Monday, October 19, 2015

Ready-Not Ready-Ready-Not Ready-Ready-Not Ready-Ready

Green Cove Springs,

We are on the schedule to splash tomorrow.  I had only one more thing to do before leaving: check out the engine.

So this morning bright and early, I opened the engine compartment. I added water to the batteries.  I checked the coolant and oil. I drained the fuel/water trap.  I checked the primary fuel filter.  Uh oh; the Racor filter was dry, and the chamber almost empty.

What could that be?   I switched from Starboard to Port tank.  No change.  I pulled the fuel line to the filter.  No fuel came out.  I pulled the fuel line at the tank.  No fuel came out.  I could see on the sigh guages that we have plenty of fuel.

What could it be?  I concluded that the fuel lines must be clogged with sludge from the summer.   In 10 years, we have never cleaned the tanks (the procedure is called fuel polishing).  Therefore, we asked the boat yard to call their fuel polishing guys.  They said that it sometimes took a week or more for them to show up.  Uh oh.

But only 30 minutes later, the fuel polishing guys showed up.  Horray.  They put in their lance and started working.   The fuel that came up was "excellent" quality fuel according to them.   There was almost no sludge.   We did find a few bees in both tanks.  Bees must enter via the vents.

Next theory,  the fuel lines themselves must be plugged.  The remedy is to use compressed air to blow out the fuel lines backward.   They did that.  Fuel flowed freely from the starboard tank, but not from the port.   Oh well I thought, that's good enough.  When the engine runs, we have a slight vacuum to help suck the fuel out.   So the guys cleand up and left.

So I had to put stuff back and reconnect the fuel line to the filter.  Uh oh, no fuel came out from either tank.  We were right back where I started in the morning.   This time, I thought harder.   We got out the electric blower used to inflate the air mattress when camping.  I stuck the nozzle of the blower down the tank fill and turned it on.  Fuel flowed immediately.   I did the same on the other tank and it worked also.

I conclude that my real problem is that we need to start a siphon to get the fuel up above the top of the tanks then down to the filter.  By sitting so long, we broke the siphon.

Oh well, I'm not unhappy about spending the money for polishing.  I've been wondering about the condition of those tanks for years, and the money was worth it for peace of mind.

By the way, how our our tanks clean after more than 20 years, whereas others build up sluge every year or two?  The answer is that we use our boat.  We use several tank-fulls of fuel every year.  We do not let the boat sit unused for extended periods.

So, by the end of the day we are once again ready to splash tomorrow.  We'll hang around here at Reynolds Park Marina for a few days.  We have two weeks to kill before the Westsail Rendezvous November 6.


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