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Gremlins

July 29, 2019

Finally the boat was launched and after a few more items I was able to test run her and make sure all was well before we took her back home. There was a decent amount of engine work that was done over the winter, and before I set off for the far horizons I wanted to make sure everything worked as it was intended.
I left Bayshore for a test run, heading east in the Great South Bay and into my old stomping grounds. I had worked on the GSB for over 26 years and knew it pretty well. Looking south I was still able to pick out landmarks like Sailor’s Haven, The Pines and Davis Park. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I was alone and was paying strict attention to the buoys marking the north side of the bay.
As I was getting close to Blue Point I saw the unmistakable profile of the boat I ran years ago, heading north to Patchogue. I bumped up my RPMs to make 25 kts and closed on them before reaching the buoys of the river. As I came up parallel to them I realized that they had no idea who I was, having been gone for about 15 years! I hit the horn and waved for them to slow down which they did. When we stopped moving I came out on deck and introduced myself to the man that came on deck. He instantly rec
ognized my name and we talked about the patrol boat he was on. I asked for a former co-worker that I thought would be onboard to find out he was on vacation. I asked him to say hello to the crew that was still there that knew me and we went our separate ways. I turned and headed back to Bayshore.
The boat was running very well with all systems were functioning normally, and I relaxed as the miles clicked by. I pulled into the slip and tied up the boat. I spoke with Steve about a few items that would need to be taken care of. The deck hatch that was removed was inadvertently cracked were the rubber seal went and would need to be repaired. The port engine was a little sluggish, lagging behind the starboard engine on acceleration. Steve made some notes and I headed home.
The next afternoon Steve let me know the engine was fixed but the fiberglass work was not since the man that took care of that work was on vacation for a few days. So we agreed that I would come down in the

meantime and take another test run.
Both engines started up fine and off we went. I have to say the new engine mounts combined with new injectors and reconditioned fuel pumps made the engines much smoother at idle. I was a happy man thinking how after all this thought and effort that went into the repair and modification of the boat came together. After roughly 20 minutes I turned the boat around and headed back to the slip.
After securing the boat and shutting her down we talked a bit about the detailers finishing up the cleaning and waxing and how soon I could be taking the boat home.
Right about then is when the gremlins hit. A habit I have is to open the engine hatch and take a look around before heading home. I did so as usual and at first everything looked great. But then I noticed oil in the bilge under the starboard engine. I have never had an oil leak in either engine, and this stood out like a sore thumb. Steve and I conferred about this for a few minutes, and he said he would be in touch as I headed home.
As good as his word Steve got back to me the next day. Using mirrors and a borescope they were able to find oil pan bolts that appeared to be loose. But in order to get to them to tighten they would have to raise the rear of the engine. So that is how they proceeded. Unfortunately the bolts were tight and that was not the cause of the leak. More diagnosis was required. Thinking it could be the rear main seal around the crankshaft, they removed the transmission. After the transmission was off they could tell the rear main seal was in good shape with no leaks. Next to come off would be the bell housing. This part bolts to the engine block and the transmission, or marine gear, bolts to the bell housing.
And that is were the gremlin was hiding. Totally unrelated to any work that was done over the winter, at the two rear corners of where the oil pan meets the engine block you can see where the oil started to leak out. Different ways were discussed on how to repair this, including some temporary methods that may or may not work and could buy some time. There is a saying I keep in the back of my mind that kept popping up while mulling over the choices I was confronted with. Have you ever noticed, there is never enough time to fix it right the first time, but always enough time to go back and fix it again? With this in mind I thought long and hard about the best way to attack this. We did not work so hard all winter long to leave with a new oil leak.
So, our summer trip is delayed a bit more, but in the end I will rest easy knowing we addressed a small problem before it became a big problem. Meanwhile I am taking care of other matters relating to the boat. There are two vent windows on the sides of the windshield. After 20 years they have lost the ability to hold the window open while cruising at speed. So I ordered a different type and will install them as soon as I can.
See you out there soon! Maybe.    


 

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