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Aannsha’s Blog #122 - We have a turbo and its seized up!

That’s where the water’s coming in!

Last week we discovered that our sail locker must have a leak as some of the items stored in there were damp, there were salt crystals on the aluminium parts of our beach chairs and mildew was growing on the sides and ceiling of the whole locker. I got in there and cleaned it all out but we had to wait until a rainy day before we could find out where the water was getting in. We suspected a couple of bolt holes where the wire for the up and down buttons from the windlass entered the locker.

One not so fine Monday morning after a night of solid rain, Baz went over to A B Sea and found out that water is actually getting in through an old patch in the GRP (between the suspect wire holes). We will temporarily fix that with Sikaflex and do a proper fix with fibreglass when we get to Turkey. I’m personally looking forward to learning how to work with fibreglass.

Our keel has a hot fan!

While Baz was at the boat, he checked on our solution to dry out the weeping keel that we showed you last week. We’ve rigged a small fan heater which is butted up close and personal to the hole in the keel, supported by a stack of large blocks of wood. It’s powered via an electric extension cord from a nearby power socket. As it turns out, the whole set up is very safe and was all untouched by the rain.

Now it’s just a waiting game. Waiting for the moisture to evaporate. Because until that happens we can’t seal up the hole, and we can’t antifoul the boat. And that needs to be done while we’re on the hard.

Surprise: we’ve got a turbo and it’s completely seized up!

It wasn’t enough that the exhaust elbow had a bloody big hole in it that had allowed oily diesel soot to be blown all through the engine bay. Turns out we have a seized turbo charger too.

When Baz went to remove the engine air intake and exhaust system, he encountered his first difficulty as he couldn’t undo the bolts. After a lot of effort and a colourful range of swear words, Baz enlisted the help of Juliano, who is fast becoming known to us as the boat yard’s Magic Helper. Juliano had the right tools and less caution about using ‘plenty of wellie’ to use a great northern English expression. Baz said afterwards that when he watched Juliano working, he felt a tad nervous and wouldn’t himself have used the same amount of force. But Juliano is a mechanic and had the strength and tenacity that comes with the job. (Plus it wasn’t his boat, so that probably helped too lol).

Baz brought the unit back to the studio’s back patio, where he commandeered a table and set to dismantling and cleaning the thing. That was when he discovered to his surprise, that we have a turbo! When he saw it he said something like, “Oh gawd, these things need regular servicing! This is going to be f#$@*d.” As he took it apart, it became very apparent that it hadn’t been serviced in a very long time. And it was indeed f#$@*d. It’s amazing actually that A B Sea’s engine had kept going for as long it had. Poor thing.

I offered my assistance and Baz said, “Well if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.” I replied, “I love getting my hands dirty, that’s part of the fun!” And got stuck in to cleaning oily soot off another piece of the unit.

We used plenty of kitchen towel and elbow grease for that job. Once we’d got the pieces relatively free of gunk, Baz brought over some acetone from the boat and we washed the parts in that which made a huge difference. The finished unit looked almost new. Except for obvious wear and tear from 25 years of work in difficult conditions. But the little fan blades that are meant to spin that had been seized with gunk and rust now rotate nice and smoothly thanks to some more assistance from Juliano in the workshop.

If we’d only known we had a turbo charger, Baz would have serviced it regularly. But we didn’t so he didn’t. But now, once the engine’s all put back together, it’ll be more efficient and we’ll probably get a bit more speed under engine power. Looking forward to testing that out.

Clean, soft hands

After that job, our hands were covered in black sooty gunk, so thank goodness we had the Brillean Hand Clean that Heinz had sent us. It is environmentally friendly and kind to hands and has grit in it that makes hand cleaning a breeze. We were amazed at how easily it got the dirt off our hands. Certainly heaps more efficient than Fairy Liquid. It left our hands feeling soft and it smells nice and lemony too.

One minor setback

When Baz was putting the turbo back onto the air intake and exhaust unit, the last of six bolts snapped when he over tightened it. And of course, it broke in the only one of the six holes that he couldn’t get access to from both sides. As a result, we had to wait a couple of days until Evangelis was able to take Baz into the bike shop in town and get it drilled out, and buy a replacement bolt. Job sorted and the unit is now in one piece waiting to be replaced on the engine. But that won’t happen until we’ve cleaned the sooty, filthy bilge in the engine bay and also replaced the stern gland on the prop shaft.

So despite a few setbacks, we are moving forward with the boat work, thank goodness. We can almost hear the water calling and almost feel the splash as A B Sea enters the water again. But that won’t happen just yet. We still have plenty of jobs on our list that need attending to. And I’ll share more of those with you next week.

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