Boat Maintenance Sum It Up Sunday

Sum It Up Sunday: Final Preparations for the Season

Sunday, April 24, 2011S.V. CAMBRIA

Most boat owners will tell you that things don't normally work out as planned.  Things break. Parts don't come in.  One job has a way of turning in to two or three.  It's the nature of the beast and should be expected making this past week where everything ran smoothly and according to plan saving us thousands of dollars in the process all the more remarkable.

It started last Thursday.  David was going to remove the inverter, which stopped working last June, to make room for the new one he was planning to order later in the day when he discovered the battery switch (the same one he'd checked last year) was bad.  He replaced the switch with a spare we had aboard and re-checked the inverter to find it was working again.  Not only did we save $1200 with a $30 part, but I was able to vacuum for the first time in eleven months.   That may not sound too exciting but, when you have a dog aboard who's blowing her coat, it's a BIG deal!

Next up . . . the outboard motors.  They never work at the beginning of the season and have to be rebuilt every year.   They're old.  They're ugly.   But they're ours and we love them.  Besides.  They're two-stroke motors which (horsepower for horsepower) are lighter, smaller, and more manageable than the four-stroke ones they now sell.  So keeping them running is a priority and worth every bit of frustration (especially when you're not the one fixing them).   We didn't do anything special at the end of last season but, low and behold, both outboards started on the first pull and passed their test drives with flying colours.   For the first time in years, it wasn't going to take two or three days to get them back in working condition.

With the outboards out of the way, it was time to tackle the auxiliary generator which stopped working in July of 2009.  David had made a few attempts to fix it before but none of them had been successful beyond a few minutes, so this was a last-ditch effort before buying a new one.  He pulled it out of the bed of the truck – it's home for more than a year – and tore it down.  Two of the three bolts that secure the recoil starter had stripped out of the engine cylinder head, so he drilled out the engine block, tapped and set three new helicoils, replaced the recoil starter and rebuilt the genset case.  Or some such nonsense.  All I really know is that it works again and it's time cash in on our new-found luck and buy a lottery ticket!

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