Wednesday, November 29, 2017

When Doing Sail Boat Repairs Always Get Multiple Quotes

Creating my "to do" list to prepare my sailboat for long distance travel to South America someday I noticed some corrosion on the shaft and packing bladder. To me they looked old and I definitely didn't want to be out in the ocean and have an issue with it leaking. At present it doesn't leak and operates as expected. The risk is that "looking old" could mean a big problem at a time when it could be dangerous so I need to delve into a solution.

I happened to grab a random mechanic off of the docks and ask him a few questions. He graciously came over to my boat, albeit seeking new business, and gave me a few pointers on what I can do to improve my engine. He loved my engine and said this thing will likely never go bad. The Universal engine can be beat with sledge hammers and still work!

Beyond replacing filters, clamps, a few old hoses, and general maintenance the engine looked great and didn't really need a mechanic. He charged me nothing for the advice! The shaft and bladder did seem to be a concern for him. He said he doesn't do that type of work but that I can bring it over to the ship yard across the marina and they can get me a quote. He suspected about 3k!

What!!!!! 3k!!!!!

That is the nature of boat ownership...keep pouring money down the hole in the bottom. If your going to spend money you better get a lot of use out of it or live on it part of the year like I do. Yet, with the other things I need to prepare before being able to sail and live on it for a few weeks at a time in Mexico or some other coastal tropical location it was not an expense I wanted. However, having a solid running engine that can allow me to travel even without he sails is important.

Taking a few pictures I walked over the the boat yard and received some positive news that put my anxiety to rest. To have my boat painted on the bottom (another thing I was going to do) and have a new shaft, packing and propeller would cost me 2K. That is a huge difference in price.

That isn't the best part!

From the pictures it doesn't look like there is anything necessarily wrong other than outside corrosion on the shaft and a few bad clamps. The suggestion was that I re-clamp a rubber bladder, get some vinegar and a scrub brush, and clean up the deposits. Once I have done this I take a few pictures and bring it back to them. There may not be any replacement necessary.

This is what I learned from this situation:

-Always get multiple quotes and talk to the experts for that particular problem.
-Combining your basic skill with good advice can go a long way in solving your own problems at a lower cost.
-Never be cheap on maintenance. It will save you time and headache in the future.
-Take your time and check all of your options.
-Read, read and ask a million questions.

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