Monday, July 14, 2014

Engine 1, Me 0

I have the 4 quart version
I finally tackled the dreaded engine this past week, and as the title implies, I didn't win... yet.  This has and is the last stumbling block to getting the boat in the water this year so there is a lot riding on it.  I wish I could just rip the whole thing out and use it as a mooring, but unfortunately, an engine is something that I absolutely need, even though engine repair is not really part of my skill set.  I'm hoping to change that though.

After a lot of research and queries on several boating forums, I decided that I would pump all the old fuel out of the tank and replace it with fresh new fuel.  I don't have an inspection/cleaning port on my fuel tank so the only access is through the fuel fill.  I used my oil change vacuum pump to pump out the fuel one gallon at a time and transfer it to a five gallon jerry can.  Once that was full, I poured it into my home furnace oil tank and repeated until empty.  Once the tank was empty, I added three gallons of fresh diesel to rinse out the tank as best I could and then pumped that out as well.  Finally, I added five gallons of fresh diesel and called it a day.

Once that was done, I started going over the motor to see if I could find any major problems. Since I am not much of a motor head, I determined that it was still red and made up of lots of pieces of metal.  However, I did find that many of the non-metal parts looked and felt a little wonky.  I found a nice technical manual online for my motor (Westerbeke W21) that had exploded diagrams of all the systems and decided that I should replace all of the cooling system hoses.  I also found some crystallized antifreeze on and around the thermostat gaskets and decided it would probably be a good idea to replace them.  I also figured that since had to take apart the thermostat housing to replace the gaskets, I might as well replace the thermostat as well.

I looked up HansenMarine (one of the Westerbeke distributors for the East coast) and found that they had a full parts list online that actually had part numbers that corresponded to my exploded diagrams.  There were a couple of differences between what my cooling system looked like and what was in the diagram, but when I called HansenMarine, the service rep (Jon) had me send him a photo of the engine and he was able to determine what the discrepancies were.  He was really helpful and we finally settled on all the parts on Thursday and finalized the order.  I didn't expect the parts to arrive until today, but I was pleasantly surprised when I came home from work to find a box from HansenMarine on my doorstep.

I got up early Saturday morning to get to work and started with standard engine prep procedures, I replaced both fuel filters, zincs, changed the oil twice (just for good measure), and changed the oil filter.  Next, I decided to replace the raw water impeller since I was replacing all the hoses to and from it as well and had forgotten what a royal pain it is to service the thing.

I removed the hoses thinking I would just pop off the cover, replace the impeller gasket and move on. However, the cover plate faces aft and only has about 2.5 inches of clearance between it and the starter motor.  Then it all came back to me... I had forgotten that it was actually easier to remove the entire pump assembly than it was to try and fiddle with six tiny machine screws that I would invariably drop in the bilge. It was still a pain, but not as bad.

Once it was off the engine, it was easy to pull the cover, replace the impeller, and re-install with a new gasket.  Before I bolted it back on, I replaced several cooling system hoses that were easier to access with the pump off.  I managed to get a cup under the lowest hose to drain the old antifreeze without spilling it all over the place.  That's a win in my book.

I bolted the pump back on and fitted the new hoses to it and moved on to the next set of hoses in the coolant line.  All of these were either right at the front of the motor or on top so it was just a matter of removing the old ones and clamping on the new.  The thermostat and gaskets were also not bad to replace because they are located right on the top, front side of the engine.  The housing was all gummed up with crystallized antifreeze so I took some time to scrape all of it out and clean it up before re-installing the new thermostat and gaskets.

I finished up with the final hoses and then refilled the cooling system with roughly four quarts of antifreeze. All told it took about 4 hours, but I was really pleased that I didn't run into any big roadblocks along the way. In the past engines have often done that to me, they act all nice and then present me with some stuck bolt or inaccessible screw that leaves me begging for mercy.  Not this time.  I can't imagine how much the $200 in parts I spent and my labor would have cost had I gone through a marina.  I'm sure they would have done the replacement faster, but it still would have hurt my checkbook badly.

Motor with sweet new set of rubba
It was now time for the moment of truth, would the engine even turn over?  I wasn't sure that if, during the course of the restoration I had screwed up the electrical system so bad that the motor wouldn't even get power.  I hooked up the battery turned on the breakers and put the raw water intake hose into a bucket of water.  I turned the key to the first position and heard the familiar power on buzzer and then turned it to the start position and the engine turned over without any hesitation.  It didn't start though, but I was really happy that I had even gotten this far.  Some more cranking and still no start.  The raw water intake also wasn't pulling, but from what I have read, they don't always self prime without the engine actually running with decent RPMs.

It was 11:30 at this point and I told my family that I would not be working on the boat all day and would spend time doing something summery, so I went back to the house and posted to a few forums looking for ideas and then went canoeing and swimming with the family up at Knowles Pond.  When we returned the consensus from the post was that the fuel system needed to be bled.  The Westerbeke I have though has an electric fuel pump and all the manuals state that it is self-priming and doesn't need to be bled.

The next day I tried one of the forum suggestions that I spray WD-40 into the air intake and see if it sputters when cranking.  It did and confirmed that fuel is not getting to the injectors properly.  Today, I will open up the injectors at the banjo fittings and see if I can bleed out the air from the system.  So for now, I am still engine-less, but I hope that I will be able to solve this without calling in a real mechanic and I'm 90% sure that I don't have a major problem on m.  Stay tuned....

No comments:

Post a Comment