Bad News, Good News, Bad News
19 October 2010 | Oswego!
When Bud was working on the engine he used the system he has set up to polish the fuel. That draws fuel from a tank, through the fuel filters and back into the tank. In doing so, he saw air bubbles in the fuel filters. Not good. We spent several hours checking the fuel system to try and find an air leak. Bud even emptied the fuel lines from the tank to the first filter and pumped air in, while I used soapy water and a flashlight and mirror to try and detect bubbles from air leaking out. The only bubbles we found were at the end of the line, by the tank, around our makeshift plug. Monday he unscrewed the fuel distribution manifold and pulled it away from it's mounting spot to check the back for cracks. He saw a rusty area on a weld and covered it with Marine Tech Epoxy. Last night I screwed it back in place.
This morning there was a break in the weather, as we had hoped. So at about 6 AM, Bud started the fuel pump again and looked for air bubbles. There they were! But we wanted and needed to make the run to Oswego. So we readied the boat. We had yet to see any effect of the bubbles on the way the engine ran, it ran fine in and out of the dismasting slip, and we knew there were air bubbles then. We figured we'd head out the harbor, and if it seemed to be running OK we'd make the run to Oswego. At just after 7 we headed away from the dock.
The engine ran fine. The wind was from the southwest, the waves were down and we had a pretty easy ride. Bud started out northeast, but the waves were from the northwest, from the previous wind, so the boat was sideways to them, and even the small rollers (1 - 2 feet) were really rolling the boat. So Bud headed straight north, quartering across the waves, and the ride was smooth. When we got far enough out to make a 90 degree turn to the east and lay Oswego, Bud turned. Now the waves were on our stern (back of the boat) and again the ride was good. We had the engine at 2700 RPM. We ran at that into the waves and wind on the way to Little Sodus Bay and were making 5 to 5 ½ knots. Now we were making 7 knots. By 9:15 we were in the harbor, by 9:30 we were at the dock. The picture is Earendil making good time with no sails and the mast down.
Now we have a new port in which to work on the boat. First we took a walk through the cold rain to get oil filters at NAPA and a few groceries. Then after we were cold and wet we got to start the work.
Bud changed the second fuel filter today. I looked on-line to find information on the Racor filters. The instructions from Racor I found said not to use Teflon tape on the fitting threads. In 2008, when we replaced all the fuel lines we used Teflon tape on everything. We had asked someone then, and they said it was OK. We asked two other people and they said Teflon tape was OK, but folks at a nearby marine repair place said definitely NOT to use Teflon tape. So I made a second hike to NAPA for Permatex liquid thread sealer and we redid all the threads between the fuel tank and the filters. Got that done at 7 PM, so another late supper, at least we had good leftovers.
Bud just started up the fuel pump to see if we've solved our problem...we haven't!!! Still air bubbles. I think we'll call the marine repair folks tomorrow. We aren't the only ones with problems. A couple next to us were ready to give up and have their boat hauled and stored somewhere here and go back to Toronto. They had a bad leak in their stuffing box (the seal where the propeller shaft goes through the hull of the boat). They had it repaired and set out, but it was still leaking. While I was hiking to NAPA, they found someone up ahead on the canal willing to pull the boat and fix the leak. Hopefully they will make it there OK and get the repair done. We may meet them on down the way.
Meanwhile, we're stuck at this mediocre expensive marina with an unreliable fuel system. Boating is great!! Tomorrow we will call around and see if it is reasonable to go to Minetto to the free dock (reportedly with power, so we can have heat) and have someone work on the boat. Minetto is only about 7 miles and a few locks away, so maybe three or four hours more on the engine.
I put a picture of Oswego in the gallery. The sun came out and it would have been a beautiful day to explore the town. I got to see it again from the dock to NAPA and back. At least, as you can see, it was a nice walk this time!