Thursday, 26 June 2014

An update from Paynesville

Venture in Paynesville. 
You can see the Motor Yacht club in the background which
houses the great facilities.  The marina was built and is managed by the
Gippslands Lakes Shire Council and they are doing a brilliant job. 
Thanks Leasa!

We managed to find a nice spot to hang in Paynesville at the Slip Bight Marina while I worked on the vulnerability assessment (VA) for CQR.  While I was doing that I also took time to work on the engine a bit more..

I did an oil change (including the oil filter) at Lakes just after we arrived.  That all seemed to go well but when we moved to Paynesville, we found that we had a major oil leak (like around 2 litres per hour).  I could see a lot of oil on the starboard side of the motor but couldn't locate the spot the oil was coming from so I got in contact with a local marine diesel mechanic (Mat Henery), recommended by another sailor here, and had him come down to take a look. He also had trouble locating the leak so we decided together that we needed to remove some bits so we could see what was happening.

So the next day, I took the exhaust manifold off and removed the oil cooler.  Sounds easy eh..  Anyway, I could see lots of oil around the oil cooler and it was starting to look like we'd found the leak.  It turns out that when I changed the oil filter in Lakes, I had damaged the oil cooler..   Also, the mechanic found a blanking plate on the motor behind the oil cooler that was loose and also weeping.

It's a design flaw IMHO.  The oil cooler sits unsupported except for some hoses above the oil filter and below the exhaust manifold.  The gap is small and the oil cooler actually rests on the oil filter.  To spin the filter off, I've always had to lever the oil cooler up a bit with a screw driver while with my other two hands, spin the filter off.  This time I'd managed to damage a brazed joint on the oil cooler with the screw driver.  

Damaged oil cooler jammed in above the filter.
You can't see the damage in this view as it's behind the cooler.

When I took the manifold off, I also found that the weld at the back had failed again and it was leaking exhaust gas into the boat.  Luckily, that break must be quite new as I've been keeping an eye on it since it failed in Pittwater last year.  I even put new batteries in the carbon monoxide detector a few months ago!

Mat took the oil cooler and manifold away to get them fixed and I carried on with the pen test.

A few days later, I had finished the VA and Mat was back with the parts.  The oil cooler had been completely rebuilt with both end caps removed, the leaks fixed and brazed back on.  The manifold also had a nice new weld with some substantial filletting this time to add some strength.

New weld on the back of the exhaust manifold. 
The fillet is a lot bigger this time so I'm hoping it will last a bit longer.

He also brought a remote oil filter kit.  This is a fitting that screws onto the housing on the engine that normally takes the oil filter with some pipes that carry the oil to a new housing attached to the starboard bulkhead instead of the motor.  So now, I can use standard Ford oil filters (a whole lot cheaper than the westerbeke ones) and I don't have to prise the oil cooler up to change the filter anymore!  Bonus!

The remote oil filter mounted on the Starboard bulkhead.
The next job was cleaning the oil out of the bilge.  Not a nice job at all.  We ended up (including the pump out, rinse and repeat cycles) giving Mat something like 20 litres of horrible brown sludgy stuff to take away and dispose of.  The bilge is now quite clean (relatively speaking) and we won't be leaving a film of oil everywhere we go!  Another bonus!

Anyhow, we put it all together yesterday and fired the motor up again.  After some hiccups with air locks in the fresh water side, it ran up to temp nicely and sounds pretty sweet with no leaks that we can see!
Repaired oil cooler in place.  You can see a piece of rubber placed between the
cooler and the oil filter housing to prevent wear on the cooler (Mat's idea)
And the filter has been replaced with the remote filter kit.

The last job was to replace the old oil soaker pillows under the motor with some new ones so we can see if it is still leaking in the future.

All in all, a most productive couple of weeks.  I can't recommend Mat (the mechanic) too highly.  He went above and beyond to help us out and really came through with the welding, the oil cooler re-build and finding the remote oil filter kit.

Mat Henery of Henerys Automotive, Truck and Marine.  Give him a ring if you're in the Gippsland Lakes area with engine trouble!

Stop press:  I just got another call from CQR and there's another little job I have to do before we can leave.  It works out pretty well though as we don't have a weather window to leave until after Tuesday next week so as long as I can finish it over the weekend, it won't hold us up at all.  In fact, we might just hire a car and check out the snow up in the mountains before we leave :-)

Terry is in the middle of a much bigger (and probably better) post about our adventures in the lakes too BTW..

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