Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Cruel Summer

Well the summer has ended and Bianka has not left the mooring. The boat had no mast, no sail, and a non working engine. Still I spent many enjoyable days on board. Swimming and observing the wildlife on and around the boat. The season without a sail has ended. The next project is to remove the non functioning engine then pull the boat. All this is about to begin.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The compression tests and other tips.

Having spent most of July 4th on my knees in front of the Westerbeke 27 in my boat. I discovered a few things. First I bought a DIESEL compression test kit and did another compression test myself. Contrary to Murphy's marine laws it actually contained a fitting that for the glowplug threads of my engine. The readings after two tests were as follows:

190 psi, 290 psi, 400 psi, 375, psi

These readings are in contrast to the mechanics readings of a few weeks ago 170, 170, 180,182. One of us is wrong. I kind of feel mine are more accurate especially since I did mine twice. As recommended by people and books I put a little oil into the cylinder reading 190 and did another test and the reading rose to 250 psi.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The second opinion.

Well the injector solution did not work. So it was time to call in a pro. I never realized how long it would take to get a diesel mechanic to come take a look at the problem. I finally got someone to come by and after going through all the things I did with no more luck. It was time for a compression test the readings were all in the 170-180 psi range about half of what they should be. Not good. but, curious that all four cylinders should be so low. I have one more thing to try before I give up on this engine. That is to remove the head and see if it is a blown head gasket. Since I have come this far and have an engine that no longer starts I have nothing to lose. So I think I will be spending July 4th down below with the service and parts manual, tools and some cold beers learning more about this engine. There is a possible clue that someone mentioned to me when I first discovered the oil leak in the first photo here (which can be enlarged) that the oil seems to be leaking at the point between the engine block and the head. I had originally thought that the oil got sprayed up in that part of the engine by the a broken oil sensor but, now maybe it was actually leaking from the gasket area. Stand by I'm going in

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Back to square one.

Well, after carefully removing the injectors and numbering each one. I mailed them to a diesel injector shop here on Long Island to be tested and rebuilt. A few days later I got a call that they were ready, So I drove to pick them up and ask a few questions. I seemed to get more shrugs than answers. But, so be it. I was sure that this would be the problem as the books tell me "injectors are the cause of most of the problems on diesel engines". Well, when I opened the box instead on the meticulously number injectors I gave the shop I have different ones. Same model injectors but, different ones altogether. Oh well. I have once again remind myself never to assume anything especially when it involves a boat. So I carefully installed the newly rebuilt injectors. Cranked over the engine same problem, no starting. Only $250.00 poorer but, the learning experience of removing the injectors will be worth it in the future. So I am back to waiting for the phone to ring after contacting another mechanic. Shedding a little tear as the afternoon sea breeze kicks up.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Waiting for the water but, not diesel repair mechanic.

Well winter has come and gone and so has most of spring and Bianka is still not in the water. The engine problem from the end of last season is still there. I have wasted three weeks waiting for several Diesel repair mechanics whom I contacted to call me back and tell me when they will come by to look at the engine. I don't mind if they can't come because they are busy but when I leave a message and ask them to call me back and never do that just really, really pisses me off. So much so that I decided to keep my money in MY wallet. I have concluded that my problem is with fouled injectors and spent the afternoon removing the four of them. It went well though of course one injector's screws were giving me a hard time but, I managed to remove it without stripping the head of the screws or damaging my knuckles. The next step is to send it to a diesel injector repair shop for testing and rebuilding if my hunch about the engine problem is correct.

Monday, April 02, 2007


And it sure been a cold, cold winter
And the wind ain't been blowin' from the south
It's sure been a cold, cold winter
By Jagger/Richards
Well, winter is over and many of the projects I had hope to get done including engine repair where put off because of the weather. but, spring has arrived and I went to the boatyard the other day and the smell of bottom paint was in the air. I spent about an hour trying to budge the screws holding the windlass to the deck. In spite of using an impact wrench I could not get the screws to move. So I moved on to reinstalling the water pump that I mentioned below. It took a long time between dropped screws and tools requiring me to squeeze into various contorted positions or go back into the cabin to retrieve the parts that fell toward the front of the engine. Still, it was a warm spring day and the view of the harbor made it a good day in spite of the tribulations.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Boarding ladder extension

On some sailboats after a refreshing swim or Scuba dive boarding can be difficult depending on the length of the boarding ladder. On my Nonsuch the ladder is fine if you are boarding from a dingy but, much more difficult after a swim or dive. So I built an extension for the boarding ladder using 12 inch lengths of 1-1/2 inch PVC and fittings, PVC glue and some dock line. The set up has been in use for over three seasons and has been tested to weights of 350 pounds.

Ladder extension when viewed from behind the boat. Notice the four way PVC fittings at the top and bottom of the ladder. These allow rapid draining of water when stowing the extension and also rapid sinking when deployed.

SIDE VIEW: Notice how the extension lifts away from the rudder. The ladder extension only contacts rudder when a person is on it. The rudder keeps the extension vertical when boarding. Instead of slipping under the hull.

Ladder extension in stowed position.