Monday, September 24, 2018

Nirvana's Water Taxi .. or Dinghy!


A while ago .. over 7 years to be exact (wince!) Ken and I purchased a new inflatable dinghy and Tohatsu outboard motor. We were excited about "our new car" .. little did we know how long it would be in storage .. and that we'd have bought something different if we knew then what we know now! Inflatables seem to be a pain, and the fact that ours isn't Hypalon doesn't help but .. it's what we have for now, and more importantly .. it works!

For most of the 7+ years that our dinghy was in storage, it was in our closet. The dinghy was only in a hot storage unit for just over a year, and we hoped that the seams would not fail when we finally inflated our lil Zodiac again.


We had forgotten how to inflate the dinghy, but it was pretty easy and luckily .. it held air!


After lowering the dinghy into the water, we used our new engine hoist to lower "Mr. T" onto the dinghy. When we ran our dinghy that one time seven years ago, lowering the engine was tough and we were lucky it didn't sink to the bottom of the canal! I don't think we wasted one cent purchasing the engine hoist .. it made the process so much easier!


After giving our Tohatsu some TLC from sitting 7+ years, we still needed to break in "Mr. T". So, we motored around the canals for a couple of hours. It's such a great feeling to finally be back on the water on our own boat after all these years .. even if it's on our little inflatable! These are the same canals we rode the dinghy through all those years ago when we were still living in our house. We feel like we're making progress after all these years.






We've taken our dinghy for a spin a few times since this day, and our Tohatsu is finally broken in for the next ride.

Here's a view of Nirvana that we hadn't seen in a long time ... from our dinghy!


We're feeling good about finally having our dinghy and motor back on Nirvana, but we're already considering options for a more durable dinghy. I'm really interested in the Port-A-Bote, as it folds up and can be stored on Nirvana's stanchions .. leaving our view unobstructed and the deck free from obstacles. We'd really like to ride in one since we've heard they're a little "different". Anybody from Texas to Florida wanna give us a ride on theirs? We'd love to hear from anybody that has one .. even if we can't take it for a ride.

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviving Our Tohatsu!


When we bought our Tohatsu & dinghy brand new, we didn't realize we'd use them one time then put them in storage for over 7 years! But, that's what happened. For the past few years, it seemed that we'd never see "Mr. T" and our dinghy again. Downsizing, becoming liveaboards, and continual boat projects never left time (or the need) for our dinghy and motor. Finally, the time had come to pull them out of storage! 

After hibernating for so many years, we knew it'd be best to give our Tohatsu some TLC. After loading "Mr. T" into our truck, we headed to our daughter's house to use her garage and water. Living at a marina with a condo association means no working in the parking lot!

Once we got to our daughter's place, Ken placed the Tohatsu in a tub of water to test it. As we figured ... it wouldn't start! We knew the carburetor needed a cleaning, the impeller needed to be replaced, and the fluids needed to be changed. The first thing Ken did was remove, disassemble and clean the float & jets of the carburetor. He then reassembled the carburetor, put it back on the motor, then tested the motor again. It ran fine .. whew! The next step was to remove the lower unit of the Tohatsu to replace the impeller.


From the lower unit, Ken then removed the impeller housing from the top ..


which revealed the impeller. The impeller looked pretty good, but after sitting for several years we replaced it anyway. This was a pretty simple process, as the old impeller easily came out of the housing. To install the new impeller, Ken coated the inside of it with gear lube then slid it onto the shaft. 


After the impeller was in place, Ken slid the housing over it while rotating the shaft to allow the housing to sit properly. We were feeling pretty good, as replacing the impeller went smoothly ...


but not so fast! After lubricating the shaft of the lower unit with gear lube, Ken tried replacing the lower unit back into the motor ... for over an hour! Ken and I both tried and tried to get the damn thing back in, but it just wasn't happening. We checked the gears to make sure the motor was in neutral, but nothing worked. We were having a hard time seeing where the shaft was going, and we were getting pretty frustrated. We decided to take a lunch break to get away. When we tried again with clear heads, full stomachs, and a flashlight borrowed from our daughter ... the lower unit went in on the first attempt! Being able to see with the flashlight made all the difference. Hallelujah! Getting the shaft aligned just right is critical in getting the lower unit back on.


After the lower unit was installed, Ken changed the engine & lower unit oil. This was pretty simple and he had no problems. For this maintenance, Ken used "lower unit gear lube" and Castrol 10W-40 .. both from Wal-Mart.


Once everything was back in place, Ken set "Mr. T" into the water and tested it out. Luckily, all went well with putting the motor back together and it ran great. It was such a relief to have "Mr. T" up and running again!


 The next step was getting it to our boat. I was able to help Ken lift the motor in & out of the truck, but carrying it across the parking lot, along the walkway, and down the dock had me nervous. The motor weighs almost 60 lbs. and is awkward to carry. Luckily, our dock neighbor noticed our "situation" and offered to help Ken carry the Tohatsu to our boat. Talk about relieved! It's always nice to be surrounded by such kind folks. I snapped a quick photo before they disappeared, so it's blurry. 


Once resting in Nirvana's cockpit, Ken and I were able to place "Mr. T" on our stern with the help of our new motor hoist. We can already tell the money spent on our hoist is well worth it!

Now that we had the motor and hoist on the boat, it was time to bring the ole (new) inflatable dinghy out of storage. Would it hold air after all this time?!

Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!
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