Sunday, July 12, 2015

Our first trip to Lake Sylvia

Weather looks good for a sail this weekend, I mean 'Sail' !!
We plan on getting down to Eximius around 9:30 in the morning and head out to the ocean for a couple of hours sailing. There's a few things we need to do on the boat before we leave the slip, including an oil change.
Hope to see a couple of club members on their boats on lake Sylvia later in the day.

Had a great weekend, even took a siesta. Worked on the new VHF radio installation just to pass the time :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Oil Change

If you don't change the oil, you know what happens to your engine!

Eximius' engine is the first diesel engine I have ever played with, and it needs to run right! So during the past few months, I have been studying diesel engine maintenance and servicing procedures. There's plenty of advice on the web, and hunting down what seems the most applicable info is the hard part.

I came across a site called Off Center Harbor, a great site for older boats and new, but they have a great series of videos on servicing diesel engines. Jon Bardo does a great job of covering the basics of diesel engines, that series of videos is worth the OCH membership.

Of course, the engine in the OCH videos looks new, Eximius' is much longer in the tooth, but it still has the basic engine components, I just have to find them.

The plan is to use a vacuum pump to extract the oil via the dip stick, and then put in new oil. Because I'm not sure when the last oil change was done, I plan on doing a 2nd oil change after allowing the engine to run for 10 minutes. If needed, I'll do a third oil change, right now the oil is pretty black and that's the only clue I have that I need to flush the old oil out by doing several oil changes in succession.

So, that's the plan! Let's see how it goes.

I purchased this: Air Power America 2000 LiquiVac Oil Changing System for Large Engine from Amazon.

To give an idea about it's size, it's about 20" long. I'll get to use it tomorrow when we do our first oil change before our weekend sail and anchor at Lake Sylvia.

How did it do?

Good news, it worked really well, at least until I tried to empty the pump kit, more on that later.
Following the instructions that came with the pump kit, I connected up the tubes and inserted the thin tube into the dipstick pipe. Then with the inlet valve on the pump closed, I quickly pumped a vacuum with 30 strokes on the pump handle. Was a little disconcerted by the collapse of the pump body, but understandable.

Then, with some paper towel around the dip stick pipe and under the pump kit, I opened the pumps inlet valve (the plastic connector that attaches the tube to the pump tank) and it quickly sucked the oil up the tubing and into the tank.

Left it doing that for a few minutes, and watched as the tank regained it's shape as the vacuum was replaced by oil.
Closed the inlet valve and applied another 20 strokes to the pump, then reopened the inlet valve. I did that 4 times in all and ended up with over 2 quarts of oil in the tank. A good start.

One last closure of the inlet valve and 20 strokes of the pump. Then I removed the tube from the dipstick pipe and opened the inlet valve to suck the oil out of the tubing.

So far so good, no mess. While waiting for the oil to be sucked out, I replaced the engine oil filter. Easy, just put paper towel below the oil filter and use a filter wrench to loosen it, replace the filter (applied a little oil to the filter gasket) and tightened it up with the wrench.

Now to empty the oil from the pump kit tank ... this is where I screwed up!
There was an empty oil bottle in the port side bench locker so I planned to pour the oil from the tank into that bottle. Using a funnel and plenty of paper towel covering the cabin sole, I started to pour the oil out of the tank into the bottle .... Arrggggg! There was a hole in the bottle, oil all over the cabin wood floor! 
Of course, both hand were full, one holding the funnel, the other the tank and Peggy stuck up in the cockpit with the cabin entry steps removed!

Lots of paper towel!!! Quickly found a plastic pale to put everything oily and a quick clean up of the floor with soapy paper towel.

Once clean up was complete, I put 2 quarts of oil into the engine. We flashed it up for a minute and let it sit for 10, then checking the dipstick, I added another pint of oil, ran it again for a minute, then waited 15 till checking the dipstick again. Perfect.

Phew. Now we have to do that a few more times to clean out the old oil.

And that oil bottle with the hole? Did you guess it? The bottle was stored in the port cabin bench locker at the side of the holding tank with half a dozen assorted oil bottles, but that empty one was resting on a stainless steel tube clamp. It had been there when we bought the boat, and was another thing we were going to get around to investigating/inventory. The clamp had worn a hole in the bottle, it was not empty. Now it is, and the oil is in the bottom of the locker under the holding tank. How the heck can I get that out without removing the holding tank.

Peggy came up with a solution... Use the Oil change pump! Duh! So guess what I'll be doing down at the boat this weekend.

Next oil change I'll have a container to drain the pump tank and should be able to get at least 2 oil changes done.

Another lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 4th .... special

Arrived at Bahia Mar marina midday Friday. We nailed the docking but, as is the rule,  no peanut gallery.

Several HISC boats already here, so after getting checked in, we headed up to the pool. If you are familiar with Florida's summers then you know how good it felt to dive into the pool. Coool.

Later that evening we joined Dale, Jacqui, Bill, Joan, Graham, Nancy, Paul, Diane, Jeff, Bob... and a bunch more of the HISC members at the Bahia Cabana Restaurant for dinner, at least, that was the plan! The power transformer across A1A blew and all of the block had total power failure, they could not even run their Credit Card machines (that needs a plan!)

So we headed across the road to the 'B' and had a great dinner facing the roadway watching all the walkers, bikers, skateboarders, stroller pushers, and all, go by.

Saturday was the 4th, so we pulled the flag to the top of the mast and later that day, Dale came aboard and climbed the mast. Ok, he didn't 'climb' the mast, we hoisted him up using a winch while Jacqui winced. Dale successfully threaded a halyard through the existing flag halyard block under the stbd spreader. So now we can fly burgees - another item to cross off the list.

HISC Round Table
At lunchtime we all headed up to the Tower on the West side of the Marina for a patio lunch. But somehow, Jacqui & Dale (hosts of the event with Bill) managed to get an upgrade. So we had an air-conditioned room for a private party. Pool, Sag Bags, Tumble Bricks, and great conversations.

I'm not sure that anyone other than myself noticed that the rug in the room was an abstract of the British Flag. Nice to see the UK represented even if it was underfoot.

Two J's

Dig in

Suzi in charge

Everyone was visiting the boats, including ours, and making plans for the evening to watch the fireworks from the beach. We're really not crowd types, so we planned to watch from the cockpit on Eximius. Several other members planed to do the same on their boat. A few adventurous types headed out to the very crowded beach (at least I was told it was crowded, looking that packed car parking areas, it was!)

So, we had a great 4th.

I'll add some video later.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Monday, July 6, 2015

We've got Cards

If you hang around enough sailboat owners, someone will give you their card.

Here's our first Sailing Card

The insert pic is a selfie we took this past new years eve. For the past 10 years, we have celebrated the arrival of the New Year aboard our 25' Catalina on Biscayne Bay. This year (2015) the weather was not co-operating, and we did not get to go sailing. Instead, we took a bottle of bubbly on to the boat which was sat on her trailer at the side of our house beneath the tarp.

That pic is one of my favorites.

Here's looking to celebrating on New Years eve this December aboard Eximius, not sure where we'll be, something else to look forward to.

See you on the water.