Sent: 30 Oct 2003
Subject: Engine Work

My dear readers,
It seems I am far from finished with these letters. Even though I am restfully far from the sea and all her intimidations. I have about 80 photos that are all really great. I wish I could send them all but I will try to limit myself to a few good segments that will elucidate what I was talking about in other stories. First the Engine,
Was taken the third time I had to take the bloody thing apart. It’s funny that I didn’t even get a photo of it apart. This picture was taken after I had put it all back together with the old Oil Seal that the mechanic took out. I was sure glad I had kept it. The new one he used was metric and was a couple of millimeters off. Enough so that my bilge was sprayed with a nice splattering of jet-black diesel oil.
It’s funny to note how small the transmission is. It makes sense though when you notice how small my engine is. I think the most challenging bit of the whole process was taking it out and putting it back in. It was a real struggle that time because I was on my own, anchored somewhere along the coastline between Songkhla, Thailand and Kota Bahru, Malaysia. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have done the work in such a remote area, as there were no villages or towns around for miles. If I botched the job or lost a part I could be stuck without a transmission and therefore without an engine.
It went fine though.
I repeated the process while in Johor Bahru near Singapore after I purchased a new oil seal which turned out to cost 32 US$, for a part two inches in diameter. Bloody hell! The leak is still causing me problems but I think I know where the culprit lies and it is a much easier piece to replace.

Pistons and Cylinder Blocks,
Was taken while I was at Sebana Cove Marina. I was parked in a calm berth and I knew I had a blown head-gasket so I braved the task and with my best books on Marine Diesel engines, the Volvo Penta MD2 Workshop Manual, and the experience I had from the Pangan area and my friend Bet, I did a head gasket job on my own.

Head Gasket Job,
As you can see in this photo I took most of the top part of the engine apart. I never would have thought I could do something like that, particularly unassisted. But the books make it easier and quite clear in most cases. They were very clear about laying out parts in an organized manner, keeping them exceptionally clean.
You can see that I was limited in space but did manage to keep things organized and clean. I think before I am done with this engine I would like to take it completely apart and then rebuild it completely. Unfortunately parts for this engine are too bloody hard to find to make sense in replacing anything that can’t be cheaply machined. I was considering doing a piston ring job as well but a set costs 175 US$ each and I would need two sets. I might get the sets and save them for a later job. Most of the mechanics I have talked to say the engine sounds great and seem sure that she has years of life left. I found a fairly nice guy at the Marina whose lifelong career was fixing all kinds of diesel engines. He said the only thing I really needed to get the engine into tip top shape was a thermostat but that I could probably run her “as is, for years.” That was pretty good news and I must admit I felt pretty proud of a job well done, on my own.

Shows were I spent most of my time while cruising down the coast. It is the best position to both steer and play with the jib sheets, which manipulate the larger sail on the boat, the Genoa.
At some point before Songkhla I managed to fry my old stereo for the fifth time. The electrical systems on the boat never seem to be quite right. I still had an old CD player this young Danish guy gave to me. I also had my “phat” headphones and I kept the music going until I got to Songkhla. The first part of the journey was pretty easy although I did run into a fair amount of squalls. I have about 50 pictures of squalls but I will pick the best and send them later.

Critical Equipment,
Shows the most important stuff I had out most of the time while sailing and motoring. From top to bottom you can see
1. The new stereo I purchased in Songkhla which thumps
2. A big cup of juice, coke or water
3. All my CDs in two cases
4. My small handheld waterproof GPS
5. A sturdy pair of Binoculars
6. A chart of the area I was cruising, slightly visible to the right of the GPS and binoculars
7. Just the edge of my large straw hat
8. And last but not least if you look closely on the bottom left side of the photo is the famous cushion from the “Cushion Fiasco,” one of my earlier stories.
And yes, I still have it. It is safely stored on the boat for my return.



Well Heeled,
Is a good photo in that it captures the view I had in the position I was sitting in the earlier photo. You can see the Genoa quite clearly and if you look closely you can see the tell tales which are small red strings used on both sides of the sail to indicate how to best trim the sails. The tell tales make it easier to teach people how to trim the sails and it makes it easier for me to sail as I am not really an expert sailor, just a good one.
It’s also interesting to note the horizon in this photo. I was tempted to use photoshop to correct it but decided not to. I used photoshop a lot this last time and had fun playing around with photos. It allows so much freedom in post-formatting that I find I can make most moderate shots much better by the way I cut and modify the lighting. I didn’t play around with all the photos and I am not all that versed with the software so don’t think these photos have all been amazingly enhanced. I left Well Heeled alone as it was a pretty good photo. The horizon shows that the tilt or “heel“ of the boat is considerably more then the photo conveys. That is what makes it so easy to put your foot in the water while sitting in this position.
That’s it for this segment. I hope you all enjoy the photos. There are still more to come.
Much love to family and friends,
Captain Andy