Apr 24-30, 2011 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Apr 24 - Wish I could show you the pictures! I will tomorrow night. Bottom line is we are tired and didn't get back to the hotel until 9:50 p.m. after dinner and a trip shopping at Wal Mart. Here is the story in short. Left Sat morning and drove through ton's of traffic. Long day and not enough miles. Left Sun morning and arrived today at 2:30 then found the boat by 3. Good part - Boat is still floating. Bad part - The "crew" that stayed on the boat a number of days an winterized left many things inside that shouldn't have been and bottom line is the inside of the boat needs some work. Deb is on the case. Engine. Still not running but already working through issues. Found a problem with the pre-heat buss, wire to the buss, nuts on the injector pump, nuts on the injectors and I've now eliminated the possible electrical problem and we are into the fuel delivery and engine. I've already checked the valves and have fine clearance along with fuel quality and delivery from the lift pump. We will continue to narrow the problem tomorrow morning due to some good advice from Bill in Clearwater who is one of my "go-to-people" when it gets over my head.

I'll have a complete update tomorrow late and we should be staying on the boat by tomorrow evening. So far, it is an adventure we will never forget!

 Apr 25 - We aren't on the boat yet but very, very close. However, we have a pretty big setback but you will have to wait for the "rest of the story."

Bob has an Aveo and that was the car we were taking up to Norfolk. He arrived at the prescribed time bringing eggs, frozen hash browns, yogurt, and we probably should have added Champaign but then again we did have to drive. After looking at the mound of tools, climbing gear for going up the mast, my wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, and of course a few clothes along with Jimmy Buffett - well Bob thought we might need a car top carrier. Instead, we took everything outside and with a couple of looks it became apparent we could get everything in.

We packed and the in the car we went for our great adventure.

 

Bob started out behind the wheel and that made sense because it did happen to be his car!

We had talked through the problem with his boat and based on what Bob was told then it sure appeared that the problem was more electrical than mechanical. Here were the symptoms - When you push the pre-heat the voltage goes to zero and that only started to happen after they were in Norfolk and started the engine, which ran just fine, and then let it set waiting for a tow to go through and break up the ice. When they tried to start it two hours later - NOTHING would make it start.

They ended up at a marina and a mechanic came by and after a bit was into the engine. He deduced that the injector pump was bad and needed to be rebuilt. Out came the pump and a number of days later it came back. In the mean time, the mechanic had checked/cleaned the fuel injectors and went through the filters replacing them again.

We went through all of this again in the car and Bob and I were convinced that the problem just had to be something the mechanic had overlooked which was an electrical problem based on what Bob had known about the engine.

 

We crossed the bridge for the Ocalosahatche River thinking that within a day we would have the engine running and then it would simply be an issue of cleaning up a bit, provisioning and then we would be off on the waterway heading south to the boat's new home.

Afterall, the engine only had 400 hours on it and the boat was a 2005 which makes it a very new boat in my perspective.

The issues of the engine were points of discussion for many more miles. I had taken my electrical schematic with me and by this time I had it memorized. The electrical current first passes through the 20 amp breaker then it goes through the key switch which provides power up to the preheat. The preheat button energizes the solenoid which provides power to the heaters and the fuel pump. After the appropriate amount of time you press the start switch which energizes the starter and with the rotation of the engine, the injectors squirt fuel in at the right time, the compression causes an explosion and the engine goes around with the exhaust heading out the back of the boat only to do it again, again, and again.

Only problem is there weren't any explosions going on.

We are heading north while there are still people heading south in the big wonderful R. V.'s that may want to consider parking for a period of time until the fuel prices head back down. Then again, we are in an Aveo and heading north where the tornado's are happening.

You see, diesels are really pretty simple and even I should be able to figure them out..... don't you think?

Here we were feeling pretty confident and driving up towards Orlando which we hoped would be pretty easy to get through.

Still, I was thinking about those simple little diesels. I just keep thinking that I know what I know and it is what I don't know that worries me. What did that mechanic miss and why was it that little 27 horsepower engine wouldn't start?

Ahh, the question of questions.

We encountered traffic, then traffic, then traffic, then more traffic. Our moving average was down to about 50 mph and we were going no-where fast. We decided that it was time for lunch and we weren't the only ones. These birds were having lunch too along with their "little one."

As I was compressing the food between my teeth I kept thinking that this engine should be fairly simple and I did know a few tricks. First there is the old spray some WD 40 into the intake and it should fire which is actually easier on the engine than starting fluid. There is also the trick of holding your hand up against the intake and see if you have suction which would indicate the rings are in fairly good shape pulling air into the intake.

