Category Archives: maintenance

the blue seat.

Trouble shooting the Johnson 9.9
Nice blue seat…

Our dinghy is a hand-me-down inflatable. It’s a bit too big, crowding the dinghy dock and it’s showing it’s age, but the price was right and it has served us well for the last 5 years.

The dinghy came with a bright blue seat, the kind Canadian Tire sells for fishing boats. Because the drain plug doesn’t drain, the seat is often an island in a floating sea of rainwater, a refuge from water, sand and slime.

The blue seat is awkward height for an adult to sit on. It’s only a few inches off the floor, but it is the perfect for height and size for the girls. They sit side by side because, well it’s the only seat on the boat.

The blue seat kept them low, stationary and safe. It was unbeknownst to me their spot. I only discovered the last aspect when I casually mentioned to the girls that we will have a new dinghy next season and was met with cries of  “you can’t get rid of the blue seat, our seat”!

Continue reading the blue seat.

Inverter repair – xantrex xpower 1000

cooked mosfet
cooked mosfets

This summer I fried the old Xantrex xpower 1000 inverter. I can’t remember if it was the blender the did it….  This is a 2007 square wave inverter and I think the “digital” speed controller on the blender did a number on the inverter as well as frying the blender. I should upgrade to a pure sign wave to keep my electronics safe. but it will be nice to have a backup inverter to the older Xantrex onboard.

Continue reading Inverter repair – xantrex xpower 1000

Crispy, Hard and Smoking.

IMG_0331We had just left Kingston Marina and were motoring east past the scenic Kingston waterfront to begin the trip back to Toronto.  I headed down into the boat for some reason (stereo? chart? sunglasses?) when I heard a very faint high-pitched whine for a couple of seconds. I dismissed the noise but immediately began to smell something burning.

As every sailor soon learns,  ignore unusual sounds, smells, or vibrations on a boat at your peril. If the noise didn’t trigger a response in me,  the smell certainly got me busy.

I lifted the step and peeked into the engine compartment and didn’t see anything amiss – no flames, no billowing smoke. I took a second look and realized that the alternator wasn’t turning but the belt wasn’t broken.  Alt seizure? I immediately shut the engine down to take stock of what was happening. It turns out the belt was toast, literally.  It was crisp,  hard and smoking. It was so worn out that it wouldn’t turn or flex.

I think the noise was the alt spinning down.

I did a quick replacement as we slowly drifted towards the rocky shore,  past a few sailing dinghy’s and stand up paddlers.  I  put on a Genuine Yanmar 25132-003700 (old part no# 128670-77350). We were back up running in 5 min, I think Rufus was impressed.

Continue reading Crispy, Hard and Smoking.

Winterizing – glycol

Every fall I re-research which liquid to pour into my boats many freshwater systems. I find I keep coming back to  the blog by Practical Sailor author Drew Faye, Sail Delmarva.

I particularly like the fact he has researched his opinions and they are based on fact. So here are his winterizing suggestions:

  • Pump out the potable water tank. Vacuum out the remains with a shop vac.
  •   Add a shut-off valve and tee just down stream of the tank and upstream of the pressure pump. Add a second valve on the tee’s side branch and a length of 1/2-inch ID hose. Suck a 30% propylene glycol antifreeze mixture into all of the lines using the pressure pump, opening the taps one at a time (hot and cold) and letting them run; the clear water goes down the drain until it’s as pink as the feed (you can recycle some of this by boosting it with with concentrate). When finished, remove the suction hose from the antifreeze container and blow out the lines with the pump by letting it run dry for just 20 seconds per tap (the glycol lubricates the pump, so it will not be damaged in a minute). If you have a tank water heater you should drain it and bypass. I have an instant heater and the above works well.

