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Topics - Michael

Pages: [1]
The following is a lightly edited exchange of emails regarding the Xantrex XC3012 battery charger’s feasibility for use with absorbed glass matt (“AGM”) batteries.  It also touches on the use of that model of battery charger with flooded lead acid batteries (4Ds and golf cart).  A question, possibly unresolved in the exchange, is whether the XC3012 could be used satisfactorily with AGM batteries if the AGM batteries are combined in one house bank (a combination of batteries often recommended at this site - see for example postings by Maine Sail) and the XC3012 is not used to charge any other battery bank.  The exchange took place in May, 2012, between John Nixon and Michael MacLeod and was a follow up to John’s battery charger evaluation, the full text of which, as posted by Stu Jackson, is at,4352.0.html.

Michael: Towards the end of your [evaluation of] the merits of the [Xantrex] XC3012/5012 [models of battery charger] you had mentioned that you had some reservations about the use of that charger with AGM batteries, that you were in communications with Xantrex about your concerns, and that you would or might post more about the issue when you knew more.  Or at least that is my recollection.  Did you ever post more on that issue?  I have searched but not found it if you did. If you did not post more but would be willing to do so that would be great.

John: I never got around to following up on that posting, but this will encourage me to do so :-)
Basically, Xantrex agreed that it did what I complained that it did with AGM batteries, swapped out the XC3012 I bought for the evaluation with a Truecharge2 40 amp unit with remote control panel in exchange, and said "Thank you for your observations and concerns. Now go away...."
I might poke a stick in their eye again just for the fun of it to see if they have changed their story any in the intervening time since my last discussion. I'll let you know either directly or via an update to the article.

Michael: Thank you for getting back to me on this point.  We had bought the XC3012 just before you did your review of it ...and were relieved when you came out somewhat more in favour of it than you had anticipated.  But now thinking about going to AGMs, it has given us pause!  I don’t know what your specific concern was but will watch in hopes of seeing your follow up.

John: In a nut shell, once the AGM batteries are fully charged, the pulsing action of the charge rotation/multiplexing between banks creates dangerously high float voltages on the AGM batteries. I watched "float" voltages of up to 16 to 17 volts on each bank of AGM batteries. In addition, the high float voltage drove the charger crazy.... The whole charging process in software was not well conceived.
Xantrex finally did admit that they never actually tested the charger with anything other than flooded cells during its development process, regardless of the battery setting. As a result, it had issues with both AGM and Gel technologies. The lower recharge efficiency and much higher self discharge characteristics made a poorly conceived multiplexed pulsing charge idea appear to work with flooded cells but not with newer technologies.

Michael: Thank you and yikes!  This may rule out our getting AGM batteries so long as we are using the XC3012.  I may investigate golf cart batteries as an alternative to our 4Ds.

John: An excellent choice if you don't mind caring for them properly: regular FULL recharge, periodic equalization cycle, proper electrolyte level ( i.e. - don't over-fill with water ), and use of only distilled water.
If you plan on keeping them for a while, look at the Trojan T105 battery. 220 a-hr @ 20 hr rate, which means usually about 10-20% more than a single 4D flooded cell.

Michael: Thank you for that further information, John.  I think we are likely either to stay with 4Ds (the devil we know) or go to golf cart batteries (if the battery compartment space is adequate for those batteries and battery boxes, since I don’t fancy a spill of acid into the bilge).  In either case, I am considering linking all the house batteries into a single bank instead of running, as we have been, two banks.  In this respect, do you have any reason to think that the fluctuating charge cycle of the XC3012 (alternating fairly frequently between charging bank 1 and bank 2) is problematical when charging flooded lead acid batteries?
John: The difference between the 4D and the pair of golf cart batteries ( i.e. - Trojan T105) will be primarily the height of the 6 volt batteries versus the 4D. The 6 volts are about 2 -3 inches taller depending upon what terminals are on the comparison batteries. The 6 volts are also shallower in horizontal depth, and stacked long way end to end will be just slightly longer then the base dimension of the 4D. The 4D has a significant difference between its top overall length versus its bottom overall length. If the battery box area currently has vertical walls (rather than tapered like a plastic battery box) each pair of 6 volts will fit in the same location as a single 4D. Then, it's just a matter of height.
I would definitely put all of the house batteries in one single bank, and then have a smaller dedicated starting battery. The XC3012 will handle that OK. The multiplexed charging scheme poses no danger to the flooded cell batteries either as multiple house banks or a single house bank and a starting bank.

