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Messages - Peter Lewis

It's been a while, but I finally have some news to report on my starter woes.  After last season, I had resigned myself to a new starter or a starter rebuild, as I couldn't seem to solve the problem by addressing the electrical connections.  Over the winter, I went to the boat for a routine check, and when I started the engine, the starter button stuck in the depressed condition.  I guess after 20+ years of exposure to the elements, the innards had corroded to the point where it was no longer serviceable.  So- a quick starter button replacement, and everything was back in order.

So far this season, we've had zero issues with starting the engine when hot (and I test it just to make sure every time I shut it down).  In comparison, last season I had a 0% success rate in starting the engine when hot, and 100% when starting cold.  I don't fully understand how this links to replacing the starter button, but I've put off the starter replacement project, hopefully permanently.
I have the same project lined up for our 1993 model (cracked valve, in this case due to an unexpectedly early freeze).  I found this source online, but haven't confirmed that it's the exact model- but the dimensions and shape look correct.
Thanks for all the sage advice guys.  A couple comments:  1) Previous owner did the wiring harness upgrade, and I've taken care of most of the other critical upgrades that apply.  2) I've replaced the original electrical with  dedicated starting battery (under aft cabin), golf cart batteries, appropriately sized cables.  3) I admit that I failed to check the starter battery to engine ground connections- was focused on the red cables because there were more potential trouble points (it's a much longer run and includes a switch and a fuse block).  I hope you've diagnosed the problem correctly Mike, in which case I'll use the funds saved from unnecessarily replacing a starter to Fedex you that beer.

I'll be working on the boat this coming weekend and will send an update.

In the ten years that we've owned Sonrisas (hull 1240, Universal M35AC) we have never had even the slightest problem starting the engine when cold.  This season, we have been having starting problems, but only when the engine is hot.  Turn the key, hit the starter button, and there is an audible "click",  the voltmeter swings left, but the engine doesn't turn.  I found that I could start the engine if my wife hit the starter button and I simultaneously gave the engine a slight manual boost (with my foot; not something one wants to do regularly).   I checked the positive connections (and recrimped several that were questionable) and replaced the ten-year-old starter battery, but the problem persists.  Could this be the sign of an aging starter?  Does a hot engine have greater compression than a cold engine, as suggested by a few web sites I've read?  Finally, is there a home remedy (starter rebuild? brushes replacement?), or should I just order a new one?
Main Message Board / Re: Too much exhaust?
August 10, 2013, 09:23:24 PM
Here's an update:  I had a new Oberdorfer water pump delivered from Catalina Direct.  In my dockside tests, the old Sherwood delivered about 1 1/8th GPM at idle, vs. 1 3/8 gpm for the Oberdorfer.  The difference at cruising RPM (2200-2500) was even more pronounced, but I didn't take measurements with the Sherwood before removing it.  The "field test" consisted of three days of motoring into either calm seas or headwinds from our home port to Desolation Sound..... pleased to report that the exhaust has almost completely disappeared, and the engine operates at a lower temp for any give RPMs.  Problem solved!
Main Message Board / Re: Too much exhaust?
July 15, 2013, 09:24:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys.  I was planning on measuring the flow by disconnecting the waterline at the exhaust mixing elbow and collecting water for a half minute or so with the engine running.  I'll go ahead and order a new pump anyway, as I'm starting to see signs of water leaking through the weep holes. 
Main Message Board / Too much exhaust?
July 15, 2013, 02:26:27 PM
We have a 1993 Mk 1.5, with a Universal M35B engine and 1750 hours.

Over the last three seasons, we have seen a notable increase in engine exhaust when motoring at cruising speed (2000-2500 rpms).  The exhaust color looks like greyish white to whitish grey; definitely not black or blue. It normally dissipates not more than 5 - 10ft behind the transom.  There is no unusual soot buildup on the transom, nor are we burning oil.  The exhaust doesn't smell like antifreeze.  The engine runs smoothly.

Cruising at 2000-2200 rpm keeps the engine temp at 160-170, and if I open the throttle to 2500, the temp climbs to 180.  There is a clear increase in white/grey exhaust with higher engine temperatures.  Once the engine is hot, If I throttle back, shift to neutral, and raise the revs to 2500 again, there is just as much exhaust with no load.

I interpret the pattern as indicating insufficient mixing of exhaust gases and raw water.  However, the raw water system checks out fine-  no obstructions at the intake, new impeller, recently cleaned out the 3" heat exchanger completely, mixing elbow seems fine, and there is water coming out of the exhaust.

