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11 May 2008

Boat Update - Ready for the Water!

So, I can't remember if I blogged my boating issues a few weeks ago but we took the boat out for an initial test run 4-5 weeks ago and it failed miserably.  We had to get towed back in!  Engine overheated.

Now, she's finally ready for the water after quite a bit of work.  I did most of this work myself with the help of my dad and Laurie's boyfriend Charles.  Charles is an auto mechanic and boat enthusiast.  He runs an automotive service center in Cary called Techni-Quest.

Anyway, here's a list of all the stuff we did this spring:

  • replaced the running boards on the trailer - new plywood and carpet
  • replaced the stern drive water intake pump
  • installed a new thermostat - for some reason the boat didn't have one
  • replaced the engine water circulation pump
  • replaced faulty tach and fuel gauges
  • replaced faulty cigarette lighter with a power outlet (for plugging in cell phones, ipods, etc)
  • Installed new stereo

Had I paid other people to do all this it probably would've been really expensive, but since I only had to buy the parts, it wasn't bad at all.  The most expensive part was the engine circulation pump at something like $60.  The stern drive water pump kit was like $25.  Probably spent maybe $300 if you include the stereo.

I also learned a LOT of boat engines, how stern drives work, etc.

Can't wait to get out on the lake!!

Posted by rickroot at 9:15 PM | Link | 0 comments
21 April 2008

Weekend Boating Update


On my way to the boat ramps Saturday morning (around 9am) I stopped by the gas station to fill up a small (2 gallon) gas can.  I have no idea how big my boat's tank is, nor do I know how much gas I use or whether or not the fuel gauge works.  So I wanted to keep a few gallons of gas on the boat with me in case I run out of gas, that way when I fill up next time I'll know how big the tank is - and whether or not my fuel gauge works.  I suspect that it does not.

I get to the boat ramp at Jordan Lake (Seaforth recreation area) around 9:15, and get the boat into the water by myself.  It's a little tricky to do by myself - takes a little more time because I basically have to get the boat off the trailer and get it tied to the dock and THEN drive the truck up and park it.  So I did this and just as I was driving up to a parking spot, my sister Laurie and her boyfriend Charles show up.  Charles is a mechanic, he owns an automative shop in Cary.

Posted by rickroot at 7:26 AM | Link | 0 comments
18 April 2008

Getting the boat out....

yay spring!
I'm making my first trip to the lake tomorrow (Jordan Lake, southwest of Raleigh).  Got the boat from storage last week and aside from a broken fuse, that caused the blower to not work, it started right up.  So I'm taking it out Saturday for the first run of the season.
BOAT = Bring On Another Thousand
I've been pretty lucky so far with this boat.  It's a 1986 Glasstream 172 bowrider with a 140hp mercruiser stern drive.  It's a piece of crap in terms of looks... couple years ago I probably had about $700 worth of work done to it mechanically (replace the bellows, which had a whole in it) and some bearing or something in the lower unit that was pretty worn out)... but last year I had my sister's boyfriend do a spring tuneup (adjust the timing, clean carburator, etc)... so I'm hoping this year, given how easily it started up .. that I won't have any problems this spring.  knock on wood!  Of course last year I spent about $700 getting it reupholstered (we know a guy!), so it looks a bit nicer than it used to.
So far all I've done this year is replace the blower ($25, and it wasn't necessary - I discovered the broken fuse AFTER the fact), and replaced the running boards on the trailer - new plywood and new carpeting on those.    Assuming I have no major mechanical issues I'm probably gonna buy a nice bimini top for it.  A little shade would be nice.
I need more (and higher paying) freelance work so I can buy one of these:
Posted by rickroot at 7:50 AM | Link | 2 comments
12 April 2008

Time to get the boat ready!

Okay Jordan Lake is still cold (58 degrees as of Friday).  But it's warming up and the weather is certainly getting nicer - it was 80 degrees here yesterday!

Last year, I didn't get the boat ready until Memorial Day (by then, around here, it's summer and the water is plenty warm to swim).  But that's because I was having the upholstery redone, and though the guy who did it did a fantastic job at a VERY affordable price, he did have the boat for like 8 weeks!

I got the boat from the dry storage at the Marina yesterday and brought it home.  For those of you not in the know, it's a 1986 Glastream 172 (17" bowrider) with a 140 horsepower Mercruiser stern drive.  Nice little recreational boat, good for tubing, runs fairly well.