Michael: Thank you very much, John.

I think we will go with golf cart batteries if we can make them fit (it is going to be very tight as we have the XC3012 dual shunt located at the top of the port end of the battery compartment under the aft salon table seat) or stay with the 4Ds if we can’t make the golf cart batteries fit.
We already have a separate starting battery not connect at all to the shore powered charging system and, as it is plugging along perfectly after four years, we will probably leave it that way, to be charged only when the engine is running.
Do you think we should post this exchange to the bulletin board?  I certainly found it helpful.
John: Feel free to post it as I certainly have no objection.

Michael: Thanks, John.  I will do that. Perhaps someone else can benefit from our exchange.

Michael: Sorry to bother you again, John.  An after-thought.  Would it be feasible/sensible to go to AGMs but avoid the problem of the XC3012’s buggy software by linking the house batteries all into one bank, so they all charge together and there is no cycling between banks?  We were thinking of putting all the house batteries into one bank anyway and, as indicated in my previous email, I do not plan to link the starting battery to the XC3012 anyway.

John: No, I don't think it wouldn’t [sic] avoid the problem created by the charging methodology, but in retrospect I don't think that I tried that specifically. The XC series will learn to "disqualify" banks that either aren't present or no longer need charging. I suppose that if only 1 bank was installed, it might stop the initial current pulse that is used to determine if a bank is present on each output, and if that happened, it might be OK.

I have no way to test that any more, however.

Michael: Interesting.  We have the XC3012 set up now on only one house battery, because the other house battery died and I disconnected it.  My impression is that the XC3012 now charges the one battery full time and does not hunt and peck for any other battery to charge.  Perhaps I will observe it for a while to see whether this is so.  Thanks again, John.

John:  In theory that is what it should do. I wish now I would have explored that condition when I had the unit in evaluation.

NEW INTRODUCTION 17 June 2012 - Unfortunately, the following article now requires a major correction (in addition to the one in the next paragraph), and, if anyone knows a good recipe for removing egg from a face, please send it along. My big assumption in this article, that the location of the terminals on the type of Guest battery selector switch aboard Hali (for which I could not find a diagram) were the same as those in a Perko battery selector switch (for which I did find a diagram), turns out to have been wrong.  In the result, the conclusion I drew that the Guest terminal had been mis-wired was unjustified, and the follow-on conclusions I drew about that mis-wiring causing battery problems were foolish. I would like to delete the article, but it attracted comments that may be helpful to others -- and it may not be entirely useless to see how foolish another C34 owner can be. So the article survives to provide context -- and pain!

[Please mentally correct my following article in light of Maine Sail's later clarifying note that the common post/terminal (on the backside) of the battery selector switch is not the same thing as the Both position (on the front) of the battery selector switch, and that the Both position is not a terminal.  The Guest battery selector switch described in this article has its common post/terminal immediately behind the Both selector position and, in this sense, differs from the diagram for a battery selector that Maine Sail provides.]

Like most boats, Hali is blessed by the presence of angels and cursed by the presence of gremlins.  We have discovered that gremlins often operate in pairs or gangs, so that when you think you have solved a problem, it recurs and you find another gremlin laughing at you.

Since we acquired Hali -- our 1997 C34 Mark II -- in 2007, she has had a battery gremlin.  The diet of this gremlin has consisted of a battery or two every year or two.
In case it might help others apparently afflicted with original mis-wiring at the battery selector switch, this is our story of (we hope) finally catching this gremlin.

Hali came to us equipped with:

1.     an automotive starting battery ;
2.    two 4D flooded lead acid batteries as house batteries;
3.    an old battery charger;
4.          a Marinco Guest Off-1-Both-2 battery selector switch (“Guest”); and
5.          an electrical-relay-operated battery isolator/interconnect switch in the charging wire between the engine alternator (via the starter motor) and the Guest.

