|November 19, 2011 - March 16, 2012
|Saturday, November 19, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
There has been a box on board forever. It holds pieces I bought and otherwise collected for the electrical systems. It is now dead
and gone. I just emptied it, sorted and distributed to other storage systems the last fragments, and tossed the box.
Items on this list:
1. The engine room caps and the insulation, sound deadening and headliner material.
2. Aft storage caps and the Velcro supplies and headliner material.
3. Shower curtain and the bronze rod, curtain itself, and starboard stock to mount it.
4. Spice and condiment rack and the wood and trim pieces saved for it.
5. Mattress cover and all the material, bedding and blankets saved forever.
6. Shelf for movie, music and computer DVD and CD albums.
7. Magnetic latches for the 4 remaining cubby holes beside the bunk.
8. Relieve and adjust the two under-berth storage doors so the stop binding on the sole.
Add to this all the sanding, priming and painting needed to complete the interior appearance and there are plenty of projects
waiting to be done. I will not mention the sail work. See there how I didn't mention it.
|Sunday, November 20, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|It's beginning to look like today will be another rainy day. I've
been up since 4 AM and have already gotten as lot done. The
tools are all straightened up and stowed neatly away and easy to
get to, and I cleaned and emptied all the various trays I've been
using and made up the one large one as a work tray.
|Monday, November 21, 2011 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
I am much enjoying the boat and the work being accomplished.
I got the mainsail off the boom and will now find a way to get it
off the boat and flaked and folded, or something. I might be
able to start, or even finish, it here on board.
|Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
|The mainsail is flaked and folded and tied up in the cockpit. As a matter of expedience, I passed on sorting out all the lines just
now. Instead, I separated them into long lines, rigging lines and docklines and stowed them all in the 4 aft lockers, clearing the
cockpit of them all.
|Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
It rained pretty good last night and that tiny little leak at the mainmast cable penetration is beginning to draw my sincere
attention. I'll have to dig out all the old sealer and start over. Bundles of wires going into a hole are always a problem because the
little diamond shaped cavities between the round wires are hard to seal - and be sure they're sealed. The best way is to fill the
bundle with sealer before the single wires are fed through the penetration, then wrap the bundle tightly with monofilament or
Dacron fishing line. Either results in a single, round item to seal into the hole, making it much easier. Good luck trying to do that
against a mast after all the wires are run.
|I took some time last night to install a reading light over the bunk and a light in the head. I've had these low power fluorescent
units since Marathon. I love the colors. See how the yellow makes the rainy blue dawn in the porthole 'pop' like a bright color.
Sweet. The red in the head makes nighttime trips less painful on the eyes. I still have both blue and green bulbs and will - I'm
sure - find uses for them over the reefer and stove. A little at a time, things are coming along.
The sound system is working perfectly. Can't ask for more - except to finally get my AM/FM MP3 player installed. I think it will
happen once the desk cabinet is in. I am leaving a counter space on top of it to store the cockpit electronics and mount the radio.
|Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Here are a couple of shots of the
Ideal Windlass Watertrap I
added to the unit after gearbox
water destroyed the $700 motor
for me. The windlass has no seal
where the shaft exits the
gearbox below the gypsy and
capstan. I'm sure there is a
perfectly rational reason for this,
but I can't be bothered in trying
to figure it out. The windlass is a
fine piece of machinery I'm
grateful to own. Anyway, water
is inevitably going to get into the
sump, so I designed a quick and
dirty water trap and vent. The
vent is to prevent heat in the
gearbox from forcing gear oil
past the motor seal and ruining
Not cramped for space forward, I
left the hose on the water trap as
|long as the piece I had was, and the full length is 34 inches. All I
did was to put a pipe nipple into the drain plug hole, couple it to
a 5/8" hose barb and fit a small valve to drain off the water at
the bottom. It works excellent. The reason I'm mentioning this
now is because I have been draining the water every few days
since I got here. It started out with about 6 or 8 inches in the
hose. I drain it down until a bit of clean oil comes out, then wait
a few days for the wet dirty oil clinging to the inside of the hose
makes its way to the bottom. It is now completely clean. I'll
have to check the gearbox oil level later on.
The vent is another little tinker toy assembly of extra plumbing
pieces I had on hand. The coupling pointing upward is open and
serves as the vent - there is no mesh or screening or bronze
wool stuffed in the to make believe it's a filter of some sort. Any
bugs that venture inside will do less damage to the gears than
most filter materials.
