Monday, May 19, 2014

Back In North Myrtle Beach, the Boat...and the Basement Challenges Keep On A’comin’

Well, dear readers, we have made it back to our beloved Why Knot at Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The two day drive here last Wednesday and Thursday was uneventful except for the torrential rain that we had to drive through to get here. But get here we did!

Our arrival back at NMB was made all the sweeter by being reunited with our friends Rick and Margi of Journey. They finished their Great Loop adventure here, and stuck around to make sure we could see them before they had to head up to Virginia to take care of some personal business. Their supposed to return to their boat at Barefoot in two weeks and we all thought that we would not be seeing them again. But it very well may be that we will still be here when they get back.

Just like on our shore, we are having basement challenges on the boat.

A few days ago I decided that it would probably be a good idea to change the oil and filters for both the engine and the generator, because after seven months of the two pieces of equipment sitting idle, they were worthy of some TLC. I didn’t have any problem with the engine; changed the oil and filters, and she fired right up smooth and happy. The generator was a different story. I changed the oil alright, and noticed that the coolant level was very low – not an uncommon thing on our very old Onan 8kw MDKD generator. So I topped off the coolant reservoir. I let things settle down again for about ten minutes. Then I rechecked the oil level and, low and behold, there was coolant in the oil. Not good. Instead of the oil having that lovely golden glow, it had a decidedly green watery consistency on the dipstick.

I learned that there could be several causes for this –
1 - the heat exchanger could be bad and it’s allowing coolant to get in somehow. Probability = 1 (scale of five). The heat exchanger was already replaced a little over a year ago.
2 - somehow the coolant is being expelled into the exhaust manifold and backing up into the block. Probability = 1
3 - bad head gasket. Probability = 4
4 - cracked block. Probability = 4
5 - engine is just plain old and shot. Probability = 4, maybe even 5

We have been prepared for this last eventuality for about a year. Last spring, after we had a new Xantrex Inverter/Charger installed back in Jekyll Island, Georgia, we had the generator looked at by a certified Cummins-Onan dealer in Savannah, Georgia. The main purpose was to try to fine tune the generator so that its old circuitry would work with of the new Xantrex unit, which was successful. We also had the technician do a complete check of the Onan, including a pressure test of the cooling system. This all checked out aok, but the technician did say that the Onan was really on its last legs. He described it as an elderly person in a nursing home that was doing okay…but there was a reason they were in a nursing home. In other words, the condition of the generator could and would change at some point. We are guessing that that point is here.

As I am writing this, 5/19/2014 9:31 AM, we are waiting for a Cummins-Onan technician to come on board to diagnose our generator.

So, as it turns out, our seven month ordeal of dealing with basement challenges in our homes in St. Louis and Denver have extended now to our boat in North Myrtle Beach.

But we’re still on our boat! And that’s a win for us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So maybe we'll get to see you after all! We'll be back late Monday night. Hope you get things fixed, but not 'til we get back!

Betsy on Rick & Roll