Friday, December 30, 2011

Fuel, Water, and Oil

This has been a very busy month of work on the boat, though you wouldn't know it from my lack of blog postings. I'll do two to catch up... filled up the day tank with enough diesel to test the plumbing in preparation to run the engine. This resulted in a few nuisance leaks which I had to chase down. I designed the day tank size so that 1" = 1 gallon. As I filled the tank, this calibration seemed to hold true. With some fuel in the pipes, I was able to test the manifolds/fuel transfer system. All worked as planned and I was able to use the manual hand pump to run eight gallons (as measured by our fuel meter) from the day tank, through the polishing filter, and back to the day tank. I'll try the electric transfer pump once we get a little further along with the electrical in the engine room. I'll have to make some ID plates for all our valves and manifolds so (hopefully) someone other than me will be able to use the fuel distribution system... Had similar minor leaks with the steering hydraulics. The steering system leak was a little more involved as it was leaking at the cylinder end caps. Not much more than a drop an hour, but any leak at this stage in unacceptable for all this new plumbing. The cylinder was a used unit that I sourced (along with the rest of the steering hydraulics) a couple of years ago from a dealer /trader in South Carolina. The cause of the leak was a ten cent o-ring, but it did require draining the oil and taking the cylinder apart. Fortunately the helm pump in the wheelhouse had no problem with the seals. In retrospect I should have probably redone the seals on both units since they had been sitting on the shelf here for a while. I also fixed one other minor leak at the bypass valve and now all is dry and tight, and the steering works as it should. Once these kind of hydraulic systems are dialed in, they are very reliable. We filled the cooling circuit for the engine too, and again had a couple of leaks to take care of... the main one was a bad solder joint at the keel cooler crossover pipe (we are using two small coolers run in series). I fabricated the original piece from copper pipe a while back but was never really happy with the design. I was concerned about the location of the vent and whether it would allow me to bleed all the air out of this high spot in the system. The leak was a good excuse to tear apart the old piece and build a new one to a better design standard. Sometimes it takes a couple of times to get it right...

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