Just in time for happy hour!
It seems to me that when we undertake certain repair jobs, we end up doing the disassembly and assembly so many times that when we ultimately get whatever it is that we’re working on operating properly, we’re able to do the job almost without thinking about it. This is not by design of course but, in this case at least, where we know that we’ll have to complete a similar amount of service on our port engine, it will no doubt be valuable.
I won’t bore you with too many of the details but here is a summary of our day yesterday. For whatever reason, the shift shaft coming out of the lower unit was jammed. We took it to the Yamaha shop and the first technician who looked at it couldn’t get it to move any better than we could. The second, more senior guy, could however and he did so simply by pushing the rod and moving the prop a bit, exactly what I and the other guy had been doing. The charge for their help? Even though the clerk at the service desk warned me that the mechanics wouldn’t even look at an engine without a $55.00 per hour work-order being completed, they did so anyway, helping us for free. Thanks, Yamaha guys!
Now with the shaft moving freely, I was convinced that all would be well. We took our time with the reassembly, put the engine back in the well and reconnected all the wires and cables. That last part might not sound all that difficult but it is a fiddly job that can easily take a half an hour or more. After doing all this, did cooling water flow out of the engine when we started it? Sadly, no, it did not. That’s not all though… the engine wouldn’t turn off. Seriously! Turning the key, pulling the kill switch and disconnecting every wire had no effect. Pulling the fuel line didn’t even stop it. Yes, apparently it can run for quite a while without new fuel! Was I freaking out at this point, knowing that no cooling water was reaching the engine and suspecting that our nice new impeller was frying? Believe it! I ultimately got it to stop by pulling a spark plug wire, cutting my hand and getting a shock in the process.
- Apologies to Rebecca and our neighbors for all of my swearing at this point.
After taking the engine back out of the well and disassembling it again, we took a well-needed break to get some lunch and to access Wi-Fi on shore. The engine failing to turn off was related to our previous work only in so much as that I must have knocked a wire loose in moving it around. I would have been even more shocked at that turn of events had I not just recently read how the same thing happened to another PDQ owner.
Once back on the boat, rested and energized, we took one more stab at getting everything working. We took the lower unit apart and quadruple checked that we had the impeller in properly. We took a container and hose and squirted water into every tube and orifice that we could think of to make sure that there were no blockages. We removed the thermostat and cleaned under it. The thermostat looked pretty grungy and I seriously considered leaving it out altogether until I could get a replacement (during our morning visit to the Yamaha shop, I checked to see if they had one in stock but they did not). After cleaning it up though, we tested it in a pan of boiling water as the manual suggests and to our surprise, it worked, although perhaps not to spec.
With the engine once again back together, we took a look for the wiring issue but to be honest, found nothing amiss. Crossing our fingers, we took one final shot at reinstalling the engine. I say final because by this point, we were near ready to turn this job over to some professionals. In the event that the thermostat was part of the problem, hindering the water flow, we left it out of the engine and thus out of the equation. When all was connected, we held our breath and turned the key. Guess what? The engine turned over and it started to pee. Not only that, the engine actually stopped when I turned the key off. Why it worked that time and not before, I have no idea. Before we cleaned up our tools for good, we reinstalled the thermostat and tested the engine one more time. Again we saw what we wanted, cooling water exiting the engine. We ran the motor for a bit, verifying its operation in forward and reverse, and thankfully, all was well. Three days of fighting with this had apparently netted a positive result. And what time was it when we got all this completed? Very appropriately, it was 5:00 PM… Happy Hour, and we couldn’t get to the bar to celebrate quick enough!