Departure and Return

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On the launch pad for a go…

We departed Rock Hall, MD, 30 minutes early (!) on Thursday June 26, 2014. bound for New England with Bill of IP-380 Tamarack and Herb of IP37 Still Crazy and their crews. Then 6 miles out, we had an engine issue like none before. The motor sounded different with an odd tapping noise possibly coming from cylinder #1 of our Yanmar 3JH2E diesel motor. Then we noticed the engine was heating up which I proved with our laser temperature gun. The oil was 255 degrees F. Next our temperature alarms started going off but we already knew we had a problem because in the first 1 hour of running I had done three engine room checks. On the third check, I thought something was wrong before the alarms alerted us. We could only run the motor at 1500 to 2000 RPMs without over heating and there was still a very odd tapping sound, like a valve or piston issue.

Island Spirit at home waiting for a fix.

So, we sadly decided to return to our home dock where we have a car and mechanics that we know and trust. We stopped at one marina whose mechanic told us.”YUP, that sounds BAD!” Thank you, I know that. What do you think it is? “I don’t know, let me go get some tools!” Oh, no, you don’t. Tell me where to start, and I will. So, he wanted the injectors first. A call to a Mack Boring tech also suggested starting with the fuel injectors and then working through the cooling system as these items can cause a tapping if the injectors are misfiring or if the engine is too hot. Our friend, Don Bergen of Bergen Yacht Services and owner of IP420 Hallelujah, is very busy but kindly stopped by to listen to our engine and confirmed these steps as a good way to start.

Yacht was
 polished and waxed and varnished

Back at the dock we began taking items apart for testing. First we pulled the injectors and had them “POP TESTED” ….all proved to be fine. Next we looked into the cooling system, trying to find out why she over heated. Sure enough, one impeller blade was broken off! (I had inspected my impeller before departure and it was fine.)   I had already ordered all the parts, hoses, gaskets and o-rings to rebuild the cooling system, planning to do that job in August. So, I took this opportunity to do the job now. We pulled the heat exchanger, cleaned it and added new coolant and all new cooling hoses. We changed the oil since it had over heated and we changed the fuel filters since the engine had surged very slightly two or three times.

The new black cooling hoses 

We put this all back together after about 25 hours of work over two days and turned the key. (Amazing she always starts up after I tear the engine apart! That is a great feeling.)  As she heated up, she made a louder and louder tapping noise near cylinder #1. So we now have a great diesel mechanic arriving Tuesday, Chris Oliver from Kent Island, MD. He will probably diagnose the problem in 30 seconds, and we will follow his lead or hire him to fix it.

So…we still have a problem. Time for a sip

The problem has to be:

  1. Valve issue, push rod issue, rocker arm issue
  2. High Pressure fuel pump not firing the injectors at the right time
  3. Lower engine crankshaft bearing issue
What we have ruled out is:
  1. Thermostat
  2. Heat Exchanger
  3. Coolant and coolant hoses
  4. Impeller
  5. Fuel filter clogs
  6. Oil levels and filter
  7. Propeller fouled
WE HAVE HOPE, that it will be an easy fix
Maybe we should have called the mechanic sooner, but I had to do the cooling system at some point, so now was the time. 
Let’s hope it is a simple push rod or rocker arm or high pressure fuel pump adjustment, because the other items could run in the thousands of dollars.

Here are more photos…
We had the trip to NYC all figured out
We had the currents all figured out
We did our homework

When our daylilies bloom at home, it is time for a summer sail 

6 weeks of provisions to be stowed!

We hired a diver the day before leaving to clean the bottom and propeller

I bet the problem will be this high pressure fuel pump. $$$$$

AM coffee with our fuel injectors removed. That was fun, try it on your boat!

Valve cover removed, engine spun by hand, checked each rocker arm and push rod
Remove the thermostat and replace with new
Pull the heat exchanger, inspect and clean, then re-assemble
Day two, coffee with my heat exchanger and my BLOCK ISLAND mug

New impeller installed
New fuel filters, this one had 77 hours on it. Look, it’s not dirty.
Our well used Yanmar Service and Parts manuals

Took apart the Heat Exchanger
Took apart the coolant loop
Took apart the seawater cooling loop
Island Spirit at home waiting for a fix.

Once again, we are so lucky that his did not happen in NYC, or Long Island Sound, or Block Island, RI because it would have cost far more. Here we know people and we have good mechanics that we trust. Plus our car is here and this is our home dock. So, if she had to break down, then Island Spirit did us a BIG favor and said…“HEY…I need some attention NOW.” So, her Diesel Motor is getting plenty of attention. Thank you, Island Spirit….

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0 Replies to “Departure and Return”

  1. Sorry for your delay but I agree… Its better now than somewhere like…. the Yukon!

    Considering all the places you’ve been the last couple of years I’d say the old girls timing is pretty good.

    That Yanmar is a whole lot simpler than the monster on my Truck. With all the new pollution control stuff my diesel looks like a gasser.

    Hope you can get back on the water soon and with miminal damage to the wallet.

    For us…. tomorrow is Denali.

  2. Wow, what a story. I had to read every word! If I'm right (and I usually am….ha!), this little delay is a blessing in disguise. I bet the "Holy Spirit" is looking after Island Spirit, which admit it, is always the case! Like Greg, hope the fix is light on the wallet, quick and painless so you can soon restart the summer adventure…and entertain me from afar!

  3. We hadn't seen a BI update, so checked out your blog. Shocking! Such a well maintained Yanmar failing you! So glad that it was under manageable circumstances! Hopefully it will be a relatively painless repair, and that you can resume your summer plans. Keep us posted. Rich and Charlene

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