Calou's Blog

Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump

Engine Trouble

18 October 2008
I did a watch from midnight to 3 a.m.. There were moderate winds on the beam so I had shut the engine off. Just as my watch ended, the winds died so I tried to start the engine. At first, the starter wouldn't engage, after several tries the engine started, but ran at low rpm and died after a few seconds. Trying again yielded the same result.

I got John up to start his 3 a.m. watch so I could check out the engine and fuel system. There seemed to be two unrelated problems here working simultaneously: something wrong with the starter motor circuit, and a clogged fuel filter.

I put a screwdriver across the contacts for the starter motor solenoid: the starter motor started right up. So the trouble must be in the key switch circuit.

Meanwhile, the wind increased to 20 knots on a close reach, which was good in that it kept us moving, but bad in that the angle of heel made engine work awkward.

There are two fuel filters on the engine: a primary and secondary. The secondary filter is right on the engine. I decided to check there first. I unscrewed the bleed screw on the filter and pumped the priming pump. No fuel came out. Then I checked the line leading into the fuel filter. Fuel came out there. This lead me to conclude a clogged secondary filter.

I pulled a replacement filter from spares and tried to get the old filter off. However, no filter wrench was to be found. Without a filter wrench, I couldn't remove the old filter. Finally I had the idea of putting two hose clamps together and around the filter. Then I tapped on the screw end fo the hose clamp to unscrew the filter. This worked. I replaced it with the new filter and bled the air out of the system.

Asking John to crank the engine, it started right up. We are now running the engine just to make sure everything is all right. It runs fine.

When we get to Santa Barbara I'll need to examine the starter circuit and the fuel filtration system. I think the filter got clogged because we filled up the fuel tanks in Monterey before leaving. That must have stirred up some gunk that was in the tanks.

Now it's 5:30 a.m., I think I'll go to bed.
Vessel Name: Calou
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 47
Hailing Port: The Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, CA
Crew: Bruce, Pascale, Antoine
Extra: Sailing on the 20th Annual Baja Ha-ha, departing mid October 2013 from Tiburon, and continuing to cruise Mexico. This will be our 3rd Haha. In 2011 we sailed the Puddle Jump from Mexico to French Polynesia, then up to Hawaii and back to San Francisco.
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