Engine Love in the Fall

It’s been a couple of months since I have written about Satori. The last sailing trip was in October, for Race Your House. Between September and October I had some of my favorite days on the water. I did a solo run down to Blake Island to raft up with some friends, then did a little spinnaker run to prepare for the only race Satori has been in since I bought her. Now that it’s blowing gales and snowing in the mountains, I have a little break to talk about project season.

Satori and her crew sailing in the Race Your House Regatta
Satori and her crew sailing in the Race Your House Regatta. Photo by Mark Aberle, copied from Off the Coast of Ballard.
Race Your House 2015 - photo by Gary Peterson
Race Your House 2015 – photo by Gary Peterson

The first topic is the jiffy reefing system. I’ve never been a fan of how she’s rigged. You generally want to be on a starboard tack when reefing the mainsail with the existing setup. Otherwise you’ll be on the leeward side of the boom when pulling the clew cringle down. Usually when you’re reefing the wind has picked up enough to buck the boat bit. The first reef isn’t too bad, but the second reef is a ride that is better suited on the windward side of the mast when reefing. I decided to focus on the engine this fall and winter, and since Satori was out of commission I could also work on her boom. The day after the race, I took all of her sails down and put them in a dry place until I’m finished. I also took the boom off and stripped all of the hardware off so I could work on it alongside of the engine project. I plan to add winches and run lines to both sides of the boom, through rope clutches to make reefing much easier.

Showing a single reef with the clew cringle crossing over to eliminate the friction caused by the sail bunching up under the reefing line
Showing a single reef with the clew cringle line crossing over to eliminate the friction caused by the sail bunching up under the reefing line. This will be eliminated with the new setup.

Satori’s engine was installed by Stewarts Marine here in Ballard. The day the owners motored away with the new Bukh DV 36 was on June 6th, 1986. By June 2016, Satori’s engine will be thirty years old. When I bought Satori, she had a little more than five-hundred hours on the engine which is not much at all, but she was showing signs of severe corrosion on the starboard side of the engine. This was from weeping of seawater due to worn seals on the impeller water pump, and some poorly sealed hoses. To recap the amount of work I have already completed… The original water lift muffler had some pinholes that was causing it to corrode. The old Racor filter looked a bit old and I wasn’t able to find any replacement filters any longer. The original fuel lines were also starting to leak due to plastic fittings wearing out and hose that was at it’s final days. I addressed the fuel lines first. Later I added a new muffler. I lost part of the summer sailing last year due to an oil pipe bursting. I placed an order from Bukh for the new parts, which took the better part of a month. Since then I have only replaced the oil and fuel filters, plus made an attempt to reduce the corrosion by spraying solvents onto the effected area. I’m sure that addressing it sooner would have been better, but I put other projects in front of the line until the fall weather settled in. Now that we have periods of monsoon rains and cold temperatures, I can finally address the issues once and for all. Instead of just replacing the water pump, I decided to replace the entire cooling system and service the parts that remain in good condition. It may seem hard to believe but I am really enjoying this project.

Showing the corrosion and original oil pipe prior to repair in 2014
Showing the corrosion and original oil pipe prior to repair in 2014
Engine block and mount prior to cleaning the iron oxide
Engine block and mount prior to cleaning the iron oxide
Beginning of the clean up project
Beginning of the clean up project with attempts to extract the rusted bolts.

I started by removing all hoses, rubber end caps, pipes, heat exchangers, water pump, and anything else related to the cooling system. I was a little concerned that I would not be able to find replacement parts, but I was relieved to find all of the parts available in the US and UK via mail order. The first thing to address while I wait for parts delivery is the corroded engine mount. The bolts attached to the mounting bracket were heavily corroded, and possibly bonded to the engine. I began scraping and brushing away the iron oxide until I could see the shiny steel underneath. I started to turn the first bolt head, but it would not budge, and ended up stripping the bolt even more. While I was working on the engine mount, I decided to take a look at the front engine mounts to see the difference. When I looked at the bracket I realized that the bolts had completely sheared away, leaving the bracket disconnected from the block. This was an unexpected situation and needed to be addressed immediately. I removed the front mounting bracket which revealed the sheared bolts. Fortunately I had enough space to work on drilling out the bolts. Over the next week I proceeded to drill out the first bolt and remove it with an extractor. The second one would not come out with soaked aero-kroil or torch, so I drilled it out and tapped it for installing a heli-coil. I double stacked two coils and added Loctite to keep the bolt torqued down.

