02 March 2013

Busy week

It's been kind of a busy week so I'll start at the beginning.

I took Chiara Stella over to the engine mechanic on Tuesday to see what can be done about the engine after the overheat.  Well there wasn't any significant damage that can be pointed to, but there are major signs of wear in a number of places.  The thermostat housing is about to corrode away and there's major corrosion damage on the exhaust elbow.  The cylinder head is showing signs of wear and there are other signs of corrosion and wear around the gearbox coupling, timing belt area, etc.  The raw water pump had been leaking for a bit (as I suspected) and there is also major corrosion around the area (ditto) as well.

So the verdict is that, to ensure a safe and relatively trouble free Pacific journey, it's time to consider a new engine -- now rather than when I need it 2000nm from land.

Anyway, the mechanic said that the engine will last a bit longer but not a long while longer, so it's probably better done now rather than later.

In other news, I bought some new solar panels for the coachhouse roof and I started installing the wiring for them today.  It was too wet and windy to get the panels actually onto the roof so that's a job for another day.  I have a new MPPT regulator ready to fit so we'll see how that goes.  Robert came down from Byron Bay and helped me fit a new towed generator, although I need to fit new wiring for that too (and today was also to wet and windy for that job).

In the "everything old is new again" department, I inherited a water maker with Chiara Stella when I bought her.  On opening the box I found that the pump was basically broken into several pieces, and Pur, the makers, were no longer in business so I can't get a replacement or any parts.

On the up side, however, Katadyn had bought the business of Pur and although they didn't make that model watermaker any more, they made a very similar manual one (mine is a Pur Powersurvivor 35, theirs is a Katadyn Survivor 35).  Rumour had it that although one is electric and one is manual, they use the same pump.  So I found an "as new" Katadyn 35 on eBay, bought it, and lo and behold the pumps are more or less interchangeable.

I have to make a couple of modifications to the Katadyn pump to fit it to the Pur motor, the main thing being to find 4 x 5/8" threaded rods of 155mm length to make the attachment, as well as retrofitting a hose junction.  The hose I can do myself but cutting 316 grade stainless steel rod without any power tools is a major undertaking.  Fortunately I have a friend nearby who has offered use of an angle grinder to cut the rod.

I did think today to go out and get a 12V power supply so I could test the motor part of the Pur unit, fortunately that appears to work without any problems.  So now all I have to do is to cut the threaded rods, bolt the new pump onto the old motor and hey presto I have a water maker for a fraction of the cost buying a new one would have been.

The other minor jobs today included fitting new bolts to the toilet pump -- the ones from the old pump wouldn't fit and the only ones I had spare of the right length were quite narrow gauge so wouldn't have held it in place for long, so I ordered some new ones on line and they fitted well and should hold it for ages.

I still have to get up on the roof and fit the panels, as well as wiring the towed generator into the other regulator, but it was too wet and windy outside to do either of those jobs so they will be for another day.