To fill the gearbox, I just pull the plug to the right and force oil
|Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I pulled the old Dorade scoops off the boxes and checked the fit of the new scoops. They are just a touch too big, which may make
for an easy fit. I can tape a little sandpaper over the holesaw I used to make the holes and just nudge them out a tad for the new
screw in flanges. I will be modifying the bells a bit to get a 'locknut' effect when installing them, so they can be adjusted easily to
whatever direction I want without being able to unscrew and fall overboard.
|Thursday, December 1, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Saturday, December 17, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
One of the first things will be to complete the installation of the Dorade vent scoops. Next on the agenda will be the computer
desk clothing cabinet, and as soon as that's done, the installation of the AM/FM radio and the new cockpit speakers. The engine
room enclosure is still waiting, half done, and the finishing of the aft storage covers is on the list. I might as well make a list right
now so I'll have something to refer back to.
1.) Dorade Vents
2.) Desk Cabinet
3.) AM/FM Radio
4.) Cockpit Speakers
5.) Magnetic Cubbyhole Latches
6.) Finish forward area paint
7.) Sand, prime and paint main saloon structures
8.) Sand, prime and paint saloon sole
9.) Finish saloon table
10.) Make and install mattress cover
11.) Upholster pedestal chair
12.) Sand and finish jump seat
|Things are going good and I am becoming more and more committed to a departure for points South on the first of March or
April. I suppose April would make more sense. I want to have enough money to maybe get the first six of the 2 volt AGM
batteries. As soon as the power system is completed properly, there will be no power problems for 15 to 20 years. No genset or
wind generator needed. Water heater, reefer, water maker, etc., etc. You get the picture.
|Saturday, January 7, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
As I have done many times before, I chased down and priced the 2 volt AGM size 31 batteries again and priced them. Six will cost
me $1650, delivered. Three equivalent 8D's would cost $1941 from the same company. The 3 8D's would be MUCH more difficult
to move around, at 162 pounds each versus 69 pounds each, and won't allow me to fit more than 3 on board. Also, even if I did
the 'one battery for 'A' and two for 'B', paralleling 12 volt batteries severely impacts the life expectancy. One battery is always
faster than the other to both charge and discharge, causing the lagging battery to fail first and then drag the lead battery down
with it. This problem is why the solar industry has led to the expansion in availability for huge 2 volt cells - they are connected in
series and every cell always gets the same amount of charge or discharge, keeping them balanced and equal. I can fit 12 of the 2
volt cells below the cabin sole, right on top of the lead ballast in the keel. The weight is in a perfect location and a single battery
switch will allow switching from one bank of 6 cells to the other. The difference is, each battery is rated at 630 AH and will
provide all the power I will ever need.
As for the second set of solar panels, I'll wait until after I have the batteries installed and see how they do without the extra solar
panels, before considering installing them. What I really want to be able to do is anchor out or moor from now on, and not have
to tie to a dock to do what I want to. All I want to do is to be able to write and cruise and be reasonably comfortable.
|Saturday, January 14, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|I managed a good start on the locker yesterday and will be able to get more done today. Like everything else aboard, it is being
designed to fill a space and provide maximum internal space at the same time. This locker will house my shorts, long pants, T
shirts, and long sleeved shirts - all folded and packed in. On the forward end there will be a special electrical panel to
accommodate the bulky power devices for the printer, flatbed scanner, external hard drives and other computer peripherals.
|Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
It's beautiful outside and I have the boat opened up. The sun keeps coming and going, but rumor has it the temp will reach 70 by
this afternoon. I started the engine and it took a long time to bust off. Longer than ever before. I have a feeling the 4 glow plugs
are shot. They are about $10 each and are pretty easy to change, but I have some spares somewhere and will check them first. - - -
- - Okay, couldn't find the spares. Time to check the prices at the Auto Parts stores in town, then online.
The best price I found anywhere was at the Advance Auto up the street. $7.49 each. I ordered and paid for 4 of them at a total of
$32 and change. They will be ready to pick up any time after 2 PM tomorrow. I wonder what happened to my other ones? Once
again, Panama City rocks.
|Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Naturally, I suddenly remembered 3 boxes of stashed hardware and found 8 - that's right - 8 - good glow plugs. It also brought to
mind my installing 4 new ones a while back. Of course, I forget how far back, and they could still all be bad by now, so I'm not
sorry for getting the 4 new ones now. For only $32, they are worth having. Now, all I have to do is find a rational place to store
them so I don't get all Alzheimer's again next time I need one.
