Engine work to celebrate the coming of autumn


I am happy to get back to my boat projects, some are even leftover from the annual Spring Boat Prep.

Facet marine electric fuel pump.

Facet marine electric fuel pump.

I decided this spring to order a new electric Facet fuel pump and fix it with new fittings and hose, ready to swap in if needed. Pinga’s pump has been in service more than 10 years. At the conclusion of our recent cruise, we had an engine shut down, so I made the swap. I also replaced the “spin on” fuel filter –these must be replaced regularly if they are to work as well as the bigger Racor filters. I made a bit of an upgrade to the system by adding a second “polishing” filter which I’d also already purchased; it goes between the carb and the fuel pump.

I placed some new 5/16” fuel hose, but part of the run is still ¼” hose. The old brass fittings spun off the carb and the fuel pump easily. That’s good; these aluminum parts can be easily split if fittings are too tight and the tiny air leaks created can be hard to detect. I use Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket #3 goop for all my brass fittings.

I found that I had two types of hose clamps, and no nut driver that fit one type… got rid of those. Lesson learned (again): keep to one type of screw, bolt, clamp, etc., for each task so you don’t go searching for a second tool.

This job took two days instead of two hours, very frustrating, but I had to keep centered and very patient. I was not strong enough to “spin off” the old fuel filter, nor to hold the fuel pump while unbolting its bracket, never could remove the engine bolt that held the ground wire, and more. I just had to work on each task a long time, finding every little adjustment that helped. I also seemed to repeatedly drop everything I touched. Working hose on or off barbs or stems can be tough work, made tougher in a fuel system because any little loose hose bits will clog your nice new work. Cutting hose – same problem.  I hope to be stronger next year!

I had trouble with the electrical connections. My #14 to #12 wiring was failing, even using the correct step-down butt connectors. Could be me; could be time to buy new crimpers. I switched to using wonderful but pricey Posi-Twist and Posi-Lock connectors and everything worked out fine.

Hmmm… which system shall I fiddle with next?


Eight Islands and night garden photos.

September Cruise 2017: Eight Islands in 12 days of beautiful weather.

We visited Vendovi Island and sailed on to the Guemes Island Resort, staying on one of their mooring buoys — first time on Guemes with our boat. Next night on the Olga Community Dock, Orcas Island. It is my favorite dock in the San Juans, so peaceful. We found a wonderful nature trail path, the Coho Preserve, that we hadn’t discovered before. Another new discovery: the smoked cod at the fish market.

We went on to try out the Rosario Resort new docks. It is easy to get in the slip now and everything was really beautiful. Enjoyed the warm swimming pool and the grill patio that has been remodeled.

On Stuart Island (Reid Harbor), we tied up to a floating dock where we had a fun morning dog party, as every neighbor boat had a dog. These are sometimes called party docks and now I know why. It was hilarious dog fun.

Gawain wanted to visit the bookstores of Port Sidney, Vancouver Island, so we headed to the customs dock.  There is a wonderful new store in the marina on the second floor with intelligently-stocked boater supplies and gifts – Booty’s Boat Locker. We visited the Shaw Centre aquariums for the first time. Impressive and interesting! Dinner is always great at the Swiss restaurant.

The Women Who Sail the Pacific NW Facebook group rendezvous took place at Ganges Marina, Salt Spring Island. We participated in the meetup, found some new food trucks, explored the hardware store, and hiked to Hastings House for the views. Sadly, Ganges Marina is really run down and unfriendly; Kanaka dock is much more fun.

We sailed down the Saanich Inlet to take a mooring buoy in Butchart Cove. Butchart Gardens gave us permission to stay 2 nights free, so we bought annual passes. That meant we could take it all in slowly, including the lighted night viewing and the mid-day high tea. This is a very dog friendly place.

Next we sailed back north and over to Poet’s Cove, South Pender Island, to dine with our friends from a fast Ranger 28 buddy boat, and enjoy another warm swimming pool.

Time to head home, so we sailed eastward. We stop at Orcas Landing for lunch and views from the porch of the old hotel each time we go by. On to a mooring ball at Pelican Beach on Cypress Island. This is a very pretty beach and hiking area but the ride that night was rough and even frightening. The next day our engine stopped after a half-hour, but the sailing was great gusty fun, so we sailed all the way back to our marina, where the engine started right up and ran smoothly…and shut down again just as we docked in our home slip. That’s one way to end a cruise I guess.

Why aren’t there more posts this summer, you wonder?

I think this photo says it all… each arm broken at forearm and elbow… now I am catching up on my reading.

Broken arms in casts

Broken arms in casts

My Atomic-4 Engine gets a new valve in the cooling system.

There is a kit available to add a check valve and a ball valve in line with the boat engine’s water flow, just before the thermostat. Today I experimented with this system in our kitchen sink, learning exactly how each valve affects water flow by using the faucet to vary the water pressure and see results. I also cleaned and test the thermostat and hose interiors. A good vinegar soak for everything.  Nice, eh? Now it is ready to be installed on the engine.

The ball valve in this kit is for use in “special circumstances” such as when thermostat innards are clogged, causing the engine to run hot. The check valve creates a little back pressure which increases the flow into the engine block. It really isn’t that useful to those of us cruising in cold water and I will probably remove it next time I’m pulling the thermostat for cleaning.

Since I am the wife, there is no wife to scold me for turning the kitchen sink into a testing bench, he he.

This isn’t Pinga’s engine, but this shows how the valves go into the thermostat housing.

Pinga gets new valves in the cooling line. Cooling bypass valves and hoses attached to the kitchen faucet for testing. Thermostat and nuts/washers get a vinegar bath.

Happy Engine Day, Pinga!

Today was “engine day”. I inspect and clean Pinga’s engine and drive train.

The oil change is done using a drill pump and I find this works well if I prepare carefully. Two quarts of oil fill the engine to the middle of the dipstick marks.   TIP:  In our first year, I learned the hard way that an engine manual is written for a level engine, not one mounted on an angle. The angle means the oil capacity is reduced so do not use the amount of oil specified in the manual.

I inspect and gap new spark plugs and pop those in. The old spark plugs show how the engine is running… mine are too clean and only show that I did not use my boat enough last year!

Atomic 4 Engine Oil Change

Atomic 4 Engine Oil Change Day

New settee cushions arrived for Passover.

cushions (1)Here are the new cushions, thick and lovely. Fabric picked out by Susan, ordered from Sailrite, and construction by Oyster Creek Canvas, Bellingham. Great fit, and firm for sitting or sleeping comfort. Oyster Creek did a great job for less than I’d expected to spend. Pesach Sameach.

A PO redesigned the teak trim under the port settee, and I replaced that board which was too tall and hurt the backs our legs. Using a smaller board also removes weight. This was my first time removing teak plugs; I removed the old plugs using an awl and a small utility screwdriver. Interlux Goldspar varnish was very easy too apply, but a few of the plugs darkened quite a bit.

TIP: Hold the plugs with needlenose pliers, to dip the backs in varnish and place them in the direction that matches the grain.

Sailboat on rustic potato kale pie

This is a sailboat on a rustic potato kale pie, for the beginning of another boating season.pie_kale.JPG

Previous Older Entries