shaft freezer watermaker

Shafted!

Last week was a very mixed week on the Jane’O. Now that the canvas work is done, I sailed her back to Richmond; far closer to home and it’s much cooler here, making working on the boat a lot easier. This trip ended out pretty rough when a stray jibsheet that flew into the propeller shaft in the middle of Suisun Bay. Fortunately, I was heading back to Svendsen’s Bay Marine to get the shaft seals replaced anyway. But, when they got the boat, they found that the cutlass bearing was damaged; the sudden stop of the engine both cracked the fiberglass and destroyed the cutlass bearing. Combine that with the fact that the PSS shaft seals were installed incorrectly -- they weren’t even the right seals. They were compacted beyond their design. They probably would have failed in the middle of the ocean somewhere. So, they have to remove the rudders to get the shaft out and resize the opening to a more standard size. So that happened this past week.

Dropping the rudders meant putting the boat back in the sling and raising her way up. This has to get done for both rudders. At least when all this is done, there will be a standard size shaft seal.

On top of that, there’s an area on the hull that isn’t drying out, which means the glass is probably damaged. They’re going to remove a through-hull and investigate further.

On the plus side, at least I was headed in to get her hauled out when all this happened. This could have been far worse.

Speaking of plusses, it seems that I fixed the freezer! Replacing the expansion valve and orifice, then pumping the system down to a solid vacuum, replacing the refrigerant, and it got colder than I’ve ever seen in a few hours. I suspect non-compressible gasses in the refrigerant or maybe some water was the root cause. Hopefully the compressor will survive a few more years. Here it is with the TOP of the freezer all the way down to 16 degrees (I wish the thermostat were at the BOTTOM of the freezer, which I am going to guess is about 5-10 degrees colder). Major shout out to Rich from CruiseRO Water who walked me through a very challenging expansion valve replacement.

Timelapse removal of old watermaker
As a result of Rich’s outstanding service, I purchased a CruiseRO watermaker. I yanked out the old one, leaving lots of space for a fresh installation. The old one was housed in a plywood box, only protected by some paint. That didn’t last at all in the forward compartment; you can see it pretty much getting destroyed in the video just from yanking on it. The new one doesn’t really need as much protection, but I’ll probably do something to avoid something flying into it, maybe just some starboard marine lumber to prevent something from smashing the roughly $1500 motor.

It’s the little stuff that is taking so much time. The sea strainer for the watermaker was so incredibly rusty I thought it was destroyed, but it cleaned up perfectly. The hose so you can visually see the level of the water was so dirty you couldn’t see anything in it, so I have a new one, which requires some sraightening. The valve at the bottom of the tank was broken. As you can see, the top of the tank is really dirty too. All this stuff takes so much time.

I was also able to open up the water tank. I was kind of expecting a fungus party, but I am super happy to see how clean it was. The tank is FULL of water in this photo, and you can see right to the bottom. Awesome!

I had thought those tanks were aluminum, since that was what was on the survey, but they are solid stainless steel, and in pretty good shape for their age. I’m not sure what that black patch is at the bottom (looks like paint, but I can’t tell) so I let the tank drain and I’ll investigate the next time I’m out there.

I’m not sure what to do about that gasket. Part of me says just leave it and add some caulking, the other choice is to make a fresh gasket with an exacto knife and use some caulking to ensure it’s leak free when full or sloshing around. I’m also super tempted to install a level sensor. It’s always nice to know how much water you actually have in the tank.

This weekend, I’ll be finishing the watermaker installation. If you’re interested in helping out, let me know!

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