There is no end to the various tasks that must be done to sustain a relatively comfortable life while long distance cruising. When all "things" are working as they should, and that's most of the time, then life is good. When things don't work as they should, like the fresh water pump for showers and sinks, then the quality of life goes downhill on a boat pretty quick. For example, we have been noticing the Jabsco, 12 volt diaphragm water pump that supplies all our clean water to sinks and showers, has been sounding louder than usual. I had adjusted the belt tension and that solved the tooth jumping noise but the pump seemed to be working against itself and hammering away to satisfy the accumulator tank cut-out pressure. Since the pump is only 6 months old and the reviews online say they work for ever, then no reason to not keep using it. Well, we finally pushed the pump to it's limit yesterday and it just quit. Not while we were rinsing out the coffee cups, but 10 minutes after Captain Mike and I left the marina in the loaner truck to go to West Marine and the First Mate had just soaped up her hair in the shower and was ready to rinse. I got a text message that made me understand that we needed to do a U turn immediately and come back to the slip. So we did.
There were two thing on the boat too hot to touch, the pump motor and the First Mate and I didn't know how to fix either one. We had the exact same experience when we were bringing Viridian north from St. Petersburg, FL and were in the Panama City Marina. Same scenario. There, I simply replace the pump with a spare and all was good. I kept the old pump and now we have it as a spare parts unit. But what parts do we need to actually fix the problem? Once the motor cooled it would pump water, but if left running too long it would heat up again and the temp protection switch would shut it down. Long story short, these pumps have a thick, rubber diaphragm called a "pulsation damper". It's shaped like a 4 cup muffin pan and sits directly under the output valve. There is a smaller one, in a separate chamber, that sits under the intake valve. We took the spare pump apart to inspect the rubber pulsation damper and shazam!, it had a hole in it. If a hole gets in the pulsation damper and it fills up with water, eventually there will be nothing to absorb the pulsation of the pump action and impulse is transmitted into the mounting platform, making the loud noise, and the motor overheats trying to move water into the accumulator tank. Some JB Weld to patch the defective part will allow us to eventually get a pump rebuild kit and make it new again. In the meantime, we will inspect the other two pumps we have onboard and see if they failed for the same reason.
It is about 200 miles from here to Norfolk, VA and this is a good time to plan the week long cruise with the boats that will be traveling together. We all had a good rest her in Beaufort, NC and got some things done that could only be done in port. Viridian and Second Wave had a diver inspect the hulls and props, laundry was done, pumps worked on, and let some undesirable weather pass.
That's the news and here's some views:
Sunday May 6
Rain in Beaufort, NC
Make sure to tie up that dinghy, we don't want to loose it!
Monday May 7
Fresh water pump and accumulator tank
Taking out the impulse damper
Patching the impulse damper