That December day in 2021 when we motored from Anacortes to Seattle might not have been so lovely if we’d not been so lucky. We didn’t know the boat yet, that was a given, and we just blindly trusted that things were in good enough shape to get us the about 60 miles home. The boat had been off loaded from the ship shipping ship in Victoria and brought to Anacortes by none other than the boat’s designer, Paul Bieker, had been hauled out for a little while and now was back in the water. We checked the engine a few times while we were underway to make sure nothing obvious was wrong, it always seemed fine.

Our first trip down the sound.

Later, back in Shilshole in the midst of the 2022 Winter I thought it would be a good time to get to know the engine while the boys did lots of skiing. I checked the oil, there wasn’t much on the stick. Hmm. Maybe there’s a little oil leak somewhere? Still not sure why I didn’t see more oil that day, maybe it was just confirmation that doing some engine work was a good idea. I checked the coolant level, the tank was pretty much dry. Double hmm. I know now that wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was, the coolant system includes many feet of hose and multiple heat exchangers so there was still plenty of fluid in there.

The galley sink and faucet were tired and I wanted to replace them, to do that the engine cover needed to come off and bonus! I could get to know the engine with lots of light and space around it. Disconnected some hoses and took out some fasteners and the galley counter and sink slides aft then up and off, easy peasy. It’s all honeycomb core so this huge section of countertop and cabinet is easy to carry though awkward in the cabin.

Why, hello engine!
The salon table went forward and the upside down counter went in its place.

Greg thought we should put a new alternator or two on the engine, that’s his department so he gets to say. I thought a good way to get to know the engine would be to take a bunch of stuff off of it, clean it up, paint it, and then put it back together. I took off most things that would come off and cleaned it up. Did I mention the engine is a 70 horse Isuzu 4JB1 that’s been marinized? It’s used in little tractors and industrial equipment world wide and parts are everywhere and not expensive. A few things are different due to the marinization, the raw water pump was hard to access, the heat exchanger is remote, and the coolant tank and exhaust outlets are one big piece of steel and called a mani-cooler. I’m used to working on a 30 hp Volvo Penta engine, outboards, or car engines and this engine isn’t too different.

The mani-cooler was particularly ugly and there was salt build up around where the cooling water entered the exhaust so I took that all apart to clean, paint, and replace gaskets. Getting the mani cooler off was a multi visit adventure but the girl finally won.

The nuts on the ends of those studs were hard to access, barely room for tools.

Now more cleaning and wire brushing and time for primer and paint.

We replaced the belts and tuned the big alternator’s belt tension as well as we could, that set up could use some improvement, especially in Greg’s discerning eye. The Airsep filter got replaced with a newer version along with its hoses and clamps. A few hoses going to and from the coolant pump were replaced along with the oil and fuel filters. I replaced three tired looking sensors that are hard to access on the side of the engine under the mani-cooler too. They were the oil pressure, oil temperature, and one that tells the alternator that the engine is running and it’s okay to make juice, the internet tells me it’s called a “field circuit” or “alternator exciter circuit”. Thank goodness for the parts place just on the other side of the canal, they had it all and were very helpful.

Of course, when we got it started again there were a few leaks- coolant was seeping around an elbow where the hose leads to the mani-cooler, and the mani-cooler’s lid neck where it’s pressed into the tank also had a drip. Turns out the elbow had a crack near where one of the bolts went through and it wasn’t bearing down on it’s gasket evenly. We found a new elbow fitting in stock nearby! LUCKY. The mani-cooler cap was a different story. Since it was already painted and mounted and the system was full of coolant we didn’t want to take the tank off again. I cleaned up the old solder and used some magic goop to stop the leak and that worked for the most part.

Lastly, the new sink went in the engine cover/countertop along with new or rebuilt faucets, it was hard not to install a soap dispenser but there’s a lot of holes in the sink already. Spring was coming and it was time to go sailing.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?