crack. I never saw evidence of this when I removed the mixer and hosing, but it is conceivable that I had started the engine which forced the water out cracking the head along the way. I told him that I am accustomed to seeing steam in the engine exhaust and in his opinion steam should never come out of the exhaust, and its presence indicates insufficient cooling water.
... But wait a minute, a week or so ago I was given the idea that the engine was running too cool and I should use the water inlet thru hull valve to choke back the sea water supply to the engine. I really get confused at times.
He told me some horror war stories of cooling system failures. One guy raised his water line 2 inches and painted across two openings on each side of his hull. What he didn't notice was that between each pair of these openings were tiny holes which were somehow related to the antisiphon system, and he had blocked them up with paint. Both of his engines got flooded with water. Colin managed to save them, saving the owner a $35k repower bill. Apparently a lot of engines are ruined by this kind of flooding.
So tomorrow I will have a good look at the antisiphon setup and make sure that there is no blockage. I'll revisit the water pump and make sure that the check valve is functioning OK.
When I get the heads and injector back I'll reassemble the engine and try to start it. It will either run or not run. My guess is that it will run, although perhaps not very well. I'm also guessing that it will be extremely unreliable and should be nursed through the final weeks of its life.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The day started with a couple of visits.
Bob Carroll came by with a manila folder with many articles on how to go about repowering your boat. There is an article on the decisions to be made about repowering, another on what you need to know before removing the old engine, others on the installation of the new engine, and there is even one on "Do it yourself engine alignment".
I then mentioned a boat that had dragged anchor and wound up against the marina breakwater. We had been watching it for days as it came close to another yacht in limbo and we had both noticed that the day before the two boats had been back to back and touching. Anyway, Bob told me something about these boats (e.g. liens on them for non payment) and other boats past and present in this Bay. Without going into details Bob has the material for a best seller along the lines of "Inside La Paz Harbor: an insider's amazing true tales". We're not talking about charming John Steinbeck stories here: we're talking about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.
I asked Bob about my immigration status now that I will be forced to stay another 6 months in La Paz. All I could tell Bob was that I had processed in Ensanada but other than having a 10-year import license for the boat knew nothing about my status, principally because I couldn't read the documents written in Spanish. I dug out my papers and we established that I have a 180 day permit which expires on 15 August. Before that time I will visit the immigration office, which is bilingual and is only a short distance from the marina, and try to get an extension after explaining my situation. Failing that, I will apply for an FM3 (see http://www.mexperience.com/liveandwork/immigration.htm) which appears to be a residency permit. I told Bob that I see the FM3 as my first step in the 10-year process of becoming a Mexican citizen. (5 years with FM3, 5 years with FM2). (Just joking.)
Not long after Bob left, Peter Ainsworth dropped by with very interesting and welcome information. There is a French couple at Marina Palmira who have a truck and are thinking - would you believe? - of driving to San Diego to pick up a new Yanmar engine. They are not aware that Joel here at Marina de La Paz is Yanmar certified and that the marina can expedite the importation process. We might be able to help each other here, so I hope to contact them on VHF 22 tomorrow or the next day.
Peter made a remark about my engine problem that gave me some comfort. He figured that as long as the engine was running salt water ingestion would not have been a big deal because the water would be vaporized and expelled. The problem arose when I let the engine stand idle. To me this gave rise to the possibility that the engine had not been damaged as much as I had thought.
It is unfortunate that Colin did not spot the problem when he was here only a day or two after we arrived from San Evaristo. He could have taken another 15 minutes (literally) to remove the no. 2 head and I could have cleaned the cylinder before there was any damage. On the other hand, it is fortunate that we got our "divorce" because had he rushed back and installed the no. 1 head we would have started the engine and done who knows how much damage to the no. 2 cylinder.
After Peter left I got down (literally) to the business of the engine. I could not free it up with a wrench so I gave the starter two jolts and when I looked down on the engine I saw that the no. 2 cylinder was at the top of its cycle instead of the bottom as before. I spent the the next hour meticulously cleaning the cylinder. When the piston was at TDC I rightfully or wrongfully used fine grit sand paper to clean the crud off the top of the piston. Then I moved the piston down in 20mm stages cleaning any material left on the cylinder wall as it retreated. I then went through a cycle of putting plenty of oil in the cylinder and cleaning off more material as the piston went up and down.
