Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 7, 2014.

A local boat brokerage is run by a crew I like to call the Dudes. There’s the Head Dude, a couple of lower echelon dudes and then then guys at the bottom of the barrel, the dude scrapeins'. Needless to say, dude, is a big part of their lingo. There’s “this dude, that dude, duu de, oh dude” and on and on. We do a lot of work for the Dudes as they receive boats with issues and we repair them to make them both sale and sailable.

The Head Dude is a great guy and a big part of his boat selling schtick is selling the cruising lifestyle as well as selling the boat itself. He sells the romance of sailing.

The Head Dude has this longtime buddy, Pinhead, thats a bit of a fuck up. Pinhead envisions himself as being a competent mariner, a delivery captain, a boat repair god as well as a damn capable glass and paint guy. A more accurate description of Pinhead would be an alcoholic crackhead with reliability issues. Yes, hes a drug addled fuck up with limited skills.

Pinheads got no real income stream and the Dude being a good guy tries to send a little work his way every now and again. But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. I first met Pinhead a few years ago when he was refinishing several nicks and scrapes in the paint on a damaged hullside. He had finished the repairs and primed the areas. I asked when he was going to shoot the paint and he informed me that it was already done. There’s like 28 shades of white and paint matching by eye can be extremely difficult. Its a skill. There was no skill on this hullside. The boat looked like a Dalmatian. I thought it was only primed and he was telling me that it was done. Eeessh.

Fast forward a few years and due to issues Pinhead isn't allowed near brokerage boats anymore. But The Dude decided that he'd entrust his own boat to Pinhead for its maintenance needs. The Dude owns a catamaran that needed a little work done on both engines raw water pumps. The starboard side just needed the impeller changed while the port side needed the pump removed and the seal replaced.

After Pinhead completed these 2 repairs the Dude and some friends went out to enjoy the bay. The starboard engine shut down followed shortly by the port side engine which also just stopped. After sailing back to the dock The Dude gave us a call.

The starboard engine room was completely black. The soot from the engines exhaust covered every square inch of the beneath the quarterberth engine room.
This is after one of the dude scrapins started cleaning the engine room.
By the time I got to the root of the problem I looked like a filthy chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.

It seems that when Pinhead changed the impeller he didn't bother to go looking for the missing vanes from the previous impeller. I found them all jammed into the heat exchanger. There were so many pieces that it had to be the remnants of more than one impeller.
You can't leave those old impeller bits hanging around.
This beaver dam of impeller bits led to a brutal overheating. Opposite sides of the heat exchanger blew out where the heat exchanger bolts to the mixing elbow allowing hot exhaust gasses to spew into the engine room until the engine finally died. The heat exchanger is fairly rotted with corrosion and this excessive heat probably just accelerated its demise. While the starboard engines failure is sad enough the port sides failure will go down in boat lore as a Pinhead Classic.

The bolts that hold the raw water pump are difficult to access. Pinhead told The Dude that while trying to remove them he rounded one of them off. So he had to cut the last nut off to remove the pump. It really was his only choice but its his tool of choice that makes it fun. I might have used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel or maybe a Fein Saw with a metal blade. Pinhead decided to go with the old standard, the Sawzall. You know, that big reciprocating saw that you might use while building a deck. Combine a tight space, an awkward position with limited access and a wildly stroking, 6 inch blade....what could possibly go wrong.

After completing his “repair” Pinhead fessed up and told the Dude that while cutting off the nut he had nicked the corner of the engine and put a “pinhole” in it. But not to worry, it was a tiny hole so after scrupulously cleaning the area he had mixed up a little JB Weld and patched it up.

Evidently it wasn't quite clean enough so while the dude was out with his friends the patch leaked and the engine pumped all of its oil out into the bilge. While I dealt with the starboard engine my boss went after the port side. He saw that the JB Weld repair was leaking so he poked at it with the tip of his knife and the whole “repair” popped off revealing the pinhole. I heard “Oh my God, you gotta come see this”.
Thats quite the "pinhole"

A Sawzall, really?
It turns out I could stick the tip of my pinky into the “pinhole”.

The engine needs to be welded. Before committing to that we did a temporary repair, refilled the oil and fired the engine up. We did get her running again but she has the worst knock I've ever heard. So now at a minimum The Dude needs a multi-thousand dollar heat exchanger/ exhaust manifold on the starboard side and at this point we haven't even looked inside to see whats knocking so badly in the port engine. There is going to be some major disassembly to create access for a welder to repair the block, unless of course the engine needs to be pulled to address the knocking.

So there’s some expensive sadness in The Dudes immediate future. I really feel bad for him. He might have been killing 2 birds with one stone. Trying to save some coin by having Pinhead maintain his boat while sending a little cash his friends way. Either way, sometimes a dude just can't catch a break.


Diana said...


Deb said...

Dude, you made me laugh so hard on this one. You are going to keep working in the marine industry to entertain us, aren't ya???

S/V Kintala

S/V Veranda said...

Thats the plan but we'll just have to see how the cookie crumbles....

Steve said...

OK, let me think...exhaust elbow + JB Weld...where have I heard that before???

Anonymous said...

Bill, you've been hacked! Everytime I open your page I get a Japanese porn site or some stock trading site opening on another tab.

S/V Veranda said...

Yes, JB Weld is great when you HAVE to use it.

Thanks for the heads up on the hack. I think its resolved. Lemme know if its still an issue....Bill