Showing posts from January 3, 2010

Cleanliness is next to startingness


According to Nigel Calder, dirty fuel is at the center of the vast majority of diesel engine problems.  Be meticulous about fuel handling, tank cleaning, fuel antibiotics, condensation, and fuel filters, and your diesel engine will run like a top.  My Yanmar 1GM10 has two fuel filters, an aftermarket primary fuel filter (Racor 120R), and a secondary fuel filter on the engine.   The position of the primary makes it very difficult to eyeball the fuel bowl and even harder to change the filter, and hence the primary line of defense against engine failure is substantially compromised.  Changing the location of the filter by raising it a few inches should significantly ameliorate the problem.

Getting at the support bracket for the filter required removing the raw water pump (bracket is visible at far left of the photo), which necessitated disconnecting the wet exhaust reservoir (bottom of photo).  Then, the 11 mm socket I have was too large in diameter to get into the countersunk…

Systems Analyst

s/v Ripple is a small boat; her moorage length is 30 feet, but that's because she has a 4 foot bowsprit, and owing to William Atkin's philosophy of design, her cabin is sized with careful attention to her overall proportions, not to the proportions of an RV.  

Managing the systems on this cozy cruiser requires understanding and study rather than passion.  Never mind the black arts of painting, varnishing, marlinspike seamanship, navigation, and (oh, yeah... ) sailing.  Mastering Ripple will require the skills and intuitions of a diesel mechanic and marine electrician.

Lacking the intuitions, I'll settle for knowledge and try to work my way into mere competence.  My primary ally in this quest has become Nigel Calder.  My brother recommended his book on marine diesels, and subsequently I found his books on boat systems and reading charts.  His writing is clear and his coverage of the topics is, to my unschooled eye, thorough. Throw in a Chapman's and you have an excelle…