Engine mount sheared bolts
Engine mount sheared bolts
Using an extractor to remove a sheared bolt
Using an extractor to remove a sheared bolt
Cleaned mounting bracket and new bolts with heli-coil
Cleaned mounting bracket and new bolts with heli-coil

After the unexpected distraction I moved onto the oil coolant pipes, front mounting bracket, and heat exchangers. I brought them into a machine shop so they could soak everything in a hot tank. Hopefully it would strip most of the paint off and clean the steel parts a bit. In hindsight I should have just used  phosphoric acid to clean them due to the expensive price of $45 for bathing. I took the parts to a wire brush on the end of a drill to bring the parts down to mostly bare metal again. After seeing the oil heat exchanger transform into a shiny brass lantern, I bought some high-temp clear paint to allow the brass to keep shining. The coolant pipes and engine mount were painted red after a coat of ospho for converting the surface oxide to a ready-to-paint surface . I was able to work another corroded engine block bolt out and replace it as well. I ordered some new custom hoses, heat exchanger end caps, and put the water pump on order. The turn around time is apparently a month and a half before the pump is delivered to the parts dealer here in Seattle. Until then I’ve decided to clean up the engine and repaint part of it where the water pump has caused severe corrosion. I have also decided to find a drain for the stainless steel water lift muffler. I received a brass plug when I had the muffler fabricated, but that has since corroded severely. After only one and a half years I’m already repairing the plug to allow the seawater to drain easily into the bilge. I will keep working on preparing the engine for painting by removing corrosion, and cleaning the surface back down to bare metal again. Some areas will receive just a little touchup paint, but others will be prepped with ospho and then painted over with a couple of coats of red krylon rattle can paint. I sent the oil in to have analyzed so I can keep an eye on the level of iron and calcium in the oil. I should have a good sense of the amount of degradation that is to be expected with the piston compression based on how fast it’s loosing metal. Three samples over the next year can tell me how much I should be concerned.

Cooling system parts after removing from the engine
Cooling system parts after removing from the engine
Oil heat exchanger before cleaning
Oil heat exchanger before cleaning
Oil heat exchanger after polishing
Oil heat exchanger after polishing
The seawater heat exchanger looks surprisingly good considering the age of it. Not much needed to get this cleaned up.
The seawater heat exchanger looks surprisingly good considering the age of it. Not much needed to get this cleaned up.

The next phase will be removing the rear mounting bracket, and getting it repaired or replaced with a new one. Once the engine is cleaned up and painted around the engine mount, I can install the bracket and put the cooling system back together. Although I won’t have repaired all of the corrosion, I will be more confident that it will not continue as it did. The rest of the engine could be cleaned and touched up over time, without worrying about any further damage. It’s a serious challenge to decide where to stop repairing. I have heard several people suggest pulling it out, but that would cost me a considerable amount of money. If I removed it I would need to have someone transport it to somewhere I can work on it. I would need to pay someone to give me the space to work on it, plus a daily rental charge for the engine stand. If I keep the engine inside of the boat I have all of the time that I need to get the engine done. There will be other projects down the road to address some of the foreseen issues. I only need to decide what will be acceptable to leave as is until I have more downtime to address the next corroded part. Hopefully when I post about the engine project completion it will still be 2015. I don’t expect the boom to be finished by then, but that’s okay. I’ll motor to weather and run with the foresails.

The caliper and micrometer are invaluable for taking measurements for getting replacement parts.
The caliper and micrometer are invaluable for taking measurements for getting replacement parts.