We’ve now sat on a dock for more than 20 days straight, NOT something we normally do but something we chose to do this time for a reason…..engine work. I think the reasons for doing the work have changed since we started the engine project, it’s morphed and extended and changed as time flows on….becoming a larger beast than we anticipated. Knowing Tulum was on the market and wanting to make sure that we had specific long term service checks and preventative maintenance done on the engine we decided to knock out that work now, while we have time and a safe hurricane location. However, like normal we’ve had delays for parts and extra work requirements that have tied us to the dock in most unanticipated ways. An example of this is gaskets….I thought I had an extra head gasket on the boat which turned out to not be….so we had to order another head gasket from the US and wait for it to get here. But because of cultural and language barriers, we didn’t realize that the mechanic needed us to get the gasket set for the engine….so that next ordering and shipping process took another week….two weeks wasted on the dock just waiting on gaskets (the gaskets have to be shipped across the US then put on a bus down Baja). But we signed up for this process on purpose as we wanna get the engine up to a high standard and there’s no way I want to have anyone come on my boat and find a bum engine + if we ever decided to keep the boat, this is the time we have to get the engine in a high state of readiness before heading south to more remote locales. When you make the decision to get deep engine services and checks like we did this time, be prepared to have lots of other parts and pieces of your engine upgraded, cleaned and checked as there will always be unanticipated engine bits that need checking. We started the project by looking at all of our engine cooling systems (in May/June) which I wrote about in my post called Improvements As We Go. This time when we came back onto the dock in late July, we knew we would be working on a more in-depth service check…and it’s good to write about it 20+ days later so I remember that this was our choice- especially sitting here in the 93 degree heat with 70% humidity. Upon coming back on the dock we asked to have the valves and head taken out for cleaning and inspection and we inspected the cylinder walls for damage, with everything looking good. The valves were taken off and cleaned, as well as the injectors and the fuel injector pump. The injector pump has been our beast, as we’ve had it taken off three times to get various portions redone to make the engine run smoother. First time the injector pump was taken to a more local “lab” a couple hours away (in June) and apparently the calibration and cleaning wasn’t done well as we continued to have minor issues. So we had the pump taken back out and sent to La Paz in late July for more work. But when the pump came back the second time it still wasn’t calibrated correctly and we continued to have issues. Finally after consulting a second mechanic about the issues we were having on the boat while underway, we narrowed the problems down to the fuel injector pump again, took it out and sent it back to the “lab” in La Paz where they acknowledged there were still calibration issues and fixed them as well as updated the calibration of the internal governor. So the mechanics came through on Saturday morning to install the new and improved fuel injector pump. We’re thrilled that it’s back and the service checks and preventative maintenance that we’ve wanted to get done for the long term health of our engine are drawing to a close. It’s funny, one of our neighbors advised me that he had a great mechanic locally who would come out quickly and diagnose all of our problems….with his handheld diagnostic computer. Man, that would be nice but our engine has NO electronics on it and that’s the way we like it….designed and purposely kept simple so it can be fixed anywhere with a basic toolset….just the way I like it.
As the writer of a sailing and cruising blog and a licensed Captain, I take the condition of the boat seriously, especially since we’ve put her up for sale. Of course there will always be minor cosmetic imperfections that I may not find before the boat sells, but major assemblages like the engine I take seriously and we’ve already had all the rigging and chain plates redone; so I can take a deep breath when I consider that the major systems on our boat are in really good shape.
Tulum-5 is for sale with La Paz Cruising Supply– click the link for more info. Best way to support our website is to FOLLOW our Blog and keep reading our stories.
Post Script: As of this writing, the author has moved on to check other mechanical bits in an all out effort to make sure the engine and systems run cleanly. Poco a Poco-