Ready to Go – Oh N0!

We’re ready. Well almost. We’ve loaded up on the stuff we need. We have a schedule to pick up fuel. W/ and I are going with the group to get the last of the fresh vegetables.

But for some quirk of fate I was in the engine room looking for a new sound W/ and I heard while running the generator, to check and see if there was something amiss on the alternator, HP water pump or the refrigeration compressor as well as the Kubota.  I turned over the Kubota with the hand crank.  Seems to me like there isn’t as much compression anymore. This is just not good.

But; the little Kubota has been running, it has run the water maker  and it has run the refrigeration compressor and kept the batteries charged up. Guess it’s ok.

The following day about 2 days prior to our heading S. we run the generator again. Charging the batteries; good, running the refrigeration compressor, fine. We shut down the refrigeration compressor and turn on the water maker. Check the quality of water

Kubota EA300

Kubota EA300

and begin to fill our center tank. Fantastic. Must be my imagination.

About 5 minutes into the 2nd hours run the generator stalls out. SHIT!  We turn off the HP pump and I restart the generator. She starts back up and I let it cool down properly then we shut the whole thing down again.

Now we have to go to Plan B or could it be C or G or M or P.  We decide that to head across the Pacific with this demon over our shoulder is not something we want to do. I send out queries to purchase a new motor. We’ll have to have it brought into Panama and I’ll replace the motor. I just don’t trust what we have anymore and trust is important when you are all alone on a HUGE ocean.

Thinking about the Kubota all day I figure I can’t now do any wrong. When back at the boat and the engine is cool I begin checking things. I check the oil, no water in it, I check the coolant level, no change, I take off the valve cover. Might as well check the head bolts as that would be the main place to lose compression. I didn’t believe there would be loss of air out besides the piston as we have a new piston and new rings. 5 of the 6 head bolts are fine. The 6th was suspect when we did the rebuild if one remembers my past blogs.  We had drilled it out 2 times and used Certs but even the second time it wouldn’t hold and there just isn’t enough meat on the Al block to drill it out farther.  While I have the valve cover off I check the gap in the valves. Wow!  It’s only about 3 thousands for each one. The specs say the gap should be 6-7 thousandths. So I re gap them and then close it all up. Once put back on I turn the crank over and … humph, we have much better compression!

That evening we run the generator for an hour and all appears well. Sweet. But we still choose to replace it. We could maybe nurse it and if we were in the middle of the Pacific we would. But right now, now we have the opportunity to replace it and start over with a new one, with a new warranty (for what good it will do) and then head across with everything working top notch.

A few days later I try again to run the water maker. We make about 20 gallons and then the generator begins to lug and slows down ready to stall out. Maybe I don’t have the valves exactly right. I might still be a bit tight on them. I’ll see. That evening and the following day I run the little Kubota again, charges fine, runs the compressor fine and I shut it down. Keep nursing it along till the new one arrives. An old saying in mechanical circles is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”.  We’ll it’s broke, but it’s also working. I won’t screw with it much more.

And my new saying is “If it’s broke, replace it”!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


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