Is it possible that I have insufficient raw water flow?  Possibly due to a worn pump?  I recall reading about the wear to the facing plate causing the pump to work less effectively.  I'm still running with a 20 yr old Sherwood pump, so it might be a good time to replace it anyway.  Does anybody know what the flow rate should be for the Sherwood pump?

Alternatively, is there anything inside the water lift muffler that could be the culprit?

Not too difficult a job really.  There was sufficient length with the existing lines that I did not have to change them, or even detach them from compressor unit- I just treated them carefully, avoiding kinking them during the relocation.

The actual job required: 1) removing the aft water tank to provide access; 2) glassing a new shelf into the port side of the lazarette; and 3) remounting the compressor unit on the new shelf.  The downside-  access to the unit is now non-existent, unless I can convince one of the kids to go inside the lazarette, or I remove the aft cabin panels.  But really- how often do you need to access the compressor anyway? 

On the positive side- we get a bit more usable storage space, we no longer drip salt water on top of the compressor every time we put fenders and lines into the lazarette, and I no longer worry about the physical abuse on the compressor when someone drops something heavy on top of it. 

Sorry I didn't take pictures of the job in progress.
I removed my water tank two years ago, when I was moving the fridge compressor to the port side to give me more storage space and protect it from wet lines, fenders etc.  No problem on my 1993 model- just takes a little jiggling to get it past the control lines, and yes, remove the 90 degree elbow on the filling line first.

I also added a hold-down strap-  didn't like the idea of a part-full water tank jumping around amongst the steering and control cables, in the event of a knockdown.  I was a bit surprised it didn't already have one.
Hawk must frequent the same kelp, algae, and eelgrass infested anchorages that we do.  This is a common enough occurrence that we usual notice the change in exhaust color now even before the temperature gauge registers a change. 

Along these same lines, our temp gauge consistently climbs up to the 160-162 operating range during warmup, but never runs above 162- even when the white indicator exhaust starts to appear.  Is it possible that following an intake blockage we could be getting white vapor in our exhaust while still in the 162 temp range (we always shut down immediately and clear it, rather than wait for the temp gauge to go up) or is it more likely that the temp gauge is malfunctioning?  I recall that the first time this happened several years ago, we didn't recognize the significance of the white exhaust until the exhaust sound changed and the temp gauge was reading over 180.  Is it possible to test the gauge by putting the sensor in boiling water or something?
Main Message Board / Re: Autohelm acting erratic
May 20, 2009, 07:46:04 PM
It doesn't even take electrical interference to cause the problem-  the first time we took out our boat, the autohelm 4000 tried to send us all over the place.  Moving the canned goods to another storage area fixed the problem immediately.  Now using the storage area near the compass for wine.
Fleet 5 / Re: Summer 2009 Gulf Islands Rendezvous
March 23, 2009, 01:17:19 PM
Montague Harbour is always a great place to visit, and has good onshore facilities (Picnic areas, Pub bus, Marina), but it will be difficult to keep the fleet close together.  Parks Canada doesn't allow rafting on the mooring buoys.  Perhaps we should consider other possible venues, where at least we can keep the C34s within hailing distance.  Sucia? Winter Cove? Other ideas?

Fleet 5 / Re: Summer 2009 Gulf Islands Rendezvous
March 11, 2009, 06:20:48 PM
Westerly Yachts just sent regrets that they will not be organizing a Catalina rendezvous in 2009.  Perhaps we should revisit the idea of a Fleet 5 / BC informal rendezvous.  The Catalina rendezvous has traditionally been in mid-late May, but we'd probably get more boats and better weather in July or August.

Main Message Board / Re: Berth dimensions
May 27, 2008, 05:11:56 PM
We used a Queen-sized foam topper that we cut semi-diagonally, turning it into two pieces with the same dimensions as the existing triangular upholstered cushions.  Sure, there is a split down the middle, but that allows you to flip up the cushions without rolling up the topper first.  You can do this   with one cut and it covers the entire berth with no leftover!
Main Message Board / Re: propane tank
May 12, 2008, 08:14:05 AM
If you're looking for a lost-cost option, you can look into getting the original valve replaced with one a new one equipped with an overfill prevention device.  I too had an expired tank with the original valve, and had it re-certified and refitted with a new valve for about $20.  They checked the tank over a stamped a new expiration date on it as part of the deal.