3/5/2014 – Getting things ready to head north

Now that the reefer seems to be working right again,  the next item to check off the list is starting the engine.  It’s been three months since it was fired up and. although we’ve certainly let her sit idle for that long and longer before and had no trouble, I always breathe easier when she actually fires up.  Guess I shouldn’t say we’ve had no trouble.  She’s always fired up but not necessarily the first time I press the START button.  Matter of fact, usually after sitting idle for awhile, the first push of the START button results in absolutely nothing at all. No clicks, no grinds, no nothing.  I’ve come to expect this and usually, when I’m about halfway through troubleshooting, she fires up unexpectedly.  Consequently, I’ve never actually narrowed down the problem since it goes away before I can find it.

Today was no exception to the ‘no-start’ pattern but, since I was actually expecting it, I didn’t stress at all.  Got out my wiring diagram and trusty multimeter and got to work.  First thing I did was short the starting solenoid to the battery terminal just to make sure we didn’t have any frozen parts.  No, the solenoid kicked in and the starter motor turned over nice and strong so we’re clearly looking at a “simple” electrical issue.  Being pretty comfortable with troubleshooting electrical circuits, this actually makes me feel better.  The pre-heat solenoid was clicking like it should and, since it’s coil is in series with the starter switch, I could assume that juice was reaching the switch when it should.  Disconnected the wire from the starter switch at the solenoid, connected the meter and pressed the START button.  Well, it was getting juice but only 11.8 volts.  Probably not enough to impress the solenoid.  Jumped from a source that was around 12.8 volts and the solenoid fired nicely.  Cleaned the contacts at the solenoid and went back to the other end of the wire. Still getting only about 11.8 volts through the switch.  Hooked the wire back up and was about to go to the control panel and measure voltage on both sides of the switch.  But first, as I always do, I tried starting it again and, sure enough, she fired right up.  So, once again I don’t have a definitive answer as to where things are getting funky.  Probably just cruddy connections somewhere.  I’ll work on cleaning everything up throughout this month before we head north.  In the meantime, I’ll fire the engine up every day or two and, if history is any indication, it will fire up nicely every time.

Rearranged things in the lazarette a bit and rehung the drinking water filters on the stern rail after reworking them a bit so that the hoses are pointing down rather than straight out like they were before.  Makes them easier to use and keeps them out of the way of the solar panel clamps.

IMG 2247

Hard to believe it’s been almost exactly two years since I redid the lifelines on Siempre Sabado but it has been.  At the risk of being told what a lucky dope I am and how God must look out for idiots, I have to confess that I’ve recently added a new item to my annual maintenance list:  Replace all lifeline lashings.  When we got back to the boat from the States, I noticed that something didn’t look right.  Then I realized it was that the top lifeline wasn’t attached to the stanchion anymore.  Looking at the lifeline laying on deck it was obvious that the lashings had rotted out.  Obviously two years was too long.  From now on the lashings will be renewed yearly at least.

IMG 2234

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time to redo the lashings so now we’re good as new on the port side.  

IMG 2246

Starboard side mañana.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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9 Responses to 3/5/2014 – Getting things ready to head north

  1. Raoul says:

    So is it RV or Boat that you say “ahhh” ??????

  2. vraymond108 says:

    Glad to hear both engine and refer are working OK now. I know from experience what a relief it is. It is like watching a movie and by the sound of the music you KNOW something scary is about to happen but don’t know what or exactly when.
    As for your lifeline lashings have you tried Catahoula Tarred Twisted Nylon Twine. This is what was recommended to me by Brion Toss in Port Townsend. I think the light tar keep the nylon stranded from rotting out too fast. Probably still a good idea to replace regularly though.
    Enjoy the trip North. There are lots of nice places to anchor along the way until you decide to make the crossing at which it is one very long day or quick overnight.

  3. Ellen Floyd says:

    So glad your blogs are coming on a regular basis again. I love following you guys!! Ellen

  4. Thanks for the trouble shooting sequence on the motor.
    I’ve probably missed this on a previous post, but why are the water filters on the stern rail? Filtering shore water to tanks or something else?

    • sryoder says:

      We generally fill out tank with dock water unless we specifically know the water is bad. In Mazatlan, while not necessarily “bad”, the water was noticeably dirty. So we put together a filtering system. The stern rail is just a handy place to hang the filters since we’re pressed for room below and the tank fill is right below the filters. BTW, the black filter housing is a sediment filter and the silver one is a ceramic filter with a silver anode or some such thing acting as a biocide.

    • sryoder says:

      For your edification: water filter blog

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