I Had to Get Off the Boat
21 December 2011 | Vero Beach Marina
We had the sea trial for the engine repairs this morning. Everything seems fine so far except... John was looking for the air leak in the fuel system. He brought a 5-gallon tank of diesel aboard and after confirming that there were still some bubbles coming through he had Bud stop the engine while he switched the fuel supply to his tank. His tank had a pump and he used it to pressurize the filter. Bud ran the engine again. With his tank there were no bubbles. Bud stopped again and John took his tank back off and reconnected our lines. The bubbles came back. There is a leak in our system. The only thing we can figure out is that the manifold leaks, but only when the fuel demand creates a vacuum in the system, as the bubbles aren't there when we run our little fuel transfer pump. Our next step is to replace that manifold and to replace one section of fuel line (from the manifold to the Racor) with 3/8" line instead of ¼" line.
And... while we were out in the channel I put the fuse in the bilge pump switch, and it didn't come on! I pumped a lot of the water out by hand. Still when we got back to the dock there was quite a bit of water left and Bud didn't want it pumped out at the dock because it's too dirty.
And we don't have our new gauges yet, and with everything that's happened, I don't want to leave without them.
John had put some of our diesel into his tank (we carry three 5-gallon jugs on deck, and he used a couple of gallons from one of them). He wanted to make sure he didn't run out of fuel during his test. After John left Bud asked me to check the fuel level in the tank we were using to see if the rest of that 5-gallon jug would fit in the tank so he could refill it. The tank was overfull! A diesel engine passes more fuel past the cylinders than the injectors use. The rest of the fuel is returned to the tank. John used his tank, but our fuel return, and since our tank had just been filled, the returning fuel was too much. We tried using our fuel transfer pump to take fuel from the port tank and put it into the starboard tank, but then both tanks were overfull. Bud checked the tanks and there was a bit of diesel leaking around the fuel return fixtures and the inspection ports. I found some diesel around the vents outside. He ended up disconnecting a line at the engine and pumping about 3 gallons back out of the tanks.
After we cleaned everything back up we still have an engine with issues. John wasn't sure when he could come back. I called the shop to ask them if they could just give us the parts so we could do the work over the weekend. John hadn't gotten back yet, so they weren't sure what was needed for the manifold, though they did say our gauges were there. They were going to call back and let me know.
I finally went out for a walk. I couldn't just sit on the boat any longer. I walked the mile or so over to the beach side of the island. I went a few blocks north of where Bud, Fuzzy and I had gone to, where we'd been told there was a boardwalk. It's quite a nice beach with about a quarter mile or more of boardwalk and a park. I took this picture near the south end of the boardwalk. When I got back, Bud asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. He, too, needed to get off the boat. The Yanmar dealer hadn't called back yet. We figure they're trying to put together the manifold and get our bill straight before they call us.
It's after 11 PM and I just hand pumped the rest of the bilge water out. We needed to get that water out so we could address the problem and Bud had told me I could empty it at night. Now that I can see the switch, I can see that it's not at all level in the bottom of the bilge. I'm sure that's the problem. We'll have to wrestle that in place in the morning. Assuming we can do that and it works, that leaves only the gauges and the air bubbles in the fuel line to address.