Two steps forward…

Got up this morning with a plan.  Did some cursory cleaning on the outside – basically hosing dead bugs down the drain – and had a lovely shower in the cockpit using the lake pump.  I was getting pretty ripe.  Nice morning, moderate SW wind, some chop out on the bay, but this is all sheltered from Lake Erie so no big waves.  

Next up – check the torque on all the injectors.  This is a bit of work as you have to disconnect two fuel lines from each injector.  They were fine.  I had an Aha moment last night after shutting down and carefully inspecting the motor.  The exhaust manifold showed signs of heat – the paint was noticeably discoloured – on all but the front cylinder.  The idea that one cylinder is weak is consistent with what I was seeing the previous two days.  On a whim I decided to pull the injector – it’s the easiest one to get at, and it just took a few minutes.  I put my big ratchet handle on it and the nut came loose immediately with very little effort!  Hmm.   Pulled the injector and the entire tip seemed to be wet with fuel.  Bingo.  Injector not sealing.   Plausible story.  So I torqued it down.  After sleeping on it I decided I should check them all.  I should say that I put them in myself a few weeks ago.  My only defence is that I got a 1/2″ torque wrench to do this and a few other jobs that were too much for my 3/8″ and they are different, but that is a feeble excuse.  Measure twice cut once.

Then change the oil and filter.  Because it currently gets diluted with fuel at a rapid rate.  That’s what I’m trying to address.  Without going into too much detail, I’m trying to run the motor hard in order to get the rings set.  I was confident yesterday that I had finally accomplished that for 5 of 6 cylinders.

So with all that done, I got underway.  High hopes.  I even decided to head for Port Dover, about 13 miles across the bay.  Mostly because I am completely out of water and that’s available there, but also because I kind of expected that I might finally have licked this.  There is a bit of a calculation, because basically I was running earlier this week for 2-3 hours before seeing oil pressure drop and pan level rise because of oil dilation. I figured I could make it even limping along in my current state.

Out of the anchorage, into the bay, motor gets up to temp and I start goosing it.  Same behaviour as earlier.  I stopped to clear the weeds, gave a big full throttle shot in reverse, and the motor died suddenly and completely.  Crank over, no start.  

Now this is a bit alarming, mostly because I’m nervous of catastrophic motor failure.  I had visions of getting towed into port and admitting defeat.  Boat is drifting pretty fast in a 15 – 20 knot breeze, but I’m well clear of any hazards.  So I stood on the bow and picked a weed free area to drop the anchor.  Set first try, all secure.  It’s a bit bouncy, but just below my threshold for nausea.  But just the same I’m playing it safe.  Forecast is for the wind to drop off slightly, it’s a lovely sunny afternoon.  So I make myself a meal, dribble another couple of cups of water out of my empty tanks, catch up on some news, just chill for an hour.  Let the motor cool down.

Back to work, try a shot of starter fluid, no joy.  Check run solenoid, all ok.  Crack injectors without cranking, bubbles in a couple.  Crank, no new fuel to injectors.  So I checked the fuel lines and found a big air bubble.  

Now, I was quite certain that I had solved the air leak last week.  Guess not.  It’s a bit insidious, in part because I have a big drop in my fuel line, and small air leaks form a bubble over time when operating below a certain fuel flow rate.  If that bubble gets big enough and gets sucked through because of an increase in flow it will stop the motor.  That’s what happened.

Fortunately this is now old hat for me.  I have the systems and tools for solving this.  So I spent an hour or two on that, and flashed up the motor.  But I still need to find the air leak, even though it is small.  Puzzling a bit on that.  I did reroute the fuel line to avoid having the big loop to trap the air.

At this point I decided to head back up towards Port Rowan.  It’s sheltered up here with anchorages, and my car is here.  On the trip up I ran hard but behaviour was pretty much unchanged.

One more adventure to cap the day. I drove up to Simcoe for provisions (and more oil and filters) after supper.  Spent a lot more time than planned in the Superstore, and didn’t get back to Port Rowan until about 9:20.  It gets darker earlier than it did two weeks ago :-). And it was very dark anyway from heavy storm clouds.  It started raining just as I pulled in.

Now, Mazurka is anchored about two miles as the crow flies from Port Rowan.  Easy dinghy ride, except for the weeds.  These are killer weeds, stopping the dinghy dead.  And they basically fill the area directly between the port and the boat.  You have to basically head out into the bay on a course perpendicular to where you want to go, then pick up stakes that mark a (relatively) weed free channel in.  Probably double the distance to do the big circle around the weed patch.  I’ve learned this the hard way over the last week 🙂

So I set out towards the middle of the bay.  Have a chart on my phone, but it is of limited use.  Then I hit weeds, and went from 20 knots to two.  And it started raining harder, so I really couldn’t use my phone.  And it’s now pretty much completely dark.  There is lightning to the northwest, maybe coming my way.

I spent the next half hour foundering around in the dark trying to figure out where the channel was, clearing weeds every few minutes from the prop.  I hadn’t left any lights on in the boat so it wasn’t easy to find.  Fortunately the thunderstorm passed by.  Note to self:. Bring good spotlight in dinghy if there is any chance of darkness 🙂

Now cozy, dry, warm and well fed, plotting tomorrow’s activities.  I bought some Seafoam penetrating oil and am about to pull the #1 injector and spray a bunch in to sit overnight.  Rings may be stuck, no harm in trying…

Here’s the obligatory picture

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