This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life. I love it all!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sea Strainer...More to Follow

This is what the strainer look like new.
I spent about three hours on the Key of Sea this morning attempting to remove the little stainless steel pin that holds the base of the bronze bolt holding down one side of the lid of the strainer. After attempting several ways to remove the pin I elected to remove the entire sea strainer and take it down to Tri-County Diesel. I asked them to remove the pin and replace it with the new pin and bolt I had already purchased.

The strainer in the Key of Sea is made of several main parts. The very top is the lid (see one in the lower right of this article) Two wing nuts hold it in place. Just below it is the portion where two hoses are attached on either side bringing in water from the outside of the boat and the output hose sending the water towards the engine. Below that is a plastic cylinder which when operating is full of sea water. Inside it is a stainless steel basket which filters sea weed and other debris from the sea water. Finally, there is the base which holds the enitr assembly together with four long bolts. The lid and the top and bottom parts whee the plastic cylinder seat all have gaskets. The lid gasket is most important to keep an eye on as the lid is removed for inspection of the strainer basket quite often and then retightened. It is a good idea to keep a spare for each sea strainer on hand should the lid spring a leak.

After talking it over with the Tri-County folks I ordered all new gaskets so I could rebuild the strainer. When I'm done I will have replaced all three of the gaskets.

I also noticed that the ground wire was loose on the strainer so I will sand that connector and where it connects to the strainer and reattach it as I reassemble the strainer.

Parts of the strainer including the strainer basket,
the bronze bolt, pin and gaskets.
The parts will come in in a couple of days and then I should be able to re-install the unit.

Strainer lid with gasket.
As I suspected, the pin will have to be drilled out since it was too corroded to be able to remove. The pin is a curious little thing. About 1-inch long, it has a slit slit the length of it. Squeezing it with a small needle-nose plier should compress it enough to slide it into the holes on either side of the strainer. As it is slid in the bolt must be inserted into its path so the pin slides through the hole in the base of the bolt. Then the pin is squeezed again and slid the rest of the way into place. Removing the compression caused by the pliers allows the pin to expand enough to be immoveable.  Sounds easy enough except when corrosion has taken a toll and no amount of compression on the pin would allow it to move.

I figured, well, drill it out. Hmmm...not me. I could just visualize so many problems with doing that myself including having to purchase an entirely new sea strainer.

 For a few dollars I'd let a pro do the drilling. More to come...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sea Strainer Issue Solved...Temporarily!

We were half way through our August 2017 cruise to some south Salish Sea destinations. All had gone so smoothly. Real smoothly!

At the half way point I had decided to inspect the fluids in the engine room of the boat. We were in the Poulsbo marina right at the foot of the town. The oil, coolant, battery water and the sea strainers all needed checking. Pulling the starboard strainer's lid off I noticed it had very little caught in the cylindrical stainless steel basket inside. There seldom ever is. Afew tidbits of Eel Grass and some other goo. Nothing to worry about at all. Still, I had it open so I cleaned it out.

Reinserting the basket and replacing the lid, I tightened up the two wing nuts that held the lid tighly to the lower part of the strainer. As I twisted it a bit with my pliers to make sure it was seated tightly I felt the bolt give way. It had seperated at its base from the stainless steel rod that held it to the strainer. It was not something that can be fixed nor is it something that can bebroken and still run that engine. I later learned that those two wing nuts are meant to be tightened by hand only. Not with a wrench!

Without that bolt in place and tightened down there would be no sea water running through the starboard engine to help keep it cool. Plus, sea water would fill the bilge and we would eventually have a sinking problem.

What to do? Our friend and boating mentor, Mike McEvoy was one of our boating buddies on this trip and I asked him to take a look at the problem. He had two suggestions.

1. Send Leslie to the chandlery in town to try and find a replacement part. We handed her the broken bolt and off she went.

2. Mike suggested perhaps trying to tighten the liddown with either zip ties or some stainless steel wire he had. He crawled into the engine bay and ran some wire under the stainless steel rod that usually held the bolt in place and up through the hole in the lid the bolt usually ran through. Cinching it down tight and giving the wire a good twist, things were looking good. He also ran a couple of heavy duty zip ties through the same holes and cinched those as tight as possible.It looked good but we needed to start the engine and run it to make sure the strainer wouldn't leak under load.

I started the engine and we waited...and waited. No problems. I reved the engine up a few more RPMs and waited...and waited. Still no issues. Finally, I brought the engine up to about 2000 RPMs, the fastest I would probably need to run it on the return trip home. We waited and watched. Still no problems. Apparently the system doesn't operate under much pressure if any at all. It held with no leaking at all.

By this time Leslie had returned from the chandlery with the replacement parts. $20 got us the new bolt and stainless rod. We decided if the temporary fix held it would be better to wait to do the permanent fix in our home port where we could get our mechanic to fix it if we coldn't ourselves.

We kept an eye on the the sea strainer as we left town in the morning to see how it went underway.
As we traveled along, I checked every 45 minutes by opening the engine hatch and looking for any leaking. Nothing! After a few hours of this I began relying on the engine temp gauge instead and checking the engine compartment at the end of the day for any noticable leakage. Nothing. The bilge was as dry as it always is.

So, now we are home and tomorrow morning I will head down to the boat to replace the wire and zip ties with the new bolt. I think I have the task figured out as I have given it a lot of thought. We'll see.
More to follow!