Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thar She Blows!

   Hold the presses!  We have news! . . . after 6 months (yes, SIX months) of blood sweat, and tears . . . 6 months of money-guzzling mechanics, parts ordered from England, and ulcer-inducing stress . . . 6 months of "Well, it almost starts . . . " . . . The engine runs!  Yes, you read that right, THE ENGINE ACTUALLY RUNS!!!

   "How?", you might ask . . . What in the world could possibly have cause such problems that it left my nuclear engineer husband, a hand full of the best mechanics in the area, and countless well-meaning friends/acquaintances stumped????

  The problem, the thing that started all of this, was a blockage . . . a blockage in the exhaust elbow (part of the piping that allows fumes to be blown outside of the boat, like the exhaust on your car).  Bill came to the conclusion that there was something going on with the elbow a few months ago but, he couldn't prove it and the mechanics didn't believe him . . . Today, we found that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Bill was right.

   The mechanic, Gary, showed up this morning (after spending several hours yesterday with his head in the engine compartment), to finish bleeding air out of the engine and make it run.  We moved everything out of the way for he and Bill to work (just like we've done every single time a mechanic was supposed to show up), only to find that during their previous efforts to start the engine, they had burned up the starter . . . not exactly the start to the day we were hoping for . . . 45 minutes later, Bill and Gary had our spare starter, now our only working starter, on and running.

    This seemed like progress but, after doing some investigating, they found that, just like before, there was plenty of air being pulled into the engine but, virtually no air going out of the engine.  There simply HAD to be SOMETHING blocking the airway but, . . . what??  They pulled the elbow off and . . .

   You might not believe this but, it's the truth . . . part of the mixing elbow was actually blocking the mixing elbow.  A fitting on the inside had corroded so badly that it actually broke off.  Since it was on the inside, the only place that the piece could go was in the curve of the piping (the elbow).  The piece was big enough to cause a complete blockage. This explained all the burned valves, blown head gasket, even the over heating that we were experiencing back when we were puttering down the ICW last winter.    

  Just to make sure that was the only cause, Gary tried to start the engine without the elbow on and . . . voila!  It started right up, smoothly and quickly. . . We only got to listen to it run for a few seconds because, with the elbow off, all of those fumes were filtering into the boat (whew!).  Good thing I had the main hatch open. . . but, the main thing is IT RAN.

   All we need now is a new elbow. . . and even that should be easy to come by thanks to Bill's new job (more on that in my next post) . . . With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we are especially grateful for this breakthrough . . . we have a lot to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is being able to FINALLY move under our own power.  

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1 comment:

  1. WOW - it is great news and we are so happy that you have a solution to tge engine problem and can get the elbow replaced! At last, you can replenish your savings and resume your journey. We hope to see you on the water in 2016. We are now making bread from scratch using a SanFrancisco sour dough starter, but the bread we like best is an Alabama bread recipe that is much lighter and sweeter like the bahamian bread we had. We are so relieved to hear your engine issue is finally resolved!
    Linda ans Tom
    S/V Uplifting


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.