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Summer staycation leads to rough waters…

This was one of the hottest summers we have had in a very long time, which was supposed to mean lots of time to spend out on the boat.  We had decided early on in the summer that we would be putting off the vacation until September and instead would stay around the house for a week in August.   The plan was perfect, weekends and long summer evenings sipping wine on the lake, the reality….not so perfect.

 I love to boat from early April through the end of November.  A few times I have even de-winterized the boat and still had a few snow storms to deal with before the weather finally turned better.  Often, I am one of the last boats on the lake, last year we finished boating the weekend of Thanksgiving.  I like the early and late seasons because there is a lot less commotion on the water and the fall foliage is beautiful from the lake.

Somewhere between last December and early April the head on my 4 cylinder I/O (inboard/outboard) decided that it had met its useful life and would no longer provide a barrier between water and oil.  Unfortunately, that memo was never passed on to me, so I was unaware of the nightmare that awaited me in the spring.  After my first boating trip in April, I realized that something was not quite right.  The engine seemed to have less power and the oil had turned an unnatural shade of white.

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After some investigation I decided that the flapper valve in the exhaust was the culprit and proceeded to take apart the exhaust manifold to remove the offender. I thought that it was allowing water to pass through and dump directly into the engine. After a few hours of work and an oil change it was off to the lake to test the theory.

 No luck, after a short drive around the lake I had the same milky oil problem.  The next plan was to check compression in the head unit to see if there was a blown gasket.  After checking compression which turned out okay and changing the oil, I ran the boat on a hose.  In the 4 cylinder I/O that I have, water is forced up through a water jacket and pipes through the head for cooling purposes and there is also a pressurized water cooling system. So theoretically, if the problem was still present, the water would show in the oil from the hose. After 30 minutes the oil was perfectly fine. 

 I thought that maybe I had just left some residual water in the oil tank and if I changed it a few more times everything would be ok.  After a few more hours it was back to the lake.  After a short loop I checked the oil again, it was completely white!  Now I was faced with the dreaded decision of taking the boat to the marina.  I dropped the boat off the week before Memorial Day….

Two months and $2,000 dollars later it was August 1st and I was finally picking up the boat for my week vacation.  Many boaters will tell you that B.O.A.T. really means break out another thousand.  Well, in my case it was two!  A hairline crack in the head had caused water to leak into the 3 and 4 cylinders which is located in the back of the engine.  It didn’t take a lot of water to cause the oil to change and but because the crack was so small it took forever to figure out what was causing the problem.

boat

Once the boat was repaired, we immediately got back to our regularly scheduled boating activity and enjoyed many wine cruises as the summer came to an end.  We even managed to drag Mr. Wine Babble himself away from the site for more than 5 minutes and he enjoyed a wine cruise with us.  Now that the fall is upon us, boating will slow down as the weekdays get shorter and the weekends are filled with football. Although, I am sure I will make it out a few more times as I have a couple more bottles of Santa Barbara wine to consume!  Until next time Salude!

boat 2

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