Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Second Time Around

We pulled the Constance Marie from its moorings on October 18th.  It was a Friday and Indian Summer was in full splendor.  I was planning to do the haul-out on Saturday but opportunity presented itself and Robert, one of our tractor drivers, said I had a 30 minute window to get the boat to the loading ramp and out of the water.   Wow!  Mad Hatter take two,  jumped into the dink, motored out, secured the dink to the sloop, motored Her back to the dock and we pulled her out and put Her up on her boat stands all inside 30 minutes. Unfortunately, never had a chance to lay any ground cover under the boatstands. Not good. Come winter and spring, this section of the boatyard turns into quagmire of muck and yuck. Well, I retrieved the power washer and gave the old girl a good bath. One of the benefits of sailing the northern waters of the Chesapeake is that it's all fresh barnacles, no annual bottom paint. Five fresh water rivers feed the region. The Susquehanna, the North East, the Elk, the Bohemia and the Sassafras.  At the headwaters of the North East River is a favorite spot for the Bassmaster Pro Elite tour. 
Figure 43
High and Dry

Anyhow, after the Constance Marie was cleaned up, we winterized Her.  You can do this in stages over  1-2 days or spend two-three hours and get it all done in one day.  I like to run the engine and get everything warmed up.  My buddy Denis changes his oil with his boat still in the water.  Makes sense and I think I will do that prior to the end of next season. 

Lesson Learned:  Remember to put some paper towels and a plastic bag around the filter when to catch the oil that will flow from it.

Using the replacement oil filter that was in The Beast's A-Kit (spare parts), I installed the new oil filter remembering to put some oil on the o-ring at the bottom of the new filter so a good seal is made.  This engine is 33 years old but just resurrected, so its important to change that the oil is changed each year.  Never give an old man something that he can whine about.  Same thing with an old engine.

I basically did the same with the transmission fluid, although on The Beast this is easier said than done as the the tranny is located just in front of the stuffing box near the rear of the engine and down below.

Next was the fresh water cooling system which uses a 50-50 solution of anti-freeze and water year round.  We rarely, if ever violate the -5 rule but I insist on using anti-freeze (and Pink Piss) with the capabilities of -55 degrees.  This year I drained the anti-freeze and added the more concentrated mix.  Old engine, runs hot.  
    Figure 44
    The Beast Ready for Winter
    I turned to the topping off the diesel fuel tank.  Most of us at the club go over to the nearest working marina and fill it up, but I know that I was only about a gallon down so I used a yellow five gallon diesel can to do it.  I added some Stabil for diesel engines to ensure that we control the critters and condition the fuel for the winter.
    In addition to the oil filter, you have the water/fuel separator and the separator sediment bowl has to be cleaned out.

    In addressing the fuel filters and its elements, with the fuel injectors it is important to bleed any air out of them by running the engine for a few minutes. I closed the thru hull sea cock.. Removed the water intake hose from the sea cock and placed it in  a five gallon bucket of fresh water.  Before re-starting the engine, I checked the zinc pencil in the primary heat exchanged and cleaned it.  I cleaned the raw water sea strainer and started the engine  to draw the fresh water through the sytem. As the bucket near emptied I filled it up again with the a mixed solution capable of -55.  I just don't trust the weather as last winter it went to below -5 with the wind chill and gaskets inside heat exchanges failed dumping coolant all over the engine wells.  Once the bucket was just about empty, I killed the engine.  She was all set for the winter.
    It's recommended by the manufacturer, but I did not remove the impeller and did not disconnect the propeller shaft coupling from the transmission.  I will inspect during spring commissioning.  I made a list of the spares (filters, gaskets, etc) that I used in the A-Kit so I can re-order them piece-meal.  I swapped out the start and service batteries and put the original battery back in for use in the winter.  Of course, fully charging it before doing so.  Whew!  On to the next task! 

    Lesson Learned:  Don't forget to use a trickle charger keeping your service battery (or replacement) charged up for the winter.  A battery charger is good too while working on a project on the boat but don't leave it hooked up for the week if you are not there.