Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A Horror Week

Hi everyone,
On Sunday we sailed over to Woods Inlet for another few days of R&R.  By then I was coming down with a bad cold (which has turned out to be some sort of flu).   Getting sick turned out to be the least of our worries...

On Monday I fitted a new fuel lift pump to the engine.  This was the last major spare part of the set I bought to fit before departure - the others being starter motor, raw water pump and mixing elbow.  The elbow was fitted by Shipstores as described in an earlier post.

After fitting the new pump I turned over the engine with the cylinders "decompressed" and all appeared fine and the pump was pumping fuel.  I bled the fuel system to the high pressure pump, then reset the decompression levers and went on deck to start the motor.  When I engaged the starter motor there was a very nasty clunk.  Not good.  I went below and discovered water was leaking from the engine case.  Very, very bad.

I removed the fuel lift pump and found its cam-following lever was bent.  Only then did I compare the lever with that on the old pump and found the two did not match.  Mea Culpa, although you'd hope to be provided with the correct parts by an authorised parts dealer (the parts came from a dealer in Sydney).  The morals of the story appear to be:
  • never assume a spare part is the correct spare part - examine every aspect in detail; and
  • never work on engines while sick!
The engine was fitted by the original owners in 1991 so it has done very well.  The local mechanic who worked on the engine here in Darwin estimated it has done over 4000 hours.  I still can't believe I killed our engine, but on the other hand we have been half-expecting to have to replace it at any time.  That time appears to have come.  It will be good to have a new engine when we head overseas.

Yesterday I called Darwin Shipstores and arranged for them to take a look at the engine as soon as we returned from Woods Inlet.  We sailed back this afternoon without incident, although the wind was light and the current strong as we came to anchor off Cullen Bay.  Hopefully the engine will be looked at tomorrow and if it is really beyond economic repair we'll get a new one on the way ASAP.

All this means there is little hope of our making the start line for Sail Timor Leste.  Hopefully we can make the start line for Sail Indonesia.  If not we'll just catch up with everyone somewhere in SE Asia!

Always look on the bright side of life!  ;)


  1. Oh Mike
    what a pain - they are such good little motors those Yannmars - although the hours were getting on you can do without that headache.
    I think you're right on the clouded judgement - usually I do something stupid after a few beers.
    A little thought
    Yanmar now have a inbuilt generator module - essentially a four inch slice of engine that goes between engine and gearbox - pretty smart idea - although in all likelihood you will have your power fully sorted
    take good care

  2. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for the comment. The local mechanic has got the engine running. Will run the engine long and hard over the weekend seeking to prove there is no water getting into the oil. Recent runs promising, despite some water being found in the oil after the engine was first run again.

    May be we'll make it to the Sail Timor Leste start after all!