Over the years, sometimes prodded by discovering dead and dying batteries, we:

6.   replaced the old battery charger with a Xantrex XC3012 battery charger;
7.    added a Link 20 battery monitor;
8.    added a “normally off” 15 pounds per square inch oil pressure switch in the alternator-to-Guest charging circuit, so that the alternator would charge the house batteries (in addition to the starting battery to which it is directly connected) once the engine had started and engine oil pressure had risen to at least 15 psi;
9.    a switch, parallel to 8 and connected to 5, that is usually left off so as not to connect the house batteries to the engine for starting purposes but that can, by setting it to “On”, link the house batteries to the engine if the house batteries are needed to help start the engine.

In making these upgrades, we did not create our own wiring diagram or check the original wiring connections on the Guest. (Stu Jackson would undoubtedly say these omissions were bad mistakes. We would now agree.)

The battery gremlin brought matters to a head this year when, for the second year in a row, he ate Hali’s #1 house battery and began eating #2 house battery.

In previous years, we had guessed that similar problems had been caused by:

(a)    a defective battery charger – hence the purchase of 6 and our first round of new 4D batteries;
(b)   the electrical drain of a relay switch – hence our installation of 7, 8, and 9; and
(c)    a bilge pump that operated more than we realized – hence our installation of a bilge pump cycle counter (which established the bilge pump was not running frequently).   

In retrospect, it is apparent that in those previous years we had been only guessing at the identity of the gremlin and that we had thrown money at imagined fixes instead of getting to the bottom of the problem.

This year, it was time to get serious and trouble-shoot the whole electrical system.

We learned how to use a multimeter.  We made a wiring diagram.

Still, our gremlin took days to come into view.

Along the way, we realized that we did not really understand how the Guest worked.

We never did find a manufacturer’s diagram for the Guest but, based on a diagram for a Perko battery selector switch that is assumed to operate similarly, it appears that the Guest should have been connected up as follows:

•   Guest terminal “1” connects to house battery #1 positive terminal
•   Guest terminal “Both”  is the common terminal to which the “charging circuit” from the engine attaches;
•   Guest terminal “2” connects to house battery #2 positive terminal

But how was our Guest wired up?

A wire properly connected Guest terminal “1” to the positive terminal of house battery #1.  But the wire from the positive terminal of house battery #2 terminated at Guest terminal “Both” instead of at Guest terminal “2”; and the engine charging wire connected to Guest terminal “2” instead of to Guest terminal “Both”.

This mis-wiring, which seems to have been with the boat since she was built, had unfortunate consequences.

When Guest “1” was selected, no charging current from the engine ever reached house battery #1.  (With the battery selector at that setting, we believe normally a connection would be made between the Guest terminal “1” and the Guest common (Both) terminal, with the result that if the switch was correctly wired, a charging voltage would reach house battery #1 by the route: engine alternator to Guest terminal Both to Guest terminal 1 to house battery #1 positive terminal.  But as the charging wire connected to Guest terminal #2, no charging voltage reached house battery #1 when Guest “1” was selected.)

All was well insofar as charging the house batteries from the engine was concerned if the engine was running and Guest “Both” was selected, because then the Guest connected, as it should, all three terminals (1-Both-2) together, and both house batteries #1 and #2 received a charge.

But, if the engine was not running and no shore power was running the 110 volt shore powered battery charger and Guest “Both” was selected and the house battery #1 was run down – a set of circumstances that occurred when anchored-out while cruising -- house battery #2 would try to charge house battery #1, and the gremlin who had attacked house battery #1 would begin destroying house battery #2.

We have speculated why the system was mis-wired in this way.

Our conclusion, which may be completely unfair to someone, is that the factory electrician pulled a short charging wire or cut it short, so that it could reach Guest terminal “2”, which is lower down on the Guest, but not reach Guest common (Both”) terminal, which is higher up.  Faced with the nuisance of pulling a new wire, the electrician (we speculate) chose the expedient work-around of connecting the wires to the "wrong" terminals.  But the wiring was only "wrong" if you didn't know the workaround and selected something other than Guest "Both".

For years, we had noticed that the shortness of all the major wires to the Guest severely limited how far the electrical panel (where the Guest is located) could be opened.  We were simply unaware of the electrician's work-around.  In our early days, we usually did select "Both",  but in recent years, we fed the gremlin by selecting Guest "1" and cut back on our use of shore powered battery charging.