Posted by rickroot at 9:01 PM | Link | 0 comments
12 June 2007

Weekend Boat Update

I made plans to go to the lake this past weekend after George's funeral on Saturday, and but we were supposed to get thunderstorms Saturday afternoon (40% chance) and Sunday was going to be dry, so we put our lake trip off til Sunday.  Naturally, there was no sign of a storm or even a sprinkle until something like 10pm Saturday night, but no matter.

Emily and I went to Overton's Friday evening to get a new prop.  I'd been tooling around on a pretty well chewed up prop for 2 years now and decided it was about time to get a new one.  Saturday morning, I figured out how to put it on.  It wasn't as difficult as I'd originally thought, but I was still a little nervous about it coming off in the middle of the lake!

Of course i had the boat running and stuff during the day on Saturday, I hooked up the "ear muffs" to get water running into it (for cooling) while I was testing stuff out, and all was well.

Sunday morning, we're getting ready, and I go out around 9:30am to make sure the boat still starts.  See, I'm getting smarter.  And it doesn't start, the battery is low!  So I pull the car around and jump start it, and leave it running for 20 minutes while we finish getting ready.  We're totally ready to go at like 9:50 - with the truck loaded and everything, and I hop into the the boat, switch the key off, and try to start the boat again.  Now the battery is totally dead.  WTF?

I jump started it again, and messed around with the throttle and noticed the voltmeter jump from 12 to 14 volts.  Apparently, when the boat is idling, if the voltmeter only reads 12 votes, it's not actually charging the battery, and accelerating a bit caused the alternator to kick-in.  So after running the boat for another 15 minutes or so - in neutral but with it gassed up a little bit - I turn it off and start it again, and the battery is fully charged.

Just in case, I had Mike borrow a battery pack from Charles.  Mike and his wife Stacey were coming out on the boat with us, and nobody wanted to be stranded on the lake with a dead battery.

The trip went off without a hitch, really.  Boat ran great with the new prop and the tuneup stuff that Charles had done.  It started great and ran great.  We lost an anchor because 1> I can't tie knots to save my life, and 2> we forgot to pull the anchor up when we took Emily tubing.  Duh.  Made a trip to the marina to buy a new anchor :)

My arms, by the way, are really sore today.  Tubing strained some muscles that just aren't used to be strained!

Posted by rickroot at 11:37 AM | Link | 0 comments
28 May 2007

Boat Update

So, I got my boat back Wednesday from Arnold's Upholstery Shop.  Mr. Arnold completely redid all the vinyl - and added a few parts that weren't there before.  He also refinished the teak, and bolted the driver's seat back into place.

Unfortunately, since I'm the one who took the throttle apart, I was the one to put it back together.  Funny story - I left the bag of parts on the back of the boat and somewhere between the marina and home, it flew off.  Re-assembling the throttle just got a little more difficult!  I did manage to get it into working order after working on it Friday and Saturday, with the help of a few parts from the Home Depot, and one of those locking plastic ties.  It was a little loose, but it worked!

I put the earmuffs on, connected the water and attempted to start the boat..  After some work, I finally got it started, and it seemed to run fine.  That was Friday evening i think.  I tried again Saturday morning and it started right up.  Great!  The guy at Boatworks (who did my winterization) told me I was gonna need a new alternator belt soon, but I figured I could get in some boating this holiday and put on the new belt next week.

Emily and I headed to the lake around noon on Sunday - we went to the Vista Point boat launch at Jordan Lake, as Laurie's boyfriend Charles was camping there with the PWP folks.  Charles has a boat too, and runs an auto repair shop.

To make a long story short, I got it in the water and got it started.  The belt did some squealing, but as usual it eventually quieted down.  I was having some acceleration trouble - it's always had a spot where I'd have to back off the gas a little bit to avoid stalling then throttle up through the spot.. but this time it kept stalling on me.  Eventually I was able to get the boat to plane out, though it took a good 5 minutes to get through that "spot" in the throttle.  Charles suggests that the carberator might be gummed up or something.

We cruised around some, did some swimming, and then headed back to the campsite so Charles and company could grab some lunch.  My other sister Karen and her kids showed up about that time too, and we went back out on the water.  The boat started up just fine again, and we cruised around some.  We stopped at the vista point beach for a few minutes while I talked to Adrienne on the phone.  We decided to head back to the campsite area until Adrienne called from the docs.  The boat started up fine again.  Then I showed Karen how the boat was stalling through the "spot" in the throttle.

