On Our Way?
02 December 2011 | Halifax Harbor Marina, Daytona Beach, FL
Here we are going under the first lift bridge of the season. We finally left the dock at about 6:45 this morning. We are still in the break-in period of the new engine, so we could only go at 70% of full throttle for the first part of the day. Even at that we were going faster than we went with the Lehman-Peugeot so we made great time. We were headed back to Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona. We thought we’d get here about 3:30 and instead arrived before 2.
Along the way we saw the usual odd things on the ICW. I snapped a photo of an excavator that appeared to be amphibious and a sailboat that didn’t look to be in the right place. I put those in the gallery.
Despite the good time that we made and the fact that the engine appeared to run flawlessly, the day wasn’t an unqualified success. (With us there’s always a but…) I saw air bubbles in the new Racor filter. They never affected the engine and Bud thinks it’s just a bit of trapped air from an earlier problem. Also, the knot meter didn’t work at all. We knew that had to be because it had stuff growing on it. You can access it from inside the boat by unscrewing it from the hull and quickly screwing in a plug. I didn’t want to try that underway, so we just went with the speed from the GPS for the day. Next issue we noticed was that we didn’t think the aft toilet was flushing right, despite having been just rebuilt. Then there was the fact that the bilge pump ran last night and when I investigated, there was water down where the fresh water pump is installed, although I couldn’t find any place on the pump that seemed to be leaking. I figured it was from underneath it again. So at the end of our day we had those four things to deal with. We also needed to have our holding tanks pumped and finish calibrating the tank monitor Bud installed on the forward holding tank.
Here’s what happened instead. Bud pulled out the speed wheel; which did have all kinds of interesting growth. In doing so he let in the expected quart or two of seawater. The bilge pump came on and…didn’t switch off, again! I reached in to jiggle the hose, hoping the switch was stuck. When I pulled my hand out it felt oily. Upon investigation there was a fairly odorless, oily red film in a band under the engine, right where the engine and transmission joined. It appeared that transmission fluid was leaking out at the join of the bell housing and the engine! I called the engine supplier, their tech who had been on the many sea trials, the customer service manager at St. Augustine Marine Center, and after leaving messages of increasing desperation, the secretary at the Marine Center. She told me the customer service manager was going to call the Yanmar people and call us back.
Meanwhile, I tried to calibrate the forward holding tank. It wouldn’t stop reading full, no matter what I did. Since we had three calls to folks on my phone, I used Bud’s cell to call the technical support on the tank monitor. The person I first talked to said he had to have another guy call me back. So now we’re waiting for engine calls on my phone and tank monitor calls on Bud’s phone. We took a look at the aft toilet and decided there must have been something stuck in it, because it was flushing fine now. So that problem is solved (we hope). And Bud is convinced that whatever is leaking is not the freshwater pump. We’ll have to continue to watch that and try to figure it out. It is from our freshwater system, we just don’t know from where. It might even have been from overfilling the aft tank.
Finally Bud gets a call saying they are sending a local Yanmar tech over to look at the problem and he’ll be here in about an hour and a half. And I get a call back from Scad Technologies and the very nice man walks me though a partial disassembly of our panel until we discover that the issue was that Bud had wired it wrong. That is all back together correctly, but now we have to wait until the tank is full again to finish calibrating it.
The Yanmar tech came. After about a half hour and some very careful investigation he figured out that the liquid was coolant, not transmission fluid. It had leaked out of the drain plug on the heat exchanger, dripped down onto the spinning prop shaft and been thrown in a band under and along the bell housing-engine junction. So instead of a major repair, he tightened that plug. He also told us that we could probably get the bilge pump switch operating again by putting a couple of gallons of water with a little Dawn dish detergent into the bilge and pumping it back out. I tried that and it didn’t work first try, but there were suds left in the bilge, so I added more water and we’re going to let it sit overnight and try again in the morning.
We’re pretty strung out from all of this. In the morning we’ll try the bilge pump again and Bud will check the Racor filter and hopefully we’ll be on our way. At least we’re not in St. Augustine anymore.