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Old 03-06-2006, 20:03   #1
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Lightbulb It's Alive!

Ever since my purchace two months ago, I've been plagued by engine stalling (First stall: on the first day of a one hundred mile, two-day, single-handed delivery from San Diego to San Pedro, CA). The fuel filters were absolutely muddy, so I thought after those were replaced and I'd scrubbed out the tank, I'd be fine.

So such luck. Run five hours, then starve. Next day, start right up, run half an hour, then starve. Let it set a week: run fine two hours, then starve.

Oh, yeah: Catalina 30, Universal (Kubota) M25-XP. Facet electric lift pump (yes, they handle diesel just fine), Bosch manual injector pump.

After two months of frustration, diesel-impregnated hands at work, and sailing on and off my anchor and into the slip (I'm getting pretty good at it now), and burping and bleeding (isn't that what killed George Washington, too much bleeding by his doctors?) chasing ghosts I can't see, I finally traced the problem back to a clogged screen at the end of the pick-up tube in the fuel tank; a tank I'd scrubbed out as my first chore in solving my problem. I never thought of the screen as a possibility until later.

Today, I started off by cracking open fuel lines to injectors while cranking engine, to check for air: one dripped instead of spurted, and two were dry! Started tracing backwards: removed each piece of fuel line and blew through it. Secondary filter full of fuel. Line from the lift pump to secondary not clogged. Once I saw the lift pump, that I had cleaned thoroughly a month ago and bench-tested for flow rate, then re-installed, had virtually zero output, I threw my head back and howled like a hound who's picked up the scent of a coon. It was a simple task then to trace the problem back to the tank.

The screen, just a two square-inch patch of aluminum screen door material, rolled up, shoved in the tube, and crimped over at the end, was about 97% plugged with dirty, diesely mud. After it was washed off with gasoline and re-installed, Kubota-San cranked five seconds (remember those empty fuel lines near the engine) then fired right up and ran smoothly. I even thought I heard a sigh of relief.

It's Alive!

Fuel/air/compression. The magical combination restored.

If I'd only checked the screen while I was there six weeks ago (I didn't even know there was a screeen), I'd have saved myself a lot of mild cursing and canceled daysails with friends (and about $50 in extra filters I didn't really need). Oh, the hours I spent, sipping beer and staring dejectedly at that gold-painted block!

On the plus side: I now have a starter set of tools for the boat; I know I have a clean tank, hoses, and filters and can now keep it that way with a regular service schedule; I've identified many parts of a diesel engine I had no clue about before (decompression lever, injector pump, & cetera) and I know more about one of the systems of my boat. And summer is still in front of me. The California coast is singing its siren song: coaxing me, beckoning me, and I cannot resist it.

Now I can turn my attention to more mundane things, like memorizing where my five through-hulls are (I actually worry about the boat, which represents my life savings, sinking at the slip or while I'm sailing it); replacing the water pump impeller, changing the oil by sucking the old stuff out of the dipstick tube for the first time, changing out the old batteries (how can the manufacturer get away with putting in two group 24s!); updating my electrrical panel (analog volt meter? What good is that?); buying/installing the wheel pilot, buying an outboard for the inflatable, beefing up my icebox insulation, getting up the stick to replace the masthead light, & cetera, & cetera. You know, the "fun stuff."
_____

Thanks for reading, and you can smile at my place on the learning curve all you want: I sure am. I just had to tell someone!
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Old 03-06-2006, 21:00   #2
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And good for you, CaptainJeff.

I'm glad that you finally figured that problem out by yourself. Yeah. The pickup in the tank can be a problem. Especially if the tank had muddy diesel residue.

Put one and one together. And you get an answer. And you finally got it. Kudos to you sir!!

Now the siren call is beckoning you. Go out and enjoy the fine off shore California sailing, my friend.
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Old 03-06-2006, 21:16   #3
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K,

the 27 has an outboard well in the back of the cockpit, right? Or do folks just bracket an OB off the transom? Surely it doesn't have an inboard!
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Old 03-06-2006, 22:07   #4
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Good to hear Jeff. I take it you deep sixed the filter screen??? I would. Why have a screen that can't handle the volume of crud and a pain to get at if you ever have a problem again. A good primary Filter will do the job far better and be accesseble. The othe screen that was in my system, was in the mechanical lift pump. Once again its way to small and too hard to get at. So over the shoulder that went as well. I have a huge Racor Primary and twin CAV secondaries.
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Old 03-06-2006, 22:12   #5
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CaptianJeff.

My Catalina 27 has a well in the stern, yes. The outboards fuel tanks and extra stuff goes there. The OB is clamped onto the stern from the hole in the back end of the boat.

