Our newly acquired diesel mechanic’s name is Mike. He lives a few blocks away from the marina and comes with a reputation for knowing his stuff and doing the right thing. He’s a tall guy with a deep, gravelly voice that sounds like Batman. Imagine Batman saying “I think it’s your injectors… I’m Batman.”
Today we removed the injectors from the engine and he did a rudimentary test of compression. He feels that the engine itself is healthy but the most likely explanation for our issue is fouled injectors. After carefully removing them from the block, we drove them over to Deaton Yacht Services for testing. As I handed my injectors over the counter and asked when I could expect to hear back the answer I got wasn’t very encouraging.
“I really couldn’t tell you. It’s been crazy here. We will get to them when we can.” After leaving I asked Mike what that was about and he said “They’re good people and friends of mine. I suspect they’ll get to them today or tomorrow.” I can only hope so because I’ll be uneasy until I hear the comforting purr of Mavis’ engine again.
So for now, we are waiting to hear about the injector pop test. Diesel fuel needs to be injected into the cylinder as a very precisely timed and measured spray that needs to have a certain pattern in order to combust. If the injectors are just dripping or weeping, there will be lots of unburned fuel in the cylinders and the engine can become difficult or (like ours) impossible to start.
Once we hear back we can send the injectors out to be cleaned and recalibrated or we can buy brand new. New injectors cost about $500 a piece for this engine but if it will get us back underway and headed south it just might be worth it.
In the meantime, Cindy and I are exploring and enjoying Oriental. It’s a quaint little town and despite having just been decimated by a hurricane the people here are incredibly nice. Like all of them! Only around 900 people live here but there are thousands of boats many of them, like us, are heading south on the Intracoastal Waterway. There is a shrimping fleet based here and the boats come in loaded with fresh shrimp. I don’t think we have ever enjoyed fresher shrimp than we have found here. There’s a little shack here that sells them by the pound to the public and we plan to go there tomorrow. In the meanwhile, the restaurant here at the marina has delicious peel and eat shrimp.
As much as we like it here, our fingers and toes are crossed that we may be able to get off this dock soon! It’s costing us a pretty penny to be tied to this dock and we are both looking forward to getting further south!
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of S/V Mavis on her grand journey to Florida, The Bahamas, and beyond!