Keeping the old stuff running

View of mountains out the window

Lots of repairs and maintenance lately. I put the prop guard on the new 200 HP Yamaha, so wanted to take the boat for a test drive. As I motored in front of Craig, I was turning the wheel, but the boat wasn’t turning. I slowed to a stop before I ran onto the reef. I did a few hard overs each way with the wheel, and got some steering back, but it wasn’t great.

I stopped in and asked Chet about it the next day. He said the helm fluid was probably low, and the seals back by the engine could be leaking. He gave me a run down of checking the fluid level, and how to check the steering ram for leaks. He sold me a bottle of the fluid I’d need, and a cap for the bottle of fluid with a nipple on it to make adding fluid to the reservoir easier. (I still spilled some, of course.)

I went home and tried to back out the plug in the reservoir with the biggest screwdriver I own here. The straight slot on the plug stripped out toot sweet.

I got the grinder out and put on a cutting wheel. I cut a new slot perpendicular to the stripped one like I saw the sidekick do on the Tool Time show (I’m serious-that’s where I saw it.) This time, I got a good bite with the screwdriver and the plug backed out.

I looked into the reservoir to look for metal shavings like Chet instructed. Not only were there no shavings, there was no fluid to be seen. I poured most of the quart into the reservoir until it was about full, and looked again. No shavings. I put some never seize lube on the plug threads and screwed the plug back in.

I worked the wheel back and forth and had good steerage now. I took a paper towel and wiped the steering ram. No oil showed. Might be the first helm oil check since it was installed,  and oil dibbled out  for the past 2 or 3 decades. Or a leak might just have started. Who knows. I learned something new and will need to add checking it to the maintenance schedule.

I learned the next day the leak was a recent event. Oil was leaking around the steering shaft at the helm.  Looks like a delicate job to tear apart the helm, install numerous o rings just right, be sure there’s no nick on the shaft to cause it to leak again, then put it all back together. Clearly a job I’m not the best for. Hopefully, Chet’s crew can fix it.

This morning I was heading to the community garage sale in Coffman Cove. First I stopped at the boat to replace a GFI outlet with a regular outlet that is powered by the inverter. The GFI outlet did not like the inverter current and would make noise by my ear all night.

Off I went to Coffman Cove. On the road to Klawock, the cab filled with mist out of the vents, and the windshield fogged. There was the smell of hot coolant. When I squeegeed the glass, it left behind a streaky film. I pulled over and googling confirmed what I thought: my heater core was leaking.

I went on to get fuel in Klawock, then returned to the Napa store in Craig to get a bypass kit. The salesman set me up instead with a 5/8 inch hose union and 2 hose clamps. I went to the grocery store next for potato salad ingredients.

I returned to the cabin and parked the truck to cool while I made the potato salad. After a couple more cups of coffee, I got to work. I cut the two hoses going to the heater core, and spliced the two with the union and clamps. I wired the union forward to take as much bend out of the hose as possible and hoped it was enough that the coolant wouldn’t be restricted.

I filled the coolant reservoir with water , then started the truck and drove it to town and back. The temperature gauge was normal so looks like it’s working.

Next I put a piece of wood under each side of the toilet paper holder in the bathroom. A full roll wouldn’t want to roll, and now there’s plenty of room.

Lastly, I trimmed around the windows to cover the gaps with the yellow expansion foam. I didn’t have more trim boards, so I used some one inch flexible electrical conduit around one window, and some old boat line for the other.

Pat and Sean get here tomorrow, and now I’m ready.

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