Monday, June 18, 2012

Nothing on a boat is ever easy

We had quite a rollercoaster weekend putting Horizon back together.

1. Saturday AM: Hydraulic steering reassembled and bled!  Leave it overnight for pressure test.
2. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
2a. Engine will not turn over.  Found that during steering pedestal work with hydraulic lines, wire pulled off switch.
3. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
3a. Engine started immediately and ran smoothly!
3b. Revs started dropping and eventually would not go above idle.  Must be fuel. Cogitated a while...
3c. Have not filled diesel tank so dipsticked it.  We still have 13" of fuel, maybe 30 gallons.
3d. Remembered I turned fuel off a couple months ago when we had a diesel leak.  Turned fuel on.
4. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
4a.  Engine cranked a while but finally started, ran smoothly, and ran in gear until temp stabilized at 170 degrees!
5. Sunday AM: Pressure and fluid levels held overnight but helm feels soft at stops and generally uncommitted to moving rudder.
5a. Bled through another 3/4 gallon of ATF until more foamy fluid and air bubbles were out of system.  Will leave until next weekend to verify pressure, fluid levels and steering stiffness holds before feeling sure enough of the system to take Horizon out.
6. Sunday PM: Dismantled A/C intake strainer system after only 3 weeks to clear out barnacles and weeds and replace chlorine tablet.  As difficult as it is to keep the marine water cooled system working, window units look more attractive every day.
7. Sunday PM: Our neighbor Rhonda helped us hacksaw a rusted shackle off the 60# CQR anchor we bought used a month ago then we made it ready on the chain rode.  Anchor is ready to go once I get the electric windlass wiring finished.  This week?

I don't think either of us realized how long Horizon had been disabled with the hydraulic steering system rebuild.  With all the initial leaks and bleeding of the system we ran through 5 Oilsorb bilge logs to clean up after the leaks from the old system.  And we probably used 20 Oilsorb mats during the bleeding processes for the new system.  Space is so tight there is little room to position buckets to catch spills so mats are the only way to keep the area under our bed oil and smell free.  One huge side effect of the cleaning process is the boat no longer has the mold growing medium of oil rich bilge water so she smells much less like a damp basement.  Now some occasional fabric softener should do the trick.

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