I just sent this info to some friends and decided to also post it here. The letter that I was replying to mentioned the protective zincs often found inside engines. Usually only in the salt water parts.
In the 1980’s Janet was working on some good friend’s 56 ft power boat and every six months, she changed all the zincs, in the main engine and generators. She was using Teflon tape on the pipe threads, and for some reason on a couple of the zincs she used Teflon tape where the zinc screws into the pipe plug. However, six months later when she changed all of the zincs again, she noticed that the two that had Teflon tape on them, still looked like new, but the ones that did not look like your photo.
The lightbulb above her head came on, and she decided, “That was really dumb of me.”
When she got back to Alegria, she told me about it. I said that it would not ever occurred to me to use Teflon on the zinc, only because that joint cannot leak. However, it also never would’ve occurred to me that the Teflon tape would not have been punctured somewhere as you screwed the pieces together tightly. I would’ve guaranteed that it would make an electrical connection somewhere, somehow in any case. I would’ve been wrong.
Now, we all know that if you wanted it to be an insulator and prevent electrical connection, it would ALWAYS make a connection. Sort of like the rule that if you want to have a tiny little hole with seawater, or almost anything, flowing through it, you can guarantee that it will get plugged up in less than a week because the whole is so tiny. Yet, if there is some sort of accidental microscopic leak, it will continue to leak for 1000 years. I think Prof. Murphy wrote about that phenomena. Perhaps you’ve heard of his law?
Well, this is a lot more fun than getting the boat ready to launch, but I think I may be able to lunch tomorrow if I get everything done today. The hardest part is to make sure that I remember everything, and do everything in the correct order. It sort of like dance choreography, but a little nerve-racking and very difficult.
Plus, day before yesterday I was turning the engine over by hand and got my little finger under the V belt on the alternator. It hurt like bloody hell. Bled for a while but that was probably good as it cleaned the germs out of the cut. It was actually more of a smash than a cut. Then almost immediately afterwards I connected a jumper wire, with the plan that I would be able to start the engine from sitting right at the engine rather than go outside where I’m supposed to go and push the button. Just as I connected the other end of the jumper wire to the hot wire, the end that was supposed to be on the low current part of the solenoid must’ve leaned over and touched a ground, because as soon as I connected it, that tiny little jumper wire got red-hot and made huge amounts of vaporized vinyl smoke that quickly filled the engine room.
So, I decided it was time to go read emails for a while and let the smoke dissipate. And hope that my brain would start working better. I’m really tired from the stress and long hours that I’ve been doing with all of these jobs. Having been away from the boat for so many years, there is a lot of maintenance that needs to be done, and also a lot of things that I have forgotten. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many hundreds or thousands of things I can remember, but there are lots of things that were on the tip of my tongue 3 1/2 years ago and are not anymore. Also, I have had so many projects going at once that every horizontal service in the boat is piled high with things related to the various projects. I have set down my normal outdoor eye glasses somewhere, because inside the boat I use my “office glasses” which are progressive lens that is only intermediate and near distance, are far more useful and comfortable. For working in the engine room and other tight spots, I have some prescription reading glasses that are single vision, for near distance only. The problem being that the progressive lenses often don’t have the prescription I want, in the direction that I have to look. If I’m in a place where I cannot raise my head up to get the near vision lower half of the lens focusing, I am just screwed. So, then I go get my single vision glasses on, and that works very well.
Getting old and having some your parts not work well is really annoying at times. I’m certainly glad that I’ve found solutions to most of those problems. As they say I’m in very good shape for the shape I’m in.
Back to work,