But I have thought about filling in that hole and have a mounting bracket installed on the back end instead of the present hole on the stern.

But there are some Catalina 27's with inboard engines. But, my boat doesn't have a inboard engine.


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Old 03-06-2006, 23:07   #6
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CaptainK,

I have heard of people clsoing up the well on their Catalina 27's and attaching an outboard brcket. Sounds like it would give you a lot of useable space in the well for fuel, etc., what do you think would be the downside?
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Old 03-06-2006, 23:11   #7
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The problem with OB's off the stern...........

is in a following sea the transom rises up allowing the prop to come out of the water. A motor well is much better IMHO (less rise being more forward), and providing it is properly ventilated......................._/)
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Old 03-06-2006, 23:12   #8
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Alan— I have the standard Racor that I've replaced with an NAPA large-bodied primary/water separator, then a Facet lift pump with that nylon cup-type screen, then on to the secondary hanging off the engine, so it seems to me I'd be fine without that little wad of screening in the pick-up tube. But since I know now that my tank is pristine, I'm really not concerned for a good long time. Might take it out next spring and see how she's doing.

K— oh, yeah: a well with a cut out transom. I remember seeing that now.
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Old 03-06-2006, 23:15   #9
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She's a Screamer, She Is

DelM,

Tell me about it. Last boat was Catalina 22 with a long-shaft bracket-mounted OB off center. The long shaft seemed to handle following seas adequately, but a port tack to any windward course + any type of swell = screaming prop lift.

K— Everything considered, I think you're better off just the way you are. The weight is less leveraged (I never did trust that heavy four-stroke slamming down on that bracket, and would often strap the powerhead forward to the transom-mounted traveler and the stern cleat to keep the shock loads off the bracket when it got really snotty); it's not exposed to the elements; you're fuel storage is out of the cockpit and lower than the cockpit sole (I'm assuming); and the spinny part is always in the water. Hard to argue against those advantages.

What you really need <w> is to move up to a C30.
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:15   #10
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Well CaptainJeff & delmarrey.

I posted a photo of the stern well, for the outboard. It's in the members photo gallery. This'll show you what I have.

I just might leave it alone. delmarrey just gave me an interesting thought provoking insite. That I had over looked before. And Kai mentioned it to me earlier.

See Kai. I remembered about the outboard running in heavy weather!!

CaptainJeff.

Maybe in time I might buy a Catalina 30.

I might jump up to a 35 or a Catalina 40? You never know?
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:53   #11
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"The screen, just a two square-inch patch of aluminum screen door material, rolled up, shoved in the tube, and crimped over at the end, "
You need to find out who installed that fuel filter, and then keel haul them. Slowly.

An in-tank fuel filter is not a kludge job. They range from stiff nylon "socks" with the general surface area and shape of a small tomato juice can (4oz? 6 oz?) to common automotive types that are about the size and shape of a paperback book, so there is plenty of surface area on them.

Two inches of door screening is a kludge job that you stick in when your filter dies at sea and you need "anything" to get home. The main purpose of the in-tank filter is to prevent a glob of crud from getting sicked into the intake tube and clogging the TUBE, ahead of the real filters. So avoid the temptation to just pull it out, you never know what vengeance the tank gods might tank.<G>
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:26   #12
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This screen may not be made from exactly the material I described, but it was a square patch of metal screen rolled, stuffed in the pick-up tube (seated with putty), and then the end flattened and folded over like one would a paper lunch sack. I have a feeling it's the factory installation.

It would do the job of preventing a large piece of debris from entering the pick-up tube; but over the last twenty years, it has been the little grains of dirt settling to the bottom and filling in the tiny square openings, bit by bit, that clogged it.

Today I'm going down to take the boat out and motor all day. You'll know me by the smile on my face and the shouts of "Wind? We doan' need not steenkin' wind!"
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Old 04-06-2006, 13:54   #13
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So if we don't hear from you for a day or two, we'll know what's wrong and send help
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Old 04-06-2006, 14:34   #14
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Quote:
"Wind? We doan' need not steenkin' wind!"
We have just had the annual Round The Island Race (around the Isle of Wight) and it was a total disaster due to lack of wind. Had to retire after 10 hrs when the wind died completely and the fridge ran out of cold beer.

about 1600 boats started and more than 50% had to retire.
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Old 04-06-2006, 14:46   #15
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"Had to retire after 10 hrs when the wind died completely and the fridge ran out of cold beer." All right now, you've just given it away. Who are you and why are you impersonating a Brit, we all know the Brits drink warm beer. (As will any sailor who really values his beer and knows that doesn't mean "Budweiser".<G>)
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