Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweating it out with the port engine

Didn't make it to Porvenir in the San Blas Archipelago as we hoped. After anchoring near the Panama canal our Port side diesel engine started acting up. With the engine refusing to idle we took pause as well. We moved the boat to a secure anchorage near Isla Linton for further investigation. By the time we arrived at the new anchorage the engine refused to run at all. Two engines certainly is convenient at times like these. Good thing Panama is an excellent place to find parts and expertise to repair engines. We've contacted a yacht agent to help us with the check in procedures as we are now not too near a port of entry and thus the yacht agent can help smooth out this little detail.

Getting down to business I began working to diagnose the engines ailment. Having lived in a temperate climate most of my life it was hard to fathom just how much one can sweat in the confines of an engine room in the tropical heat and humidity of Panama. Think you sweat a lot in a sauna? Not even close! Alarming amounts of sweat! Salty sweat is pooling up in my Crocs and soaking my shorts. Quantities sufficient to make the engine even more rusty next time I look in on it.

Today, I spent the day in the engine room. Got an injector replaced with a spare to see if that would make any difference. The injector was totally rusted and well seized to the head. I tapped, twisted and 'gasp' even used a hammer... still not a budge. I was about to pull the whole head off and take it to a mechanic to have him replace the injectors when I had an idea. An idea that actually worked none the less. I had Kathy crank the engine while I tapped and twisted on the injector. At first just a little bit of exhaust gases leaked by then slowly the compression worked the injector out. Eventually, it shot out of the head with a substantial and startling report! These diesel engines have some serious compression! After lots of rust removal on the head I fitted the new injector and the engine will now idle correctly.

Now we can defer serious repairs a few more months so we can explore the San Blas if all continues to go well. Our plans are of course in complete flux... just like we like them.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments:

Post a Comment