Monday, May 30, 2011

Out and back

Quick overnight to Cypress Head, a DNR park not far away. I'm very happy we got the boat off the dock. One pump failed, and frankly it's a pump I'd much rather have go bad now. In a few weeks, we won't be so close to shoreside facilities and a pump out station!

The dogs had fun, and as of tonight, might almost as exhausted as the people...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Injectors... Happy Engine...

Got the rebuilt diesel injectors from the shop last week. Turns out all three of them had a very poor spray pattern (it was a dribble instead of a fine atomized mist). After re-installing the injectors and bleeding the fuel system, to engine fired right up and runs much more smoothly. The engine had been tough to start over the past few years (especially cold) and I had thought it was just the "nature of the beast". Now I am thinking the hard starting was due to the injectors. I also think the black soot on the transom that appears after long hours of motoring may have been due to the injectors. We'll see how things work this summer.

[caption id="attachment_174" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rebuilt Diesel Injector for Yanmar 3GM"][/caption]

More maintenance done this session:

  • engine oil/filter change

  • transmission oil change

  • raw water impeller change

  • valve adjustment

  • coolant change

  • new fuel tank sender

Which pretty much completes all the engine tasks for this upcoming trip. Hard to believe the engine has 900 hours on it. Seems we just installed it new yesterday (actually 12 years ago).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Angry Birds



Splat is not what you want to hear as you are applying varnish.

Note to local avian population - please make your 'deposits' elsewhere, or food, nesting, and bathing facilities will no longer be offered at this location.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Yesterday the cabin front and starboard cabin side received varnish. That's now two coats for the vertical panels, and four for the patched upper and lower trims. Starboard and port aft trim rings were sanded and got their first coat of varnish. Lots more to do.

I just wish I had the knack of varnishing vertical panels. Trim I can do, but the expanses of teak tend to suffer. It helped a lot to varnish earlier in the day - Tuesday was a bit of a disaster, late in the day and in the wind.

She is named Learning Curve ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delivery wagon

[caption id="attachment_162" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Chuckanut Drive"][/caption]It counts as boat work if the saddlebags contain freshly rebuilt injectors. Really!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Overdue Engine Maintenance has Begun: Valve Adjustment, Injector Removal

The boat's Yanmar 3GM engine has been long overdue for some maintenance. Beside the standard oil and coolant change, a valve adjustment and injector test has been needed.

[caption id="attachment_148" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Yanmar 3GM Diesel Engine"][/caption]

Valve Adjustment

Not having done a valve adjustment or injector removal, I was somewhat apprehensive about doing this. I was fully expecting to make multiple trips between the marina, the garage and the auto parts store, to fetch more tools as I discovered what was necessary. Turns out I only made one trip to the garage and the parts store. Also, I was expecting this would take all day, but I was done in just a couple hours. Despite the cramped engine room quarters, working on the Yanmar 3GM was relatively easy.

[caption id="attachment_149" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Checking valve clearance with feeler a gauge"][/caption]

The valve adjustment was no different than doing a similar job on my motorcycle. Rockers and pushrods, adjusted with screws and stop-nuts. The procedure generally goes like this

  • Remove valve cover

  • The crank turns counter-clockwise (as you face the front of the engine). Pistons are, front to back, numbered 1,2 and 3.

  • Turn the crankshaft until piston #1 is TDC (you have to look at the rear of the engine to find the marker in the transmission bell housing. Luckily, the previous mechanic marked the piston TDCs on the front pulley, making it really easy. I suggest doing the same if you have a similar engine.)

  • Valve clearances are checked with feeler gauges when the engine is cold. Both intake and exhaust valves, on the same piston, are checked at the same time. Insert the feeler gauge between the rocker and end of the valve stem. An oily feeler gauge should freely move with just a little bit of drag. If you cant insert the feeler, the valve needs to be loosened. If the feeler inserts easily and moves such that it could easily fall out, the valve needs to be tightened.

  • To loosen or tighten the valve, loosen the stop nut with a 12mm wrench. With a flathead screwdriver, loosen (or tighten) the screw. You can do this with the feeler sitting in between.

  • Check it again after the stop nut is tightened. Chances are, tightening the nut also tightened the clearance. In which case, loosen it a bit and do it again.