I will probably not buy the laptop until I am in Marathon and, depending upon my situation, will do whatever I'm going to do
with the batteries first. By being frugal, I can get the first set of batteries in either Cortez, or as soon as I get to Marathon, and the
second - if needed, soon after. I can then get a laptop or used netbook and be ready for the Bahamas. With some effort, I'll be all
set before the 1st of August. I just realized it might be considered a little late to head to the Bahamas, but there could be other
options, and my ability to live comfortably off the grid by them will double my ability to save money. I should also have several
books ready for printing. I have a new idea about getting them printed, but we'll see how things look down the road.
|Thursday, January 19, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|I started re-arranging the inside of the boat by clearing the
bunk - again - and promising myself - again - not to store folded
laundry and boat parts on it. Ever. We'll see how that goes.
|Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
I took a walk over to Panama Marine, a boating supply store
across from the LTN Grocery, and got the fasteners I needed to
finish the installation of the Dorade scoops. $1.55 for 8 screws.
I would not go there if I needed 100, but for eight of this or ten
of that, it's a good place. Oh, by the way, I forgot to write I'd
started work on the boat. I tore the boat apart again looking for
Teflon Tape for Young Ben and never found the stuff until long
after he'd left. When I returned to the boat, before stowing
everything again, I found the tools I needed to slightly open the
holes on the top of the Dorade boxes to receive the screw-on
bases for the new scoops. It went very quickly and easily as I
|The scoops are just resting on the boxes, posing. Yes, I know the boxes are long overdue a coat of varnish. I might do something
about that soon. It depends. We've been having waves of good weather and cold here. It might be a better job done later, farther
South, at anchor somewhere.
|Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Yesterday's clouds and sprinkles are gone this morning and the sun is out bright and strong. I should pullout some tools and get
these scoops finished up, first thing. I also want to open up the engine room and check to make sure the glow plug relay is
working. It's possible the whole problem is right there.
|The scoops are securely mounted and I can leave the varnish work for later. Below, I have opened up the engine room and done
some inspecting and troubleshooting. The solenoid for the glow plugs is fine. The glow plugs are fine. There is a major fuel leak
from the back - high pressure cap - section of the injection pump. This accounts for the hard starting and sheen created by the
bilge dryer pump. It also accounts for the excessive fuel consumption on the trip up here. This will have to be addressed prior to
|Other items I found in want of attention are:
The exhaust manifold was bubbling at the gasket. I snugged
those two nuts with the engine running, but will do the others
after it cools down.
The valve cover gasket is leaking both front and rear. When I
get to Marathon, I'll pull the engine out and reseal everything. I
hate leaky engines. I hate oil or grease in the bilge.
I'm considering getting a complete engine gasket kit - if possible
- and going through the engine top to bottom. The thing is, the
cost of the parts and the work don't balance. I can get another
excellent used engine for $200 to $400, depending on year and
rating. Why fuss over the internals of this one? They're fine. I
should treat the leaks and let it go at that. This engine is a 1981
(I think) making it already at least 31 years old. New gaskets are
called for, and that's all.
|I cut the second piece of wood for the clothes locker, then closed up the boat (it is guaranteed to rain if I do not) and went over to
the Nest. Espin was talking to an old friend and I stood around and joined in a bit. The guy thought I was too moderate in my
statements about politicians and thought I should 'tell them what I really think', but I'd already used my allotment of naughty
words for the day.
|The black handle with the red ring is a 'T' bar device to hold the
allen wrenches with when using the short end to turn the long
end. I will not be leaving these anywhere water can ruin them.
Of course, I can't be too hard on myself for the old tools that
rusted - most of them were 25 to 35 years old when I tossed
|Friday, January 27, 2012 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
I helped Espin with a little job and while he was here, I had him
fire up the motor while I watched the fuel system to see where
the leak was coming from. It looks to me like it was coming
right out of the top of the fuel shutoff solenoid on the back of
the injection pump. Both the part and other seals for the
injection pump are easily available online, but I just happen to
have a spare injection pump and have pulled the solenoid out of
|it. Before I go too far, I have to clean off the injection pump
once more and watch exactly where the fuel is leaking from.
I've already made 2 wrong guesses at the problem. Only one
cost me any money, but still, I can't afford much of that.
The small fitting with the white and yellow wires attached at
its top is the fuel solenoid. The nice clean area on the side of
the pump is the trail of leaking fuel. It looks to me like the fuel
is leaking from the solenoid itself. The thing is, it's a pain in
the ass to break loose. One more test before I try to do the
I took a ride with Espin to the outboard motor shop and Home
Depot, where I got the set of SAE allen wrenches. When I got
the first set, there was a big empty spot on the display and I
didn't know what went there. Today, the spot was filled - with a
single set including both the metric and standard sets - for
$1.76 less. I like the 2 sets better, because what else can I say?
|Monday, January 30, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
One way or another, I'll be changing out the solenoid on the injection pump today. It's haunting me. I have to know if this is the
fix or if I have to do more, something more requiring me to stay here longer. Like a new injection pump or a complete rebuild of
the one I have.
