This post covers miscellaneous maintenance aboard our Alaskan trawler, Tortuga.

November 12, 2004
The primary bilge pump under the flooring in the main berth has been replaced with a Rule 3700 pump.  While the flooring was out I finally ran 12 VDC wiring to the SalonMate ozone generator in the bilge.  The difference that having this device running full time with regards to interior odor is remarkable.

April 26, 2004
bilgekleenThere seems to be trapped or pooled oil (perhaps diesel) in the engine room bilge.  As much as I have tried, there are locations that simply can’t be reached where less careful prior owners allowed significant amounts of oil to spill.  This week I awoke to the sound of our neighbor yachtsman knocking to tell me I was discharging large amounts of petroleum into the marina harbor.  Sure enough, a slick 40′ in diameter had formed near the aft bilge discharge point.  A close examination of the bilge showed a significant amount of oil (I call it oil versus diesel since it was dark brown versus the reddish tone) was in the bilge compartment immediately in front of the engine room.  I have not completed a check of each fuel tank yet to determine if indeed it is diesel leaking.  The Monroe Harbour Marina is a very closed area with minimal circulation to clear contaminants.  To eliminate this problem I installed a BilgeKleen System from Centek.

January 2, 2002
The new hawse pipe installed perfectly.  As soon as it weathers it will match the remaining ones.  Starting to look into the cost of replacing all eight (?) port lights.

November 12, 2001
The new custom molded hawse pipe is being shipped this week to us.  Very anxious to see how well it cast.
It came in this week (11/20) and I’m a little concerned that it’s not the same bronze composition as the originals.  It looks like it’s painted bronze, kind of funny?  I’ll dig into it later next month.

September 25, 2001
The trip to Zimmerman last weekend was busy.  I left the previous visit with a genset that had simply quit running after a few minutes.  Not being a mechanic, I truly didn’t know where to start.  So out came the books on diesel repair, and they simply said “…not running – look for fuel problems…”  So I opened the fuel bleed caps, manually pressed the pump priming lever and out poured lots a liquid – liquid that at first I thought was diesel fuel (funny I should think that!).  Still not having any luck after 30 more minutes, I took a clear plastic cup from the galley, pumped more fuel into it, and to my grief discovered I was pumping almost pure water into my genset.  Of course the horror of what had I done to my genset took complete control of me for a few minutes.  After tracing down the fuel supply, I switched supply tanks and started pumping like crazy to empty the water from the lines.  After getting out almost two cups of water, the fuel ran clear.  After 10 minutes of gingerly coaxing the starter, the genset fired to life and after a few moments of stuttering, purred smoothly for an hour ’till I shut her down.

Of course, now I had a worse problem to track down.  Why was there so much water in my port mid-tank (196 gallon tank)?  One of the task I needed to accomplish was to replace each of the site tubes with all new PVC tubing.  After doing this on the tank, the shock of seeing what appeared to be over 40 gallons of water creep into the site tube almost made me faint.  But to make a long story short, after performing what I call the Chinese Acrobat act of crawling between the port engine and fuel tank (a space only 10 inches wide) I was able to drain almost three (yes 3!) gallons of water from the lower sump drain from the tank.  I can only imagine that the tank had been mostly empty for many years and had accumulated water condensation over that time.  There is still some water in the bottom of the tank to be drained on my next visit.

One major accomplishment was moving the genset battery back to the genset location which opened up the battery compartment to putting in the second bank of batteries for the house.  I think I must have removed over 40 ft. of old battery cable, old switches and fuses as part of this clean up effort.  Even the cable runs for the old inverter which the previous owner had removed (why?)  The job is almost complete so stay tuned for schematics of the new house wiring system which uses West Marine’s battery combiner prior to the battery select switch.  This gives me complete redundancy on the house side (6Vdc in series), in addition to allowing me a source for alternate 24Vdc as a backup for the starting batteries (8D’s in series).  It will also allow me to connect the 12Vdc battery charger (alternate bank) source to the genset battery to keep her topped off while at the dock.

August 30, 2001
Cleaned the bilges from the aft of the engines to the transom.  You wouldn’t believe the crap (I’m being nice) that was removed.  Grease, wood chips, cut plastic tie wraps, nuts, bolts, insulation and just dirt.  Literally two pounds or more of stuff.  So much that the limber holes where plugged in half of the frames allowing water to pool.  But after cleaning and air drying for a day, there was no water to be seen in the bilge in the cleaned sections.  I can not believe how tight this wonderful old lady’s hull is.

The center crawlway of the engine room floor is the diamond pattern metal (hard on the knees).  It was showing 30 years of abuse.  So I’ve taken the section in the lazurette and polished it with a steel brush in the drill.  Looks a million percent better.  As time permits, I’ll complete the remaining floor panel sections.

The fuel tank arrangement is six total tanks.  Four of which have there own site tubes for determining quantity.  The forward most tank on each side is connected to the mid-tanks through a valved connector tube.  Therefore the forward tanks have no site tubes (???)  Are the forward tanks meant to be held in reserve?  Needless to say, the site tubes are almost complete opaque.  I replaced the aft starboard tube with new clear 1/2″ PVC.  What a difference.  I can now read the quantity from ten feet away.  I’ll let that set for a few weeks to see how the PVC holds up then replace the remaining three tubes.

Discovered that there is no manual crossover valve on the hydraulic steering for emergencies.  This means that I can’t install the manual steering tiller without releasing one of the lines.  Will start that project as soon as possible.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 7:39 pm and is filed under Tortuga. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.