Our solution this year, which wiring codes might not have allowed the Catalina electrician (assuming he was the culprit), has been to add a short pigtail onto the engine charging wire and re-wire the Guest correctly.  Now, the selection made on the Guest means what we had previously, intuitively but incorrectly, thought it meant.  If Guest “1” is selected and the engine is running, house battery #1 is being charged and house battery #2 is not being charged.  If Guest “Both” is selected and the engine is running, both house battery #1 and house battery #2 are being charged.  If Guest “2” is selected and the engine is running, house battery #2 is being charged and house battery #1 is not being charged.

Our conclusion that original mis-wiring is the gremlin responsible for Hali's dying batteries has not yet been proven by the passage of time.

We still fear the appearance of a battery-eating larger-brother gremlin.

Main Message Board / Oil Pressure read-out mystery
« on: August 23, 2008, 09:36:45 AM »
For a week or so after installation, an oil pressure gauge aboard Hali consistently indicated engine oil pressure of about 25 pounds per square inch at cruising RPM, and somewhat lower at idle.  During this time, the dual prong oil pressure switch (which feeds low oil pressure information to the instrument panel's low oil pressure idiot light and low oil pressure audible alarm) was disconnected from the audible alarm, becaused one of the two prongs was broken and, to prevent the alarm from sounding continuously, I disconnected its switched power feed in the instrument panel.

On installing a new oil pressure switch and reconnecting the audible alarm, the oil pressure gauge began reading 50 psi consistently at virtually all RPM settings (except zero RPM of course, at which the gauge correctly indicated no oil pressure) and the audible alarm did not sound when it should at startup.

There is discussion elsewhere on this board about the audible low oil pressure alarm not working (,783.0.html), and I will chase down that problem separately. (I only mention it here as potentially relevant information regarding the pressure readout issue and not as a request for help.)

The fact that the oil pressure readout doubled makes me suspect a doubled voltage in the oil pressure send-oil pressure gauge system.  I suppose I could reverse the recent changes and check with a voltmeter but...

According to the Universal Service Manual (page 44) "during normal operation, the oil pressure will range between 40 and 60 psi" the current oil pressure readings do not make me unhappy but they are a bit suspect.

It seems to me likely that we have some Teflon tape (from the old oil pressure switch threads) in the engine oil and perhaps in the relatively narrow channels for oil at the bracket where the ports are for the oil pressure switch and oil pressure sender unit.

Other than has hinted at here, I have come up with no thoughts as to why the oil pressure readout has doubled (or, put another way, why it was not doubled earlier).  Any thoughts would be welcome.  (Some background to this post also appears in,4477.0.html.)

Main Message Board / Oil Pressure Switch for a M35B - urgent request
« on: August 06, 2008, 10:20:37 AM »
Can anyone help me out with the name of the original equipment manufacturer (and ideally the OEM's part number) for the double prong oil pressure switch that is used on the M35B engine?  The Universal/Westerbeke part number is 37323.  I would order it from Torresen but Hali is scheduled to go out on Friday and there isn't time.  A picture of the switch appears as item #17 in the "Oil Pan Assembly, Oil Pressure Switch - M35B/M40B" diagram on page 7 of the Universal Parts List (for Marine Diesel Engine M-25XPB, M-35B, M40B - Publication No. 201021 1st edition December 2001).  There is also a picture of the switch (not to be confused with a sender unit which some engines might also have) at page 50 of the Universal Service Manual (Marine Diesel Engines M-25XPB, M-35B, M-40B Publication No. 200554 1st Edition/January 2001).

Hali is equipped with a low oil pressure idiot (appropriately) light and low oil pressure audible alarm, which is why, I assume, there are two leads on the oil pressure switch, one to run the light and one to run the audible alarm.

If there was a work around for replacing this switch with something else, advice on that work around (Ron and Stu are you out there?) would also be welcome.

If I find the information elsewhere, I will post it back here in case anyone else has this same problem.

Regards and thanks for any offerings that might result.

Main Message Board / Carbon monoxide (?) mystery
« on: May 19, 2008, 09:50:15 PM »
On two consecutive mornings this week, the carbon monoxide gas alarm was sounding when I got to Hali.  On the first morning, the propane gas detector was also sounding.  In each case, the boat had not been used, and the engine had not been run, since the night before.  The boat was relatively buttoned up, with only the vent hatches in the head and the aft cabin having been left open.  The CO monitor read-out was in the 80-90 ppm range but subsided to zero within about five minutes after the hatches and port lights were opened.  There was no noticeable smell (such as of propane or sewer gas) in the boat.

