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Archive for April, 2014

Caesar’s Fight

Time and Boat Maintenance/Caesar

April 13 2014

What do you do with your time? I get asked that occasionally, and will try and give you some insight into it. The last time I tried to start the engine on my boat, it wouldn’t start, not turning over. Well let’s first check batteries, this takes some time as of course they are buried, but indicate after checking specific gravity & voltages, it seems they are fine. Had already been checking prices figuring I would need to replace them, $5000-$7000 pesos, yikes better check further to make sure that isn’t the problem. Then it’s time to get some boat friends that have more knowledge than I do to also do some checking. By now we are checking the starter and solenoid. After some work we determine that it is the solenoid on the starter that seems to be the problem. In order to replace that though the starter must come out, and out it comes. It’s easy, down in the engine room, working on hands & knees removing bolts you can only feel for; tomorrow will take it to the starter shop andhave them work on it. After finding the place I carry it in, weighs a bunch, Caesar tags along to make sure everything goes smooth. They check and in less than 10 minutes tell me that it is the solenoid, but the starter also should have new brushes and bushings, makes sense as I prefer to r and r this less than more. They order parts, come back in two hours they say and it will be ready, the bill will be $1400 pesos, must leave a deposit, $500 pesos. Two hours, but it’s not quite ready, come back in the morning, no problem, manana. Well lo and behold, its ready in the morning, pay the balance, have lunch and head back to replace it. Scrape more knuckles vent a few unrepeatable words and it’s back in, let’s give it a try. Nada, nothing, just a click, that’s it. Call up my mechanic friend, I must have hooked something up wrong. He checks everything is right, he thinks it is a bad ground on the starter motor itself, so we remove that and wire it to the engine block itself. Lo and behold Houston we have ignition, engine fires up runs, batteries are charging, all is well except we know we still have a problem starter. After several more tries and it still works, he leaves me to remove the f’en starter again. That will happen in the morning as upon checking I realize it’s five o’clock somewhere, so must be cocktail hour. Of course you must realize to deliver or pick up the starter you take it to shore with the dinghy before driving to the shop, and then the reverse back. So in the morning the starter comes out, it’s getting easier, and off to the shop. The discussion goes like this, (understand the repair man is Spanish, and I only know spanglish) ah senior as he rests it on his grounded bench, she works fine. No no, don’t ground on the bench, ground to the starter, oh senior it is no working, si si, it doesn’t work. Ah he says, I think it is a bad ground, si, si bad ground, es malo. Ah I fix. You wait. And so he proceeds to quickly repair the bad ground, no charge and we are on our way, back to the dinghy and boat. Have lunch and reinstall the f’en starter. This time all is well, everything works, engine starts and the world levels. Understand this is over the course of several days, much discussion, trouble shooting over cocktails but finally! It all takes time.

The next project albeit a little smaller was to change the oil on the Honda generator and adjust the valves. First you need to find oil, then gasket goo to make a gasket for the valve cover, this is something I haven’t done before, although I did assist in adjusting the valves on my main engine last summer, so I had a idea of what was involved. I had initialy planned on hiring this done, but after googling it I decided I could handle it. Turned out the biggest job was splitting the case to get at the engine. The valve adjustment only took about 10 minutes, there are only two and they are little tiny ones. Then to put the case back on, that was a bit of a testy project. I managed and it is back up and running like a top.

Then Bay Fest which is a five day event starting on Wednesday, then sailboat race Thursday, followed by all kinds of games and entertainment. I got terrible cards in the cribbage tournament and lost half my games. Last year’s winner came in last, go figure, but we only play each player once, so it’s pretty much what you’re dealt.

Then I ride the Harley, with the Californios, a local motorcycle club, I am one of four gringos, we are called the f’en foreeners, a fun group.

Today on a sadder note, Caesar got into a scrap with a large cross breed dog, half coyote, and came in second. He got away out of the dinghy off his leash, he was coming back, howling when I caught up. He seemed ok, just scared, so I went on my ride but called back an hour and a half later to check on him. They said he was not doing well so I came back, and they had contacted the vet for me and we took him in when I got back. He was in a lot of pain, turns out he had a puncture wound in the back of his skull, and one in his throat, not as deep, plus some other bad bruises on his neck. The pain was from being shaken, it was a wonder he didn’t have a broken neck. The vet shaved his spots where the bites were and the poor little guy just took it without a peep. Then she started checking the rest of his body, then we discovered the pain in his neck, throat and mouth. Long story short, he can’t use a leash at least for a week and he is on soft foods because his jaws are too sore. She prescribed pain killers and antibiotics, plus I clean his wounds with iodine a couple of times a day. He’s finally getting some rest now, I soaked some dog food in water and mixed some mashed potatoes in to make it a little more appetizing, so he ate a little and has drank some water. I felt so bad as we couldn’t find anything wrong with him when I left, wished I hadn’t gone, but really couldn’t have done more anyhow. Thank the Lord he is going to be ok. Well that’s all the latest, catch you later.

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