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Old 05-10-2015, 07:18 PM   #1
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Stupid... Stupid Mistake!

Well, I did it this time... fortunately, no damage to my engine but I learned a good lesson. Let me tell the tale!

Two weeks ago, I had flushed my Volvo MD2030 with fresh water via the top of my sea strainer. Fast forward to yesterday morning. My wife and I decided to take a Saturday "Mother's Day" cruise from St. Petersburg to John's Pass and back. I conducted all my pre-launch checks to include opening the sea-cock.

We left the marina and were almost in the channel when I noticed my engine temperature was abnormally high. I immediately throttled back and turned around. The engine alarm activated so I made the decision to immediately find the first safe dock to avoid risking damage to my engine. I wound up tying up at Eckerd College's Search and Rescue.

The alarm only activated for a minute or two but the radiator cap released pressure a few moments after tying up. I checked the engine compartment and expected that the impellor failed or the strained was clogged. After a quick inspection I noticed that I failed to close the sea strainer top two weeks ago! Stupid, stupid me!

Well, the impellor was okay and the engine ran fine afterwards. I returned to the marina and checked everything over. No peculiar sounds such as knocking or pinging, white smoke from the exhaust, or signs of a headgasket failure. Exhaust hose looked good, lots of water was ejecting from the exhaust exit, and the engine ran cool afterwards. Long story short, we did complete our trip that day and the engine ran fine for five hours with no issues. I'm sending a sample of oil off to be tested for peace of mind.

I learned my lesson after this event! Thirty plus years on the water and one can still make careless mistakes
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Old 05-10-2015, 07:40 PM   #2
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That's why I made a laminated startup/shutdown list. Even w/ that, I left the raw water thru hull shut two weeks ago in the rush to get underway. It happens.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:20 PM   #3
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So with the top of the strainer loose, then engine was sucking in air? If so, it's probably worth pulling apart your raw water pump to inspect/replace the impeller Obviously it's working because your subsequently ran the boat, but running for the time you did without water likely compromised the impeller. I'd also suggest a very thorough inspection of all rubber parts down stream of your water injection elbow. That stuff expects to run at a very moderate temp thanks to the injected water. Without the water for the time you ran, you may well have started to melt rubber elbows and the like. The probably need to be removed to check their insides, not just inspected from the outside. If one of them springs a leak, it could dump a lot of water in your boat very fast.

But it's great you caught it when you did and that there wasn't obvious damage.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:57 PM   #4
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Yes, I was essentially sucking in air. I was surprised that the impeller was still intact (no broker vanes); but yes, I will indeed replace it next week. Only rubber part after the injection elbow is the exhaust hose. I don't see any apparent signs of melting at the elbow.

How can I detect possible inside delamination of the hose without removing it?
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:31 AM   #5
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Yes, I was essentially sucking in air. I was surprised that the impeller was still intact (no broker vanes); but yes, I will indeed replace it next week. Only rubber part after the injection elbow is the exhaust hose. I don't see any apparent signs of melting at the elbow.

How can I detect possible inside delamination of the hose without removing it?
You can't. I did a similar thing last year..broke my rule of sticking the key through a card that says " engine seacock is closed" and putting both in the ignition.

You got lucky..I roasted my impeller and spent about 4 hrs flushing all the little pieces out of the cooling system. It also cost me 6' of 5" exhaust hose..looked good on the exterior...All bubbled and restricted on the inside.

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Old 05-11-2015, 12:45 AM   #6
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Stupid... Stupid Mistake!

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You can't. I did a similar thing last year..broke my rule of sticking the key through a card that says " engine seacock is closed" and putting both in the ignition.



Hollywood

I can't seem to envision this card system, but think I want to duplicate it. Can you elaborate?

Pic maybe?
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:04 AM   #7
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All the above makes me feel better about now leaving the raw water intake seacock open. I recently had to have a new one fitted, and it's a fancy seacock and strainer combined. But whereas the old one had a handle I could elongate and operate via a lever to open and close, the new one has a detent locking type mechanism on the handle and I cannot reach it or the handle without getting in beside a (hot) engine and lifting the floor board as well. So it stays open, and I work it very so often to keep it from freezing up. I figured as the through-hull, seacock, strainer, and hose to the engine were all new now, the risk of one of them letting me down was less than the risk of me forgetting to open it and doing damage.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:05 AM   #8
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I can't seem to envision this card system, but think I want to duplicate it. Can you elaborate?

Pic maybe?
I usually do similar.

