Transmission; freshwater pump; etc

Weekend didn’t exactly go as planned.

Thursday night Dad and I did yet more sealing on the new hatch, which was still leaking.  He showed me a few caulking tricks and we now have a pretty serious seal on the hatch, which I hope will finally stop the leakiness.  It hasn’t rained heavily yet since, but the hatch survived quite a concerted drenching with the hose.

Friday morning there was a whole flurry of prep work for our planned Pulau Hantu trip.  Most of it was pretty routine.  Charlene and Mom did some heavy duty sewing to fix the ripped-off straps on the aft cockpit flap.  I started up and tested the engine a bit, and added some oil.

At some point Friday morning Joseph and Marci, the crew of Horizon, stopped by to say hi.  They’d met my parents in the laundry room earlier in the week, and they’ve done some interesting sailing up in Alaska and BC which is of great interest to me.  They’ve moved on to Langkawi now but I’ll have to keep in touch with them and keep an eye on their travels.  I also wandered down to take a look at their boat and stole this photo of their traveler, which is pretty much what I want to do with mine to improve the purchase and better route the control lines:

We were ready to set off around noon.  Within 10-20 seconds after we pulled out of the slip I felt the transmission slipping a bit.  I shifted it around a little and found it sluggish switching between F, N, R.  I almost decided to head out anyway but at the last second I turned away from the marina outlet and headed for a nearby slip to diagnose the issue.  We docked and I checked the ATF.  It was empty.  Kind of strange as we had added 1/3 qt during the Tioman trip and the transmission hadn’t seen any use since then.  I added almost an entire qt before the dipstick indicated there was enough fluid, and then noted a fairly steady drip (about 1 drop/3 sec) into the bilge from below the prop shaft coupling flange.  I reached under and it appeared to be transmission fluid leaking.  At that point I decided we probably shouldn’t go out for the day, but I wanted to motor around for a minute or two and check the transmission fluid again, so we decided to just head back to Oia‘s usual berth.  That didn’t go so well: a stiff breeze was coming in ahead of an approaching storm, and I found it impossible to get the boat pointed back up into the wind where I needed to head.  I’m not sure if it was entirely a combination of wind and current, or if Oia was underpowered due to transmission/fuel/whatever issues.  We ended up being pushed back into the westernmost docking area which is mostly full of small vessels.  The slips there are too small for Oia but it was sufficiently sheltered that I could get things under control, back out, and get the boat pointed in the right direction.  We then motored back to my usual dock and were able to get the boat into reverse and backed in smoothly, as usual.  However, the boat seemed underpowered during the 3 min spin around the marina.  I had the engine running at 2.2k RPM and was moving at only 3.5 kts.

Back at our slip, the ATF level had dropped quite a bit, although we thought that might just be a result of it circulating.  Regardless, I wasn’t happy with the way the boat was driving so we decided to call it a day, and now I’ll be redoubling my efforts to find a mechanic.  There are too many issues cropping up with the engine for me to deal with myself, and I’m getting tired of feeling like I can’t trust it when I need it.  I will probably try to find someone to do a pretty major all-around servicing of the engine, and at the same time rework some auxiliary stuff like the engine plumbing, the primary fuel filter assembly, etc.  I might even consider a rebuild or in an extreme case, maybe even a repower — basically, whatever it takes to not feel like I can’t trust my engine not to skip out on me when I’m relying on it.  And after that work is done I’ll certainly be sticking to a more strict maintenance schedule than I think this engine has seen in the past.  I did check the ATF again the following day and found it mostly gone, with some new oil in the bilge, so there’s clearly a transmission leak somewhere.

Charlene managed to get David from Swift Marine over on Friday afternoon and he poked around for a few minutes before running off.  He said he’d send over a mechanic to take a look Tuesday.  I’ll probably try to get a couple other mechanics on the case too, if I can find anyone who won’t blow me off, so I can get some competing quotes.

Instead of a sail we ended up giving the boat a good bath Friday afternoon, and cooking some good meals over the course of the weekend.  We also got in a good game of Uno, which is kind of a family tradition dating from my grandfather’s boat, Skye:

This morning when we woke up the house freshwater pump that provides pressure to sinks, shower, etc appeared to have died.  It has been struggling a bit over the last few months and I’d been planning to swap it out soon anyway, but now the motor appears completely dead somehow.  I unmounted it:

It’s a Shurflo 2.8 gpm 30 psi diaphragm pump.  Quotes from the local distributor for replacement parts were pretty ridiculous, so instead I’ll just be replacing the pump with a newer model.  The pumps aren’t all that expensive (at least in the US) so I’ll probably just get two and keep one as a spare.


Filed under deck, mechanical, photos, plumbing, trips

2 Responses to Transmission; freshwater pump; etc

  1. Lee

    Transmission problems. This was a problem for us too, but it didn’t leak that fast. I was able to just add some fluid every few engine runs until we got it fixed. One place replaced the seals, but that didn’t fix it. The problem was corrosion on the shaft, where the seals act upon. Likely it is leaking from your seals too. My word of advice though is to make sure that it isn’t also corrosion on the shaft surfaces – so you don’t have to do the procedure twice – like we did. A reputable transmission rebuilder will know this though. As an added bonus, your clutch plates may be worn – like ours were – which would cause the slipping. That is your engine is probably running much faster than the shaft. Carefull that you don’t overheat the transmission.

    • Kris

      Thanks dude, that was pretty useful info. It does appear the transmission is going to have to come off and go to the shop and I’ll be sure to check for corrosion and worn clutch plates as well as replacing the o-rings. Lots of other random small engine problems too: loose mounts, injectors need servicing, knocking, etc etc. I am beginning to consider a repower in Thailand as the engine is 43 years old and probably not worth rebuilding, but I don’t really trust it anymore as I haven’t ever gotten through more than 15-ish hours without something else crapping out. In talking to humans have you gotten any vibe as to what engine makes people seem to like? Do you enjoy your Yanmar? I’m guessing Yanmar is a pretty safe bet in general but I’ll probably consider a few others. Volvo seems to be widely disliked.

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