Blog Archive

Monday, 26 November 2018

Generator Repairs

Generator Repairs

There is a saying 'we have what we have' but it does not always work!
And so we have the tale of our poorly diesel generator, a 4kw single cylinder diesel Paguro model P4000, which a few days before we were due to leave, decided to call Time Out and stopped generating AC.

Of course, this was a complete pain however, also a blessing in disguise. We are keeping up the mantra that it was better to go kaput here than halfway into a huge Pacific Ocean Passage. Better from the sense that it can be fixed by highly skilled and knowledgeable people, but of course nobody likes a large, unexpected expense.
Our other concern was that we need very high tides to get out of the river and the bar at Livingston. High tides in the night are no good, as fisherman lay nets across the entrance, and only two tides remain for the rest of this year. After that the next one is in June at the start of the hurricane season. 

Rocky Ramos to the Rescue

Having exhausted the excellent technical support from Advanced Yacht in the UK, we turned to a local highly skilled mechanic called Rocky Ramos, who did a fair amount of work on our main engine last year. Rocky came over and confirmed that although the engine was running OK, no AC was being produced. This necessitated the generator be removed from the dedicated locker. No mean feat when you consider it weighs 96kg. 
It took just over two hours to remove all the wiring, plumbing and engine mount bolts etc and using muscle power and a scaffold pole, the unit was removed and placed in a launch moored behind us.

In the workshop Rocky managed to remove the back end and reveal the stator. Having pronounced the 2 diodes dead and a water leak in the cooling jacket, which in turn led to the the windings overheating and shorting out.
Rocky felt the best course of action would be to send the electrical parts to a friend who owns a specialist re-winding business in Guatemala City, and he would work his magic on the actual engine.
A number of small oil leaks were found, plus a couple of pinholes in the exhaust. Pipes, gaskets, fuel filters, bearings, oil and seals were replaced, the starter motor overhauled and a new voltage regulator fitted. Rocky also spray painted the engine with heat resistant primer, and then a top coat of gloss white.
The sound insulation at the base and inner clam shell sides had all but turned to dust. This was removed and a new insulation glued into place. The slightly corroded engine mounts also got attention, and a coat of primer and top paint. 

We had always changed the oil and impeller at 80 to 100 hours, but you can't beat taking the generator out and putting it on a bench to strip down. Hopefully, the generator will be good for many years to come.

Below are some pictures that show the evolution of the rebuild.

It took about 10 days, which is not bad considering Rocky squeezed us in between an already full schedule. He also took pictures at each stage and kept us informed, sometimes way after 8pm still in his workshop.

Paguro P4000 generator

oil leak Paguro P4000 generator

Removal tool for rear casing Paguro P4000 generator

rotor and stator Paguro P4000 generator

Short circuit Paguro P4000 generator

Removing bearing Paguro P4000 generator

oil leak Paguro P4000 generator

rotor Paguro P4000 generator

corroded engine mounts Paguro P4000 generator

leaky exhaust Paguro P4000 generator

bearing and seal Paguro P4000 generator

new windings for stator Paguro P4000 generator

Primer coat on Paguro P4000 generator

Paguro P4000 generator

rear casing Paguro P4000 generator

new acoustic insulation Paguro P4000 generator

Paguro P4000 generator

Refurbished Paguro P4000 Generator

Going back in the generator locker Paguro P4000 generator

Going back in the generator locker Paguro P4000 generator

Jeanneau with Paguro P4000 generator

And finally back in situ below.

Jeanneau 45 with generator

Our plan is to leave Tijax Marina soon, and anchor off until the next high tide in early December. That way we can test everything and at least Aztec Dream will be as good as she gets for our long voyages ahead.

If you have a yacht to refit, you won't be disappointed by the range of services and competitive prices here. 

We will call into the Bay Islands of Honduras again, and hope to spend some time in San Blas in the New Year, prior to sorting out the paperwork for our transit through the Panama Canal for sometime in March.

We will attempt to update our FaceBook page, The Voyages of Aztec Dream as our progress unfolds. 

Saturday, 17 November 2018


Boat Jobs

In the few weeks prior to heading over to the haulout facilities we crossed off some more boat jobs. One unexpected job was that we noticed the screen on the cockpit chartplotter had become heat damaged. Whilst it was still possible to use, it was far from ideal. In the end we struck lucky. Our friend Bartek, who fixed a faulty TriData instrument earlier in the year, had the very same plotter, but the rear connections had all corroded. However, the screen was in great condition. He offered to replace ours for his one and within a few days we had the plotter back. Many thanks Bartek.

Pictures below of the before and after.

Heat damaged screen Raymarine E80 Plotter

Raymarime E80 Chart plotter with repaired screen

Also worth mentioning is that Jose did a great job with the saloon table.

Refurbishing Jeanneau saloon table top

Refurbished Jeanneau saloon table top

Refurbished Jeanneau saloon table top

We had another local contractor restitch our sprayhood with Tenara thread, and had them replace the tired windows with high-end Strataglass.

Jeanneau 45 sprayhood

Strataglass in sprayhood

We can't jump into our exploits in the boatyard without firstly saying a huge heartfelt thank you to Shawn Goode and Erika McGee of the beacon department responsible for McMurdo epirb.