  • Check the valves in the following piston order: 1 - 3 - 2. Once #1 is checked, rotate the crank counter-clockwise 240 degrees to #3. Once #3 is check, rotate another 240 degrees to #2.

  • Replace valve cover and you are done.

Injector Removal

Injector removal is pretty easy. Cleanliness is of utmost importance. Blow out any dust or dirt  from the cylinder head, around the injectors, with a can compressed air. Once removed be careful, to keep the injectors from touching anything. The nozzles can be easily damaged resulting in an injector rebuild/replacement (more $$$). The important thing is to NOT mixup  parts from each cylinder as they are removed. Keep a baggie for parts from each cylinder so the same parts can be put back into the same cylinder. Generally it goes like this...

  • remove the fuel return rail (the single steel piping connecting the tops of each injector)

  • loosen the flare fittings of the fuel feed piping to each injector (be sure and loosen the male flare fitting, NOT the female flare that is threaded into the injector housing.

  • loosen the two nuts of the bracket holding in the injector. Remove the nuts and bracket. Do this for each injector.

  • Now, each injector should be removable, by hand, with little effort. Be careful not to bang the nozzle end on any bits when removing.

  • Stuff a small rag into the injector port to keep dust and dirt out.

[caption id="attachment_150" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Injector Port, after injector removed."][/caption]

The injectors will be sent off to a shop for pop-testing.

[caption id="attachment_151" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Injectors and parts individually bagged by cylinder"][/caption]

Now, go have a piece of cake.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Portlight trim removal

Completed starboard side and aft port side. Thankfully Dolphinite is easy to remove. Will be easier to varnish off the boat. Cabin front and hatch got a full coat of varnish today. Windy. I need to remember that the cabin front wet edge must be horizontal…

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Preparing the Toys... er... Gadgets... um.. Tools

Big trip coming up in a few weeks. Time to revisit the electronics installation. The amateur VHF/UHF radio's channel memory has been way out of date. Many of the repeaters I had programmed in there no longer exist, or have since changed some parameters. Problem is, there is no "definitive source" of updated information. You can search the internet, but even then you can find conflicting information for any one repeater as some of the info on the web can be as much as ten years old. The best bet is to determine if the repeater is run by an amateur radio club (they often are) and then try and find the club's website for the most up to date information.

The computer control/programming features of modern radios make updating frequencies a snap. Much easier than entering it through the control head. However, the quality of the shareware written software can be, um, "marginal". But it is better than nothing.

I filled the VHF/UHF radio's memories with repeaters ranging from the San Juan Islands, through Vancouver BC, up to Southeast Alaska. Also, repeaters along the Juan de Fuca Strait. Also added FRS, GMRS, and marine VHF frequencies for monitoring.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A reasonable weather day

Scraped and sanded lifting areas on starboard cabin side and cabin front.

Starboard stereo/radio speaker is out. There's still honey dripping from the starboard settee.

Possible otter deterrent: spring boat away from finger, which is working for the Cape Dory a few slips down. We'd have to find a way to emulate midship cleats...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Maintenance day

Today was the first day in a long time we've been on LC together.

A small amount of otter poop was quickly removed. I washed the exterior, including the hull while Rob installed a new fuel tank sending unit. Note to selves: empty is now a reserve equal to probably 25% of the total tank. Climbed into the v-berth to clean up winter's (aka last summer's) mess, had a little mildew to remove. Spent some time searching for newly missing keys to no avail. Lent new down-the-dock neighbor Nancy a corkscrew, I guess we really only have one on board these days.

Discovered that the trail of water below the stove was not water. No, it was honey. Yes, honey. From a six pound container that had sprung a leak. Turns out both Rob and I thought it was a water leak, and have ignored it for ahem, let's just say ... some time. Ick. Clean up required removing the contents of both starboard settee compartments. Which lead to some sorting of the food stored therein. Quite a bit came home, some went straight to the trash (including almost 5 pounds of no-longer-powdered Gatorade). And yes, we probably didn't need all the duplicate condiments and tomato paste, let alone two types of sugar and flour.

Rob got the PC updated to XP SP3, as well as ran the engine. I got a little compulsive and Plexus'd the forward dodger isinglass. Looks much better.

It's varnish time. Help me out, Mother Nature!