On the third and fourth mornings, in similar conditions except apparently one, no alarm was sounding.  The exception is that the night before the third day, a co-owner checked the propane tank valve and found she could tighten it somewhat more firmly.

Recent work on the boat had included replacing the two 4D house batteries (the new batteries have removable cell caps whereas the old ones apparently didn't) and putting a marine "no odour" product into the shower sump drain and toilet-waste line-holding tank.

The carbon monoxide gas detector is surface mounted on the starboard side of the engine box in the aft cabin about a foot from the floor.  It is a Kidde (3 AA battery operated) Carbon Monoxide Alarm with digital display and peak level memory Model KN-COPP-BCA Assembly 900-0146 manufactured on October 23, 2006.  It has a five year warranty.  Its User’s Guide says it was “not designed to detect smoke, fire or any other gases.”  It is an electrochemical device.  A note in the User’s Guide says, “The following substances an affect the sensor and may cause false readings: Methane, propane, iso-butane, ethylene, benzene, toluene, ethyl acetate, hydrogen sulphide, sulfur dioxides, alcohol based products, paint thinners, solvents, adhesives, hair sprays, after shaves, and some cleaning agents.”  The unit had been powered up in March or April, 2007, and not re-powered or "peak display" tested since then.  When the “Peak Level Display” button was pressed and held (which results in the display showing the highest CO reading recorded since the last peak level test or power-up) the reading given was 159.  This was after the second morning.

I read at the Centres for Disease Control website that the "Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has two permissible exposure limits (PELs) for CO exposure. Exposures may not be over 35 ppm averaged over 8 hours and may never be over 200 ppm."

The propane gas monitor on Hali is surface mounted within 6" of the cabin sole at the base of the galley isthmus and is a hardwired 12 volt model GS/3 manufactured by Electro Systems Inc. in June, 2002.  I haven't checked yet whether it is out of warranty.  It was sounding an alarm (occasional beeping) that does not appear to be consistent with the presence of propane (but whether it would be consistent with the presence of some other gas hasn't been ascertained yet).

Nonetheless, a check on the propane gas line is in order...but hasn't been done yet.

Hali is docked in a marina.  A powerboat across the finger from Hali was gone on the first morning that the alarms were sounding...and possibly had left shortly beforehand but that is not know yet.  No nearby boat seems to have departed or been run on the second morning.

I understand that while carbon monoxide is generally only associated with incomplete combustion, it is at least theoretically possible for carbon monoxide to be produced when hydrogen sulphide (sewer gas) comes into contact with hypochlorite, an ingredient of bleach.

My current theories are:

- there was a propane leak
- there was carbon monoxide, probably produced from a nearby boat but possibly built up the evening before when Hali was run but which caused the CO alarm to sound only after its time sampling was sufficient (after we left) and which continued until the next morning
- the most unlikely theory is that the CO was produced in Hali's drain or waste line
- the new batteries are throwing off a gas that is tripping the alarms
- more than one of the above (and therefore a gumption trap)

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

See a fascinating posting by sailingdolphin about CO poisoning at,2874.msg15204.html#msg15204.

There is a running discussion about how many tools should be kept aboard Hali.

The "as many as she'll carry" school moved ahead recently when a pipe wrench did double-duty as a gear shift lever.

The gear shift lever at the helm station failed, then came off, as Hali headed toward the dock under power.  A single bolt that secures the gear shift lever to the shaft had sheared.

When you are servicing your Edson engine controls, you might consider replacing this part.  It costs about 49 cents here in Canada.  At least in this case, its useful life seems to be 11 years.

As it turns out, my co-owner and his boat-load of family and in-laws got Hali under control pretty quickly using the pipe wrench, but the mishap could have occurred at a worse time.

The bolt in question was 1/4" (diameter) x 3/4" (threaded length) x 28 threads to the inch, marked "F593C THE" on the hex head. [Author's amendment: I should mention that perhaps this bolt was not original equipment.  On May 21, I checked the fastener securing the throttle lever on the other side of the pedestal.  It was a Phillips head machine screw, and I replaced it for good measure.  Assuming the same type of fastener was originally used in both locations, it seems there might have been a previous failure in this part, although there could be more benign explanations for the presence of two different types of fasteners. Hali now has a good supply of spare bolts of the right dimensions and all the tools necessary for a root extraction at sea...but of course the next problem will be no more predictable than this one.]

