More Engine Troubleshooting

1/18 Friday, 73/52, sunny, winds light & variable - Last night, while trying to sleep, I got to thinking that we need to keep moving on resolving our engine overheat problem, and that starting with a vinegar flush in lieu of muriatic acid seemed like a good idea, if for no other reason than practice. More on that later.

After breakfast, I paid some bills and created a blog page. Dobbs bicycled out to the store and bought a jug of white vinegar. Our plan had been to heat the vinegar on the stove, run the engine for a bit to warm it up, and then pour the hot vinegar into the top of the sea strainer and let the water pump send it through the cooling system; then shut the engine down and let it “cook” for a bit. We’re going to replace the impeller anyway, so it can be sacrificial if need be. However, the engine refused to pump any water at all. Over and over, we’ve checked the intake strainer, the hoses, the impeller, the pump action, the thermostat, the siphon break, and Dobbs can blow air through the water jacket. Dobbs consulted with Brad again, and the most likely suspect at this time is the pump - even though it appears to be working, it must have wear from 30+ years of service that is keeping it from pumping forcefully enough. $380 dollars later, a new pump is on the way. Let it be the answer! We had no idea how good we have it with shipping to North East, MD, which typically runs 2-5 days. Here, ground shipping is around 10 days. It’s still our intention to flush the raw water cooling system, but now with vinegar and then Salt Away instead of muriatic acid. Dobbs poured vinegar in through the thermostat housing, letting it run back through to the pump (using gravity) and sit for 30 minutes. It flushed out some gunk, so Dobbs repeated this two more times. Then, just “to see”, we tried running the engine again, but still no cooling water pumped through.

I took it easy and spent a couple hours reading in the cockpit, basking in the sun. There was quite the talk this afternoon when the fire department, sheriff’s office, Fish & Wildlife, and a news crew descended on the marina. One of the anchored-out residents was found floating (dead) and the marina became the base of operations for recovery. They even strung up yellow police tape to isolate the dock and parking area where they were working. Apparently it takes hours to bring in a body, because they were still working when Murphy and I went for a walk at 3:30pm.

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We walked over the bridge and back - a good hour-long walk, and Murphy never slowed down. I’m glad for his fitness and convivial spirit.

That’s Merritt Island up ahead.  The varied green and brown hues of the scrub were highlighted beautifully in the afternoon sun, and seemed to stretch on for miles, but this photo doesn’t do justice to what my eyes could see.

That’s Merritt Island up ahead. The varied green and brown hues of the scrub were highlighted beautifully in the afternoon sun, and seemed to stretch on for miles, but this photo doesn’t do justice to what my eyes could see.

Dobbs and I had happy hour in the cockpit and then I made borscht and hot dogs for dinner. I’d no sooner started the borscht when a neighbor invited us up to tacos at the Friday night potluck. I didn’t have enough soup to share, and I didn’t want to hold it, so we waited until after dinner to walk up and join the gathering. We got in some socializing and even scheduled a basic rigging inspection, and Dobbs stayed to play ten-cent poker. Murphy and I are going to visit the grass and then call it a night.

I forgot to mention yesterday that, while I was sitting on a bench up by the bath house, a client from North East recognized me (I didn’t recognize him without his boat) and stopped to say hello. His Bruce Roberts’ Spray is on a mooring. I’ve seen it out there and thought how similar it was to the one I knew (his), never thinking it was his. Small world - again! It was good to talk with yet another familiar soul from home.