Sunday, December 3, 2017

a good day's sail lost

There wasn't enough oil in the outboard, fuel was seeping into the cockpit and water was dripping in through the centerboard trunk.  Maybe today wasn't the day for a sail after all.

After sailing a couple of days last week I had noticed there was some water, maybe a cup or so, under the bunk flat on the port side of the center board trunk.  Only two places it could have come from - 1) maybe one of the gallon water bottles stored there had leaked or 2) it was seeping in through the centerboard pin.  So when I backed SPARTINA down into the water this morning I opened the deck plate and saw the water dripping down from the cb pin.  When I first launched SPARTINA about 10 years ago I had a drip there, quickly fixed by tightening the bolt.  The following year there was a drip on the first launch of the season, again quickly fixed.  And for the next eight years no leaks at all - until this week.  I took out the tool kit, tightened the bolt about 3/4 turn.

Motoring away from the dock I thought to check the oil level.  I had just changed it the day before, measuring the oil to the milliliter.  I looked at the inspection port to see it was very low - though I still can't imagine why.  Still with a nice day ahead of me I tied SPARTINA to the dock, drove home and returned with the oil and a funnel.  Trying to put oil into the engine while it was mounted in the inboard well was difficult if not impossible.  So I pulled the outboard and put in on its side in the cockpit.  Starting to add the oil I noticed some water in the cockpit, or at least I thought it is water until I smelled fuel, realizing I had forgotten to close the gas cap vent on the outboard.  I cleaned up the fuel, maybe half a cup or so, and decided to check the cb pin to see how it is doing.  A tiny drop was coming down from the pin.  So I didn't have enough oil where I needed it, and I had fuel and water where it was not supposed to be.  D'oh!  I realized it was not a day for sailing.  

Home now.  I think I've got the cb leak fixed but won't know until my next sail.  Oil is up to the correct level.  Fuel cleaned up.  What's the forecast for next weekend??


Lorenzo said...

Hello Steve it may well be that some engine oil found its way to the combustion chamber during handling (I.e. tilting and rolling) and not while in use. Once there the only outcome is the oil leaving the engine through the exhaust valve. Wouldn't worry, however keep a close on oil level while handling and running the motor carefully. If you find the level dropping knowing that you haven't taken the motor out of the boat or transported it on its side then it might be that a piston ring or the head gasket have developed a problem. That is however highly unlikely given the level of over engineering and under use these motors experience in their life.

Steve said...

Thanks, Lorenzo. I've always thought you were the mechanical type and I appreciate your input. I have concluded the problem was operator error. I believe I misread the measurement. Once back home I added a very small amount to get it right. Just that little bit of oil caused the level to show up perfectly in the inspection port. Problem solved.

Hope the house is coming along well.


Unknown said...

The oil level is very sensitive to trim. Slightly off level makes a big difference seen in the sight window. Mine leaks oil out of the fill port if even slightly overfilled.

Steve said...

I am noticing that more now, Kevin. Just a slight tilt and the oil disappears. I added a little oil, not much, and when I spin the outboard around on the stand it goes from too high to too low to just right. So I think I've got it now. thanks