There is information about servicing your Edson engine controls at

I couldn't find any similar post but would be pleased to see a link added if anyone knows of a reference to the same issue.

Main Message Board / Boat inspection by another member
« on: June 24, 2007, 10:38:00 PM »
Tony Wright (Hull #1657 C34 2003, Nepean Sailing Club, Ottawa, Canada), who happened to be in Vancouver this weekend, came for a short sail aboard Hali.  In fact, he did most of the work.

Once convinced that I wanted his suggestions, Tony looked hard at Hali during our sail in English Bay and gave me at least a dozen suggestions for things that could be done differently and better.

I come at sailing mainly from an interest in navigation, a childhood of undemanding dinghy sailing, and ownership of a smaller cruiser.  Tony has done lots of racing.  I sail in salt water, year round.  He sails in fresh water when it isn't frozen -- and lays his boat up during the winter.  He has to leave his boat at dock prepared for the high winds that blow out of thunderstorms.  I can generally expect only light winds at our marina.  And so on.

Tony saw things that I was not attuned to.  For example, he recommended stowing the jib sheets taut to the winches instead of loose to the anchor locker, in order to avoid the risk of a wind flogging the jib to pieces.  He would like the turning blocks further forward.  He spotted a rust spot in a lifeline.  He suggested Woolite (sp?) and cold water to wash cushion covers.  He knew who knew where to find out about the tape used on the hatchcover runners. He didn't hear clicking from the winches and suspected they had been overgreased. And more.

Tony saw good things to do on Hali in a few minutes.  Thanks, Tony.  I suppose many C34 owners could do the same for other C34 owners.

If you are a C34 owner coming through Vancouver, I would be pleased if you contact me (604-730-9345; email

More generally, have others of you had similar good experiences?


This posting relates to hard starting of a Universal M-35B engine on a 1997 Mk II (hull #1352) and several of the possible causes that have been identified at this site including air in the fuel lines, dirty diesel fuel, dirty diesel tank, malfunctioning fuel pump, and bad or misplaced electrical connections to the fuel pump.  One solution to this problem that is identified here - pressurizing the fuel in the tank - is, I think, a new approach that seems to work on our boat, although quite why is a bit of a mystery.

For the sleuths who might have some advice, here is the problem and what has been done about it so far.

After extensive engine work (new hoses, new propeller shaft, new heat exchanger,...) on this boat after purchasing her in March, the engine started fine on a fuel tank something over half full.  We - Hali is a joint enterprise among four ownership groups - motored for about three hours then crossed Georgia Strait in a lumpy sea (30+ knots of wind) on her delivery voyage to Vancouver.  No doubt the fuel tank (which later inspection leads us to believe had not been cleaned since the factory although the fuel had just been polished) got a good shaking up.  Over the next couple of weeks, we motored occasionally, intentionally drawing the fuel down in the tank without refilling the tank as we wanted to remove the fuel tank, inspect it for gunk, and, if necessary, clean it.

During this time, as the fuel level dropped, a "hard starting" problem developed.  It seemed (to me anyway) reasonable to conclude on the basis of other postings that the fuel was dirty (from the crossing stirring up the old tank) or the fuel pump was failing, or both.  Later, I realized on the basis of postings at this site, that when the fuel level is more than about half-tank, no fuel pump is necessary, so a defectively operating fuel pump might not be noticed (I conclude) until the fuel level is below the magic self-siphoning level, because until then the fuel then feeds the engine by gravity flow as from a day tank.

Influenced by Ron Hill's posting on the joys, ease, and necessity of cleaning the fuel tank, we embarked upon that venture, thinking a clean fuel tank might solve the hard starting problem. (We have concluded that you are an alien, Ron, who lures unsuspecting C34 owners like us on to great feats in the mistaken belief that they can accomplish them as easily as you do.)  Sure enough, to the extent we could see down into the tank once it was removed, the bottom of the tank was covered with gunk (asphaltine?).  Removing the tank as Ron recommended was to this extent very useful. Although four gallons of acetone and two days later, the tank was a lot cleaner and the acetone coming out was clear instead of dark brown as it had been at the beginning, we concluded that the only real way to clean the tank would be to cut proper clean outs in it.  You would need two cleanouts we figure, one each side of the baffle, in order to allow mechanical cleaning.  I have seen a posting on this site since where a poster mentioned cleaning inside the tank using a Scotch pad on a spring poked down through one of the small fuel supply holes, but by then we had the tank back in the boat and I am skeptical that the bottom gunk can really be cleaned off without a wire brush and considerable mechanical force.

