Monday, July 12, 2010

Running Hot!

Unfortunately I am talking about Nirvana's diesel engine!  This past weekend Ken and I were anxious to take Nirvana sailing after all the hard work in the boatyard.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, our attempt to sail on the 4th of July weekend didn't go so well, as it was too windy for us inexperienced sailors.  Ken had to work Saturday, so that evening we took Nirvana out to motor around the canals of our subdivision.  The evening was uneventful and we were home and in bed early, with plans of taking Nirvana sailing the next morning.  The weather forecast called for light winds and calm waters, so Ken and I thought it would be a perfect time to go out by ourselves and practice the basics of sailing.

So, yesterday morning Ken and I were on our sailboat by 9:00 am and ready to get some sailing practice.  We motored through the canals of our subdivision, and when we were almost to Lake Pontchartrain Ken pulled up the main sail.  I was at the wheel when all of sudden Ken shouted, "Turn if off!  Turn if off!".  I didn't know why he was shouting this, but turned off the engine in confusion.  Ken pointed to the temperature gauge, which was as far as it could go, showing the engine was running hot!  To be honest, I never really noticed nor thought about the temperature gauge, but I will from now on. 

After the engine was turned off, Ken quickly pulled down the main sail.  We were still in the canal and Ken didn't want the sail to cause us to drift in the wrong direction.  Since we were in the canal, we were near homes and docks.  Luckily, we were able to drift into the direction of a home with a really nice, big dock and no boat.  We tied up Nirvana and Ken went into the salon to check out the engine.  It appeared that the water pump was broken, and leaking.  The bearings were shot, and the water pump pulley was moving back and forth causing the belt to loosen.

We sat around for about 15 minutes, while waiting for the engine to cool down.  We had a gallon of anti-freeze and some water, which Ken used to keep us from running hot again.  After the engine cooled, we untied the lines and were able to drift about halfway home, with the wind behind us.  After making a sharp left turn, the wind was no longer behind us and we had to turn the engine on.  We kept a close eye on the engine and thermostat, and made it home without the engine overheating.

Needless to say, the day did not go as planned!  However, we were thankful that we weren't further from home when this happened, and that there was no permanent damage to our engine.  Ken spent the afternoon removing the water pump, which appeared to be in pretty bad shape.  One of first thoughts was, how much is this going to cost?!  Ken got online and found out that a water pump for our Universal diesel engine was about $300.00!  After further research online, Ken found that Kubota tractor parts can be used instead.  The same water pump is only $80.00.  Ken and I plan on going to the local Kubota dealer this afternoon with our Universal water pump just to make sure that they're the same.  We'll let you know how it turns out, as this may be helpful to anyone else looking for Universal parts.

So, it looks like we have another little project on our hands before we can finally start sailing!  This week we hope to buy a KUBOTA water pump (and save $220.00) and get it installed.  

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


Mike said...

Bummer. Potential engine problems like that are a good reason to have both your sails and your anchor at the ready. We learned that one from experience!

Sandee said...

It seems it's always something. I hope this is a simple fix.

Have a terrific day. :)

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Had the same happen with family aboard. Very embarrassing.

You might consider having a Sea Tow or BOAT/US Unlimited tow package. About a hundred twenty a year for either. Very worth having, just for the peace of mind. I've used it twice in past ten years, saved over a thousand bucks in towing.

Laura and Hans said...

Stuff like that scares the crap out of me! We once had an engine develope a huge case of constipation right after we left a channel. Luckily, since we have a catamaran we were able to use the other engine to get around.
At least your husband seems to know how to fix things, we would have to call a mechanic!

Ken n Cheryl said...

Yes, we're lucky that Ken knows how to fix a lot of things! We will also be calling Boat US this week, as we've been planning on purchasing their tow service and now is the time! It does pay for itself if you're towed just once.

Pineapple Girl said...

Yikes! We also swear by the boat US towing insurance. We once had a $1000 towing bill (rudder broke several miles offshore) and have had the unlimited towing insurance ever since... of course haven't needed it since! You are smart to find the tractor motor parts! that is great.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Yes, the Boat Us Towing insurance pays for itself after one tow and won't go out without it! We're so glad we stumbled across the tractor parts for our diesel engine. We ordered the pump and looks like it's going to work.

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