Category Archives: maintenance

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

Saga of the leaking tap.

I installed a salvaged Scandvik shower mixer, part #10466 in the hot hole in the bathroom counter when I replaced the taps. It was fine until I winterized the boat last fall and wondered why there was pink on the counter and dripping out of the facet.

Scandvik shower mixerI opened the cartridge and found that there is a o-ring that sits atop the upper ceramic disc that appeared to have been pinched. How this happened I don’t know. Perhaps it swelled from the alcohol in the antifreeze?

After searching the internet and finding the model #, then contacting Scandvik I received a parts diagram and a quote for $30 USD plus shipping for a new Continue reading Saga of the leaking tap.

Bamboo sink cover

IMG_0329Counter space is rare on most sailboats but seems to be a premium on the Hunter 340.  At first glance it seems there is a reasonable amount of space but the counter has a double sink, garbage hole/lid smack in the middle of the counter and a top-access fridge. There is only about a square foot that is free.  Preparing meals is like playing chess, you are constantly moving things around the counter trying to strategize the best way to do things. This is especially so with summer meals with multiple salads or burgers and all the condiments and trimmings. A sink cover creates much needed space so I decided to make a second cover for the larger sink to compliment the white Starboard (I assume?) cover for the small sink. I am also contemplating making a cover for the stove as small items like jars tend to fall over on the grill. Continue reading Bamboo sink cover

Winter Cover – DIY

Sailors seem to be divided into two camps,  winter cover or no winter cover. I’ve played on both teams but I’ve finally become a card carrying member in the cover camp. In the past I  used tarps from Canadian Tire, silver on one side and black on the other.  Some years I didn’t bother, I didn’t see much of a difference, the old boat was leaky covered or not, and being over thirty years old, the UV had done it’s damage to the gel-coat.

20140203_143234_snowI think it was the day I visited Tortuga last winter when I decided to cover it. There was a couple of inches of snow and ice on the boat. Snow,  like rain isn’t my main concern, it was the ice I was worried about, specifically water creeping under deck fittings, into cracks and crevices and then freezing. The freeze thaw cycle has the potential to tear a boat apart, keeping water and snow off a boat is the best defense, short of indoor storage. Continue reading Winter Cover – DIY

Thou shalt not idle

Early marine diesel engines, like the Saab had huge flywheels and chugged along happily at low rpm. Modern multi cylinder diesels, like the Yanmar 3GM30F  in my Hunter 340 are a very different beast.

A diesel engine is subject to "wet stacking" or over fuelling if run for long periods of time with ultra light loads (less than 40% of the rated output). "Wet Stacking" causes the engine to smoke and run rough because the injectors become carbonized. Running a heavy load will usually clean up the over-fuel condition and allow the engine to perform properly. Diesel engines operate better and more fuel efficient when loaded (70-80% of the rated output is optimum). Source: http://www.allworlddieselgen.com/faq.htm

This condition happens to a lot of cruising boats who rely on running their main engine to charge their house battery bank while at anchor. I would also note that other experts say this can happen at higher loads than 40% and that cruising at 80-90% of rated RPM's is best. Main thing is to cruise at least at 70% RPM's and don't run your engine while at anchor to charge batteries!

Poke around in a few forums and you will come across lots of information in how to treat your Yanmar – hours of idle are not good, in-fact idling is really a bad idea.