I’ve fallen victim to the “while you’re in there” syndrome. That’s the one where you start a project, intending for there to be, say, three distinct steps, and you decide that “while you’re in there”, you might just as well do some other things that add several more steps, considerably more time, and usually, a quantum shift in the total planned budget.
Such was the case with the turbos, although thankfully, I’ve not had the massive budgetary hit. Yet.
Once my son and I got the old turbos off, and I started looking around the aft end of the engines, I found some areas that were normally hidden from view, from reach or both by the turbos, and those areas had obviously not had any TLC for many, many years. When we bought the boat, we could tell that the raw water pump on the starboard engine was leaking, so before we brought her south, we had the yard in Portsmouth replace it. What we didn’t know, and couldn’t see until the turbos were out, was that the leaking pump had dripped all over the transmission below, and caused some really significant corrosion. I’m talking chunks-of-rust-an-eighth-of-an-inch-thick type corrosion.
So, that meant climbing back behind the engine, cleaning off the rust, coating the cleaned-up metal with some rust converter to slow down further corrosion, then topping it off with a couple coats of Rustoleum enamel paint.
And then while I was in there, (see how insidious that syndrome is) I decided that I might as well remove, clean and repaint some of the piping to and from the water pumps. They were pretty nasty looking and once the turbos went back on, they’d be a lot harder to get to, and the gaskets were seeping where they attached to the pump, so what the heck.
I closed the raw water seacocks so that when I took the piping apart the water would stay on the outside of the boat, and pulled the inlet and outlet pipes off both pumps. A close look at the sections of hose that connected these pipes to the block convinced me that they too needed replacement, so off I went to Amazon Hose and Rubber company.
This place is great. If it is in any way related to hose, they have it, can get it, or can make it. I bought several pieces of 2 inch silicone hose and four pieces of 3.5 inch silicone hose, and had all the pieces I needed to reassemble the piping when I was finished with repainting it.
I brought the pipes back home with me and pulled out my trusty Sears sandblaster to take the old paint off. Sandblasting is quite a bit quicker than fooling around with paint remover, but it does make a bit of a mess. I was using black sand, and I wore safety glasses to protect my eyes and earmuffs to keep the sand out of my ears. After a while, I looked like one of the old Vaudeville performers in blackface. That sand can get in so many places…
When I was ready to reassemble the pipes to the water pump, I wanted to get a really good gasket sealer so that hopefully, the seepage I’d noticed wouldn’t reoccur. The diesel guy I’ve been talking to said to use the red high-heat silicone. He swears by that stuff, but this really isn’t a high-heat application, and I just never liked silicone sealants, so I did a little more searching. I’ve used Permatex products before, and was about to go with the old faithful, Permatex Number 2, but then during one of my trips around the Internet, I ran across some stuff called Hylomar. This stuff was supposedly developed by the boys and girls at Rolls Royce, and they make some pretty nice cars, so I figured if it was good enough for a Rolls, it was probably OK for a Detroit Diesel. As it turns out, Hylomar is now a Permatex product, so all it took to get it was a trip to the local Advance Auto Parts store. Saved me a trip to the Rolls Royce factory.
I got all the water pump piping installed and because the impellers had been exposed to the air for a week or so, I drizzled a few tablespoons of dish soap down onto them before I closed everything back up. The soap would be a good lubricant in the moments until water was sucked up into the system, and it also became the cause for some puzzled looks. More on that in a moment.
My son came over again and helped me put the heaviest parts of the turbos back in place, and the following weekend, I had a diesel mechanic come to the boat to help me install the remaining parts of the turbos and check out what I’d done on my own to make sure I hadn’t made too many bone-head moves. I also wanted him there for moral support when we started the engines again. If they still puked coolant, I was going to scream.
Well, we filled the engines with nice new purple coolant and checked everything to make sure all the stuff that ought to be open was, and vice versa. The mechanic’s wife stood out on the dock to see if there was any smoke, fumes, flames, etc. shooting out of the back of the boat as we started each engine. (Any of those things would have been a clear indication that I had not yet spent enough money to satisfy the water gods)
After both engines had been started, she came back inside and reported that the only thing that seemed out of order was that my exhaust had a lot of suds in it. Suds? The mechanic and I both made a beeline for the back door, and sure enough, the water behind my boat looked like the downstream end of an old Maytag. It was several moments before I remembered putting the dish soap in the water pump. Obviously, that’s where the bubbles were coming from, and my exhaust probably now has a fresh lemony scent.
The mechanic found a small leak in one of the transmission hoses and suggested replacing it before we took the boat out, so until that gets done, I’m still the owner of a dock queen, but at least she now has the capability to move again.
I’m just a couple of hoses away from taking her out for a weekend jaunt. Can’t wait.