You see, it just shouldn't be that hard.......

We stayed in someplace, somewhere along the way after traffic, traffic, and more traffic. We had been on the road for 11 hours and had only made 500 miles. To say the day was long was an understatement.

The next morning we enjoyed a good breakfast at the hotel and got underway in the fog. Immediately, we started seeing the signs for South of the Border. I had never heard of South of the Border so it became a must stop place - afterall, we were in for the adventure and you are getting drug along with us.

By the way, Jimmy Buffet was having a great ride with us. He kept flinching thinking we were going to drop him off but it never happened.

So we pulled in to what I understand is one of the top 10 most tacky tourist traps in the U.S. All I wanted to know was how can you make a living driving around to all of the tourist traps of the world and naming the top 10. Perhaps I've missed my calling because I think I could qualify for that job.

As it happens, you get off of the interstate on an exit ramp and in you go to a tourist trap that is painted up in a way that I'm just positive was designed to make you want to spend your money. You are probably thinking that if I spend some money here then they will paint this place so it isn't so tacky. Well, that thought didn't pay off. Much like the thought that this diesel will be easy to fix.

So pasted between tackiness comes the work I accomplished today. Well, I guess all I really did was bug a bunch of people and go well beyond my expertise on an engine. Here is where I left off previously. We had eliminated the electrical as a problem. Yes, I found some issues that might have been a problem in the winter but not this time of year. The engine should start. The fuel flow proved the filters were fine, the pump was fine, and we simply did not have a fuel supply problem. I bled the injector lines and was getting little squirts up through the slightly loosened nuts before tightening them up totally. Spraying WD 40 into the injector made it cough once and we were feeling pretty good that we were on a track all-be-it not the right one or it would be running. Next came the call from Bill in Clearwater who along with his boat partner suggested we hold a rag soaked in gas up near the intake. Well, that sounded like an explosion ready to happen so before I got out the gas - out came the fire extinguisher. We didn't get squat for a fire in or out of the engine. Things just weren't looking very far up at this point. Holding my palm up against the intake, I could feel the suction when the piston was going down trying to draw air into the cylinders. Something should be happening! I even resorted to calling the mechanic that helped me so much in Hilton Head. He said it sounded like I was on the right track but he had never had to perform the injector timing procedure on a 30B-3. We had decisions to make but before calling in a local Westerbeke "expert" I went one more step which was to check the timing of the fuel injector pump which isn't hard but is a fairly non-preformed process. Overall, it is pretty cool. You pull the injector line off of the first injector and off of the pump. Remove the screw that holds the locking washer from moving around the number one injector body housing and remove the screw and locking ring. Then remove the housing and pull the spring, very carefully, out of the pump. Make sure that little spring thing left in the injector stays in the center or your housing won't screw back on correctly to the bottom. Next you reattach the injector line to the pump but not to the injector. Hold a baggie under the outlet of the injector line, turn on the key and preheat button and rotate the crank around until the fuel flow coming out of the number one injector line quits flowing. Then you have to see if the marks on the pulley line up with the indicator on the block. It should be at 19 degrees before top dead center. This is not the easiest thing to see and you will need a great flashlight and small mirror. I thought I could see it at 17 and 1/2 degrees. The book says it must be within point 5 degrees. I did the procedure 3 times and came up with the same thing each time. Next I decided I would give it a try and pull off the fuel injector pump and remove some of the shims. 1 mm is supposed to be 1 degree so if I could find 1.5 mm then it should be right. I pulled the intake, took off the fuel return rail, pulled the four bolts for the injector pump and then remembered that the reason this little sucker wouldn't slip out was there was an attachment to the bottom of the pump with a clip and I had NO IDEA how to remove that clip. I now had to simply admit I was "OVER MY HEAD" and I wasn't about to screw up this engine and even worse I wasn't going to condemn the engine should I get the timing right and it wouldn't start even then. I still had gas fumes in my head wondering why they wouldn't blow up inside the engine but would run the Honda Generator. Time to call in the Big Gun's and with a recommendation from Engines One we were making calls to a person who they recommended highly.

By now it was 5 and we and accomplished about nothing. Really we had accomplished something but the engine wasn't running so what can you say. Put everything back together and switch from engine mechanic to boat prep. Remember that crew? Well, who knows what happened but we have water in both hulls almost to the floor boards. We have some oil in the water on the port side and everything needs to be cleaned up. That is what we shift to tomorrow. Bob picked up an window A/C today which we will be able to use while at the dock and also at anchor once we get south and back into the high humidity of Florida. We already have most of the supplies we need to clean everything up and the refrigerator is running so we can quit spending so much money and start hanging out on the boat beginning tomorrow.

