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Date: 5 June 2014. Bearing Bad News.

Priority Insertion because I could use some assistance about now!

(Be sure to read the Addendum and Comments sections. Thanks. J.)

Alas, the latest engine news regarding Seaweed is about as bad as you can get: it's most probable my bearings are blown, and that means the engine has to come out to repair same. I'm disappointed, and picking up the pieces of my shattered heart. Perhaps not quite that dramatic, but this is a serious blow.
 

Diagnosing a Bad Bearing:

 

I've been having a cascade of small issues. First, an intermittent oil ooze -- not enough to be called a leak and generally happening after shutdown but nonetheless, not fun to clean up.  Thank goodness for diapers*.

*Diapers are these miracle paper rectangles that absorb oil and fuel spills but not water. They are cool as heck, and prevent discharging oil over the side. That's illegal, but more importantly: it's just not a nice thing to do to the fishes.

Then I had an overheat issue (that article is upcoming -- everything's discombobulated at present!) and was towed back into Steinhatchee. In the meantime I've tried every suggestion offered and gradually the engine was turning over slower and slower.

Some of the suggestions tested:

  1. Checked all cables to insure power is getting where it belongs (including ground wires)

  2. Verified there is plenty of power and tried starting when batts at 13.4 with 10+ amps incoming via solar panels

  3. Confirmed belts are tight, but not too tight

  4. Filled water hoses

  5. Checked impeller

  6. Cleared 1/2" of muscles out of Perko raw water filter (not an issue/cause)

  7. Verified water would flow through system

  8. Found a helicoil at the aft end of the manifold that was not well seated -- temporary fixed (still leaks, but won't effect engine start-up)

Finally, it was suggested that I remove the belts from the starter/generator and make sure it was turning at speed. Have you ever wished something was a $500 problem?!?  Yes, that was me: hoping the issue was going to be the replacement of the start/gen. Alas, that was not to be.

My tachometer read 3200rpm, and that's appropriate. So, the tentative diagnosis is a blown bearing. And that's serious as all get-out.

Fortunately I'm less than 70 miles from Carrabelle, where my mechanics have their business. Still, to get Seaweed there is either going to take a tow or a trailer ride, and trailers are $$$.  Okay, $450 is the best price found -- and that's 1.5 months of my income. Ouch.

A friend asked me if this would put me off boating, and I had to tell him "NO!!!"  Everyone has disappointments and not everything goes as planned. That's the nature of life. Seaweed is my home, and I love her.  Robert however (the engine) is as I wrote once before a recalcitrant child.

On the other hand, we'd intended to paint the engine (white, so any fluid leaks will be easy to locate) and that wasn't done prior to my departure. This time it will be, before the engine goes back into Seaweed.

Carrabelle is less than seventy miles from Steinhatchee.

In the meantime, I'm safely anchored in Steinhatchee and checking with locals to see if anyone is planning to cross the Gulf, and willing to tow Seaweed across with them. Once I'm over there (Carrabelle area) then I'll pick up the pieces and again get my home mobile.

If you know of anyone able to help move my Seaweed, please let me know.

This time the motor removal and replacement should be far quicker -- the new engine beds are in place and it "ought to be" easier.  I surely hope so.

Wish me luck!
 

Addendum. 12 July 2014. I've had a lot of advice and help in trying various means of identifying the problem and coming up with solutions. Thank you to both Ron and Will for the mechanical advice, and to Pam for the good wishes. Please read the Comments section below for full details.

 

Alas, the weather window we had has collapsed. I will be having Seaweed hauled back on a trailer to Carrabelle for the next stage of the Get-This-Engine-Up-And-Running this coming week.

All the suggestions as outlined in the Comments section have been of use and helpful. I've learned more about what the issues are, and are not. Oft times knowing something is not a problem is as valuable as knowing the reverse.

The key is that this engine is not ruined: it is fixable.
Seaweed once again can be all she was before the bearing went bad.

She's a boat. Stuff goes wrong and we fix it. Of course there is a level of disappointment as I'd really wanted to get to the Keys and visit the place where I spent time with Son. I'll get there but not this summer and that makes me sad.

 

Still, there is time and a bit of rough weather is to be expected in life. Pam shared with me this newest addition to my Aphorisms file:

Iím an idealist, I donít know where Iím going, but Iím on my way. Carl Sanburg.

 


I'd could use some words of encouragement about now.
And, has anyone else had a bearing issue with a diesel? How did it turn out?

COMMENTS:
 

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