Tom Holder of Newport Beach, CA USA asks:
I am concerned you may not have resolved you Aux engine
problem. I hope you are able to resolve this issue soon!!!
Scott Flanders of Egret responds:
Tom, thank you for your concern AND for getting me off my duff and
addressing the problem so others may learn from our experience. It's a very long story. I will be brief as possible and still give enough details so
that others may trouble shoot or more importantly avoid this dilemma.
We had salt water in our wing that entered through the exhaust. Seawater
intrusion is protected by a vented loop that rises up as high as possible
(under Egret's salon seating) then down to the exhaust port/wing muffler.
At the top of the loop is a siphon break (white valve in the picture) that
closes when the wing is running but opens the siphon when the wing is shut
off. As a side note, your bilge pumps, generator and heads have a siphon
break as well. When the siphon valve gets stuck seawater can possibly
siphon up and over the loop into whatever system the siphon is protecting.
Before leaving Gibraltar I had removed the wing siphon valve and checked it.
You do this by simply blowing through the valve from the bottom (it
shouldn't allow air to pass) then sucking the valve open (it should open).
We faithfully run the wing engine two hours a month, UNDER LOAD - 2800 RPM
in Egret's case, and have since we bought our little ship. We ran the wing
once before the Canary Islands and once upon leaving Brazil. Between Brazil
and Mar del Plata, Argentina we had one bout with serious weather and one
shortly after leaving Mar del Plata. We had more weather issues after
leaving Mar del Plata but this is first time where the wing didn't start. I
suspect on one of those two occasions the siphon valve stuck allowing sea
water to be pushed up and over the loop, through the muffler and into the
wing. I don't believe there was any quantity of water because there was
none in the oil. Just enough to goof things up a bit. This has nothing to
do with bad engineering, just bad luck. Obviously I should have checked the
siphon again but quite honestly the thought didn't cross my mind.
After checking a number of things that could have caused this issue I
checked the siphon valve and found it stuck closed. If salt or debris
sticks the valve plunger from opening there is a simple fix. Put the valve
in boiling water for a few minutes then take a pair of thin needle nose
pliers or a hemostat and gently pull the little bullet shaped plunger out.
(The plunger is attached to a low pressure spring) When it is clean and
opens easily reinstall the valve and it will be as good as new. To make it
very clear this is the white valve in the picture. The other two valves
shown in the picture work in a different way but the principal is the same
and easily fixed if they become stuck.
So there you have it. We have started talking to the Yanmar dealer in
Buenos Aires to see if they have the parts I think we need and if they can
recommend someone locally or can send a mechanic down to Ushuaia. I can
easily do the prep work but don't have an A frame and come along to lift out
the wing nor the expertise to reassemble the engine and get the cam timing,
etc, correct. We'll see.