Various small tasks; engine

I made the trip up to Langkawi this morning. This time I rented a car at the airport, as I’d like to take a trip or two to some marine and hardware stores to pick up some necessities this weekend. I didn’t do any shopping today, since Friday is the Islamic day of rest and pretty much everything is closed. Somehow I did manage to find the marina without even trying: I was driving randomly, looking for a gas station, and I magically ended up at my boat instead.

I noticed the boat is listing quite a bit to starboard. I’d noticed this when I left a couple weeks ago too, but it was dark then; in the light, it’s pretty noticeable. Confirmed the dock lines aren’t too tight. Probably it’s just because the port side fuel and water tanks have been in use, while the starboard side tanks are full.

This time around I was able to get underway with my various tasks pretty much immediately. It was hot when I arrived, so I did some inside stuff in the air conditioning for a while. First, I put the plugs on the ends of my cigarette lighter adapters and tried those out. Here’s one charging my phone, via USB:

While I was at it I decided to take apart the DC dustbuster that I accidentally plugged into an AC outlet last time I was here to see if I could fix it.  Dustbusters aren’t all that impressive once you dismantle them:

To my surprise, there was nothing wrong with the motor.  Plugging it in and manually flipping the switch, it worked great.  The problem is mechanical: the housing switch doesn’t effectively move the internal switch to turn on the motor.  After some tinkering with this, gave up and set it aside for another day.  Not exactly mission critical equipment (yet).

Sometime while I was messing with that, I decided I’d like some music.  I’d burned a couple CDs since there’s a car stereo and a CD changer installed in one of the cabinets behind the port settee:

Dismay!  The stereo has stopped functioning.  A couple weeks ago it worked like a charm; now that I actually have some music, it’s a no go.  I couldn’t find anything immediately wrong with my multimeter, so I’m forced to assume the unit succumbed to internal corrosion or something.  The housing behind the front stereo panel is certainly pretty rusted.  C’est la vie; I was thinking I’d probably replace it with something that takes an iPod input anyway.  In the meantime, another quiet weekend.

Other small tasks today:

  • Measured the trailing edge of the hard dodger for some padding, although I’ve managed not to smash my head on it yet this weekend.  74″ L x 2″ H x 1″ D, for future reference.  Probably I’ll just get three segments of padding, 2x 20.5″ on each side and 33″ in the center, about 4-4.5″ wide, wrap it around the offending edge, and screw it in.
  • Measured the Saint Vincent & Grenadines ensign flag, since I need to replace it with a Malaysian one and want to get something similarly sized.  38″ x 23″.
  • Researched mounting the radar reflector, a Davis Echomaster.  Decided it’ll have to wait until Singapore as it requires the addition of another small sheave on the underside of the spreader.
  • Made a decent list of essentials for a ditch bag, which I’ll try and acquire tomorrow.  Mostly I’m just going with the basics for now.  This is one of those things to revisit before doing any more extensive cruising.
  • Figured out the deck wash pump, found a really crappy garden hose, and got started washing the deck.  Only really finished the aft port quarter before my arms got tired.  Too much swimming in the last few days!  I will need to get a better hose as my existing one is pretty leaky.  I may or may not get a separate long potable water hose to refill my water tanks; right now I can’t actually refill them at my berth.

At some point this afternoon I looked around for the exhaust drain valve and closed it as I was warned to do by the previous owner.  Then, I started up the engine.  That’s probably the most nervewracking thing I’ve had to do yet, not because starting an engine is all that scary, but because the engine is the one thing on the boat I know the least about.  But luckily the engine started up fine, which is pretty good since it’s been about three weeks since it was last used.  Soon I will need to set about learning all its secrets.

The engine compartment and the bilge are pretty ugly and messy.  Here are a few photos.

An overview of the engine compartment, looking aft toward the companionway.  I think, if I was ever to want to replace this engine, an old Westerbeke 4-107 (37 HP), I’d have to remove half of the galley and the hard dodger, at least.

Here’s the aft part of the engine (with the back of the engine at top), including some of the exhaust system (the magical exhaust drain valve is the little red knob at lower right), most of the fuel filtering system, raw and freshwater systems, etc.  Underneath the pile of hoses is the transmission (a Paragon P-220 hydraulic transmission), the propeller shaft, and below that, the bowels of the bilge, which are doused in some kind of sludge.

The forward part of the engine compartment has the engine block (you can just see the housing here, on the right), the alternator (at bottom), the breather and some fuel lines, and a lot of detritus.  I haven’t yet emptied out the engine compartment, and it’s filled with oil bottles, hoses, and all sorts of other random stuff.

Luckily I have the shop manual for the engine, so soon I’ll need to browse through those and poke around to get a complete sense of what’s what.

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