07 April 2021

Heater project: The last post?

Well we hope so!

One might expect that the final post would simply be recording the successful installation of the controller in the saloon. But one would be wrong.

The engineer aka electician extends the wiring, and there is another exercise of pushing things through the lockers in shed and head to bring the wires through into the saloon. After a bit of discussion we agree on the best location for the controller, and here it is, looking very neat.

Then we finally get out of the pen and head down the Channel a few days before Easter. Although we have beautiful sunny weather and barely need the heater, we turn it on to take the chill off the boat in the mornings and to continue to test the system out.

The engineer has some concerns about the engine, and when we pull the companionway steps out to look at the engine, we see a bright green streak of coolant. At first we hope it is old, but no, it's fresh and keeps coming. The engineer eventually tracks it back to its source. This time it isn't a hose clamp. One of the carefully constructed manifold assemblies is leaking. It appears that the engineer had to take this particular valve assembly apart after first putting it together, in order to change the way the individual fittings were arranged. When he reassembled it, he omitted the Loxeal sealant (liquid equivalent of plumber's tape) on one of the metal joints, and it is leaking very slightly. 

The good news is that we've now diagnosed the problem. The bad news is that fixing the problem requires (you guessed it) clearing of the shed shelves again and one of the shed lockers, removal of the newly constructed aluminium cage, disconnection of the hot-water system from the heater, drainng the coolant fluid out of those connecting hoses... The engineer has another day cooped up in the shed doing all that before he can get the manifold out, take it apart and seal the joint properly. And then the process has to be reversed. At least this time he can put double hose clamps on every hose as they are refitted. With the hoses in place, we pour the coolant back in and top it up. Finally the engineer can put back the cage, the shed shelves and their contents.

So have we put everything back in the shed and tidied up for the very last time? You might think so, but you'd be wrong again. Two days after we return from the Channel, we are having the engine serviced. To give easy access to all the side hatches of the engine compartment, a number of large objects have to be moved around or removed from the shed, and the doors of the head, shed and guest cabin  removed. But once Tim the nice bloke from Spectrum, finishes, everything will go back for the last time. Really.

We placed the order for the heating system in January, started with the drilling of the hole in the scuppers for the exhaust pipe on about 9 Feb. The project has extended over about 2 months, longer than almost any other project.