Continue reading Winterizing – glycol

Evinrude 4hp

Our dinghy motor, a 1987 E4RCUD Evinrude has an interesting history. It was made in Belgium, spent several decades in a locker in Grand Cayman and was shipped to Toronto via DHL in a cardboard box. I would guess that before I got my hands on it that it had probably only had an hour or two of runtime. I think the previous owners would head out straight off the beach to dive. Rumour has it that the previous owner never had any luck running the engnie and spent lots of time trying to get it started – to the delight of the other residents.

Breaking the motor down with help from my stylish assistant. Never did find the 11mm socket after that.
Breaking the motor down with help from my stylish assistant. Never did find the 11mm socket after that.

When I recommissioned the motor all it needed was a throttle/cam follower as the U-shaped plastic snapped due to age.

I’ve cracked it open this fall to change the impeller and generally show the old girl some love. It’s always been grumpy at idle and the choke doesn’t stay put, meaning start-up requires a delft touch and several hands.

Continue reading Evinrude 4hp

Dingy dinghy – how to clean PVC (vinyl)

In my never ending quest to keep boating affordable, I am keeping my old dinghy limping along. It is dirty and wearing out (topsides of the tubes are down to the threads), but holds air so I can’t complain. I figure I better show it some love but don’t want to make things worse by using corrosive chemicals or abrasives. Looks like the ArmourAll I put on it three years ago might have expatiated it’s demise! Continue reading Dingy dinghy – how to clean PVC (vinyl)

Maintenance on the hook – chasing smells

Mid-winter, on one of my periodical visits to the boat,  I was blown away with the smell of diesel fuel when I slid the hatch open. I chalked this up to the new cover not giving the boat as much ventilation as it used to have, but I really wasn’t fooling myself. In the back of my head I’ve been wondering why the boat smells worse this year then last?

When doing my spring commissioning I discovered a drop of fuel on one of the fuel filters. I didn’t have time to look at it until now. I was partly motivated as we are are on day 10  ( I’ve lost track) of a trip to the 1000 islands. The girls still crawl into our bed some nights and last night I was squished up against the back bulkhead, getting strong wafts of diesel. That was enough to motivate me this morning to see if I can stop the leak.IMG_0613 Continue reading Maintenance on the hook – chasing smells

Battery boxes

Now that I’ve got four nice new Costco batteries, I have to get them into the boat. The original setup on the Hunter 340 was to have all the batteries in the starboard lazarette, sitting on top of the holding tanks with a few nylon straps. These batteries are 63 lbs each, four  would be 240 pounds of battery on one side.

I’m told the boot stripe is painted higher on the hull to compensate for all the weight on that side of the boat. My plan is to put two in each lazarette. This works for several reasons:

  • weight balanced between port and starboard
  • batteries can sit closer to the centreline
  • being 6volt in series it makes sense to keep them in pairs.

The starter battery an AGM yellow-top Optima and will go down below behind the aft berth bulkhead. It will sit low low and on the center-line, ignored for the season.

The boxes will have nylon webbing over top to secure the batteries in the boxes and the boxes will have stainless carrage bolts through the lazarette floor to keep them still.
I’ve decided to paint the boxes with epoxy coloured black with 423 Graphite Powder, as I have it left over from the rudder slop repair.

“423 Graphite or powdered tempera can be used up to 10% by weight.” as per West System, I’ll go with 5%.

2015 upgrades

It seems there is a never ending list of little things I can do to the boat. From maintenance issues, to “wouldn’t it be nice” projects or “why did they build it like that?” modifications.
Here’s a round up of spring 2015 projects:

Cockpit Stereo

JBL_PRV175_hunter_340The cockpit speakers were controlled from the head unit at the nav station. The main problem with this setup was that in order to adjust the volume you have to do a steeple-chase down to the nav station!

I chose the JBL PRV 175 as it is a marine unit (waterproof!), accepts Bluetooth, USB for MP3 and of course am/fm. I wired it directly to the cockpit speakers and ran a line-out to the head unit at the nav station so we will hear the same music inside and out. (I will run another set of lines from the head unit to the cockpit so I can use the cd player – but that’s a low priority.) Continue reading 2015 upgrades