Posts Tagged ‘Aqualift’

So Dumb

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I generally pride myself on having a wee bit of intelligence. That coupled with being goal oriented and  slightly obsessive / compulsive in a few things (not counting spelling) has helped to keep  us out cruising.

However yesterday I came upon a bit of a shock.  Any long term blog reader may well remember that in Panama we spent a lot of time and money repairing our generator. We were not entirely successful in a perfect repair but ironically the generator we worked on is still plugging away.

When we had returned from our sojourns to the states, Guatemala, and Peru we set about to ready the boat for the Pacific. One thing I had replaced was the Aqualift muffler. After discovering that

Correct Operating Orientation for an AquaLift

Correct Operating Orientation for an AquaLift

the generator needed more care than I could give it; Greg at ShelterBay was called in to help.

Here my memory gets a bit foggy. I don’t think we (Greg or I) ever removed the muffler although I know we disconnected the hoses going to it. After the semi success (we never were able to get one of the head bolts to torque down all the way) I remember feeling that the generator was taking a bit longer to fire up. I chalked that up to maybe the compression was a wee bit off because I couldn’t get all the head bolts torqued properly or who knows what. I know mechanics will say

Aqualift Correctly Oriented

Aqualift Correctly Oriented

there is nothing magical about diesels but for me there always seems to be little differences and if they aren’t magical there is something else that effects their personalities and I don’t know what it is.

Fast forward to now.  One of the issues we’ve had in playing with the system is that we need to manually turn on the regulator. I don’t want it coming on with the key switch and pulling full power before the generator has warmed up. So we run the Kubota for about 3 minutes then at full rpm’s I or W/ switches on the regulator.  (I have ordered the temp switch to do this automatically but will not be able to install them until we pick it up in American Samoa). This entails daily going into the engine room and flipping the switch. Yes I could have installed it somewhere else but when I received the new temp switches all my time would have been wasted. Four times a day W/ or I enter the engine room and turn the regulator off or on.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I was going into the engine room to flip the switch on and looked at the Aqualift muffler; really looked at it, and found that the hose running out of the boat is connected to the port on the muffler that indicates “IN”.  Shit!  We shut down the generator and I began the task of turning the aqua lift around.

An hour later we were finished.  Although the exact task took about 15 minutes, on a boat nothing is easy.  We had to get all the tools out and there is nothing like a shop on a boat. In one locker we have all our nuts and bolts. In another locker we have the most used tools and then in a third locker we have sets of wrenches.  Basically two out of the 3 lockers were emptied and sitting on the floor and berths of the boat. I was in the engine room asking W/ for this tool and that. I removed the hose clamps and even replaced one that was giving me some concern. Once the hoses were removed I removed the shelf, dropped the muffler down, emptied the water out of it, reversed it and connected it back up. I had wondered  why the muffler seemed extra full of water lately. Now I know why. I suspect that the extra water added more back pressure to the engine exhaust and now I hoped that the little generator would start easier. Once reversed I slid the muffler back on the hoses, put the shelf back on, and tightened up the hose clamps. Finally I replaced any of the wire ties I had had to remove to have easy access to the various parts.  Start ‘er up!

Viola!  She seemed to start easier. Was it my imagination?  W/ confirmed that the start time appeared less but we will see after a few more starts if she continues to start as easy.  And as I’m writing this a day after I found the mistake and corrected it, yep W/ and I believe she’s taking about half the normal start time to fire up.  It’s nice when something actually works out.

Go Slow
Sail Far
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