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Old 16-10-2015, 04:15   #16
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

Ok I got one just from this very afternoon. Learnt not to pump compressed air into a rudder to force water out. One surprisingly load "pop" and the sides separated from the armature. Now I have to cut it apart to reattach it all.
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Old 16-10-2015, 04:48   #17
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

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Originally Posted by hsi88 View Post
Personally, I do not trust the "clicking" type torque wrenches. I always use a torsion bar torque wrench. Accurate enough for 99% of what I do, it is much safer to visually see the torque settings.
I only use dial torque wrenches for this very reason...

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I can afford the boat ( airplane, motorcycle, house...), but cannot afford to have the work done by someone else. By necessity one must become a skilled technician. It would take me a long time to relate all of my f*&k ups from 50 years of mechanicing.
Good luck! Most of us have been there, learned a lot, and pressed on
This is my story too... Jags, Porches, and boats, Oh My!

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Ok I got one just from this very afternoon. Learnt not to pump compressed air into a rudder to force water out. One surprisingly load "pop" and the sides separated from the armature. Now I have to cut it apart to reattach it all.
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Old 16-10-2015, 06:14   #18
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

I was changing out the rear pinion seal on my jeep in my garage and to fit under the car I backed the rear wheels onto ramps. I removed the drive shaft, took off the pinion bolt, and pried out the flange while partially laying under the differential. Because the back of the car was jacked up, as soon as the flange came off, I and my new garage floor immediately became covered in that wonderful smelling thick gear oil. I had to cut off my shirt to get it off, but hey atleast I saved money doing it my self right
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Old 16-10-2015, 08:02   #19
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

I replaced steering cables on our runabout many years ago. I mounted the new cables on the steering drum backwards, so when the wheel went to the left the bow went to the right. I operated it the whole weekend that way and forgot about it.
Next weekend we took the boat out again and my buddy was the captain, He had lots of issues backing the boat from the slip, and I got called the worst boat mechanic around. He insisted on rewinding the drum prior to taking the boat out, because it was a serious safety issue.
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Old 16-10-2015, 08:25   #20
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

That would clearly be when I checked with everyone about whether there was anything that needed to be done to the outboard to make sure it ran. I did those things and had it checked by the Honda dealership, and asked the same question.

And everybody said I should start it and run it for about 30 seconds before I put it on the sailboat. I did that.

And then 2.5 miles out into the middle of the bay, after basically with very little wind and then becalmed for 3 hours, I reluctantly started up the engine. And in 45 seconds it quit, due to ethanol poisoning.

There was also an element of fear since we were drifting in the tide toward a rocky shore, having forgotten to bring the anchor since we were just moving to another mooring. And of course we were also embarrassed that out of three people on the boat: one lost his cell phone the day before, another forgot hers, and the third found his to be dead; and the boat's base station VHF wanted to MMSI(failure to remember that I was going to fix that from the previous year--how often does anyone need to call channel 16?????) number to transmit on channel 16.

Eventually(using the third back up hand held VHF) we had to be towed back to the mooring by the US Coast Guard.

In many ways it was a scary and very embarrassing 11 hour day all due to Murphy's Law about maintenance issues that just never occured to me.
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Old 16-10-2015, 08:32   #21
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Ok I got one just from this very afternoon. Learnt not to pump compressed air into a rudder to force water out. One surprisingly load "pop" and the sides separated from the armature. Now I have to cut it apart to reattach it all.
Ouch. That one hurts! Good luck!

I'm afraid of what's in my wet rudder.

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Old 16-10-2015, 09:03   #22
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

Long list. Wife's passenger window hadn't worked in months- won't go down. Must be a ground problem. Removal of door panel very difficult. Google a solution for getting around the obstacle. Success! Voltmeter on the job. Everything checks out. At the end of the Google post it asks, "is the power switch on the dash in the lock position?" Palm-to-face. Another half hour putting the panel back.
Lesson learned: Use Google first. Or this forum. Even when you have done the task before. My memory is 't that good.
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Old 16-10-2015, 09:08   #23
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

Just laughing because your moments just don't compare to my blunders. There's one that stands far above any moment you may have thought as dumb. We were heading south and I had our outboard serviced so that I would only have to pop it on the dinghy when we anchored. Three days out and we anchored in a nice spot, dropped the dinghy, and tried to start the outboard. I ran the battery down and switched to the pull cord with no luck. Got the screw driver and drained the carb, nope wouldn't start. Pulled the carb, cleaned it, put it back....no go.
The next six weeks I rowed everywhere we wanted to go and tried to start the outboard with negative results every time. Frustrated I found a repair marina and hauled it into their shop. The mechanic was away but due back in three or four days. We waited and I got it back with word that it was all done, new gaskets, spark plug, oil, the works. Cost me five big ones.
Now I got it back on the dinghy and began pulling the cord, no go. My expletives were loud enough for my wife to come up from below.


"What are you doing?"


"Starting the outboard."


"Oh good, do you want the clip for the kill switch?"


So for six weeks I rowed us around and she thought I just wanted the exercise. In case you want to know, I haven't stopped drinking yet.