The result was pretty impressive to me. I was able to turn the engine over using the wrench on the shaft of the large alternator without even having to tighten the belts with my hand.
I then removed the no. 1 cylinder, over which I had taken so much trouble to tighten down. I was motivated by two things. One was that I had not oiled the front no. 1 cylinder very well in the expectation that I would soon have the engine running. The only thing protecting it was a coat of WD40 and I did not want to take a chance of corrosion in this cylinder. The other reason I will explain further down.
At the end of the process both heads were off, both cylinders liberally lubricated, and the engine would turn very easily. I probably could have turned it with a forefinger on the wrench.
I am becoming familiar with the engine. It no longer terrifies me nor even mildly frighten me (helped, no doubt, by the fact that I have nothing to lose). I know how things fit together, how they will behave when I operate on them, and I even know what size wrenches are require for which nuts.
But before I become blase' and complacent I'll make some confessions to the blog about being saved from mistakes.
When Mark saw the photo of the no. 2. injector he made a comment to be sure not to lose the thick copper washer that fit between the injector and the head. This made me think. I didn't recall a copper washer on the no. 1 injector. I had to take it out and have a look.
Bob had asked about the bolts that I required for the no. 1 injector. I told him that I had gotten them at a place near Lopez Marine. Were they stainless steel? Nope, I said, they were mild steel. Bob expressed some surprise that they were not stainless. By then I had the No. 2 injector out and saw that yes, stainless steel was required. I don't know that mild steel bolts would have been a disaster since that area is well lubricated, but I don't like to take chances and much prefer to stick to the specifications.
I removed the no. 1 injector and there was no copper washer. I'm afraid that I'll have to chalk this one up to Colin. I'm convinced that he took the no. 1 head with the injector bolted on, had the head machined and the injector checked, then returned the injector with no bolts and no washer.
It was just after noon after this effort and the temperature in the cabin was 35.7 C (96.2 F). No wonder I was pouring out sweat.
I have three comforts in the La Paz heat: (1) the evening sea breeze (2) the wonderful little electric fan that I can direct to either my bunk or the navigation table (3) the refrigerator. For a while I didn't use the refrigerator because it was draining the battery. However, expediency, some thought, and advice from Bob has solved the problem.
I run the refrigerator during the bulk of the day, when the sun supplies enough power to supply the refrigerator without a drain of the batteries. Bob pointed me to where I could purchase a block of ice at The Dock restaurant cheaply. At 17 pesos the ice is certainly cheaper than what I would pay in Australia. So every 3 days I purchase a block of ice which helps carry the load throughout the night.
By noon today the beer was so cold that it was right on the cusp of icing up - you know, when the small granules of ice dissolve in your mouth as you sip the beer. In the refrigerator are my vegetables, butter, bread, and 1/2 kilo of fresh fish. Yesterday at CCC I purchased a kilo of wonderfully thick fillet of fish, "cazon" or sole, for 65 pesos per kilo. That's about $5.20 USD which is probably 20% of what I would have to pay in Fremantle, that city on the continent surrounded by water. So I had a wonderful fried fish dinner last night and will do it again tonight.
The first three photos show the cylinders cleaned, oiled, and maybe ready to fight another day. The third photo reveals the amateur touch: plastic storagIe bags to seal the cylinders from contamination.
The final photo is an attempt to document the mystery of the stalk with a screw driver slot at the end shown on the left, which does not appear on the other cylinder head. The stalk passes through the no. 2 head and curves to the throttle area. You can see a glimpse of the tube at the bottom left of the slot at the right as it passes across to the right. I had been going nuts trying to figure out why the no. 2 head had this fitting but the no. 1 head didn't. The "Duh" moment came when I realized that the top of that shaft is in the valve rocker area above the heads so it is probably as Mark suggested: oil lubrication for both of the rocker sets.
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