NZ Enchantress Refit - Engine & Related Issues

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sat 1 Jul 2017 20:29

In early April we were on a mooring when we couldn’t get the engine to start. I checked all the usual things, filters, starter etc.  and couldn’t see what was wrong. We got Seapower to come out to the boat and check the problem. They found that the fuel pump was jammed and the injectors weren’t working properly. We had to get the pump overhauled and new injector heads.

As the problem seemed to be due to corrosion we suspected a return of the diesel bug problem and decided that the diesel tanks needed to be properly cleaned. This meant removing all the diesel, 450 litres and after much debate and more evidence of diesel bug we got rid of all the diesel. To do this work we needed to be in the marina, so we towed Enchantress into the marina using our dinghy.

When we opened up the main tank this is what we found:

This looked like a very large lump of diesel bug!! When I removed the lump and showed it to Mike, the engineer he said it looked like a chamois leather. I found that is what it was but the slime was old diesel bug.

I then went searching in the tank behind the baffles and lo and behold:

There were 2 other Chamois leathers left in the tank.

The Chamois collection.

These must have been there since we had the tank cleaned in Turkey in 2014. Given this and other signs of diesel bug we decided that we had to get 2 other hatches made in the tank so that it could be cleaned properly. When these hatches were cut we found the bug clinging to the pipe fittings inside the tank. We were then forced to accept that we needed hatches in our other 2 diesel tanks and Stainless Steel Chris agreed that he could make the other 4 hatches without removing these 2 tanks. As well as cleaning all the tanks we had to clean all the fuel pipes as well as possible and replace some.

His-self replacing 1 of the tank filler pipes!!

By end of April we had the reconditioned fuel pump and new injector heads installed and new diesel in our clean tanks. The engine started and seemed to be running well.

I then asked Michael (Seapower) to check the back of the engine as we still seemed to have signs of salt water. James from JB Marine, the official Yanmar agents in Opua, had done some work back in November in that area as we were having problems with our starter motors continually sticking and having to be cleaned. I wasn’t fully aware of what he had done, but seemed to be mainly about pipes under the air filter.

Michael asked where the emulsified oil on the gearbox was coming from. He then checked the gearbox oil and found lots of sea water in the gearbox. I then removed all the ‘oil’ from the gearbox and found that it was nearly all sea water. Michael tried to get the gearbox sea water cooler out of the gearbox but it was completely stuck. It was clear that the gearbox would have to be removed and after trying to take it out in the water we decided that we would have to get the boat lifted.

Once the gearbox was removed it quickly became clear what the problem was:

The inner half of the sea water cooler cover.

The inside sleeve for the water cooler.

The oil cooler had to be cut in half to remove it, The end of the cooler had been forced in so hard, without being seated properly, that it had been destroyed. My initial thought that this must have been done when the engine and gearbox was completely overhauled in Turkey in 2013/2014.

As we were due to leave New Zealand in 3-4 weeks we were advised that the fastest and best approach was to buy a reconditioned gearbox, if we could find one and then get our existing gearbox repaired and then sell it. Michael offered to manage all that. We quickly got another gearbox, of the same make and model and the same specification and once the other out of the water work being done on the boat was complete, Enchantress was relaunched. As we tried to motor out of the lift we found that the gearbox was set up in reverse to our old gearbox and we went backwards. The gearbox could work equally in either direction, but it meant having to switch the cables on the gear lever which was a major effort.

I then got the estimate for yet another service of the starting motors and decided to check the original bill from JB Marine to see how much I had paid for starter motor servicing 450 nzd!! I also noticed that the invoice referred to refitting the gearbox sea water cooler!!! It was then clear that the damage to the gearbox was done by James at JB Marine (one of the partners in the company!). I should have noticed that he had done this in November, but I paid more attention to the outrageous 300 nzd for cleaning/servicing our 2 starter motors. As you can imagine I then put a claim into JB Marine for the cost incurred from their incredible mistake, over 4000 nzd, although over half this should be recoverable when the old gearbox is sold. The offer from JB Marine was totally inadequate, although I gave them the go ahead to repair and sell the old gearbox, so that I should get some compensation soon. When I return to New Zealand I will pursue further compensation in every way I can.