Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Is In The Air

Recommission, 4/20/2007

Recommissioning for spring was a pretty smooth process. The bulk of the engine work was done in the fall, so spring only brought a few more chores.

The process began with shrinkwrap removal, a couple weeks before spring launch. It was just a matter of cutting the wrap down the center line with a carpet knife, and then cutting tie-down strings to release it. Michele and I cut the huge pieces of wrap into somewhat more manageable-sized pieces, rolled it up, and used the tie-down strings to tie the rolls. Carrying it to the recycle pile at the marina completed the job. Once unwrapped, we reattached a few things like the bimini frame and antennas, checked all the seacocks, hoses, etc, so the boat was ready to drop in the water. Shipwright finally launched the boat in mid-April, and we attended to the rest of the work almost immediately.

I started by draining the pink antifreeze from the potable water tank, adding a quart of bleach, and refilling with water. I ran some of the bleach/water solution through each of the taps to fill the pump and the lines with the solution, and then left it sitting until the next day.

The engine required the most work. The first task was making sure the engine would start. It fired right up and seemed to run smoothly, bringing a heavy sigh of relief! With that anxiety passed, it was time to change the fuel and air filters. Changing the filters was relatively quick, if a little messy. But diesel engines don't like air in the fuel lines, so whenever fuel filters are changed, the air must be purged. Having never done that, I was concerned that it would be a struggle, and it certainly was. To get the air out, one is supposed to loosen a vent screw on the fuel filter, and then operate a little mechanical "lift pump" until the air bubbles subside and fuel starts escaping from the vent. Well, I pumped. And pumped. And pumped. And pumped some more. This went on forever. I finally tried starting the engine, and although it fired up, it quickly died. My guess is that there is something wrong with the lift pump, because I never did succeed in purging the air. Ultimately, I ended up pouring filtered diesel into the filter itself and then reinstalling it. After that, a few cranks of the engine had it running again.

A quick test run of the air conditioner showed it working fine. Nothing else to do there.

The next day, Michele and I got an early start, cleaning and prepping, rehanging curtains, flushing the potable water system, etc. A few hours of this had us more than ready to set out on our first cruise of the year.

No comments: