Mailport May 15, 2001 Issue

Mailport 05/15/01

Aluminum Tank Corrosion
First...PS is the best! I look forward to receiving PS and have used the written material for repairs, equipment purchases, etc.† It is the mainstay of my sailing resource material.††

I own and sail a 1989 Tartan 372. When I purchased Majesty four years ago, I failed to examine the aluminum water tanks.† When I recommisioned her the following year, I discovered the same conditions as described by Mr. Magieri (PS Advisor, February 1, 2001). Although the tanks were bone dry, scraping and cleaning them was almost impossible given the limited access through the inspection ports.†

I talked with the original tank manufacturer in Florida who offered minimal assistance (denied having heard of the problem from any other source) other than offering to manufacture replacements (approximately $400 per tank).†Tartan commiserated but also was unable to offer alternatives other than replacement.† I discussed the matter with my yard and a host of others, all to no avail.†

I was prepared to replace the tanks when a friend who sells bio-degradable chemicals suggested using a product called Recoil.†

With nothing to lose, I emptied two and a half gallons in each tank (more than required according to the directions) and allowed the material to remain in the tank for 24 hours.† By the way, I launched Majesty prior to emptying the product in the tanks, thus allowing the motion of the vessel to help cleanse them.

The results:† The deposits were completely dissolved, and the tanks cleaned.† There were minimal pits, and no evidence of corrosion or any other problem with the tanks. They almost looked new after being cleaned with Recoil and flushed out with copious amounts of water.†

We have not had a recurrence for the past two years.

Ms. Marge Miles is the manufacturer's representative and can be contacted at 401/683-4481.

-Bruce and Frayda Topolosky,
Princeton, New Jersey

RTV and Gearboxes
The comments by Don Chaternuck in your PS Advisor section (March 2001)concerning the use of RTV sealant on gearboxes were very interesting. I wouldn't have paid much attention to them, but a friend of mine told me a similar story just two days before I read your article. His pickup had a leak at the drive shaft seal on the differential. It was still under warranty so he took it back to the dealer for a new seal. The mechanic decided to take a short cut and tried to seal it with some RTV. A few days later he was on his way home and noticed his truck didn't have much power. Upon arriving home he noticed something smelled hot and looked under the truck. It didn't take much inspection to discover the cause. The differential was glowing red hot! The only part salvagable was the housing. The dealer later admitted that even a little RTV in the gears can cause that. Seems like that stuff should come with a warning. Thanks for publishing Don's.

-Nate Shawl
Via e-mail

Boat Insurance
I read with interest your report about Boat Insurance (February 1, 2001), and thanks to your article, would like to alert you about a fact I discovered which may affect some of your other readers:

My wife and I are proud owners of a Westerly Corsair 36 from 1984 which we happily sail on the Gulf out of Galveston Bay.

The boat is insured by the St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and is documented with the US Dept. of Transportation, with my wife as the declared owner since I am a French citizen, permanent resident in the US.

When I insured the boat I forgot that puny detail and absentmindedly used my name as the ďinsuredĒ on the declaration.

After reading your report, I was reviewing my policy and discovered with horror that it said, right at the top: "If you are not the owner of the boat, we donít cover any claim or loss under any section of the policy.Ē

In other words , the boat was not insured at all!

Luckily we never had to file any claims since we own the boat, but you can imagine how quickly I called my broker to make sure this problem was corrected before it was too late.

My wife is now the insured as well as the owner and itís just fine with me as long as I can sand and varnish the brightwork, take the helm on my watch and I know we are insured if we are hit by lightning!

Just thought I might not be the only one in that case out there.

-Jean Marc & Marian Papon
Via e-mail

Just read your great article re insurance. I am located on Longboat Key, FL (West Coast). My vessel is a í94 Hunter 35.5, which I have insured for an agreed value of $65,000, for which I am paying BoatUS $865 annually. This includes a Coast Guard Auxiliary discount.

Your article said BoatUS quoted $373 on San Francisco Bay for an $85,000 Catalina 320. So, I called BoatUS for an explanation. They said that on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the insurance rates are about triple that of the Pacific Ocean due to the hurricane history!

-Len Dietch
Via e-mail

Cold Diesel Starting
I have used a permanently mounted 12V Pre-luber to both eliminate most engine wear and to change oil for nearly 15 years. This after I found that a ruined diesel engine on my 31' motorsailer was caused by dry bearings during cold starts. As your advisors told you for the Ross Oil Changer (March 1, 1999), it only takes a few seconds at low oil pressure to do damage; it happens every time you start the engine. Fast easy oil changing is a nearly free extra.

The Preluber unit I have was apparently designed for diesel trucks and was marketed briefly at boat shows. It is a small self-contained, all-metal hydraulic pump that delivers 1.5 gallons per minute at up to 55 psi using 30 amps on cold oil to get 40 psi to all the bearings before starting. It takes less than three minutes to drain my 4-gallon sump of hot oil when changing. It came with an electronic timing module for automatic use in start-up that, after several failures, I had to replace with a simple button.

The pump was not cheap but neither are diesel engines.

-Paul Gross
Manhattan Beach, California

(Editor's Note: In a March 2001 PS Advisor we said we didn't think there was much to be gained by turning an engine over to throw oil around, then waiting a few minutes and restarting ó if itís only been idle for a few days. We'll stand by that, but thereís no harm in the extra safety factor and the fast oil-changing ability.

We havenít evaluated Pre-Luber, but hereís the contact information: Engine Lubrication Systems , 641 Lancaster Ave, #1016 Frazer, PA 19355 800/836-8601.

Where Credit Is Due...
To Coastal Climate Control, Annapolis, Maryland: About one year ago, I tried to purchase Frigoboatís Alaskan Sea System to convert my icebox to DC refrigeration. After six months of mail order and distributor headaches, I finally ended up with all the parts, albeit with the wrong evaporator. Because my boat was long back in the water by the time I received all the parts, installation had to be postponed until this spring. I recently found out that Frigoboat has a new distributor: Coastal Climate Control. When I called them and related my problem they offered to take back the (since out of production) evaporator for a partial credit toward a new evaporator. It was refreshing to find such service since they had no obligation in this case.

-Hans van Beek,
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

To Brookes & Gatehouse, Clearwater, FL: While I was sailing downwind on Lake Michigan last summer, the ram on my Brookes & Gatehouse Network Autopilot blew out.†B&G consulting engineer Walt Genske determined that the problem was due to an incorrect installation by the yard.† Even though the pilot was out of warranty, B&G replaced the hydraulic ram at no charge.† They also supervised the new installation to ensure that it was done properly.

-Philip May
Via e-mail

To Caframo, Wiarton, Ontario, Canada: † I bought three cabin fans from Caframo that come with both a permanent mounting base and a suction cup option for mounting.†I clipped the wire leads, attached alligator clips, and used them on a charter boat for ventilation by attaching to the leads of the cabin lights.† When I returned I planned to install them permanently on my Paceship 26 but found I had lost one of the screw-on bases.† Caframo sent me another base, free of charge.† Didnít even charge me for the shipping.

-Avrum Geurin Weiss
St. Simons Island, Georgia

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