Stay tuned because whatever happens, everyone will get to learn something from this adventure.

  Apr 27 - Let's put today into perspective. Yesterday we went to the Moose Club for lunch. Why? Well, we happened to join the Moose Lodge while in Ft. Myers with the idea that we can meet some people. The benefit is that when you go other places, you can drop by that Moose Lodge and get welcomed as if you are at home. So, after going to West Marine to pick up some oil booms to pick up some oil in compartments where it shouldn't be, we had lunch at the Moose Lodge. We were lamenting the fact that the "Big Gun" wasn't available until Friday or Saturday at the earliest. While there, a guy said he knew a big wig at Western Diesel but just couldn't remember his name although he did have his number in his cell phone. He called the guy and sure enough the guy called us back about the engine. Western Diesel is a very respected place so that sounded pretty good and they could get a guy out the next day which was this morning. At 8:10 a guy called and wanted Bob's credit card number. Bob gave it to him and we were heading down what we thought would be the last road before either getting it fixed or condemning the engine. There was supposed to be a guy at the entrance in 45 minutes. At 9:30, (we are talking about 1 hour and 20 min) Bob gave them a call and found out they had sent "our guy" to another call. Can you guess what happened next? You are right - they got cancelled in less than a heart beat. Here's to the guy at the Moose Lodge that lead us down a street to a place that wasn't even Western Diesel....... No, it was some hole in the wall that must have been taking bids on who would pay the most for services. I think it must have been one of the over-seas call centers that was sending mechanics out to the highest bidder. No more Moose Lodge recommendations from a name dropping Captain who knows everyone but forgot their name.

Bob came back and we decided to go back into mechanic mode and try squirting oil into the cylinders as was suggested by a Westerbeke guy. We tried that and in the process, I came up with a really cool discovery. When you pull the glow plugs and crank the engine, you can see the mist of the injectors squirting out the glow plug holes. COOL, that means we have a complete fuel delivery system and it is something I will never forget!!!! Something you should remember too because nobody has every told me this nor have I read it but then again, I probably never read the right books anyway.With the optimism of an Optimist, we tried it again. No luck. This is starting to get old and we are planning our trip back.

We called the "big gun" again who has now given us a referral to someone else along with the tip that we may not have added enough Lucas Oil to the cylinders. He said squirt oil into each cylinder and the crank it over. Then add another squirt and crank it. Finally, add another squirt then put the glow plugs back in and give it a shot. (I'm beginning to think that there may a definition for squirt and shot in a diesel technical manual or perhaps it may be this is a relative set of terms based on engine size.) If it sounds like it might be getting ready to start, then you are on the right track. He went on to say that is how he got a Northern Lights Generator going after it sat idle for over a year and wouldn't start. Ok, we are stealing his secrets and tomorrow morning we are going to give it a try. If that doesn't work, then we are calling his guy that he referred us to and hopefully he can come out tomorrow afternoon. Bottom line is that we are about to hang it up and Bob is looking at getting a long block installed while we return to Florida finishing up our house only to turn around again as soon as the engine is finished to come back up and get the boat. The good news is that we've spent 3 days getting the boat ready to go and it's getting in ship shape. We will only need a day when we get back to get provisioned and ready to get underway. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Not me!

 Apr 30 - Stuck inside of Wal-Mart with the tire blow out blues. Once again, I'm way in front of the story. Let's get back to the story and why we are on the road to Florida with a blow out.

We left you with the idea that we were going to bring in another "big gun." This time, the guy - Mike, gave us some more advice since the Lucas Oil in the Cylinders didn't work. We had one more thing to do and that amounted to buying a compression tester and checking the compression in all the cylinders. This was something we wanted to do earlier in the week but weren't able to find a tester and we decided to bring in someone to do the work. We wanted him to to this test as soon as he arrived but he's the guy that went someplace else. Well, we went to NAPA and ordered a diesel compression tester and even took the glow plugs with us so we would have a match on the threads. Of course it takes a day to get there but it was a kit and the guy said - the adapter "will fit." Finally something going our way. Next morning I was there at 7:30 picked up the kit. Took it to the boat and you already guessed it - the adapters didn't fit! We ended up talking to Mike again and we knew he had the right adapter but it was in storage. He will do the test before pulling things apart. He believes it may be either the valves or a head gasket. He came out to the boat with us and believe it or not did scratch his head and say he didn't know why it wouldn't fire if indeed the previous mechanics said it had compression. (They did tell Bob they tested it and it had enough compression but we aren't believing much of what they told us.) This firing thing is really simple because it fires off of compression. If there was compression then it would have fired with WD 40 and especially with the rag of gas I held up to the intake. Back to basics but school is out because we don't have the chaulk to write on the board. You do need the right tools and it makes me mad when you can't even buy them!

