Pumps and Engine work, plus another birthday.

Yesterday I set to work on fixing the instrument panel I blew up on the way up to Langkawi. The fuse I blew, turns out to be a little resettable button on a box at the back of the engine. If I had known that, I could have reset it on passage. at least I know now.  So I took the panel apart after studying the circuit diagram for an hour or so. Some of the circuitry is in an epoxy potted box and the circuit is kept secret. Somehow I seem to have found the details on the internet of this unit’s internals so that was a help. Anyway the main culprit was the connector shown below,this connects the panel switches and alarm signals for oil pressure, water temperature and battery charge to the aforesaid secret box with the lights in it. Someone had previously rammed the plug and socket together, but 90 deg out of position. It’s there so you can replace the box if needed, I understand Volvo wanted about $500 for the box, which is effectively four LEDS, and a few diodes, so I was never going to buy it, even if they hadn’t stopped making it several years ago. So I hard wired around the connector. I replaced all the bulbs in the meters, and epoxied the front of the temp gauge that had fallen off. Now it works 100% and lights up in the dark. Oh I replaced the buzzer, though I hope to never hear it, it only sounds when there’s a big problem. Cleverly those diodes stop it screeching when you turn the key or stop the engine, as it does on most boats.


So I expect you’re wondering how I can top that story, well just wait till I get on to the hose clamps later, but first I had a birthday today. Kathy kindly got me some lovely chocolates and a nice new money belt, which is handy, my old one is disintegrating.

I managed to get the last of the metal strips onto the side of the boat this morning, these are thin strips that stop the fenders ropes from rubbing the varnish on the cap rails. They also look classy, Kathy polished them to a fine mirror like finish.

So onto the hose clamps, I decided to fix the manual bilge pump which wasn’t working, This will be my last contact with the boat before it sinks, should I ever end up in a sinking situation 😉 It’s a pump for pumping water out the bilge, assuming the two electric pumps can’t work. I took it out, serviced it, tested it and couldn’t really find a problem, so put it all back together. On tightening the hose clamps, it has two, they both snapped, this had me thinking, My surveyors and insurance company always insists on double clamping the hoses so that if one breaks, the other will still hold the hose on to the device, yet they both generally are identical when fitted, often from the same production run, live identical lives, and should fail at exactly the same time, all things being equal. I bet they have a different strategy on the International Space Station!
img_2654Anyway, both electric pumps and the hand pump work now. The second pump, marked “Emergency Bilge Pump” can’t half shift water, like gallons per second. I was very impressed. I cleaned the bilge some more and ticked that one off the list now. We had some fun when I turned up the tap on the hose pipe Kathy was squirting into the bilge with and the hose jumped out of her hand and started a snake like dance around the galley 😉

While I was in the engine area I had another go at fixing the oil leak, I had tightened up the scavenger pump fitting where I could see it had been weeping oil the other day, but it was still weeping. I think it was a lot better, but it was hard to say as we hadn’t used the engine much on the trip up here, so that may be a factor. So I took the fitting out this time to inspect it. It comes with a soft washer, I remember having an air leak on the fuel system of the old baba , which was a Volvo, and it was down to a slightly worn brass washer somewhere in the fuel line. I wonder if this washer might be causing the leak. I will order a new one. For now I cleaned the surfaces and re-assembled, making sure to get the fitting up tight, and the pipe that goes onto it, snugged up tight too. We shall just have to see if this works or not.
img_2656I also had a made a note to look for a water leak, back in May I had to top up the fresh water, not by a lot, maybe half a cup, but it shouldn’t need topping up at all, there’s no way out for the water.  However the water level has been fine since, so I had a look around and found a small leak where the hot fresh water leaves the engine block to go off to heat the domestic water via a heat exchanger. It’s just on the pipe with the hose clamp in the picture.img_2671 There is the tell tale sign of corrosion building up on the clip. This is going to be a sod to change, the reason it’s leaking is because it’s not fitted on snug, and it cant because of the angle the hose approaches, so whoever fitted it must have struggled, and given up before getting it to fit properly, then tightened up on the clamp and hoped for the best. The worst bit is that it slowly drips hot water onto fittings below which are showing signs of corroding. It’s either bad design by Volvo, or more likely, there is another fitting that should be used to get the pipe to connect properly. As it’s used for an optional external domestic water heater, this hose will have been fitted by the engine installer, not Volvo.
I won’t be happy until this is sorted, because when this pipe fails the engine will lose it’s cooling water and fail. worse than this it will be a sod to fix if under way.
We had a very similar situation on Lady Stardust in Martinique with Max and the boys nearly 10 years ago, a leaking pipe was dripping onto the throttle cable for some years and had caused it to corrode, just as we were trying to get into a port in a very heavy headwind, the throttle cable seized up at the point where it had corroded, I couldn’t work out what was wrong as I couldn’t see the spot on the cable, and had assumed the fuel pump the throttle was connected too was seized and we ended up needing help to get into the port. A very expensive affair, all caused by a slow and persistent drip drip over time.
So given that I had fitted the steel strips, fixed two pumps, an oil leak and found the water leak, it was time to go for my birthday dinner with Kathy at my favourite Langkawi restaurant “Wonderland”
img_2675I had Sea Bass grilled and served with a black bean sauce, It was very tasty, we also had a sauce called ABC, which along with the black bean sauce and the rice, they had made vegetarian so Kathy could enjoy it too.

Wonderland was  Kathy’s first encounter with Malaysian restaurants and she was a bit shocked when we first went the back in July, but now after she has eaten at several different places, she appreciates what a class joint it really is 😉 they even sell beer!

I picked up a parcel here that Isaac had sent out, it included lots of things that need to go on the mast, LED lights etc, so that’s tomorrows fun.

Paul C.

7 thoughts on “Pumps and Engine work, plus another birthday.”

  1. I think you deserved a few beers for your birthday after all your hard grafting! I hope one day you,ll sail up the Solent so I can come aboard and admire all the hard work you have both done!!x

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