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Old 07-31-2022, 07:40 AM   #1
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What did you fix on your boat today?

Seems like we've all had our sudden "great, this thing broke" experiences.

How about a thread for only new unexpected repairs? We've all had plenty of past stories, but let's keep this thread to recent, unplanned surprises.

I'll start with one from the 'no good deed goes unpunished' perspective.

Sea strainer for AC needed cleaning. Globbed up solid with debris. Possibly dead jellyfish and the mossy sort of slime we get on the Chesapeake. Lots of nastiness. Cleaned the strainer basket on the dock, but had to scrape the chunks off the inside of the strainer glass. Opened the seacock to float the crap out, into the bilge. Caught most of them but a few washed into the center bilge section. Got the chunks and figured the bilge pump would clear out the cruddy water.

Except the pump didn't start when the water was high enough.

Gave it a smack with the hose sprayer and it started. Great! Water clears and... the pump doesn't stop running. Percussive therapy doesn't discourage it either. Let it run, dashed off to Westmarine and $311 later got one to match.

Came back to find the existing one either burned itself out or the float turned it off... never to return to life.

Same pump, less trouble, right? Ah... no. Looks the same, but the base is different such that the new pump has bumps under it that won't fit the old tray. Oh, and now it comes with a universal threaded fitting to allow different hose sizes, yet one's too small and the other's just a bit too large. Looks like the old hose would have fit the new smaller fitting, but had been stretched a bit to fit the old pump's output. And there's not enough slack to slice off the end... So now the hose is just slightly more-bigger.

Those split loom wire wrapping coils sure look nice, but they're tedious to un/re-wrap.

A few splices later, some heatshrink and the new pump responds properly when I use the dock hose to test it.

So, yeah, a quick "l'll just clean the strainer" turns into 2 hours of delayed departure. The joys of boat ownership!
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Old 07-31-2022, 07:52 AM   #2
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Under the category of "new boat what dis?!" comes;

In year one of ownership of MoonShadow:
  • Autopilot pump failed, replaced with new
  • One Forward window leaked causing damage to woodwork, replaced all 5 upper windows
  • Diesel Furnace worked once for sea trial then failed, replaced.

On the bright side we thought at sea trial we would be replacing the external portions of the aft thruster and wound up not having to.

~A
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:57 AM   #3
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Being a few years into ownership, I'm getting down to the things that weren't necessary to fix but were annoying. Two recent examples.

The toe switches for the windlass were backwards. The forward one brought the anchor up and the aft one lowered it. As a temp fix the first year I put "U" and "D" stickers on them, but it just wasn't intuitive. Finally got around to rewiring at the switches.

My autopilot rudder indicator always showed about 6 degrees to port when moving in a straight line. I centered the rudder and wheel and adjusted the sensor for "zero". In doing so, I discovered the rudder indicator was ty-wrapped to the rudder, so I made that a more permanent connection at the same time.

Glad to have these annoyances taken care of.
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:02 AM   #4
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The battery charger on our new to us 2015 Meridian 391 showed 15.5v but the house battery was at 14v, more than 1v drop on the ground connection. I traced the wire all over, through the most inconvenient compartments. Under the starboard propeller shaft I found a puddle of water and a slow leak in the shaft log. After disassembling the entertainment center I found bunches of ground bus strips daisy chained together except the connection to the one containing the battery charger was missing. The current must have gone through smaller ground wires to some equipment and back to the other ground bus strips.


The anchor winch breaker kept tripping. The instructions call for 100A and the battery charger calls fro 60A. They were installed backwards on the switch panel. The switch panel must have been the first thing they built and then build the boat around it because it was nearly impossible to access the breakers to swap them back.
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:11 AM   #5
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The .250x20 nut(single)(steel) which holds(held) the shifting cable to the transmission shifting arm, appeared on top of the housing last week, leaving the cable attached only by gravity. This sent a large shiver through me timbers, as I had just returned from a short outing and a painful $$ stop at the fuel dock.
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:51 AM   #6
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Actually not an unexpected problem but rather one that I had expected since we bought the boat. Our new boat has a Vacuflush head in it. I expected that at some point I would have some kind of a problem. We have been on a 2 week trip and sure enough the Vacuflush started leaking vacuum. I have not fixed it yet, we just worked around it. I will fix it next winter by installing a Marine Elegance head.
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Old 08-02-2022, 09:03 AM   #7
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I'm headed back to Ensenada next week for about 6 weeks. Hopefully Weebles is about finished. I just finished building a set of steps from saloon down to the stateroom of our Willard 36 Sedan. Old steps disappeared under the ineptitude of the boneheads at Niza Marine, the guys I fired last year (pictures at www.NizaMarine.net)Click image for larger version

