Showing posts from 2017

Re-powering s/v Ripple

My Summer, 2017 Adventure

An irregular sound, a vibration untuned to the sum of your experience: this one was a momentary drop in RPM... 25, maybe 50 rpm. I bumped the throttle, right? Then it happened again, and denial shades into anxiety.

The opening hours of a 6 week cruise: Seattle, up the inside passage, over the top of Vancouver Island and a leisurely meandering through the inlets that indent the west side. But this journey ended just as it began.

A series of intricate diagnostic rationalizations, fuel filter and impeller changes availed us not at all. Lots of oil gone missing! Limping into Kingston Harbor, Ripple’s Yanmar 1GM10 turned the last of some 300,000,000 revolutions in my service.
Broken-hearted 1GM10
Only slowly did I surrender the hope of rebuilding my faithful one-lunger.  As it happens, Yanmar does not make an oversized piston for the engine, as they enlarged the size of the cylinder when the 1GM transitioned to the 1GM10, and given that the water jacket for the block …

Book Review(s): "Chichakoes" and "This Raw Land" by Wayne Short.

Two years ago I was in Baranof Hot Springs, my favorite place on the entire Alaskan journey.  The hot springs are perfect, and there are even baths in a bathhouse just up from the dock.  I visited the place three times, with a different crew member each time.  Leaving southward after the third visit, Sam and I transited Chatham Strait and spent the remainder of the day in Frederick Sound before anchoring in Goose Cove, an indentation of Kuiu Island. At no time that day were we out of sight of whale spouts or tails, and late in the day we observed what I can only imagine was mating in the sheltered waters just northwest of Keku Strait.  The whale's vocalization at the end was like an alpenhorn close up.

Recently a friend lent me two paperback books, their deteriorating bindings and yellow paper signaling decades of use and slow oxidation characteristic of acid paper.  They are memoirs of Wayne Short, who moved to the area just after World War II, and later finds his wife in San Fr…

The best possible news...

When I started to tear down my ailing engine and think about causes, the very best possible outcome seemed to be a broken ring.  Given that all the components in the head measured within spec, and the cylinder wall seems unblemished, I was beginning to wonder if i would take the piston out and find it undamaged.  That would have left only the cooling system and the dreaded governor as possible culprits.

The thermostat came out of the head with some difficulty, and it was sufficiently encrusted to make me suspicious that a clogged thermostat and clogged hoses were part of my problem (the hoses were pretty crusty when I got them off).  Surprisingly, it still worked when put in a pan of water, but that doesn't mean it was entirely functional in the running engine.  Inspection of the cooling ports in both the block and the head suggests that the rest of the system is unoccluded, but a blockage at the thermostat could certainly result in an overheated engine. The instrument panel for …

The State of Head

If you're going to rebuild an engine, it is pretty convenient that you can hold the head in your hand. Put aside the sludge factor and it would almost be cute.  Nothing this oily fits in that category, though, and when you get over that, the next emotion is awe.  This 9 horsepower engine turned turned over 110,000,000 times just on my Alaska trip.  Another 350,000 times last year... never mind all the other shorter seasons it has seen.  Half the horsepower of a John Deere lawn tractor, it has pushed a 6,000 lb boat 5,000 miles in the last couple years. Try riding your lawn tractor to New York and halfway back. Diesel engines rock, and this 20+ year old Yanmar has put in some time.

So why quit now? The hour meter has clocked a mere 2500 hours since the last rebuild (I'm assuming it has been rebuilt, but I don't even know that for sure).... That is very low for a diesel, and unless I can find the answer, I wonder if I can ever be confidant in it again?

I have the head off, a…