Sunday, 24 July 2011

Service your own boat,how hard can it be?

Servicing our own boats should be uppermost in our minds,more so now with the so called hard times but also as a means to get to know your boat and its hidden parts.All items tend to need some  service at some time,the only item I think can be left alone is a solar panel but even that needs cleaning at times.

Here we have a simple bronze water pipe nipple,its reasonably easy to remove and see whats going on with it.The scenario is this:

You have an engine thats over heating,should you call in the ABC Boat engine Co,they will start with the thermostadt to see if it opens when hot,thats a very simple test in a kettle of hot water,you will probabaly need a number 13 spanner to remove its housing,the rest is simple enough.To replace just do what you did to remove it but in reverse.

So the thermostadt was found to be ok? whats next,well we then start to look at the rest of the cooling system and if your engine has a heat exchanger,this can start to add up to many hours of strip down,this far the clock will be at an hours labour and a gasket only,say R400,thats about U$58 right now.

So the strip down starts,I would first start with removing the heat exchanger,it runs the engines fresh water through it cooling with the raw water from the sea outside and pumped normally via a Johnston type rubber impellor pump,which we have checked was still pumping before the process started (you do carry a spare impellor of the right size?)

We have now found that the heat exchanger was clean enough to not be the cause,whats next,well in this case,we can remove the two bronze nipples that take the raw sea water through the alloy gear box,thats simple,just two hose clamps and a flat spanner.

What we find is the cause,check this picture,the hole,which is small even when its open is closed 50% with a build up of salt,easy to clean of course and when replaced the engine will then run cool,end of story,yes but the cheque book is now about to pay for four hours labour.In this case its R360 per hour x 4 and a R40 gasket and sealant tube,so we have to pay R1480 or U$215 for the fix.

Given we needed a size 13mm (1/2") spanner and a medium sized screw driver only,I think you could have done this job your self,how hard can it be.

Is that a good name for a book?


in windy bay,at 35 knots plus.

Hout Bay
South Africa.

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