For those not familiar with what an epirb is, it is an emergency position indicating radio beacon which is used in emergency situations to send a coded distress signal to satellites and earth stations, thus alerting rescue and co-ordination centres.

The diagram below does a good job of explaining how it works.

What happens when an epirb is activated

Our existing G5 battery was due for replacement as it was 5 years old. However, it is not a battery you can replace yourself. The unit needs to go off to a service centre, not just for a new battery, but also to test it. The nearest one on our travels would have been in Panama, but we drew a blank trying to reach them. In frustration we phoned McMurdo in Maryland. Both Shawn and Erika put our minds at rest and organised a brand new model G8 epirb with built in AIS, and a 10 year battery life, to be shipped to the freight forwarder we use in Miami. They also programmed it to the UK registry and we have since updated our details back in the UK accordingly.

How refreshing to make a phone call and have the person at the other end own the problem and sort it out so graciously.

McMurdo G8 AIS epirb

RAM Marina Boatyard

It had been two years since our last haulout in Trinidad and after talking to many fellow cruisers, we settled on RAM Marina to do the haulout and works.

The haulout went very smoothly. We tied up on the Fuel dock and the haulout team manoeuvred Azzy into the slings, plus they even sent a diver down to check the strap positions before the hoist. Fortunately, we had remembered to take the log out.

A powerful jet wash later and we were all blocked up and ready for the works to start. The intention was to do this ourselves, but frankly the heat and humidity conspired against us.
We got a good quotation from RAM and decided to let them do it.

All of the old antifouling was removed down to the primer, and it was then that we discovered some blisters in the gelcoat. We consulted RAM who had dealt with similar issues many times before. They were ground out and expoxy resin used to fair, before another coat of epoxy primer was put on. 

Preparing to haul out at Ram Marina Guatemala

Diver inspecting strap locations haul out Ram Marina Guatemala

Hauling out at Ram Marina Guatemala

Hauling out at Ram Marina Guatemala

Hauling out at Ram Marina Guatemala

Much of the previous antifouling came off with the pressure of the jet wash.

Peeling anti foul paint Jeanneau yacht

We also had been unhappy with a 'furry' seacock. This was the one that both galley sinks drain into and it appeared that 10 years of gunk had eroded the T piece, plus the pipes themselves were almost completely clogged. We had the offending items changed accordingly.

Through hull Jeanneau 45

We also had the contractors polish the hull, and this time round we opted for International Micron for the antifouling.

Work in progress at Ram Marina Guatemala

Jeanneau primed with International 2 part epoxy paint

Applying International Micron anti fouling paint to yacht

Jeanneau 45 after anti fouling paint applied

Part polished hull Jeanneau 45

As a precaution, we also changed all of the anodes including the large pear shaped anode close to the fridge keel coolers.

Pear shaped anode Jeanneau 45

The Propspeed coating on the propeller had all but worn off, but as it runs at at $500 to replace it, we decided to try Lanolin based grease instead. Time will tell how effective this is.

Gori 3 bladed folding prop with lanolin grease
Smooth hull Jeanneau 45

It was great to see the care taken on the relaunch also.

Re launch of Aztec Dream Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 at Ram Marina Guatemala

Re launch of Aztec Dream Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 at Ram Marina Guatemala

Re launch of Aztec Dream Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 at Ram Marina Guatemala

Re launch of Aztec Dream Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 at Ram Marina Guatemala

Aztec Dream Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 at Ram Marina Guatemala

All in all we spent about 10 days in the yard, and with everything totted up it was under $5000.

A big thumbs up to Ram. We highly recommend coming to Ram Marina, be sure to see Karen for excellent service.

Cruising Plans 2018-2019

We mentioned in the previous blog update that we would have more news on our cruising plans, and here they are.

We did give serious consideration to visiting Florida and the Bahamas and spending one more cyclone season in the Caribbean, possibly in the ABC Islands, but after much discussion and soul searching, we have decided to set New Zealand in our sights. 

Our intended route, which may vary, is to once again spend a little time in the Bay Islands of Honduras, before moving on to the San Blas. All being well we will transit the Panama Canal towards the end of March. Once through the canal and before arriving arriving in New Zealand at the end of October, we hope to visit the following places:-

Bay Islands of Honduras
San Blas Islands
French Polynesia - The Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands
Cook Islands
Bora Bora

The longest ocean passage will be 4000nm from Panama to the Marquesas. 

Several years ago we had planned to break the passage up by spending the cyclone season in Fiji, but after a devastating cyclone called Winston, our insurers want us to be in New Zealand before November.

Our voyages will take us to some fairly remote places, so chances are, our progress will be updated more regularly via 'The Voyages of Aztec Dream' Facebook page, rather than this blog.

It is our intention on the longer passages to do updates via the sat phone email. Lynne's brother Phill has kindly offered to add these to the blog and update a voyage progress map.

Last Minute Delay

Just before signing off, we have news of a delay to our intended departure from Guatemala.
Our 4kw diesel genset has stopped generating AC.
It will need fixing before we can think of leaving, but having missed one high tide, we only have two more dates this year, or we will have to stay another season.

More on that in the next blog update.