Saturday, June 09, 2007

Simple projects turned complicated

I’ve been slowly plugging away at boat projects. For $140 I replaced the 6lb propane take on the back of the boat that feeds an old Force 10 BBQ grille. I was tempted to replace it with a newer model one of my neighbors were letting go of, but on further inspection, the Force 10 was very heavy duty and in great shape other than a little surface rust. I cleaned it up and will be cooking steaks tonight. I also pulled the “Captains Chair” out of the cockpit. Having that chair out of there made the boat much more comfortable. While I understand the comfort aspect, aesthetically, it just didn’t belong on a sailboat. I used a new product for the first time as well. West Marine makes a 2 part epoxy that comes as a green roll with the activator on the inside of the main substrate. I mixed it up like play-do, filled the holes left by the chair and 10 minutes later it was hard enough to be sanded. Building momentum off each of these I though I would try something a little more challenging. Little did I know.

Romance has a small shower in the head, but it hasn’t been functional since I’ve owned the boat. I started poking and prodding to figure out where the problem was and found multiple breaks in the negative sump pump wire and float switch. I tracked all the bad wire down using a test lamp and replaced the bad sections. Once I got it all put back together, still no shower love. Using the same test lamp I figured out that the pump itself was shot. I figured this would make life easy and I would just pick up one of the new self contained units and drop it in. Easy, right? No. So I dropped the $100 at West and started connecting up the new unit once I drilled out the intake valve on the sump. Reconnected everything again and the pump took off, but no water was moving. This confused me.

I started running down all the plumbing connections and couldn’t believe that the previous owner had used regular green garden hose in the system. Oddly enough, the garden hose had been tied into the cockpit scupper and let to one of the yellow t-valves like you would find at home depot. This then came off to the shower sump and one other mystery line. For the life of me I looked and looked and couldn’t figure out where the other hose ran. Oh well. I’ll make it work regardless, or so I though.

Realizing the whole hose needed to be replaced I ran back to West for more hose. After buying the required amount I returned and believing the hose run to be an easy one I removed the old hose. Huge mistake. First, one I had the old one out I realized why the pump wasn’t working. There was a check valve in the line to prevent the cockpit water from draining into the shower sump. It’s been so long since it had been used it was completely frozen. Oh well, that could have made it a five minute fix, but his is much better.

By pulling the old hose out I removed any possibility of getting the new hose to lie in the same spot. I should have tied the new one to the old and pulled them both through together. So now, I’ve got 20 feet of shower sump hose run, but it’s 5 feet too short and I can’t get access to the area of the bilge to run it where I need. So much for a simple project. Hopefully I’ll be showing on my boat before the next week is over.

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