Saturday, October 2, 2010

Starting Her Up

I love diesel engines, especially the heart of the MV Independence. That big 6 cylinder, naturally aspirated, Ford-Lehman is a gem. She's got well over 6,070 hours on her and she's never missed a beat. To my credit, I keep the oil changed - every 100 hours with the crankcase, and every 50 hours for the injection pump, and do due diligence on the engine maintenance (e.g., impeller changed each season, zincs in the transmission & oil cooler changed, check all hoses, good fuel, etc.). And, my reward always a "rrrrr-rumble" and a quick start. How rewarding.

Yesterday, I came down and "started her up." I let her idle for a bit, then I decreased the RPMs, put her in gear, and let her warm up in place in the slip. The boat lurched forward in the slip stopping when her mooring lines would let her go no further. I simply sat and enjoyed a sip of whisky while the engine purred along and the prop wash made small ripples across the marina. I think somebody wondered what was going on because I saw a guy come quickly up the dock, rush to my stern and look in the water. Seeing the boat in the slip and trying to move forward must have concerned him; causing him to wonder what was going on. He looked inside my boat to ensure that all was well. I gave him a nod and wink, and he simply walked away. I don't think he still knew what was up because he was shaking his head. Oh well.

I watched an empty jug on the deck move along because of the engine vibration. First towards me then unexplicable then away, and then again towards me - interesting dance. I put the jug away and heard other things making music from the engine's vibration. I stepped out on deck myself, walked back to look at the prop wash and made sure there was water coming out of the exhaust. Stopping enough to think that all the mussels and barnacles (little bastards) on the dock enjoyed the prop wash. The mooring lines holding the Independence at bay were all taught and snug. All was well.

I returned to the lower helm station, watched the temperature gauge slowly climb to a point where it just stopped - well below any marks on the gauge that would cause me alarm that something was overheating. I watched the hour meter "tick" away counting the engine's time alive. The tachometer was steady at 650 RPM. I waited until 0.4 hours ticked away, pulled the lever to take the engine out of gear and then slowly raised the throttle to about 1,300 RPMs. Again all sounded well and good. A quick peek down into the bilge and again all looked good. I reduced the RPMs to 550, let it idle there for another minute, and then hit the kill switch. The engine alarm promptly sounded with an annoying buzz and I turned off the key. Silence. One more time I peeked down into the engine room and all looked good - no drips, no runs, no errors. I closed the engine lid and returned to my chair, took a sip of my whisky, looked out the front windows, and dreamed more of journeys past and some to come.

Outside the day was cloudy and cool, but the water was almost perfectly calm. It would have made for a nice afternoon cruise. Rather I sat and puttered about inside - stowing this & that away, checking a few things, and finishing my two fingers of whisky. It was another nice afternoon aboard the Independence.

Stats: running time (idling in place in gear) ~25 minutes, ending engine hours 6076.5.

No comments: