16 April 2012
The first thing I did when we got onto the mooring was dive to check the prop (quite brave of me, considering there are crocodiles around here!) The blades were all clean and clear, nothing round the prop or shaft, it turned freely by hand, and no discernable play when shaken.
We (when I say we, Kevin physically does most of this sort of work, with me annoying him from the sidelines with suggestions that sometimes-only sometimes- are useful!) -anyway, we put the bolts back in, heart in mouth turned the engine on- all seemed ok; tried reverse- quietly chugging away, no problems- tried forward- rattle rattle, engine jumping about, problem. We found an english speaking mechanic by asking on the local VHF cruisers net, (Ch74, 0800 local time) who re-assured us that the engine and gearbox seems all ok still, but there definitely IS a problem somewhere, which he feels sure he can sort but isn't free for a few days. In the meantime we are working our way through the many variables (engine mis-alignment, bearings knocked out of true, bent shaft, dodgy cutless bearing, etc etc) and are hoping that we can find something that fixes it before the (very nice!) mechanic comes back or we have to come out of the water. One job we have just done is, the front 2 engine mountings were on some hardwood shims, the back 2 weren't, there was a lot of play and the engine could move about a lot. We have now- after a day of blood sweat and tears- added some shims to the aft mountings (good thing we had a good supply of teak offcuts and big bolts on board) and the engine seems more stable. After a 5 hour trip around town with no Spanish, we eventually succeeded in buying a set of feeler guages, so Kevin is now into day 2 of engine re-alignment; he's doing a fantastic job in this sweltering heat, the salt water in the bilge isn't sea water and he's lost about a stone!