How can I be lucky when I’m unlucky

Today we picked up our boat from Pittmans Marine in Tarpon Springs. As we’re slowly motoring out the channedl Al (awesome crew) said the bilge ran. Ok. Then a few minutes later the bilge ran again. Oh! Oh! I go and check. We had a new tides marine dripless seal installed. The yard hadn’t tightened the hose clamps enough on the dripless seal part such that it had slid back from the pressure of the water running to it to push it forward out of the hose. Well, no biggie, I hollered to Wendy to slow down and I slid it back on the hose and tightened the clamps. This issue was a little one and one not to bother us again today.

So….we motor the rest of the way out the channel. To back up a little I need to say that when we installed the Tides Dripless Stuffing box; on the advise of Admiral Propellor, we installed a water hose to the stuffing box. To get the water from the engine Pitman say’s the usually T it off something like “the oil heat exchanger” and Dave the yard manager found where to do that from. When taking the plug out of the heat exchanger they discovered that the welds were a little weak and there was some red bronze there and they recommended replacing it. OK. Whats a few hundred dollars more. So I had them replace it. All looked good.

Back to the story. While I had all this going on I felt that I should have the cooling system flushed. They put the boat in the water and flushed the cooling system. While flushing the cooling system the said the oil pressure alarm switch must be bad cause it wouldn’t shut off so they disconnected it. This should have been my first clue. Then they said that the oil pressure guage only read 20 lbs. There must be something wrong w/ that setup. Ok I thought, they bumped a wire or something. I told them it worked fine coming down.

Anyway…. they finished up we paid the bill. I check everything else out and all seemed fine. We picked her up this morning.

Outside the outer marker we shut the engine down and began to sail. Because time was getting tight I didn’t want to be outside Anclote Key with the screwy wx and having to push it we sailed up on the inside. I had gone into the engine room to check the pressure switch when were were about 5-10 minutes from shutting down the engine. The switch didn’t sound and there was no oil anywhere. So now while sailing I went into the engine room to reattach the wire. Oil was all over and about 2-3 quarts was in the engine pan! I yelled for Wendy and our friends who are sailors (Al and Barb ) took over topside.

I cleaned up some of the oil, found the dipstick for the transmission and put it back on. I thought the dipstick wasn’t put on all the way and had come off and let all the oil out. I checked the fluid level of the transmission and it was full. What the hell? I checked the fluid level of the main engine and it wasn’t registering on the dipstick. Oh shit!

I called a friend Captain Harry and he came out in his power boat and followed us up the channel aways and then towed us to our dock. Helped us get the boat berthed.

Finally I’m able to look at the plumbing to the new heat exchanger for the engine and transmission and it looks to me like the lines are crossed. This would answer why the oil was filling up in the transmission and I couldn’t get any oil pressure. I hope there wasn’t any damage to the engine, the oil doesn’t have the scortched scent nor did the engine get “hot”. But it really pisses me off.


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