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Old 08-02-2022, 10:27 AM   #8
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looks good Peter, nice job!
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Old 08-02-2022, 11:18 AM   #9
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We were running north through Martha's Vineyard sound a few weeks ago. We were buddy boating decided to go 'inside' between the lee shore and a long shoal that runs North/South for about 8 miles. It's a fairly narrow area, relatively. We were about 1/4 mile from the shoal and about 1/2 mile from the lee shore.

My auto-pilot suddenly take a 90 turn to port. I hit Standby and get back on course. I reset the AP and things appear fine, then about 5 min. later another 90 turn to port. This is sending us straight for the shoal. Again, I reset AP and things seem fine. 3rd time is a 90 degree to Stbd. OK, I 've had it. I turn off AP and start hand steering.

While hand steering I mention to my wife that the steering feels oddly 'loose', but I have steerage so don't think much of it. After about 5 min. %^$#@!

I pickup the VHF and hail the boat in our convoy directly behind me. (We all agreed to monitor the same channel so I know everyone else can hear the exchange). "Be advised, I'm coming to a stop". the response "Uh, ok......is everrything OK?". I respond "I've lost steerage".

At this point my wife looks up from her book and says "Uh, did you just say that we lost steerage??!!!!"

I run to the lower helm where there is still some, albeit sloppy steerage. I have my wife take the wheel and hold a position using the lower helm. This is normally a 6 turn wheel (lock to lock). She advised afterwards she was getting 10-12 turns lock to lock just to hold position in idle.

I pull the hatch above the steering ram.....I immediately seem hydraulic fluid EVERYWHERE. @#$%$#%!!

I'm looking around and I see no burst or detached hoses. The steering pump looks fine. then I look at the AP pump. It's covered in steering fluid. I put my hand on the closest fitting......it spins in my fingers FW#$@#$#!!

I start tightening and it's just spinning and spinning. After some perseverance it finally seats. I run and grab a wrench and tighten every single hydraulic fitting I see. This is the only one with an issue.

I go into the engine compartment and grab a steering bleeder and a bottle of hydraulic steering fluid. I run to the upper helm and re-fill the system. I check the steering and AP pumps again and no leaks. We manage to continue on our destination.

As I'm pulling into Vineyard Haven the steering starts getting loose again. If I spin the wheel vigorously 3 turns port, 3 turns Stbd i can feel pressure build up again, so I realize what is occurring.

In my panic, I filled the system, but didn't bleed the system. Air bubble were working their way up through the system to the top, which happens to be the upper helm. The more I steered, the more air bubbles bled up and the more I would loose steering in the upper. By vigorously turning the wheel, I was effectively aerating the oil giving me enough fluid to steer. I limped through the anchorage and managed to find a spot.

The challenge was, my wife was in the Whaler we were towing. I was alone. I had to drop the anchor myself and the only helm that has a windlass control was in the upper.

Once anchored I bled the air out of the system including the AP pump and everything was back to normal.
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Old 08-02-2022, 01:10 PM   #10
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Shrew, 2 questions come to mind.
1. What was the root cause of the fluid loss, loose fitting?
2. Why was your wife in the whaler you were towing?
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Old 08-02-2022, 02:39 PM   #11
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Sounds like time to add windlass controls at the lower helm.
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Old 08-02-2022, 02:58 PM   #12
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I was out for a little 'cruise' just a couple of hours this past saturday when I notice that the port engine is running higher rpm's than starboard. I throttle down and back up and notice the same thing. So we cruise a bit and when we come back to our marina, I notice that I have no control on the port transmission. Luckily there was not alot of wind, so I get into the slip using only Stbd control. So Sunday, I go into the engine room and notice all sorts of oil around the port tranny. I clean it up, check the fluid level and add more oil to port transmission.
I start both engines, go to engage port transmission and nothing, again.
So, back down to the engine room i go. I look and oil everywhere below the port transmission and I see a drip from a hose from the transmission oil cooler to the trans. One of the hoses blew a hole.
So, clean up all the oil again. REMOVE ALL the hoses from both engines and have new hoses built today. I am now done, it is cleaned up and I have port control again. Yea me.
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Old 08-02-2022, 03:01 PM   #13
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This thread has the potential to rival "interesting boats". lol
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Old 08-02-2022, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinblue View Post
Shrew, 2 questions come to mind.
1. What was the root cause of the fluid loss, loose fitting?
2. Why was your wife in the whaler you were towing?