It's 10:30 AM. I've changed the fuel solenoid - no change in the leak. Much to my dismay. I can find nothing on the fuel pump
which is loose or definitely leaking, though something certainly is. I'm thinking about changing out the fuel pump. - - - I can't
change out this fuel pump. My spare has a frozen rotor.
|While doing more research online about repairing or replacing the entire pump, I found an injection pump repair kits for $19.90
(for the Bosch VE pump used on Volkwagens). Directly below the kit details was a photo and quick explanation "Every ten years
or so, the 'O' ring at the iron distribution block begins leaking and it can be changed without removing the injection pump from
the engine." Son of a gun, that looks like the exact item.
I called the local VW dealer and got some help from the parts department. They do not carry parts for the internals of the Bosch
components. Understandable. I went back to the 'Kit for $19.90 and ordered it. Next step was to open the frozen old pump and
see what goes on there. Powered rust came out of the pump, punctuating any lingering hope about its usability, and I could easily
see the big 'O' ring precisely where the pump is leaking. Funny think about opening up a device like this: the magic and voodoo
all vanish and it just becomes another mechanical pump with an exotic name.
Went to Boyette's Hardware with Volker and Espin and finally bought some cheap heavy duty rubber gloves. They're cloth dipped
in rubber and will serve the purpose well. All I need them for is to keep my hands dry and break the cold wind when sailing. The
last section of the trip here, from the North prong of Wetapo Creek to Laid Back Boat Yard, my hands were wet and so cold they
ached so much I had to keep swapping them and pocketing the cold one. No gloves on board except the salt water wet knit units.
|Thursday, February 2, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Now that the 'O' ring is on the way to fix the fuel leak, I have to get the foresail and Sailrite over to the Hawk's Nest to get the sail
fixed for the trip South. I will be lubing up all the tracks this time - raising and lowering the sails was a little sticky on the way up.
Okay, I almost couldn't get the foresail down.
|It was pretty dicey getting the Sailrite off the boat and safely onto the dock, but I did it. Getting the sail and two sewing accessory
boxes were much easier. I used the marinas garden cart to move them to the upstairs deck at the Hawk's Nest and when I
returned the cart John Fox cracked he thought I was stealing it. He's just wicked funny but I couldn't muster a giggle, snicker or
Bruce came by and opened the room upstairs. He helped me move a table into it and open up the sail. We stretched the leech and
sure enough, the leech tabling was too tight, not allowing the leech to flatten and get streamlined. First order of business was the
long task of stripping the leech tabling off by ripping three long zigzags. The picture above right is the tabling removal almost
complete. I had to take a break to rest my back. I took some shots of the work and Bruce took a couple of me. I also took a couple
of shots around the inside of the once sweet, now defunct, Hawk's Nest Restaurant.
|Friday, February 3, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I went over to the Hawk's Nest at 9 AM and Rick let me in to work on the sail. I took the last bit of the leech tabling off and
strung up the sail, stretched it out and stapled the leech tabling back on. It was 6 inches too short. I'd anticipated as much and
had a small piece of 8.4 ounce Dacron sailcloth with me. A piece of that was folded, crimped and stapled over the gap with ten
inches of overlap.
|Superbowl Sunday, February 5, 2012 - Laid
back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I will be getting more work done today, one way or another.
Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is the fuel pump,
But the sewing machine is out right now and the two aft storage
hatches could be finished. It would also be chance to use
materials I've dug out of storage for just this job and put them
away again. Either way, I'm going to tear up the boat a little and
get some work done.
First order of business was to start the laundry, then replace the
broken bolt on the storage hatch below the computer and
printer shelf. After that, I started working on the clothes locker,
beginning by laying out the hatches on the back side of the
locker face. I start these cuts by angling the sabre saw blade in
from behind, then cutting out the opening cleanly so I can use it
as the hatch. Less waste wood.