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Old 16-10-2015, 09:12   #24
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

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Originally Posted by tstano View Post
Just laughing because your moments just don't compare to my blunders. There's one that stands far above any moment you may have thought as dumb. We were heading south and I had our outboard serviced so that I would only have to pop it on the dinghy when we anchored. Three days out and we anchored in a nice spot, dropped the dinghy, and tried to start the outboard. I ran the battery down and switched to the pull cord with no luck. Got the screw driver and drained the carb, nope wouldn't start. Pulled the carb, cleaned it, put it back....no go.
The next six weeks I rowed everywhere we wanted to go and tried to start the outboard with negative results every time. Frustrated I found a repair marina and hauled it into their shop. The mechanic was away but due back in three or four days. We waited and I got it back with word that it was all done, new gaskets, spark plug, oil, the works. Cost me five big ones.
Now I got it back on the dinghy and began pulling the cord, no go. My expletives were loud enough for my wife to come up from below.


"What are you doing?"


"Starting the outboard."


"Oh good, do you want the clip for the kill switch?"


So for six weeks I rowed us around and she thought I just wanted the exercise. In case you want to know, I haven't stopped drinking yet.


All U Get
Ouch..........I think we've all forgotten the kill switch but not $500 worth or 6 weeks of forgetting.
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Old 16-10-2015, 09:45   #25
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

When I was 18 I had a Peugeot 204 (late 60s I think) which developed all sorts of banging on the front end. After I had been to the wreckers and spent most of the afternoon on my back, my father came out and said "I guess you know this wheel is loose ". Always check the simple things first
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Old 16-10-2015, 09:48   #26
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

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Ouch..........I think we've all forgotten the kill switch but not $500 worth or 6 weeks of forgetting.
Or desperately trying to pull the cord when its in gear. But not for 6 weeks...

I actually have CRS due to old age MO(can't remember **** due to memory overload). So on top of the OB casing I have the sequence of steps in label maker tape. I also have other stupid things like how to connect my cyclone mooring pendant to the larger mooring line(1. Put the big white loop through the smaller blue loop, then 2. put the blue loop through the white loop. )

or

"This stanchion is for the upper side stay"

When you are out of the water for 8 months, its amazing what obvious things you forget.
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Old 16-10-2015, 09:57   #27
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

Since I bought this boat 7 years ago I've been using a vacuum extractor tank with integrated hand pump to suck out the engine oil with a hose. This week I dropped the screw cap for the extractor tank and started looking around under the engine. Suddenly I noticed there is an oil drain plug right at the back of the engine in a very accessible spot, with plenty of room beneath for a drain pan.
Maybe I should have read the manual?
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Old 16-10-2015, 10:10   #28
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

My memory has never been as good as others, which may be good since I can forget the bad things (along with the good). But there are some things you never forget. I was totally, 1000%, mortified a couple of times trying to drill holes on boats in the right places. As you all know, what it looks like on the inside is not what it looks like on the outside. You want to drill the hole in a place where it will do what it is supposed to do without drilling into something you don't want to drill in to. The problem can be a real problem on both sides.

Like this last year when I was installing a new radar and had to put a wiring hole in the aft (finished teak) bulkhead in the master cabin. I measured on one side (inside a lazerette I couldn't fully get in to - another story) but couldn't get in a spot to really see it well - upside down and at arm's length, etc. But I measured and measured - but the problem is having a "landmark" to measure from that relates to something on the other side. Common problem. Turns out I was about 7 inches off and the hole was in the most obvious, and wrong spot possible. I didn't want to drill a pilot from the cabin side since there was plumbing I had to avoid on the other. I gave up (and still have to repair the small pilot hole in the teak) and put the hole in a place where I was surer of getting it right on both sides. And that wasn't easy either.

But the most painful mistake was putting in a new autopilot and drilling a 5/8" hole in the hull about 3 inches above the waterline. Luckily it was above the W/L and not below. But I had to get a glass guy to repair it, and 12 years later he still ribs me about it.

But my very first "big" job as a tech was to put in a combo propane/electric reefer on a big powerboat. Big customer, lots of bucks, nice guy. I drilled a 3/4" hole in his coaming in a bad spot. It wouldn't work for what I wanted it to and it was in a spot where it was almost impossible to repair. I still cringe when I think about it.

Drilling holes is still the hardest routine problem I can think of on as a DIYer.
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Old 16-10-2015, 10:23   #29
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

My worst was a $3000 alternator upgrade.

Had a Volvo MD17C on a 34' that I added everything electrical possible: AP, big stereo, electronics, SSB and three big deep cycle batteries. With all that it was time to upgrade the stock alternator so found a 115 amp Leece-Neville, had a custom bracket welded up and all was good, except.

The stock belt was a bit small for the power draw of the big alternator so we had to replace the belt every few months and had a lot of black belt dust in the engine room. So my partner had the idea to install a bigger belt.

On the MD17C the belt drives on a big, external flywheel that attaches to the end of the crankshaft. Looks kind of like and old, spoked wagon wheel. So he takes the flywheel to the machine shop and has them cut the groove bigger to take the bigger belt. Back at the boat he bolts everything back together, fires up the engine and discovered he hadn't torqued the flywheel down properly. It started wobbling and before he could shut down the engine it flew off the end of the crank shaft which bent the crank so when he remounted the flywheel it had a permanent wobble and serious vibration.

Tried to true up the end of the crank, shim the wheel, rebalance it but in the end had to pull the engine and install a new crank (which of course meant lots of new gaskets, bearings, etc).
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Old 16-10-2015, 10:28   #30
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Re: Most embarrassing DIY maintenance moment

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When I was 18 I had a Peugeot 204 (late 60s I think) which developed all sorts of banging on the front end. After I had been to the wreckers and spent most of the afternoon on my back, my father came out and said "I guess you know this wheel is loose ". Always check the simple things first
I still have not learned my lesson. I should have mentioned that I changed the differential.
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