Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Bad vibrations

I did mention that we went sailing over the weekend, but I rambled on about photography, and I didn't get to tell the REAL story.

I had one worry when we got to the boat and that was whether or not the temperature gauge would work now that I had replaced the temperature sender. I didn't want to have to buy another gauge. Little did I know, that would be the least of our problems.

Boats don't run like cars. Cars can go thousands of miles without even a tune-up. Boats can't seem to make it more than a weekend. And it's not just my boat. I can't think of any boat outing I've had that didn't begin with the boat not starting or doing something strange the entire time we were on the water. On one hand, at least in a sailboat you can still get back to shore. Then again, it's much less stressful being stranded in a ski boat on Lake Conroe where there's no chance of drifting into shipping lanes or out to sea.

When we started the boat, there was a horrendous whining noise. I immediately shut it down and descended the companionway to investigate. It was not hard to see that the alternator was crookedly hanging from the tensioning bracket, no longer bolted to the engine.

This is actually the second time in a year that the alternator has sheared off the mounting bolt. I think it's a combination of the ridiculous vibrations of the two-cylinder diesel and the fact that the bolt hole in the alternator is slightly larger than the bolt hole in the block. I either need to drill out the hole in the block or find a spacer.

Since the alternator was flapping around willy nilly, the alternator belt sawed halfway through a heater hose. I had more heater hose in the boat, but Ben had to make a run to the hardware store for a bolt. We had it ready to run again 45 minutes later, but as I moved the throttle, I heard the jingly sound of falling hardware.

The bracket holding the teleflex throttle cable was no longer there. The nuts holding it together had vibrated off and disappeared.

It was now my turn to run to West Marine where 40 cents got me two new nylock nuts, which hopefully won't fall victim to the intense vibrations anytime soon.

Once the throttle cable was bolted back into place, all systems were go, but we were leaving two hours behind schedule.

Two hours. That seems to be the required repair time before all boat trips.

I'm very aware of the underlying issue with my boat -- it's the vibrations. I checked all the motor mounts after it had shaken itself loose a couple months ago, and everything is still tight. Other than avoiding running at low RPMs, I'm not sure what to do to stop the vibrations.

But on the upside, the temperature gauge is now working again. That only leaves the fuel gauge to fix. (In regard to gauges that need to be repaired ... there are many other things that also need to be fixed, but c'est la vie. That's the way it goes with boats.)
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