And then the boat died.  Click click click.  Boat wouldn't start.  I didn't think it would've been a dead battery, but sure enough, the gauge read 10.5 volts - enough to run the blower, the radio, the bilge pump - but not enough to turn over the engine!

So we called Charles, who came out and towed us back to the dock.  Our day at the lake was done.  Upon further inspection, I noticed the alternate belt had snapped.  No wonder the battery was dying!!

Oh well.  I guess I needed an alternate belt "sooner" rather than "later"!

So after we got the boat home, I charged up the battery and it started just fine again.  Thank goodness!  Charles offered to help me out so I'm gonna take the boat over to his shop this week sometime, and have him put on a new alternator belt and check out the carburator.  We'll have it as good as new in no time.

Probably needs an oil change too.

Ah, the joys of boating!  It's a little frustrating sometimes, owning an older boat, but damn I love being out on the water!  The water was awesome this weekend too... water temp in the low to mid 70s maybe, air temps near 90.  About a billion people on the lake too.

Posted by rickroot at 7:16 PM | Link | 0 comments
26 March 2007

Workin' For The Weekend

Nothing like a good Loverboy reference to start out the blog entry today, eh?

I had a super productive weekend.  Saturday morning was swim lesson registration at the YMCA, so I dragged my tired butt out of bed at 6:00 AM, ate some breakfast, then drove over to the Y to stand in line.  Yup.  I arrived around 6:30, and there were a LOT of people in line.  You see, at 7:30 they pass out numbers and time slots... then you come back for your allotted timeslot, with the first timeslot being 8am.  I ended up with #93, so I went home, filled out all the paperwork, and returned to the YMCA at 9am to wait for my number to be called (which was around 9:20).  Luckily we were able to get Emily registered for the first session, which was the one we wanted.  Hooray!  They do swim lessons 4 days per week for 2 weeks here.  I could actually have registered her for multiple sessions but we decided to go with just one.  That's 8 days of swimming lessons over a span of 11 days.

After that, I drove up to Merchant's Tire to get some new tires for the Mazda.  Damned low profile tires are EXPENSIVE!  I had driven around the week before getting prices on cheap tires, and Merchant's tire pretty much won out, which was nice because I like going there anyway.  All told, I ended up spending $550 on 4 tires, mounting, balancing, "road hazard insurance", and a wheel alignment which was apparently necessary.  Frak!  Nothing like forking out that kind of cash for a car you'll only be driving for another 12 months / 15,000 miles!

While I was waiting, I wondered over to the nearby strip mall and looked at TV stands at Wal-Mart.  Adrienne and Emily joined me after her soccer practice was over, and we bought some new sandals for Emily.  We're getting some distinctly summer weather this week, so the timing was right.  Afterwards, I picked up my car and we all went home for "quiet time".

Having a child is a good excuse to take a saturday afternoon nap!

I started working on the boat after nap time, which involved washing it (ammonia, white vinegar, and corn starch!), and then I spent some time waxing it.  Got half the boat waxed before I had to head out for the hockey game (CAnes won, 6-4).

Sunday was more of the same.  I mowed the front lawn, sprayed weed killer (Ortho Weed-B-Gone) and sprayed some Round Up too along the fenceline and such, and then went back to working on the boat.

It has some black side trime that was really REALLY badly weathered, so I had picked up a can of automotive spray paint the other day, and used it to pretty it up a bit.  I got a nice glossy black with metallic flecks in it to spray on, and it turned out pretty decent.  After the paint had all dried, I finished waxing the rest of the boat.

Honestly, the wax helped a little, but there's not much you can do to 20 year old fiberglass, short of completely repainting the entire thing.  No thanks!

I also ripped off the seat pads from the bow, and along the sides, which I'm hoping to have re-upholstered.  It's just cosmetic work, but these things count.  I also vacuumed the entire boat, and washed down the inside of the bow as well.

With dad's help, I was finally able to get the damn gearshift out of the side board so I can get that reupholstered too.

I replaced the hinges on the engine cover so that's nice and solid again.

Next weekend, I'm going to replace the alternator belt, and take her back to the marina until the upholstery is done, and probably ask them to de-winterize it and give it a spring tuneup.  Hopefully, she'll be "seaworthy" in a few weeks!  That's all assuming I can get the gearshift back on! =)

Overall, a damn fine weekend.

Burnt the crap out of the back of my neck too.

Posted by rickroot at 4:19 PM | Link | 0 comments