New fuel lines and Racor 500

I had Mark from Auxiliary Engine Services stop by Satori on a recent lunch break and he took a look at the diesel engine, which is a Bukh lifeboat engine. He may be the only person around Ballard who has even worked on these engines before. I called just about everyone and the first response was, “Never heard of it”. It’s basically another 3-cylinder marine diesel engine. Not much to it. The reason Mark had a look is because I had a diesel fuel leak that went into the bilge. After an assessment of the engine he helped me prioritize the upcoming work. First was a hose that was heavily corroded and ready to break, which came from the Groco  water strainer. Had it broken while the thru-hull valve was open and I was away from the boat for days, it could have sunk the boat. I spent some time after work one evening disconnecting the bronze fitting and hose (which broke in half when I pulled on it), brought it to Fisheries Supply and bought some new hose, a bronze elbow, a hose barb and hose clamps. Some time pushing it all together in really tight quarters and that problem was solved. The second issue was solving the fuel leak. Mark suggested that I go ahead and replace every fuel line and fitting up to the valves on the tanks and engine. This included a new water separator/fuel filter.

A fresh install of the seawater coolant hose coming from the strainer seacock.
A fresh install of the seawater coolant hose coming from the strainer seacock.

Fortunately I was able to catch the fuel in the bilge problem before the pump went off. I turned the bilge pump off, closed the fuel valves at the tank, plugged the engine compartment that flows into the bilge and then I cleaned out the bilge one evening. Not such an easy task as I had to degrease the water and surrounding area and then pump it manually into fuel containers to contain the final water, fuel and degreaser combination. After cleaning and turning the bilge back on I was happy to see clear water again. It was a very messy cleanup but I’m a stickler about polluting the sound so there really wasn’t any other option. The next task was figuring out how to get my fuel system back in order. The first assessment seemed a bit overwhelming but some serious thinking and a trip back to Fisheries supply confirmed how I was going to replace everything. When I began disassembling the old system I realized all of the junctions were flared fittings to a plastic barb connected with a flared end cap. I decided to simplify the fuel lines down to 3/8″ NPT and 1/4″ hose barb double clamped with really good hose clamps. A few bronze “T” junctions, a new shutoff valve for the diesel stove and new 1/4″ Trident A1-15 fuel hose and I’m ready to replace the lines. A new Racor 500MA water separator/fuel filter will take care of keeping the fuel in good condition and a simple step down to 3/8″ NPT will add it to the new fuel system.

My new fuel system schematic.
My new fuel system schematic.

One of the things I actually like about this system is that it keeps the tanks level once the engine has run long enough to cycle the fuel once through the separator. There are valves on both the top and bottom of the tanks and also some old vinyl tubing once used for sight-glass measurements of the fuel tanks. The sight-glass tubing is getting removed and both top and bottom connections are getting plugged as it’s not the most practical way to gauge the remaining fuel. I use the wooden dipstick method and prefer that over opening the engine compartment. You simply open a fuel tank from the cockpit and probe to the bottom. The wetted surface displays the remaining fuel from the full mark.

The original fuel system junction
The original fuel system junction

I had to place an online order for the bronze Ts, brass hose barbs and hose clamps as it could take a lot of driving around to find all the parts to finish the job. Another week or two from now and I should have it all installed and ready for a final inspection and sign off by Mark.

Sold!

Over Memorial Day weekend I decided to go ahead and drive back up to Satori and complete a couple of tasks. First off I wanted to finalize the payment and get the title in my name. I’m not really anticipating that anything would happen between now and September but to take some stress off of me and to make sure the owner knew without a doubt that I’m not backing down I gave him a cashiers check and he will be sending me a bill of sale that I can take to the licensing office and get the vessel in my name. On top of that I wanted to go ahead and start inspecting the rigging from the top of the mast all the way to each turnbuckle or anchor point so I decided to climb the mast and take some photos of the rigging so I could take them home and inspect everything in better detail. It’s the first time I’ve ever climbed a mast and although I have plenty of rope skills from rock climbing and mountaineering, it had been a while since I used prussiks to climb up a rope. At first I only had two prussiks; one that I could step into and the other attached to my harness. I also had a halyard as a backup in case the main halyard failed for any reason. About half way up I decided to add another prussik under me to allow me to step into two stirrups. After getting to the top I snapped a bunch of photos of the mast, spreaders, pulleys, lights, etc and then rappelled off.

Top of Satori's mast

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The next task was to raise the sails and inspect everything to ensure they won’t tear or have any problems while underway. At first I was just planning on getting them in the air but after an intelligent discussion we decided the best option would be to remove them from the boat and have them serviced in Seattle. It was also a good way for me to get acquainted with the sail rigging. The mainsail is attached to the boom and mast with shackles that require a flathead screwdriver to remove. On the ends where water was obviously leaking into the shackle the screws were welded shut and took some very careful pressure to unscrew. I also added a little WD40 to assist in unscrewing the screw which was pretty helpful. After removing the mainsail I then removed the staysail and carted them all up to my car. At first I just stuffed them into the cartop box and hatchback of my Subaru. Later on that evening I went to a friend’s vacation house on Whidbey Island where I had my very first experience sailing a San Juan 21 and folded them up nicely.

photo

 

It turns out that the sails on Satori were made by a local sailmaker about 3 miles from my house called Schattauer Sails Inc. A quick call this morning confirmed that I can bring them in to be inspected and repaired/serviced and then they plan to outsource the sail covers to someone locally  and get them ready long before bringing her down to Seattle. Next on the to-do list is to get new spreader tang cables. For whatever reason the cables are missing on the spreader hanger tangs so I’ll need to find out what I need to do to get new ones and place an order. Since I’m already planning on ordering parts from LeFiell Masts, I might as well get some replacement sheaves since the old ones are original.