ESPcat Going Backwards

I have made a point of not dwelling too deeply on my setbacks relating to the ESPcat project.  Who wants to read a tale of woe?  By the same token, I don’t want to give my blog buddies the idea that everything has always been smooth sailing either.  I decided to do a bit of work getting the two temporary petrol outboard motors going just in case I were to actually complete the cabin and wish to go for a little cruise.  I soon discovered that neither engine would actually go.  One engine (the 8hp 4 stroke) will run but is stuck in neutral and the starboard engine (the 8hp 2 stroke) would not start.

Undeterred, I set to work on the 2 stroke.  After considerable fooling around, I got it running only to discover that it was not pumping any cooling water.  I ripped it off the boat and humped it up the hill into my Nippon  Nancy (my car).
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See, it’s definitely missing on the back end of Borderline.  It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet.  A bit of Googling and I found this really neat video explaining exactly how to replace the water pump impeller.  Without a moment’s hesitation, I proceeded to rip the engine apart.
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When you know exactly what you’re doing, everything goes really quickly.

Have you ever noticed that in these videos, that everything is clean and perfect but when you actually try it yourself, everything is dirty and disgusting?  It gets worse.  Unfortunately, when I get to the part where you pull out the damaged water pump impeller with all its little flapper bits broken off, Mine is perfect!  Not a mark on it.  Better than new.  So I replaced it and put the water pump back together.

Then I got to thinking (there’s the little rubber thingie next to the coffee cup).
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Was it really wise to go to all that work, ripping the engine apart to inspect that little, rubber pump thingie, without replacing it?  I went to the Yamaha place and bought a new impeller, ripped the pump apart again and replaced it.  Now all I had to do was put the bottom bit back on the engine.

Now this part is really interesting.  Have you ever noticed that when someone makes a video that sometimes they skip bits?  The repair video goes along nicely until he gets to the “putting together” part.  At this point, the video skips a beat and as if by magic, the engine is all together again!  The words “it’s a little difficult trying to get that shaft in” are quickly added.  It reminds me of Trump saying “wiretapping can mean a lot of things”.

I pushed, I shoved, I wiggled and that’s when I realized that when the guy said “a little difficult”, what he really meant was “near impossible!  I should remind you blog buddies that at this point, I really don’t know what the cause of the cooling water not flowing actually is.  Remember that the little, rubber impeller thingie looked just fine.  Yes, I did flush out a few extraneous bits from the water pump but none of them looked like they would actually account for the pump not working.  So even if I were to get this fucking engine back together, there is no real reason to believe that the motor would pump water.  This is what “going backwards” feels like.   I am writing this while I am actually doing the job by the way.   I’m going backwards!  I’m allowed to use the F-word.

After much wiggling and banging and struggling, I finally get the bottom let back on only to discover that the the little, black plastic doddlie that keeps the engine from tilting up when the motor is in reverse, had somehow gotten knocked out of position and jammed.  Goddammit to Hell!  I’m really going backwards now!  Time to quit.  Tomorrow is another day Scarlet.

Next day and a little skip bit and it’s all back together as if by magic!    Start it up and try it out and everything is perfect.  How did I do it?  I really don’t know and I suspect that the guy who made the video didn’t know either which is why he skipped over it.   And well perhaps not everything is perfect.  Actually the cooling water isn’t coming out of the little hole very fast; maybe not much at all.  So I stick a wire up the hole and voila; everything is perfect.  If I had stuck the wire up the hole in the first place maybe I could have avoided all this backwards business completely.

Let’s look it on the positive side.  Now I have a new impeller installed in the water pump and now I will replace the oil in the gear box and oh, did I mention.  It wouldn’t start properly before I took the engine off Borderline.  In the process of working on it, it tipped over on the grass which gave the fuel in the carburetor quite a shake-up which is probably just what it needed.  Now it starts perfectly!  The old oil was grey.  Is that a bad color?

Nearing the blog end, and it’s time to come up with a moral right?  I usually try to come up with some kind of half-arsed conclusion.  Maybe it is that I should have hired a professional to service the outboard before I put it on Borderline in the first place.  But maybe I can’t afford that.  As it is, going backwards has resulted in some actual, forward steps.  The motor (at least the starboard one) should be reliable now.   I can now focus my worry on the port side engine.  Oh boy just look at that stream of cooling water pissing out!2017-03-19 10.56.22


2 thoughts on “ESPcat Going Backwards

  1. Yes Paul, I was just clowning around with the “grey oil” comment. The grey colour most certainly is water. What I don’t know is how long it’s been since it was last changed. If it was 15 years ago, then maybe it is just a bit of moisture seeping in. I will, indeed, check it sooner rather than later and replace the seal if required. John Minson gave me the same advice.


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