After installing the cleaner fuel tank and filling with about 5 gallons of new diesel, we bled the fuel lines and tried to start the engine.  The hard starting problem had not been solved.

We then changed the engine-mounted electric fuel pump.  (We had done inadequate investigation of the OEM pump's electrical connection and power supply but did ascertain that when the house battery was switched on and the key was on but not to the glow plugs the pump received 12 volts.)

We used the NAPA Posi-Flow "universal electronic fuel pump" (NAPA part number 610-1051) that has been recommended at this site and found to our delight that the bolt holes on the pump lined up with the holes on the engine bracket where the old pump had been.  Not quite so ideal was that the negative lead on the new pump was not long enough to reach easily to the most convenient bolt on the engine frame.  (We Marr connected, soldered, and taped another wire to the lead to get the length we needed.) 

The new lift pump seemed to work.  It whirrs more quietly than the old OEM pump but is still audible from nearby.  But the engine would not start.

We then filled the fuel tank to nearly full from jerricans ("hose to tank from jerrican" and "pressurize the jerrican by blowing through another hose" - as recommended at this site), but the engine would still not start.

We then "pressurized" the fuel tank itself by stopping the fuel vent while blowing into the fuel fill through a short piece of hose.  (The fuel vent is located, at least on Hali, on the port side of the walk-through transom.  Two fingers holding a plastic bag work fine to stop it up.  Use a plastic bag also to stop the air from escaping from the fill pipe as you blow down there.  For those of you who don't like the taste of diesel, a short piece of hose not put into the diesel fuel is recommended as a blow pipe.  It seems that otherwise, when you stop blowing, the air pressure forces the diesel back up your blow hose.)

Just to make sure our previous fuel line bleeding efforts were reinforced, during this pressurizing effort we also opened then closed the knurled bleed valve handle on the fuel line just before the fuel injection pump.

After the fuel tank was pressurized, the engine started immediately.  It seems pretty clear that pressurizing the fuel tank caused fuel to reach the engine and that that had not been happening before.  After starting, the engine ran fine and started fine on the same day.  We don't yet know whether the good result will carry over to another day.  We like having a sail boat but draw the line at huffing and puffing at its fuel tank every time we want to go sailing.

Does anyone have an explanation for what happened -- why pressurizing the fuel tank worked?

Do you think we will we have to pressurize the tank next time in order to start the engine or will the engine now run without it?



Some posters (as a side issue in the "water in the hull" thread at say the problem of standing water aft of the shaft log can be solved by filling with resin or foam. I am thinking of filling the depression there and a similar depression aft of the rudder stock but would appreciate your thoughts first.

1.  Is filling these depressions a good idea?
2.  Would you fill with epoxy resin, foam, or something else?
3.  If foam, what sort of foam should be used?
4.  Does anybody think our boats could be gaining some of their overweight (see the "displacement" thread, from water seeping into the fiberglass hull from these standing pools?  They appear to be in areas that are rarely painted so I suppose the glass might absorb water more there than from, say, the bilge.

My thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Main Message Board / Voids (?) found adjacent to handrail bolt holes
« on: April 11, 2007, 03:37:14 AM »
On pulling the stb handrail to solve a leaking problem in one bolt hole, I found 3 of 5 bolt holes (but not the one that leaked) gave onto adjacent voids (?) that are apparently quite extensive.  I have read other posts about voids (which of themselves don't concern me particularly as I had four of them filled on surveyor's recommendation on buying the boat last month) and about re-bedding leaking handrails, but don't know whether what I am seeing leading off these bolt holes is normal and needs nothing done or abnormal and about about which something should be done.  If the latter, does anyone have any suggestions? I could inject resin or smear "bear####" through the walls of the bolt holes but am not sure whether that is what is called for.  As the voids seem to be quite extensive, I am concerned that I could send a lot of filler who knows where.  Sorry if this newbie's posting covers territory already canvassed.  Regards. Michael MacLeod, 1997 C34 #1352. Boat in the process of being renamed from "New Horizons".

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