When we got our new engine, I really thought I'd seen the last of exhaust issues other than routine maintenance. Well, we did have nearly 6 months without a serious mishap..
Yesterday I was doing some routine maintenance lying down on top of the motor to reach a through-hull sea water intake valve and lightly nudged the riser for the exhaust and the bloody thing moved! It's really NOT supposed to move. It's supposed to be completely rigid welded to a 10mm thick stainless steel flange attached with 4 good sized bolts to the back of the exhaust manifold. I should have been able to swing on it..
Those who follow this might remember the problems we had with the exhaust on the old Westerbeke engine . I personally had that beast welded three times and now our brand spanking new motor has a similar problem. Slightly annoying.
This is actually a serious issue of course because it allows engine exhaust gasses into the boat.. The break had a lot of soot all around it except for a shiny spot about 2mm long which must have been the only bit attached when I nudged it. Apparently the soot builds very quickly so it may not have been leaking for long but still a bit scary..
Funnily enough, I met Matt the other day.. He is a welder from Brisbane on his boat (a UFO 34) also waiting for Northerlies to get home. I stopped by to ask his advice and he said that although the riser is quite short, it still needed a brace to help prevent failures around the welds due to vibration. Good advice I think.
After the shower, I asked at the marina office if they knew a reliable welder and got the number for Fleet Industries in Yeppoon who were happy to do the job so I grabbed the courtesy car (thanks Keppel Bay Marina!) and took it down to them. They were really helpful and suggested a brace from the flange to the right hand bend to try to prevent a re-occurance. I hope to pick it up this morning and re-fit it (more itchy and scratchy from the lagging :-( ) so we can still leave on Wednesday for Bundaberg.
I also had a chat with John Wichard (the engine supplier) and he said he would make me up a new riser using this one as a model but using 3mm pipe instead so I might get him to do that anyway while we are in Adelaide for Christmas and keep this one as a spare.
The mechanic who fabricated the part is going to help pay for the work.. He would fix it for nothing if I returned it to him back in Pittwater but that would mean another weeks delay.
None of the original three welders I rang have got back to me yet BTW..
Still fixing boats in exotic locations :-)