1) I had some work done on the AP over the winter. They replaced the main processing unit, so I have no idea why the hydraulic connection has been loosened. Once reseated and torqued down with a wrench I've had no issues in 30+ hours of operation.

2) Clarification.....We had been towing the whaler. We stop outside an anchorage or mooring field, she jumps in and then follows in behind me. Once I've picked up the mooring ball, or anchored, she brings the whaler over to the boat.
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Old 08-02-2022, 03:14 PM   #15
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Sounds like time to add windlass controls at the lower helm.
Agreed.
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Old 08-02-2022, 05:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Actually not an unexpected problem but rather one that I had expected since we bought the boat. Our new boat has a Vacuflush head in it. I expected that at some point I would have some kind of a problem. We have been on a 2 week trip and sure enough the Vacuflush started leaking vacuum. I have not fixed it yet, we just worked around it. I will fix it next winter by installing a Marine Elegance head.
Have you tried letting some water run through the Vacuflush? Sometimes something hangs up and causes a vacuum leak. Vacuflush aren't very complex, vacuum leaks are usually either a bowl seal or duckbill, either of which is far less expensive than a new system...just saying.
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Old 08-02-2022, 05:25 PM   #17
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I find every year there's something that needs to be fixed that worked fine the year before. Our generator is a perfect example. Worked ok then suddenly this year would starve for fuel (this was with new filters and a new lift pump). I'd reprime it and it would work briefly then starve. After hours tracing things I've been forced to suspect the prime pump on the Racor filter is leaking air....who would have thought? I still have problems believing it but I bypassed the Racor and voila, I stop getting air.
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Old 08-02-2022, 05:28 PM   #18
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Started stripping my cap rail today. Love the Harbor Frieght heat gun!Click image for larger version

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Old 08-02-2022, 07:39 PM   #19
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Have you tried letting some water run through the Vacuflush? Sometimes something hangs up and causes a vacuum leak. Vacuflush aren't very complex, vacuum leaks are usually either a bowl seal or duckbill, either of which is far less expensive than a new system...just saying.
Yes, I did. Knowing how reliable ME heads are I will not invest any time or money into the Vacuflush head. Besides Formula didn’t do me any favors where they installed the vacuum generator. It will always be a problem to maintain. The ME has all the serviceable parts in the head itself so access in not a problem.
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:13 PM   #20
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For now -- until we have it shipped to Duluth someday and sail out into the world -- we're trapped on a 26-mile lake above the first dam on the Missouri River, so I rarely run the radar and other nav equipment. I just run through everything a couple times each season to make sure it's all still working, etc. I turned on the radar last weekend, got the normal warm-up timer, and then the error message of death: array not turning. So I climb up to the radar arch and notice -- huh, that's odd, there's shrink wrap tape holding the lid on the radome. Turns out the marina crunched my radar array against the top of the travel lift during spring launch. Broke the screws, swept the lid off horizontally and bent the array flat as a pancake. Sounds like nobody told the marina manager, the crew put the pieces back into the bowl and taped the lid back on with white tape.

It is (was) a low-end 2005 analog Raymarine 18" (M92650-S) going to a C80 -- all of which worked well when we put the boat away last fall. For now I don't want to go down the road of upgrading everything for half a billion dollars, like pulling a thread on a sweater. So the marina is giving us a credit for the cost of replacement against our bill for fall pull and winterization, and now I have a used 48" open array (M92654-S) on the way, so I'll have one of those really cool spinny things on my radar arch like the big boys. I'm told the cable and connectors will match, just plug and play. We'll see. Nothing is ever that easy on a boat but maybe I'll get lucky. And this fall I'll remove the array and lower the antennas and everything else myself rather than depend on the marina's "full service" pull and winterization.
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