31 January 2013 | Marina Puerto Calero Lanzarote
Alison, beautiful clear skies and light northerlies
Pic shows the old diesel on its way up and out at Puerto Calero
We certainly chose a beautiful day to remove the 26 year old Yamaha diesel from Saraoni. It might still have had more life left in it, but constant blown out gaskets, poor starting and intermittent and mysterious water in the sump was just getting a bit too much. Any raw water cooled engine is slowly and insidiously corroding away in its internal passage ways without any way to be properly repaired.
As if to say "help", the engine started well on its last day and we managed to motor without a glitch into a berth at the far end of the Puerto Calero marina. And then, on dis-assembly, we noticed sea water in the exhaust manifold again - maybe a worn gasket from being used too many times, but it could have been a symptom of a crack in one of the cylinder heads or the manifold itself. We've seen it all before in our first engine, and now have no patience for old, unreliable motors.
No one had any interest in taking it off our hands in the rather somnolent varadero here. Perhaps they are more used to millionaires than ordinary cruisers. Maybe, a long wait for spare parts and a total rebuild might have prolonged its life some what. But every time we switched it on we always felt it was going to suddenly die on us at the wrong time.
The weather is just perfect here. It hardly rains in Lanzarote and at this time of year it's not too hot to stop work. With sales tax at only 7%, we probably couldn't do much better on engine cost and weather conditions.
Now we have a rather grubby hole where the old engine was situated so no doubt we will spend longer deciding who is going to clean up all the gunge than the job would realistically actually take to complete.
As so often before in our boating lives, we have learned to do as much of the work as we can by ourselves. The boatyard here doesn't really sell its services and we are wary of the "labour charges" so easily added to the bill just about anywhere in the world. Before we came here we asked about cutting a 1m by 50 cm hole on our fibreglass cockpit floor to be met by rolled eyes and a murmured "Que fea" (sounds nasty), followed by a phone call to a "specialist". In the end. we just used our 25 dollar jigsaw and cut the hole out ourselves, in under forty minutes, on the same day we came onto the marina pen that had been allocated us near the boatyard.
We've done about as much with a diesel engine as any amateur can ever have done in our boating lives - changed the pistons, rings, cylinder liners, valves, injectors and main bearings. We even carried a whole cylinder head in a back pack on a plane from Cairns to Port Moresby and installed it anchored in one of the world's most beautiful anchorages, sheltered by Saraoni island in PNGs Milne Bay.
In the Torres Strait we tacked across from Horn Island to Thursday Island to escape a monsoon storm with our 2 cylinder Kubota actually sitting in the cockpit!
But we've never installed a new engine, so the next few days should prove a new challenge, albeit an expensive one - 7800 euros for the engine plus whatever else we have to pay for!
The new Nanni diesel engine should arrive tomorrow, so we can then do the final measurements aligning it to the propeller shaft and fixing the whole thing down properly next week.