I would be disingenuous if I claimed I wasn’t frustrated right now. I have spent three days (not one, not two… but three!) doing some routine maintenance before we headed north. That wouldn’t be so bad if I had accomplished three days worth of work! It was time to change the oil in both diesels, which I did without incident or hardship. I then got this crazy idea in my head to do a little maintenance on our diesel generator. Don’t ask me what demon put that into my head, but it seemed a good idea at the time.
I figured I would start by changing the raw water impeller. Of course, I had no direct and easy access to the face of the raw water pump, therefore I had to take out the old impeller piece by piece as I broke it off with my needle nose vice-grips. Hours later, it was removed. I slipped the other impeller in, and… No raw water flow into the engine. After checking for obstructions in numerous places, I figured out the impeller wasn’t turning. The Woodruff Key ( a little half-moon shaped piece of metal that held the impeller in place in the slot of the the shaft) was missing. After multiple calls, I found out that little key is no longer available from the manufacturer and I would need to buy a whole new pump for about $500.00. So, we looked harder. I took off hoses galore and opened the heat exchanger clean out. Cindy finally spotted it on the tray beneath the generator. It had come out of the heat exchanger when I opened it up. Of course, it still wasn’t easy to get the impeller in without knocking out the woodruff key all over again. Several hours later, I broke out into rapturous praise, singing The Hallelujah Chorus as loudly as I could once the new impeller was successfully replaced. I fired up the generator and it ran fine for a few minutes.
So, I cut it off, and moved on to changing the oil. I pumped out the old, changed the oil filter, replaced the oil and fired it up again. It ran for about fifteen seconds and stopped. I could not get it to run again. The blinking light gave me an error code of 36, which seemed to indicate a fuel problem. So, I changed the racor filter and the fuel filter. And fired up the generator again. It still would not run for more than a second or two. Now – error code 45. Instructions: Contact an authorized Onan Service Center. Aaaaaargh!
I’ve now contacted the service center who had no clue what was wrong over the phone, so they are hoping to send someone out tomorrow to take a look at it. We had planned on being on the ICW, northward bound by now. But, instead I’ve spent the better part of the last three days doing routine maintenance that should have taken three or four hours.
I scold myself and tell myself that I shouldn’t be such a whiner. After all, I’m semi-retired and living on the water in a sailboat with my wonderful wife. Over the past few days, we’ve enjoyed some good meals and fellowship with our good friends, Tim and Annie. They’ve allowed us to use their car, when needed, to pick up things around town. We enjoy the daily visits of manatees at our slip. (We know when we see them elsewhere around the marina that they’ve been at our boat, because they’re marked with light blue bottom paint.) We’ve been able to take some walks and bike rides for exercise. Life is pretty good! And, we arranged for a man to come and clean the barnacles and other living creatures off the bottom of Beatitude. When done, his wetsuit was also marked with light blue. Apparently, one of our friendly manatees kept pressing and holding him up against the bottom and wouldn’t let him move. (This might have been because he looked a little manatee-like with his wetsuit and body habitus.)
We’ll see if the generator folks can make it out to Beatitude to lend a hand tomorrow. We’ll then decide if we’ll be leaving Titusville in the next few days. Actually, we don’t need a generator to cruise. And there are times when we use it quite sparingly, but if it needs work, I might as well fix it now, while we are tied up to a dock in a marina. Until such time as we cast off our dock lines, I’m going to try to restrain from anymore boat maintenance. It is definitely bad for your mental health!