Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Whitehall, NY
43 33.27 N 073 24.13 W
Well, the short answer is that we're here for another week.  

Today the local mechanic Kieth came to fix our problems.  We were optimistic.  Yesterday, consultation with Beta Marine by phone had convinced me that our problem was probably an air leak in the suction side of the fuel line, or a failed engine shutoff solenoid.  Either would be relatively easy to fix.   We were wrong.

The best diagnostic for the fuel system is to bypass everything.  Keith rigged up a jug full of fuel, a hose, and a marine priming squeeze bulb.   We used that to force fuel directly to the injection pump.  It didn't work.  

Next we removed the solenoid.  It is the type the energizes and pushes a plunger, when the shutoff button is pushed. Removing it made no difference.  Jeez.

More consultation with Beta.  We finally had to take off the fuel filter, the intake mainfold, the injector lines, and then the injector pump itself.   What we found was amazing.  A little metal bar called the control rack was stuck.  It is supposed to move back (fuel on) and forth (fuell off) it was stuck off.  However, just a gentle push with a thumb and it unstuck?  What that heck?  How could that happen.  We didn't know, it may have been a fluke.  We gleefully put everything back together expecting the engine to start right away.  Nope, nothing.  

Kieth took it apart again.  That rod was stuck again.  This time we inspected more closely and soon found that one of the four plungers that follow the cams had a broken spring.  The plunger was causing the control rod to stick.

Neither Beta, nor Kieth had the parts nor the expertise to replace that spring.  I had to ship off the whole pump to D & H Diesel in Latham, NY to be rebuilt.  That will take about a week.  So here we are stranded.

That's not the only bad news.  We have also been having trouble with our clutch.  Beta advises that it costs too much to repair, and that we need a whole new transmission for $2000.   We are hoping to get down to Oriental, NC before doing that.   By the way, I suspect that the clutch failure was caused by the chronic vibration problems we had with the Max Prop.  I suspect, but I'll never know for sure. 

Oh well, put things in perspective.  We have nearly 5,000 hours on that Beta Engine since it was new.  Until this year we had zero breakdowns.  But a new heat exchanger last spring cost $1200, the transmission will cost $2000, and the injector pump ???   Expensive sure, but overall it is still much cheaper (and much much more fun) than retiring to a condo apartment.

What is there to do in Whitehall? (population 2,667)  I guess we'll learn that in detail during the next few days.


  1. Well, at least you're in Whitehall. Not exactly a bustling town, but things to do nonetheless. It's the birthplace of the US Navy after all.

  2. It's like my great grandmother, Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to tell me - "If it's not one thing, It's another!".
    Hang tough; it's the voyage, not the destination; and remember there's a whole bunch of us out here who dream about doing what you two are doing.
    Yes, even being stuck in Whitehall.

  3. Sorry you're having engine problems. At least its one of those things that can be fixed with a little time and money.
    Hope you find some joy in Whitehall!


  4. I like your attitude. We're finding out that just being out there a few weeks has it's ups and downs, but it sure beats the cubicle farm, any day!

    Hope the repairs go well, and you get moving soon.

    Paul and Debra
    SV Kelly Nicole

  5. Whitehall NY? I've been to Whitehall - the town that stood still in time! I don't know what there is to do there; I'd just wander around in amazement!


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