Hehehe, well it sure feels that way sometimes.
When we were following the Christmas boats around the weekend before Christmas, it was really cold so we were running the old Kohler genset to power our two built-in electric heaters plus the 3 stove burners, but after about 30 minutes we noticed the salon was fogging up, and when we pulled the engine room hatch cover we saw steam coming off the genset engine. The thing was overheating, and water was spraying out of the sea water pump onto the genset engine manifold.
New years day we pulled the pump apart and found the old rubber impeller with only 2 out of 6 blades left. We gathered up all the pieces to see if we had all the parts (missing pieces would be in the piping or heat exchanger) -- yep, we had them all. But we decided to disassemble the tubing between the pump and heat exchanger just to make sure it was clear. Guess what -- it was full of rubber parts, apparently from previous failed impellers. So we also took the ends off the heat exchanger to make sure that was clear (yep, it was).
The old pump is a Jabsco, but of a pretty strange design. There is a large pot-metal piece that spins with the shaft and apparently houses the roller or ball bearings and the brass slinger disks that keep the bearing(s) dry if water leaks past the shaft seal. The bearing is hidden inside that assembly. The bearing felt smooth but sounded totally dry. We were able to press the shaft out of the pump so we could replace the rubber shaft seal which we could get to from the inside of the pump (we got a non-OEM replacement seal from a local bearing dealer), but we just couldn't get that potmetal bearing assembly apart with the tools we had. It is apparently pressed or shrunk on, but since it is potmetal we were afraid we would break it if we got too rough.
We tried squirting oil into the potmetal assembly to see if we could lube the bearing, but that was unsuccessful. So we ended up submerging the whole pump in a pan of gear oil overnight, and by morning the oil had apparently gotten pass the seals into the bearing because it is now quiet and smooth. This week we got a replacement Jabsco impeller (12 blade rather than the original 6, which was no longer available), made new gaskests for the pump and heat exchanger, and put it all back together. Ran the genset under load for 40 minutes, and all is good -- now running cool, and no steam. Wished I would have taken some pictures of the genset pump, but forgot to bring the camera.
If this pump fails in the future, we will probably get a more modern Jabsco pump and adapt it to this old Kohler genset. But who knows how long the rest of the genset will run? If something goes bad in the generator part, we may have to make an anchor of of the genset because fixing it would probably be beyond our expertise unless it is something simple and/or obvious.
During our gen-set run-test, the refrigerator started buzzing loudly! It is an old original Norcold 12vDC/120vAC model. We pulled it out to take a look, and it seemed that it was the transformer buzzing. We were unable to find a replacement part (this transformer has 9 wires coming out of it). Since we were not sure that was really the problem anyway, we decided to pull the big relay apart next to the transformer, and found the points burned. Cleaned them up, reassembled, and YAHOO -- no more buzzing.
With old equipment like this where parts are difficult to find, you have to get pretty inventive. So far things are breaking two at a time, and I will be really happy when we get that down to one at a time.
Sorry for not condensing this posting more so it is not so long.
UPDATE: Although we didn't find a service manual for the Jabsco pump when we were working out it, just now I got serious with google and found some good information. No wonder we couldn't get the thing apart -- read the disassembly instruction at the green arrow below:
Happy New Year!
1967 fiberglass 38' Chris Craft Commander Sportfisher with twin 427 CID 300 HP engines.