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Old 25-03-2017, 16:04   #16
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Re: Mastering DIY Skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
What he said ^^^^ DIY is a part of seamanship. Especially for cruisers likely to travel off the beaten path to destinations where hiring qualified people to effect repairs may not be an option.
DIY can also come in handy even in a major boating area like Miami. This is my wife writing in her blog Irish Eyes to the Bahamas . The short story is: It caught fire. Trying to fix it I really really broke it. The mechanic said he'd fix it but did not show up for ten days. I ordered parts and then fixed it myself in two days. Oh yea, we are now anchored in the Bahamas at Highborne Cay.

********

After supper Saturday night Bill was washing the dishes, and we were running the engine to cool the frig and charge the batteries. Bill said, I smell something burning. Living in a plastic and wood boat with 50 gallons of diesel oil, five gallons of gasoline, and 40 pounds of propane, that was not what I wanted to hear. Both of us immediately began looking for the fire. It turned out that the electric clutch on the refrigeration compressor that is mounted on the engine had shorted out and burned up. A fuse blew and stopped the smoke, but we no longer had our best way of keeping the freezer and refrigerator cold. We could still run the engine with its alternator to make 12v electricity, change the 12v into 125v with our inverter, and use that electricity to run the much smaller cooling system that we use when we have normal electricity in marinas.

Bill decided that night that, if he had the right tools, he could replace the burned up clutch himself. Sunday, he went to Advance Auto, bought some tools, and set to work. Everything was going well until there was a loud bang, and oil and Freon blew out of the compressor. Somehow, he had damaged a seal causing all the refrigerator gas to leak out. Now, the whole compressor was trash, and all our Freon was gone. Bill found the business card of the local refrigeration technician who repaired the system in 2011 and gave him a call Monday morning. They talked, he agreed to do the work, and Bill gave him the part number for the compressor on the phone and by email. We heard from him one more time, but not again. After ten days Bill got aggravated enough to order a new compressor on ebay, to order a vacuum pump from Amazon, and buy Freon and a gauge set from Advance Auto to do the repairs himself. We moved the boat to the Crandon Park Marina so we would have electricity for the vacuum pump, and in two days Bill had everything running again.
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Old 29-03-2017, 04:42   #17
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Re: Mastering DIY Skills

Thanks for the response guys, DIY can come in handy in a lot of ways. I don't like anybody tampering with my things either. I am came across a couple of diy home improvement videos in youtube. Its good and very instructive. I can't wait for the day when I can finally rely on my skills to do the repairs.
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Old 29-03-2017, 05:01   #18
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Re: Mastering DIY Skills

Some thoughtful advice for you (do not ask how I know this)

1- No matter what the job is on a boat - it will take at least twice as long as you think it will
2- As you become experienced you will get better at estimating how long something will take
3- It will still take twice as long - no matter how good you are at estimating
4- sometimes it takes 3 times as long
5- It will always cost more than you think
6- You will always be missing the exact tool that would have made the job a cinch
7- It may cost more than twice as much as you figured
8- As soon as you have scrunched yourself into whatever tight space you need to go into - you'll find out you forgot a tool, or a part, or your reading glasses
9- If you drop something it will immediately roll off into the most inaccessible place on the boat
10- The delivery time for a new one of whatever you just dropped will be 3 days (or longer)

Anyone who tells you anything different from the above doesn't know what he/she is talking about
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Old 29-03-2017, 05:57   #19
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Re: Mastering DIY Skills

I try to fix whatever I can. Yes, I botch things at times too.

I avoid pros as our boat is only a most simple 26' grp boat with a natural 13hp diesel engine. So, no frills. Grammar school 7th grade.

The only time I hired a pro (a diesel mechanic in NZ) we got into trouble. So, since then I prefer botching jobs myself, at least this way I know what got botched.

I try to learn and develop my skills by extensive reading, working with others who do know and fixing stuff found on the skip. I discovered for someone who wants to solve problems (for free) there is an unlimited work market ;-)

Cheers,
b.
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Old 29-03-2017, 07:04   #20
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Re: Mastering DIY Skills

I, as a general rule don't hire out any work. In the last 10 years I've hired our three jobs. General framing on a new bathroom in the house, granite counter tops in the house and a bottom job on the boat.

I've never hired work on the boat beyond the bottom, I I was beholden to hired help I'd never own a boat the lives in the water with an engine installed.
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Old 29-03-2017, 10:29   #21
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Mastering DIY Skills

I only hire professionals to perform work that 1) requires specialized knowledge that I don't have, which would take too long for me to acquire, or which requires very expensive equipment that would not be cost effective for me to purchase, and which has a safety element connected to expertise, and 2) work that requires craftsmanship to do properly that I can't acquire through a few test runs.

For example I painted the top sides of my boat a few years ago. I did all the sanding, fairing, washing masking etc but hired a pro to actually spray. I did not have to buy the equipment, did not risk wasting $1000 of paint on a botched job, and ended up with a far better result than if I'd sprayed myself. Only cost me a few hours of the painters time.

Also, many yards cut corners and/or use out of date methods, and often you won't know because the work is hidden. The previous owner of my boat had all work done by professionals at one of the most highly regarded yards in New England. If I had a dollar for every poor repair I've discovered during my ownership it would pay for...something expensive. Poor quality hose clamps, using the wrong hose, stripped screws, silicone, inadequate backing of hardware, poor wiring, woodworking butchery...and on and on and on.

Also, when you do the work yourself you discover opportunities for doing related work while you have something "opened up". You spot things that need attention, will benefit from modification and improvement, etc.

Lastly, do it yourself and you know how it was done, how to undo it, how to maintain it, how to fix it going forward.

I'm in the process of doing a deck refit which has required taking down pretty much the whole headliner throughout the boat. I've learned many new techniques, gained visual access to parts of the boat I've never seen, and identified countless opportunities for improving the boat. And the project has basically just started.
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