Friday, May 21, 2010

The Curse of the O-rings

It turns out that the O-ring replacement that we did last week did not solve the leaky hydraulics problem after all. We tried a number of solutions. First we found out that the replacement O-ring recommended to us by a supplier was the wrong one, for a low pressure system while this was a high pressure system (3000 psi). We replaced it with the proper O-ring and the drip stayed the same -- grumble grumble. While I took advantage of this short recess with a brief leave of the vessel to visit with my parents in NS, Peter and Wayne even replaced the attachment fixture itself with a new one to see if that would solve the problem, still no change. How frustrating!

The next course of action was to remove the entire control unit so that we could properly examine it. I was back by now so that I could meddle some more. Several hours of fiddling and fidgeting followed and we got it out. After careful examination and frigging with the unit and looking at some diagrams, I found a steel plug right next to the now-apparently leaky fixture that could be removed, (on the right in the picture) so being adventurous with a hex key and I removed it and "Sproing!" off popped the plug and out popped what looked like a piston. Oops!! The plug also had an O-ring. A-ha! another potential source for the leak. The piston had a very strong spring pushing it out. How would we ever get that back in now? With a block of wood, a Vise-grip(tm), the hex key, a folded glove, and a wad of paper, the three of us holding and pushing and grasping and a lot of grunting and struggling managed to get it back in after numerous attempts. Whew!

Now that we got the whole control unit out, we figured that the right thing to do was to take it to the company that supplied it, which happened to be only an hour away in Port Hawkesbury and have it looked at by someone who knew what they were doing. So off to Port Hawkesbury we were today. They cleaned it, looked for small cracks - none found, and replaced both O-rings. We went back to the boat and put the unit back on and voilĂ ! After three or four days or failed attempts, dry as a bone, no leaks. Will miracles never cease?

Problem solved.

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