It’s been a busy aboard Banjo. As you may recall, we got towed out of our anchorage almost a month ago and have been eager to discover the cause of our engine failure. I met with Gary last week and attended to his assigned homework of preparing the engine to be removed. Earlier this week, Gary and the crew from Deaton Yacht Service in Oriental, NC, took the reins to remove our boat engine. Ours is an 85-HP Perkins 4.236 Marine Diesel weighing in upwards of 500+-lbs (estimated). Banjo also has a hard bimini which make it more difficult to remove our boat engine.
Removing the heat-exchanger, air intake, raw water, and alternator made it easier to remove our boat engine, but not simple by any means. In order to remove our engine, we first had to move the boat. The crew, with nothing more than boat hooks, swapped places with another boat and pivoted Banjo 180-degrees. The pivot was necessary since the engine would be removed from the starboard side. This also happened to be the opposite side we were originally facing.
Getting on with the Engine Removal
After our pivot maneuver, Gary and his crew set to work building a scaffolding to support the hoist that would be used to remove our boat engine. Shortly after, the remaining throttle linkage and fuel system was disconnected in preparation for the hoist. Once in place, the hoist easily lifted the engine from the engine compartment. And, using the jib crane mounted on the travel lift at the boatyard, the engine came away cleanly and without damage.
Shannon and I were both amazed at how thorough and professional the Deaton Yacht Service Crew was. They did not cut corners, nor did they do anything either of us would have considered unsafe. Instead, they carefully and diligently protected both the engine and the boat during every step of the lift. We were SO impressed!! We have heard horror stories from other boat owners about other boatyards, but none of those applied to Deatons. Afterwards, I asked Gary why they seemed to care so much about our little boat. He replied, “we are full-service technicians here. In other yards, the crane operator, for example, doesn’t know or care about gelcoat. He is told to pull a lever to lift something, and that’s what he does. Here, we are all trained to care about everything on the boat, since we may have to fix it.”
Deaton’s approach resulted in Banjo’s engine coming out without any damage or injury. Very impressive indeed.
The day after we removed our boat engine, Oriental was under a small-craft advisory with high winds and poor weather. Gary was eager to get the head off and assess the engine. While Shannon and I hid below-decks during the storm, Gary started disassembly. The following morning, we met in the shop to inspect the damage.
We were met with some major corrosion in the cylinders and throughout the rest of the engine. Although our head gasket did not seem to have been damaged, Gary told us each piston was covered in seawater. Given all of the symptoms, the supposition was that our engine suffered several distinct failures.
First, the lift pump failed putting diesel in the oil. The decrease of compression made the engine harder to start. Also, the diesel in the oil continually increased our oil level and emulsified. Additionally, during a visit from one of the engine mechanics, we were directed to over-crank the engine with an open sea-cock without allowing the engine to start. This resulted in flooding the exhaust system. Finally, with no place to exit the boat, the exhaust system flooded the cylinders. Afterwards, post-hurricane, we sat at anchor for about 6 weeks waiting on marinas and boatyards to re-open. Consequently, the delay in getting service resulted in massive corrosion. Ugh! We have learned a lot of hard lessons this year.
Our next steps are to start a full engine rebuild or replace the long-block. From there, we will also be rebuilding all of our sub-systems and our transmission. Since we are pot-committed, we might as well service everything. Check back soon for more photos and video when we perform the rebuild. To be continued…
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