|Originally, I imagined installing each component separately
and building the unit in place. As I progress, however, I am
|With the locker installed, I added the doors, door stops and turn locks. They are identical to the turn lock I made for the center of
the electrical panel. In the second two pictures you can see the little power strip I was using for the low-voltage transformers
powering the external hard drives and flatbed scanner. In the second photo the wires are all removed. The forward end of the
locker is not yet closed off because I am still working out a solution for the little outlet and switch panel to accommodate the low
I think my reefer is about to die. It never shuts off. An hour ago I turned it down to the coldest temp, but just in that time the ice
in the trays has melted. A while ago, Rick told me the extra good 'look' it had to me was a condition customary to a system losing
its coolant. The system is leaking. Well, I will have to quickly eat up the food needing refrigeration and be content to have a big,
not cold food storage chest. Scott said he had a leak tester and would test it, but never did. I'm sure I can get it fixed some time
down the road. It only lasted for about six months since it was first filled and started, so it can't be a big leak. I just have no way
to fix it. Rick knows how, I'm pretty sure, but he has his hands full with his own work right now and I just don't need the reefer
enough to impose on him. I will use ice for a while and have plenty of money to get it fixed when I get back from the Bahamas. At
least I can talk to Rick about it and get some idea.
|Monday, February 6, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I got up at 7 AM and slowly got started doing stuff. Just for kicks, I turned the reefer back on and it seems to be working just fine.
I don't get it. Unless water got into the oil and a bit of ice clogged the coolant lines going to and from the evaporator. Still, if such
is the case, it might also indicate a leak of some sort and mean professional maintenance is required. The ice is already frozen
Another little project I've had lined up for a long time is the storage of my CD and DVD wallets. I finally labeled them this
morning and Made a special shelf/bookcase like unit to hold them.
|Another job done and another mess in the cabin. And I can finally find which wallet I want without opening 3 or 4 of them.
I opened the port side fuel tank locker and pulled out all the last of the sheet insulation I've been saving for the completion of the
engine room caps. The next thing was to find a good, clean, simple way to install the caps so they can be quickly opened when the
need arises. Naturally, either because I am a profound genius, or have a fleeting grasp of the obvious and it clicked in just in
time. It seems a single door bolt at bottom center does the job perfectly. And I just happened to have a couple hanging around.
|The caps have to be removed to make cutting the rigid insulation much easier, but they have to be back in place when the panels
are glued and screwed on. Next, the engine sound proofing goes on the inside and the rigid foam on the outside needs the screws
removed and the foam ground to a nice, slightly convex shape, then coated with epoxy and one layer of 6 or 10 ounce fiberglass
cloth. The last details will be an outer layer of the foam backed headliner material, primer and paint on the base plank, and some
sort trim to hide the staples around the headliner. And that's the end of another project.
|Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|The caps have the second coat of rigid foam applied and I gave the remainder of the material to Tug. Another little item long
waiting in the wings is the handle inside the hatch. This - I have known forever - makes the hatch much easier to deal with from
below, but also poses a threat to the top of my head. Anyway, I installed it because I thought I should before starting complaining
about 'moving it a million times' and never using it.
|up through the water trap until it dribbles out. Absolutely works for me.
|have a hole saw exactly the right size, and only had to chamfer the top of the holes a bit to allow the hole saw to start without
chattering and scarring the surface of the Ipe. After a touch of de-burring and a search for fasteners, I realized I'd need to go get
|building it in one piece with an easy method of installation.
|Friday, March 16, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Monday, March 12, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
The oil and coolant got topped up in the engine and I took some time to warm up the engine and drop the idle to a new low: 700
rpm. The engine has never run so good. The secrets of the mystical innards of an injection pump are now mine and I will exploit
them and make this engine my lackey. I only hope it translates to better economy and long life.
|Sunday, March 11, 2012 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
It is almost time for me to jump into the engine and get this
freshly rebuilt injection pump installed. I want to have supreme
confidence this time, but the injection pump is so complex I
can't be 100% sure I'm over the hump yet. I do know all the ins
and outs of taking it apart and putting it together, but I thought
I knew that last time and still made one mistake.
|The injection pump is now all re-assembled and ready to install.
I'll install the pump tomorrow and get the engine running ,
then start prepping the boat to leave. I fired up the autopilot
and depth sounder today and let them run for a couple of hours.
If the engine sorts out tomorrow, the sails go on soon.
|Saturday, March 10, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|The red pump goes back on the engine. The nasty one will be cleaned up and reassembled to keep for parts.
Having practised on the non-essential pump, I decided to go all the way on the good pump and take everything apart and go over
all of it. Below are the shots with the good pump blown apart like a house-fire yard sale and the empty shell of the pump looking
much lighter, which it is.
|March 9, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I have been up to my eyeballs in this - or should I say 'these' - injection pumps. I've completely disassemble the old, rusty one
(looking for clues as to the problem - which I found) and the one for the engine. The problem I discovered was a problem I did
not consider until I carefully examined the very fine spline joint on the throttle lever. I'd set the throttle lever wrong and the
RPM was set to 'below idle' and could not be advanced. And that is exactly what the engine has been doing, so I'm hopeful, once
more, the engine will be fixed this time.
|Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
The temps are climbing again and if I can't get this engine fired up today, it'll be time to pull the pump off the engine again and
open it up one more time. I've given the bleeding another try this morning without any success. I'll do it again a time or two -
hoping I'm actually getting some air out and making headway - before pulling the pump off again and starting another session
with it on the bench.
|Sunday, March 4, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Yesterday I spent the entire day moving files and watching TV as storms and rain washed over us all day. I started stripping out
my 1 TB external hard drive so I can load it with stuff to send Matt. The weather front has passed and today is sunny and cold. It's
time I got to work on the engine and sorted out the injection pump.
|West Marine called yesterday and told me my new 7 foot oars
The last stop was West Marine, where I picked up my new 7 foot
oars. I waited to see them before paying, as I've seen some of
the same make with large knots and other irregularities. I
wanted to be sure I had two perfect oars, and I do. Pictures will
be posted when the nasty storm front on top of us this morning
passes off the East.
Four of my recent projects are displayed in the two pictures
above. The last 5 gallons of diesel is still sitting in the yellow jug
tied to the little 2-wheeler, the refilled 10 pound propane tank is
ready the be the fitting horse for canvas sun covers for the pair,
the seven-foot oars are relaxing in the cockpit, and the new
Presto pressure cooker waits to see if the one Daren is bringing
back will work or not. If the gift PC works, I'll return the new
|Friday, March 2, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Thursday, March 1, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
It's foggy and a bit cooler this morning, but not at all bad. I will be getting together with Ben and we'll go and fill our propane
tanks, then sometime in the afternoon I'll be going with Barbara to get stuff for Espin from their storage locker and Boyette's
I went with Ben and got my propane tank filled for $7.86 - a bargain in my book - then waited for Barbara's call to help her find
things in Espin's storage. She called at 3:30 PM and cancelled, so I took the jug to Panama City Marina and got the last 5 gallons
|Just because I thought I should put this somewhere, I changed over to the second propane tank about a week ago and will be
going to get the empty refilled tomorrow morning. I started using the stove on the new propane sometime around the middle of
September, so I got about 5 months out of it.
|I have a scary feeling there could be a jump in prices at the
pump and want to get my fuel buying over with prior to such an
event. Once I get the full jug emptied into the starboard tank,
I'll start making trips to the Panama City Marina to finish this
job. I may need more than 4 additional jugs to complete the job
- I'm thinking at least 5 - and I may not truly 'top up' the tanks,
as the extra 5 gallons to do so will not make any significant
difference. It is obvious now my poor fuel mileage on the way
up to Panama City was at least partially due to the injection
pump fuel leak, which was spitting fuel overboard the entire
It is only 1 PM and I have already made the 4 trips to Panama
City Marina and retrieved 20 more gallons of fuel. All 4 were
$20.30 and 5.00 gallons. $223.18 and 55 gallons. I am pretty
sure that'll do, though I may be forced by mental disease to get
just one more jug, just to pin those fuel level floats to the top of
the tanks where they belong.
|Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Today is warm and sunny and beautiful. It is 11:30 AM and I have already made two trips to get fuel. This jug will top up the Port
tank, plus, and I'll begin on the Starboard tank. This should also be a good day to jump back into the engine.
Three more trips to the marina for diesel. This time, I finally got the significance of the tiny differences in cost: $20.26 = 4.99
gallons, and $20.30 = 5.00 gallons. Todays trips were $20.30, $20.30, and $20.26. So far, then, I've loaded 4.99, 5.00. 4.99, 5.00,
5.00, 5.00, and 4.99, for a total of 34.97 gallons. I enjoy precision, though my life may not reflect it. The injection pump requires
precision to work properly - a precision human is a very severe and tedious individual, with no link between precision and
success. Einstein, Hawking, Dostoevsky, Michelangelo and thousands of others illustrate as much. The work needs to be
precision - the worker, not so much.
|Monday, February 27, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
When I headed out to take a walk to the marina for more fuel, I ran into Daren and Ben and Ben gave me a ride over. When I got
that into the tank, I headed back over again for another 5 gallons. $20.26 and $20.30. Two more trips will top up the Port tank,
then I'll start topping up the Starboard tank.
|Sunday, February 26, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Yesterday I took a couple of walks. It was very cold, so I bundled up and started by heading over to the Panama City Marina with
the 5 gallon Diesel jug tied to my little 2-wheeler. Five gallons cost $20.26. I'll be making those trips daily - if possible - until
both Falcons fuel tanks are topped up. I'm thinking it should be 50 to 60 gallons. My use on the trip South should be
considerably less - if I no longer have an injection pump leak and can sail a bunch.
Before leaving Falcon, I'd emptied the diesel jug into the Port tank, so I headed back over to the marina and got another 5 gallons
- $20.30. These prices are not bad, really, as I remember paying almost this much when I filled up prior to heading to Marathon 2
years ago. I forget what I paid then, but it seems to me it was around $3.84 a gallon.
I found used Injection pumps on line for $100. I think I have to be fairly suspicious of their condition, but it's good to know they
are there, just in case.
|Thursday, February 23, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
Another rainy, though warmer, morning in the Bayou. A quick check of the Passage Weather site just revealed some nasty and
contrary wind and waves will be the situation for when I was originally hoping to make the crossing of the Gulf. It's just as well
I've delayed my departure by a month. There's no telling how long I might have had to wait for the high South-westerlies to ease
before I could expect a reasonable passage to Tarpon Springs.
I called the office yesterday and extended my stay here one more month, giving me 38 more days to sort out this injection
problem. I will conquer it. I will also begin taking morning walks to the fuel dock at the marina with my two-wheeler and a diesel
jug. Ten or eleven trips should top up both tanks and eliminate the stop at Apalachicola. The prices at Miller Marine down there
are said to be lower, but with the prices at the pump continuing to rise, if I get my fuel here, now, the difference should be
|make a special tool to get a couple of triangular bolts out, greatly simplifying the assembly process.
In the picture above, you can see the spare ignition switch I installed over the engine, making bleeding and engine testing
|I went with Rick to Boyette's Hardware and got the fuel line, a
gallon of Greased Lightning, 2 quarter inch hose barb splicers, a
pair of the cotton gloves, and a tall can of WD40.
Back at the boat, I changed the fuel filter - for the first time
since I built the boat (it only had 200 hours on it) - okay, now it
sounds like a lot - and both Racor cover 'O' rings. There was no
evidence anything was wrong, but I had the parts and used
them. I drained the water release and did not find the slightest
drop of water.
Checking all the fuel connections and the selector valve for
leaks, I found none - and no evidence anything had ever leaked
air into the system. It appears the single suspect remains the
obstinate injection pump. When I corrected the backwards
internal components, I mistakenly believed the pump would
self-bleed. It did not. It has to come off again. I will take the
time to replace more copper washers and 'O' rings. I will also
|Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Above left shows the governor block - with the control hole at the top - positioned with the shouldered side to the rear of the
pump. I had it toward the front, completely venting the pressure from the high pressure end of the pump. The last shot just
shows how the pump looks when halfway assembled. It's a crowded little bugger.
It will be re-installed today and I am highly confident my engine will be running better than ever. Then, I will do the dance of joy.
And relief. I am now completely comfortable with the internals of this component. I do, however, have to make at least one
special tool to make the maintenance easier. I will also print out the new injection pump tutorial and include it in my assembly
of engine manuals.
I can't wait to get this behind me so I can clean up the interior of Falcon and start some serious preparation for the crossing and
the trip South. The boat is so messed up I cannot get at the sink in the forward galley area. Of course, once I get the engine
satisfactorily squared away, It will take very little time to sort out the rest.
Time to tie this off for now and get to work. It's already 8:30 AM. And a little cool and rainy.
The engine has been trying very hard to start, but no deal. I am still having difficulty getting the air out of the pump. The
situation now might be with the in-line Racor filter/water separator. I'll change the filter and check everything for air leaks. It's
disappointing, and I'm thinking about delaying the departure another month, but I'm not upset and will just keep going. I have
been a little thwarted in completing a few other things I'd like to have done before leaving, so I can relax and finish those.
Another thing I just discovered is the prices at Marathon have gone up $25 a month. A small increase, but it means it's cheaper
here than there, so I don't gain anything by leaving early. Except warmer weather and the waiting line at Marathon.
|The first picture above shows the pump all apart with the pieces laid out like an IPB (Illustrated Parts Breakdown). The second
picture shows how the rocker plate with the little indexing pin (circled in green) has to be aligned. I had it opposite.
|Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Laid Back Boat
Club - Panama City, Florida
Just so you can see what I have been dealing with during this
|I pulled the injection pump off the engine again today and
began the process all over again. Doing the best I could with a
lack of manuals or knowledge, it all went back together and I
did what I could to bleed it. Unsatisfied and still skeptical of the
pumps willingness to end my misery and start the engine, I
once more went to the Internet and started searching, this time
landing on the perfect gold mine of information, descriptions
and full page color photos, carefully displaying a detailed, step
by step rebuild of the unit I am working on. I copied the entire
gem off line and went back at the pump. In less than an hour, it
was all back together and I now have a high degree of
confidence it is done correctly. Tomorrow I'll bleed it out and
re-install it, then work on starting the engine.
