Monday, December 3, 2012

Thank You Perla Moon!

Starship has had a oil leak in the old iron jenny for most of the past year. She probably had it long before that also, but just wasn't getting enough use for the leak to be noticed.
Hard to see oil leak between water pump and front plate
Evidence of the leak is apparent below main pulley
One day last March when we were at the islands near La Paz, we met a boat named Perla Moon, with Fred & Linda aboard.
Perla Moon at anchor on Isla Espiritu Santos
Fred is a retired diesel mechanic, and was very eager to come over and take a look at our engine problem. He gave us some helpful tips about resolving some issues with the way our engine was mounted, and walked us through what might be involved in repairing our leak.

At that time, we were still trying to get a handle on how bad the leak was, and whether we could just live with it or not. Fred was the only person we met who considered an oil leak a problem. Most other people would just say "diesel's leak, carry extra oil", but Fred is a professional and doesn't put up with leaks.

Over the course of last year, as we monitored the leak and noticed it was getting worse, we decided we definitely wanted to fix it. We got a hold of Fred who was back in the San Francisco Bay area and asked if he would be willing to consult with us on the repair over the phone and skype. Fred was very enthusiastic about the prospect of helping us out over the phone, and we were very grateful for his advice! Linda also played a very important role in the process, acting as the technology advisor for Fred. Linda would get skype working and download PDF manuals of our engine for Fred to review.

After about five days of speaking to Fred for about an hour each day, the engine was disassembled and reassembled! AND it doesn't leak!! ... at least not from the repaired area...
The gears which needed to come off to replace the front plate (grey)
One can see where the leak was at the bottom of the water pump bearing housing above
Anne-Marie and I both gained a lot of valuable knowledge and confidence in our engine over the five days. We ended up having to take a part more systems of the engine than we initially thought, and have a much better idea of how all these systems work together.

Our leak free engine with a touched up paint job!
One valuable lesson I learned is to not worry so much about taking apart parts of the engine to gain better access to the area you need to work on. The extra work space is worth the time of taking off and reassembling some parts.

Thanks a lot Fred & Linda! We look forward to meeting up with you in Puerto Vallarta so you can redeem your kitesurfing lesson vouchers :)

La Paz


  1. Great job, you guys!

  2. Man you guys are getting such great experience and adventure out of this whole trip! At first I wasn't going to read your blog right away because I was busy at work but I was so taken in by all the detailed photos and descriptions. Congrats on the successful mechanical project.

    Thanks for keep such a detailed blog going. Those marine wildlife photos are incredible! I can't believe you guys are swimming around and seeing those kinds of things. Maybe it's time for me to take an unofficial sabbatical :)

  3. Thanks Sarah&Will and Alak! We're so happy to have a leak free engine :)

  4. I never thought that a blog about an iron jenny can warm my heart as much as it did.
    I am still in awe how it is possible that on a big ocean you find
    such special people like Fred and Linda. Reading this post is a great comfort to a Mom back home in Canada. Not only do I know that the two of you can do IT but also learn that goodness and help is around you. THANK YOU Fred and Linda!!!!


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