A while ago a friend of mine drove two batteries down from Up North so that I could connect them to my solar panels and have a decent battery bank.
Then there was a storm and my panels came off the boat. I put them back on the roof but didn’t notice that a connection had come loose. Then I went away for a week. This mean that the regulator had been pulling from the batteries for a week without them getting charged at all. Boo hiss!
So the batteries were sad. One was reading 11.2 and the other 10.7. Not good at all. After being placed on the ‘recondition’ round of a charger overnight each, they both seem a lot better but still are having problems holding a decent charge (they were holding about 12.3 and now after a few days of brighter sunshine its gone up to 12.5). I’m investigating ways that they can maybe be helped more.
So far I’ve been thinking about checking them with a hydrometer and topping them up if necessary, insulating them so they’re a bit toastier when they’re charging and discharging, and I’ve heard tell of some battery aid tablets but am very dubious about them. A friend of mine says that they did wonders for his starter in his van, but the internet says Wack!
Going to start with the hydrometer and insulation and then see how that goes for them…
So the jabsco stopped pulling water again. After emptying the filters and pulling a bit of crap out of the feed pipe it still wasn’t working. This time I was pretty sure that there was a hole in one of the hoses that meant the pump was pulling in air.
So we checked this in the most obvious and grim way you can: take it apart bit by bit and try to blow through it covering one end to see if it leaks. Cue mouth full of canal water and radiator rust. Yum. We also didn’t find a leak; all pipes were fine.
After establishing that the pump impeller was still whole (and then having a minor moment of despair: Oh Jabsco!! why why why?!), we decided to put the whole thing back together part by part checking the suction at each stage by running the engine quickly. This seemed to be going fine, leading me to hope for it to be miraculously solved, even if I never knew what was wrong. Then, when the whole thing was put back together, it wouldn’t pull any water again!! Argh!
By this point the boredom of failure was well entrenched, and we gave up on our mission and decided to drive back to where we started, just around the corner. We learnt two valuable lessons on the journey back: don’t rev up the engine needlessly when the cooling isn’t working properly (especially to pretend to crash into your friends), and don’t take off the radiator cap when its overheating. Rookie errors. We didn’t actually crash into the other boat and I didn’t actually sear my face off in a explosion of boiling water.
Over the last few days a major break through has occurred. There has been some tidying and sorting out and the world is a little less complicated.
Fantastic advance One:
This used to be a berth referred to as the coffin, so-called as there was so much space underneath the back deck that you would mostly be contained in a little box if you wanted to sleep there. I took the cushions and wood off of the outside half of this, leaving the gap there and left the wood in the back bit to make a shelf. Now there are two lots of storage that go way back, getting a lot of stuff out the way.
I’ve even put the stuff that needs it in boxes that seal and written a list of what’s down there to minimise rummaging. Oh yeah.
Fantastic Advance Two:
After installing the new leisure battery (the black one) and doing other electrical bits and pieces, the electrics were functional but a mess.
The SO did a fine job at making it understandable to someone who isn’t him:
Now the batteries just need insulating and boxing up. But that’s for another day for sure.
So after fiddling about with the engine and getting it so it would probably move the boat, I decided to take a trip up to the marina to get diesel, gas and water. I was also going to take a broken-down friend who wanted to empty his toilet and chuck some rubbish and pick up some water as well. He went to get all his stuff ready, and I went to sort out the boat.
I’m going to blame the midday sun, but on enthusiastically remembering that I should check whether the radiator was full or not before setting off as the water pump has been leaking, I leaned over and managed to pour almost a whole litre of water into the oil tank. Oh. Great. Wow. What an error.
I hadn’t turned the engine on, so I was really hopeful that it would be easy to sort out. I ignored my friends advice to not bother and just turn the engine on and made a shameful, shameful, ashamed phone call to my uncle to admit to my mistake and ask advice. He laughed, told me it would be fine to drain it, and told me that he’s known mechanics with years experience to do it too (I think that was a lie, but I appreciate it anyway!).
So came the big oil change that I’ve been meaning to do since I got the boat, but haven’t seeing as I didn’t want to waste a whole engines worth of oil that might be fine anyway. I pumped all of the water and oil using the handy pump that was attached to the sump.
Then took the pump off to drain the very last bits out as I figured that the water would be at the bottom.
Weirdly I got 5 litres of liquid out, but could only put in 3.5 litres till the dip stick said it was over full. The oil capacity in the manual is stated as 5.1 litres. Oh well, another mystery.