|Monday, February 20, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
|Sunday, February 12, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I got the pump all filled from all directions and pulled out the manual for the engine, looking up the correct timing marks and
aligning the components. I also found a 'Cold Start' lever on the engine that has been in the wrong position forever. It is
supposed to be on the 'Cold Start' position at all time except when using the special gauges and tools for timing the injection
pump. It advances the pump timing by 4 degrees for easy starting and good idle, then the function automatically returns to norm
timing at higher RPM's. The lever is hidden on the engine side of the injection pump and I just thought it was a mechanical stop
I will install the pump tomorrow and I hope this time to be able to bleed the system properly and get the engine fired up and
final prepped for the trip South.
|Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
It's cool this morning with gusty winds out of the Northwest. As soon as I could face it, I again went at the injection pump, trying
one thing after another to bleed out the high pressure. After working at it most of the day, I threw in the towel and realized I
would have to back out of the job by removing the pump from the engine and filling it with oil on the bench. I will take the
opportunity to carefully time the crank/cam/injection belt to be sure it is perfect.
|The first shot is of the injection pump back in place. There are timing adjustment slots surrounding the three locater bolts. I
always note where the unit is when removing it and put it back in the same spot. In the second shot, the alternator and mount
are back on and the injection pulley is installed. The next big step is timing the toothed belt and the crankshaft, overhead cam
and injection pump together. I have to be real careful about these settings now because the new pulleys (which I forgot to mark)
make it impossible to see the crankshaft alignment marks.
|Of course, I suppose it doesn't mean it is done right, but only time will tell. Naturally, with the glow plugs so easily available to
change, I swapped these out for the new ones. After checking the old ones out, I found they were all still fine.
I started installing the injection pump and putting the alternator and other parts of the engine together. I finished up this
morning and began trying to fill the pump with diesel and get the whole system bled out. I've never bled the injection pump itself
and am having a tough time trying to figure it out. One mistake I made was to open the fuel lines with low levels in the tanks.
The fuel lines instantly drained all the way back to the tanks and I had to borrow an oil change pump from Tug to refill the lines.
Now , with that much done, I still have to figure out how to get oil through the pump so I can continue bleeding the injector lines
and finish the job.
I will have to fashion a remote starter switch so I can bleed the injection pump myself and get the engine running without having
to bother Tug any more. He was over here for a while today as I struggled with the bleeding of the injection pump.
I went over to the Hawk's Nest and Rick offered me his remote starter switch so I wouldn't have to make one. Brad also said the
high pressure end of the pump had to be bled before I would get any further. I was planning on trying that next, but it was good
to hear him point right to it first thing. It gives me more hope this is the right path. As Rick pointed out, I still have 19 days left to
find the cure.
|Friday, February 10, 2012 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I started taking all the stuff off the side of the engine to get access enough to change the O ring, then went about pulling the aft
end of the injection pump back when I pulled the thing out just a tiny bit too far and suddenly springs pushed and parts fell and
it was like dropping a handful of marbles on an Italian tile floor.
Now I started the more serious task of prepping the engine rotation so I could remove the injection pump entirely from the
engine. With the crankshaft in the right position, I started removing things, including the alternator and alternator mount. The
last item to be removed had to be the big toothed belt pulley that drives the pump. No dice. I had nothing on board capable of
doing the job. I'd given all my old pullers away and could not budge the obstinate pulley.
Pulling the offending wheel took a lot more effort than I thought it should, but it finally popped and I was on my way. My first
try at reassembling the yard sale of tiny components resulted in a negative from the pump. I clamped the pump vertically to the
table and assembled it there. It went together quickly and easily.
|siege of the injection pump, I copied and optimized a few pictures from the instructional posting, using some to show the 2
pieces I'd installed 180 degrees out of position.
|The injection pump is installed on the engine with only the timing belt left to install. I decided to take a break to clean up a bit
and check things out here. I discovered a great way to bleed the pump before finishing the installation and I have to say I feel
very good about the process. I was able to easily bleed the entire pump without having to turn the engine over and get a full, clear
stream of fuel out each nozzle before installing the injector pipes.
I went back to the engine, timed it and fired it right up. That's right, that's what I said, fired that sucker right up. I am a diesel
fuel injection god! I whup injection pump ass! Actually, I creep up behind it and wear it down with relentless frowns and evil
eyes, but eventually, it gives up and starts working.
I will now get a new radiator cap as the one I have is leaking, then finalize the engine prep and button it up. Right now, I'm still
hungry and have to eat.