Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good news on the generator 1.20.09

So last I left you, we had wrestled the generator out & taken it to a mechanic in Melaque. We went & picked up the monster and were bummed to hear him say it was working fine...but he needed to come to the boat to make sure nothing else was wrong. We were very suprised at this news as we were convinced it was something with the armeture, brushes, & bearings - something! And even more suprised that he wanted to come to the boat to check it out! We were in a neighboring town and so we all jumped into his pickup truck, with him & one other worker and Michael & I and the generator and drove to Barra de Navidad, then all four of us jumped into our dinghy and made the journey out to the boat. They hung out in the engine room while Michael put the thing back together, observing and asking a ton of questions. They spoke absolutely no english and we all laughed as I had two english/spanish dictionaries on my lap and was translating both to spanish for the workers, then listening to them in spanish and translating to english for Michael! It was quite fun. See, I'm really getting good at speaking spanish in normal conversation, but when it comes to saying weird words like 'fan belt', 'volts', 'under load' and such...I need help! Shockingly though, we got our points across and had fun learning at the same time - me learning Spanish, and teaching them some English!

OK, so they get to the boat and are working away and for some odd reason, when we fire up the generator, it runs for about a minute and then dies. Starts up, runs for a couple minutes, then dies. The mechanic was convinced that the capacitor was blown again and took it with him and said he would look for a new one in either Melaque or in Manzanillo, a larger commercial port South of us. We took him back to his truck with high hopes he could find a replacement! He said he would call us when he found the part.

Two days later, he hadn't called. But in the meantime, Michael had been scratching his head on why the generator was failing! There are only 3 things that it would die like that - no fuel, no water, or no air. He originally thought it was a water problem but tore that apart and found no problems. So he began the arduous task of determining if there was a fuel issue. The fuel comes from the same tank as the engine so we knew it wasn't a problem of bad fuel. The filter looked perfectly clean but when he took the downside and dumped it into a 5 gal bucket and pulled right out of the bucket, the generator ran without issue. He consulted with John from Jonco and decided to take the line off of the filter and place a different type of in-line filter in place, a super simple paper filter, and see if it works. Well, it does. We're still scratching our heads why the super duper filter seems to have failed while this simple paper filter is working fine, but alas - it works!

But of course, now we're still without a capacitor. On Monday, we took a bus up to Melaque and talked to the mechanic. He couldn't find the capacitor anywhere here. Of course! But said he had it tested and it was not dead, as he suspected, just low. Whatever that means. So we took the capacitor back to the boat and replaced it on the generator and WHAHLAH!! IT WORKS!! WOOHOO!!!!

We've been walking on eggshells for the past week hoping among hope that it will continue to work without fail and so far, so good! All of the prayers helped!

Now let me tell you something else... When we first took that taxi into town with the generator, the taxi driver helped us significantly with the mechanics since they only spoke Spanish. Then, he gave the mechanic his personal cell phone number when the mechanic asked as we didn't have a phone and he said he would find us if the mechanic called. We worried that with his help, we would be upcharged by the taxi driver. It was a comment Michael said when we initially dropped off the generator. We ended up going in to Melaque without the taxi driver & dealing totally with the mechanic ourself for the rest of the transaction. And even after spending about 2 hours on the boat, and who knows how much time looking for a replacement capacitor....the mechanic charged us absolutely nothing. NOTHING! It was shocking...and a bit ironic. Oh ye of little faith. But a case of beer & some tequila is heading his way! :-)

So woohoo! We're now able to begin planning to go cruising again!! We are still looking at purchasing a little portable 2500 watt generator somewhere…and John from Jonco is going to Puerta Vallarta this weekend and will look for one for us. Just as a spare, just in case. You know?!

More to follow...


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