I almost sold the boat and bought golf clubs today.
Got back from a 2 week trip to the US with lot's of goodies from West Marine
and other spots to spruce up the boat. We had her out of the water
for bottom paint
and to install the new prop.
I installed a lot of new running rigging
, a new compass
, a couple of 12 volt outlets in the cabin
, a couple of fans, a 400w inverter
and a fridge! We are converting our little boat in to a real weekender floating RV. We also finished up the port chain plate
and new backstay fittings as we previously broke the starboard stay.
I had noted before that the original (2) batteries were not secured properly so along with the new electric
load I bought some new tie downs and prepped to install a 3rd battery
. I left the battery
work until last as it is in the bilge
upside down and messy. By this time the club had positioned the boat at the top of the launch ramp
in preparation for floating on Saturday and the boat was about 15 degress stern down.
So upside down and messy I was, rerouting throttle and transmission cables
, battery cables
and so on, trying to find the optimum fit for the 3rd battery. Eventually all was done and nothing left but to launch.
I did note a little wetness as I closed the cockpit
sole cover and a slight diesel
smell, but I was pretty stinky myself and didn't think any more of it.
Saturday was really busy. Josh, my 9 y/o and a couple of other club members were teed up for a photo
shoot for a local magazine highlighting the club. They sailed dinghys up and down the beach and I helped hold the boat in place for close ups. 11 am rolled around and we pushed the boat back. I fired the engine
and as usual it fired up on the 3rd of fourth rev. However as I backed out of the ramp
the throttle was unresponsive. Damn, I must have done something to the linkage in my messing around.
I put it in forward and the same thing. Goes into gear
but no power. Then after about 30 seconds, nothing. She quit. We had a safety
boat on hand so we tossed a line and started to tow to the dock
. That's when I look in the cabin
and saw about an inch and a half of diesel fuel
crud in the cabin.
Well to make a long story short - the previous owner or his mechanic
had tie wrapped the negative battery cable to the flexible fuel
line upstream of the pump and in my efforts with the battery cables I pulled the fuel line off the nipple. About 7 litres of diesel was in the cockpit
and bilge. Thank God this stuff isn't volatile or I would be in stupid mechanics heaven right now.
The next 1 1/2 hours was spent cleaning
. I then left a gallon bucket of fuel on the cockpit seat and took a break. While I was away a ferry
boat came by and the bucket ended up off the seat and back in the bilge - LOL. Well cleaned it again.
Then I tried to follow the Volvo
procedure for bleeding the system and couldn't get a light off. Basically loosen a screw on top of the filter and pump with the little lift
pump on the engine
. I was a little wary of pulling injector nuts and so on but after an hour or so the club manager came to lend a hand. He being braver than I loosed as many connections as he could all the way to the injectors. The good news is that with a full tank our fuel level is above the main engine pump and instead of hand pumping to prime we cranked the engine. As I cranked he tightened each connection in turn working from up stream to downstream. By the time he reached the injectors the engine had fired and all was well with the world.
Long, frustrating, messy day but a few lessons learned.
1/ I had been taught never, ever, ever, secure fuel lines to electrical
lines and when routed fuel lines should be below electric
2/ If you smelll diesel in the bilge, it's probably there. I didn't see it because of the stern down angle of the boat.
3/ Before closing up the engine box and cockpit sole plate do a once around inspection
with a flashlight. I may not have caught this as it was very low in the boat but who knows.
4/ Bleeding - The manufacturers recomendations may not always be the best. I like the procedure to work from upstream to the injectors as we had done. May not work on all boats. In our case I think we were filling only one side of the fuel filter
and the fuel bowl was definitely not getting "full."
5/ Never leave an unattended bucket of fuel on the cockpit seat or it might end up back in the bilge - LOL.
Oh, The end of the story is that we launched out at 5pm for a 2 hour twilight sail. 10 knot
breeze, full sails
, a couple of cold ones on the way back in while motoring to charge the batteries. Maybe I don't need those golf clubs after all...