On Monday it was the salt water pump. On Tuesday it was the freezer. On Wednesday it was the generator.
All were FBRs, my twisted interpretation of FUBAR applied to boats. It means a f*cking boat repair.
FUBAR originated in the military. It means totally F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition. Sometimes it refers to a situation or operation; sometimes it means a human being. Another source says it means F*cked Up Beyond All Repair.
I hit a trifecta this week in FBRs. The salt water pump erupted like Mt. Vesuvius as I was washing the dishes Monday night. Mikayla exploded, too, and couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t crack a smile, because I was so angry about being stuck on Happy Times for a month without Mike, the engineer behind our dream and boat repairs.
The pump turned out easy to fix. I simply put a crescent wrench on it and tightened the fitting. It had looked much worse when it was pumping water all over the galley counter.
The freezer also was a basic repair. Jaime of s/v Kookaburra jiggled a couple of loose wires and, voila!, the compressor began working again.
Wednesday’s FBR appeared more serious. I fired up the generator after dinner. It ran for 10 minutes and then sputtered and stopped. I tried twice more to restart it but it wouldn’t budge.
I called Kevin Elbury of s/v Sabbaticus to take a look at it (I believe in spreading out my cries for help among my neighbors.). He suggested that the problem was caused by a bad impeller, and we planned for him to return the next morning to confirm it.
Kevin arrived with a big smile and his tools. When I explained that the generator wasn’t pumping water when I attempted to restart it, he became convinced about the impeller. He removed the raw water pump and discovered an impeller with only two of its eight wings intact.
A bad impeller requires more than swapping the old part for a new one. Each broken piece must be tracked down somewhere in the engine to avoid an even bigger headache in the future. Kevin removed the cap on the heat exchanger and found five of the six missing pieces there. The final wing probably blew out through the engine.
He also discovered that the pencil zinc inside the exchanger had disintegrated. He had to use the Makita impact wrench to drill out the larger remains and followed up with a sharp pointed tool to scrape out the rest.
With the heat exchanger cap back in place, Kevin installed the new impeller using a clever trick to flatten the wings. He wound a cable tie around them and pulled tightly so that all the wings faced the same direction, a key step in a good installation. The new impeller slipped into place and the cable tie came off. A few minutes later the NextGen generator was humming again and Happy Times had enough power to keep running the refrigerator, electronics, inverter and other essentials.
Mike’s been away one week. I wonder how many other FBRs will occur while he’s gone.