Write on yellow stickie, stick over ignition key hole, stick ignition key through yellow stickie back in where it usually lives.

All the key does is keep the stickie from falling off, blowing away.

Doesn't have to be just seacocks...could be anything that needs attention prior to start or getting underway.

I used checklists my whole life...but found with living aboard, getting underway with a boat that has so many manual systems in different configurations, checklists become less useful. Maybe as I automate more systems, checklists will become more useful to me

Right now the yellow stickie routine of short modified checklists or just single reminders....and a kitchen twist timer to remind me of short term timed events seems to keep me honest.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:15 AM   #9
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Ahhh. I get it now. Cool idea.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:57 AM   #10
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Well, I did it this time... fortunately, no damage to my engine but I learned a good lesson. Let me tell the tale!
If we all posted our gotcha moments this would be one very busy internet site. Don't worry, be happy.

Now, I am curious - how in the heck can one leave their sea strainer cap off/loose and not have water big time entering the bilge, assuming the through hull is open? Unless your strainer is above the waterline -----
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:43 AM   #11
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My tactic is after working on anything is I remove all parts and clutter and put all tools away from the work area. Then I inspect and put a wrench on every nut or fitting I have touched. I occasionally find something loose.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:13 AM   #12
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Even the check lists don't protect you 100% against all possible mistakes, but we are very diligent with our check lists. We have ours electronic and can check them either on tablets or phones. But we go down the complete list and swipe each item as we check it every time. It doesn't matter if we used the boat yesterday, we go down the list today.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:27 AM   #13
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If we all posted our gotcha moments this would be one very busy internet site. Don't worry, be happy.

Now, I am curious - how in the heck can one leave their sea strainer cap off/loose and not have water big time entering the bilge, assuming the through hull is open? Unless your strainer is above the waterline -----
Great question! I always close all of my seacocks when I leave the boat. When I departed, I opened the sea-cock but stupidly didn't check the strainer as I knew it had been cleaned two weeeks before.

The strainer is just at the waterline (I need to double check) and mounted on a bulkhead. I do remember water being ejected from the exhaust when I left (I always check before leaving); but I assumed, in retrospect, that it was just some remaining seawater exiting the engine.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:49 PM   #14
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Now, I am curious - how in the heck can one leave their sea strainer cap off/loose and not have water big time entering the bilge, assuming the through hull is open? Unless your strainer is above the waterline -----
Would someone educate me on this? I always thought the raw water strainers were supposed to be above the waterline and the idea was to be able to clean them without closing the seacock.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:55 PM   #15
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Would someone educate me on this? I always thought the raw water strainers were supposed to be above the waterline and the idea was to be able to clean them without closing the seacock.
Seems to me...most are below the waterline.

Air conditioner pumps usually require it to keep the pump primed.

My Forespar strainers recommend above...yet I have 2 below and 1 above.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:22 PM   #16
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Would someone educate me on this? I always thought the raw water strainers were supposed to be above the waterline and the idea was to be able to clean them without closing the seacock.
I double checked mine via a photo of Sherpa's engine room and the sea strainer for the engine is definitely above the water line. My A/C and washdown pump strainer are below.
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:07 PM   #17
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Would someone educate me on this? I always thought the raw water strainers were supposed to be above the waterline and the idea was to be able to clean them without closing the seacock.
Never heard of this concept for a design criteria. Are there any builders out there that come to mind? The last half dozen vessels I've owned had strainers below the waterline and close to the through hull, readily accessible of course.

Larger deeper hulled vessels (sailboats, Nordhavns, Selenes) like our DF have through hulls and strainers 3+ feet below the WL.
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:43 PM   #18
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I have an orange thing like a wire tie but fairly soft and very pliable. I attach it w one turn around the throttle arm. Takes about one second to attach and remove. Complacency can overturn even that after many times used. One gets used to it being there and it requires engaging the brain for it to work. I've done this on something else and went ahead w my mind on other things.

I've only recently employed the tell tale and think maybe leaving it open really isn't such a bad idea. I've done it for years and most water ingress events usually start w slow leaks or drips. If one has new hoses, double clamped w short stout fittings and good safe routing of hoses and location of fittings the chances of sinking one's boat is probably similar to dieing from boarding a commercial airplane or more favorable. As part of the safety element one should give consideration to the fact that the boat may move from a safe float or anchorage to a place where engine stoppage may result in something much worse. The old saying "all things considered" applies nicely here.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:32 PM   #19
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Re. posts 5,6, & 8, here is mine.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:46 PM   #20
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Great idea!
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