 

You can see a glow plug to the left which showed a ton of oil on it from all the Lucas Oil we had put into the cylinders. Really not a bunch but about an ounce in each. If rings would have been a problem, the engine would have fired off so it really does have to be head gasket or valves or an act of the "you aren't going to sea Diesel God.". We left it with Mike that he should/could do the compression test and then pull the head which makes it easier to pull the engine anyway. If that isn't it, then a long block is going in so this will simply go away and Bob doesn't waste any more money on diagnosis. He probably could have bought the long block by now anyway so it's time to just get on with it.

With the engine issues settled at least from our ability to advance anything, the only thing left to do was to check out the oil in the drive leg. That was the only system I had not examined. When I dropped the leg - the boot cracked. Ok, I'm not joking here. Immediately we called for an oil absorption towel which was handy along with a garbage bag. I needed to put a tourniquet on the boot and pronto.

You can see the garbage bag in the picture along with the oil towel doing it's job. Life wasn't good yet but at least it wasn't falling apart anymore. I was at the point of looking at things positively and figured that thank goodness I dropped that leg before we left. Otherwise we would have had this problem when we came back and were ready to get underway. When we return it will be a great trip so everything that is going to go wrong had better happen right now. Did I tell you about filling the starboard hull up with water? Yep, a hose had been pushed off by either freezing or someone using the foot pump without having a faucet on. When we filled the water tanks and turned on the pump, the pump ran while I traced things and water ended up in that starboard hull. Good news is the hull is clean now...... That got fixed too. Back to the drive.

We arranged to have it hauled the next morning so our departure time was set back a few hours. I ended up helping the mechanic pull the leg and replace the boot. In addition, we had picked up synthetic hypoid for the drive leg so it is now very well taken care of. Rotating the prop through felt good on the gears so it is ready to go once we top off fluids when we return.

We also took the opportunity to clean things up a bit. You can see how the towel looks doing it's job. Thankfully the oil that escaped into the water was minimal since we caught the problem so fast.

In the yard was another boat with a real history. The USS Sequoia. At one point it was the presidential yacht. It was out of the water having the bottom reworked which included replacing a number of planks. I had asked how long it was on the rail and one of the "rail guys" told me it had been there since January. I'll bet their yard bill is greater than our yard bill!

 

With all the activity starting to wind down, I also got a picture of this beautiful newer boat. It was built in 2001 and I stepped it off as 42 feet. Lots of wood to varnish but it was a nice boat. One of the things I really liked about it was the palm tree that was probably laser etched into the bronze stem. A touch of class on a classy boat.
Great lines and seating areas. The only thing that made me wonder a bit was that wooden dinghy on top Made me thing about the stability of the vessel putting that weight up so high and I didn't see a way of launching the boat either. I guess they just toss it off but getting it back up has to be a challenge.

We left yesterday at about 11:30 a.m. and made some pretty good progress knocking 360 miles off before stopping by 6 which is a Deb thing. This morning we were off at 7:20 and starting to make some good miles when we pulled off to get gas. When we walked out of the store we noticed the front right tire was flat. Marvelous, we are using up every bit of junky luck on this trip. The next one will be fabulous. A split in the sidewall and who knows why we didn't feel something weird on the highway.

It ended up that the closest tire place was Wal-Mart and that was 5 miles away. On goes the "donut" tire and we are off to Wal-Mart.

People were stopping by to meet Jimmy Buffett. Who wouldn't? Afterall, Jimmy is a celebrity - right! Just Goggle him and you will see. Of course there's also our Jimmy Buffett who isn't the number one hit on Goggle yet but who knows.

An hour later we have a new tire and we get to re-pack the trunk. Right now we are about half way through Georgia and 365 miles from our house. Who knows what will happen next but if it is something bad, I hope it happens on this trip. The next one will just be fantastic. You know, percentages and all.

Deb and I are looking forward to getting all the details taken care of to finish up our permits on the house. That won't mean it is 100 percent done but it will be standing tall before we take off again and all the permits will be closed out. For everyone wanting to follow along on the trip, we will probably be leaving around the mid 20's or about the 24th of May. That is if everything goes well with the house and the engine on Bob's boat. We can still get his boat back before hurricane season gets going.

   
   
   
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