Saturday, June 28, 2014

Final Push #2: Exhaust Noozle

This is the exhaust elbow.  The last time you saw this it was bolted to the rear of the exhaust manifold.  It's now on a bench in Titto Torres' machine shop, where it is being used as a pattern to fabricate it's replacement plus an additional spare. 

Titto's shop is quite an establishment for a Panamanian business.  It takes up an entire building.  The majority of small service businesses are run out of a small, grungy, ground floor shop or a small shed.  His shop is in a neighborhood where a gringo like myself might run into trouble.  I could probably walk out to a major road without incident, but if I did get mugged the blame would fall on me for stupidly being in the wrong place at the wrong time.   The buildings are kind of shabby but they have good bones

Back to the elbow.  I am having two of these built because my existing elbow is at the end of it's life cycle, and I can get two very robust replacements that function every bit as good as the factory part for half the price.

Here's the fabricated part.  It's not as pretty as the original, but after a two hour test run, I can attest that it works just as well

We did have a bit of a glitch with this elbow.  We installed it, did a test run and found it necessary to remove it.  One of the welds had a pin hole leak requiring a return to Titto's.

The shop ground out the weld, and made many new welding passes rebuilding the ground out area.  When the job was completed we returned to Grace, installed the repaired elbow, test ran the motor, and everything was good.

This ends, I hope the engine saga.

I haven't, until now, posted much about what it takes to keep Grace running figuring it would bore my reader (hi Mom) but what I just went through is one of the realities of cruising.  Everybody out here has these kind of problems.  Engines, water makers, fragile electronics, etc. are breaking down all the time. 

We had a boat come through a couple weeks ago get hit by lightening just moments after completing a canal transit.  While on the Caribbean side they had installed a whole array of electronics for their trip to the South Pacific.  Everything they had just finished was fried.  He was on a schedule, so he hired virtually every boat worker in the area and was underway again within a couple weeks.  He had to pass through the ITCZ on the way out.  We have not heard from him.  Hope they're ok.

Kenny is bringing the second elbow over this morning, I will have him run me down to the bank to get what's left and pay him off. Then I will come back to the boat and figure out what to do with my Alder Barbour refrigerator that suddenly stopped cooling yesterday, after only 29 years of trouble free service.  It's running, I can hear gas entering the evaporator, but no cooling is going on.  I've probably got a refrigeration leak.  This thing is so old that it uses R12 type refrigerant.  R12 is nearly impossible to find even in Panama, so may have to replace the whole thing.  It's gonna cost a fortune.


  1. Every cruiser knows that the sailing bit is only part of the pleasure [sic]. Good luck with the fridge - is it still on warranty? I mean, only 29 years and it gives up the ghost? Unacceptable.

    1. You're so right! Life without ice cubes......I can't imagine......

  2. We had to refurbish our refrigerator after 14 years. I'm happy to report that it is working fine now. Yours will too. Even a whole new refrigerator compressor (which seems like the way to go) is not all that expensive. Putting it in....that is another matter. You cannot live without cold cervesas.

    1. Damn the expense! We spent all day today scouring Panama City for a 12 volt compressor. Not a one. I'm going to order a complete new system from Alder Barbour tomorrow. It comes in two pieces, the evaporator and the compressor/condenser, both pre-charged. All I need to do is install the pieces and connect them with their idiot proof connectors. Shouldn't take more then a day. The cost: $1500 plus shipping.

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