13 May, 2013

NextGen Heat Exchanger

Malua is still in St Augustine
Power and cold are the two elements that make cruising besides sailing enjoyable. To have a cold beer at the end of the day and to take a steak out of the freezer plus the ability to charge all the communications and information gadgets is critical to a long and happy cruising life. So when my 12 Hp diesel engine decided it would start to overheat not in half an hour but in 10 minites or less I knew it was time to find a solution. Well south in the Caribbean I had removed the heat exchange – that is the piece of equipment that takes the cold sea water exchanges the heat from the cooling water of the engine and keeps the motor cool. Just like a radiator but with sea water not wind. The fellow who I took it to forced the exchange element out of the housing damaging it. I had to find a replacement. Not an easy task given that On-site Power an Australian company had been taken over and closed down. A common practice to do away with effective competition.
I knew Next-Gen power in Charleston used the same Kubota motor to power their onboard generators. I had sent a few emails to establish the cost and availability of the units and informed them that I would be sailing up the coast to visit them. All OK we have the units.
I called and said I would be visiting them the next day to purchase the unit. No stop we don't have one in stock right now. What? I have come all this way on the understanding you had one. I will get one in – it will be here on Monday.
No to get a hire car in St Augustine you have to take a car to a mall way out of town to collect the vehicle. No they don't deliver. After some negotiation they said they would sent someone to collect be but not before 9:00. Well what can you do. This is American and the car society.

I collected the car and after two hour after driving along some great highways – the speed limit changes more frequently than in Australia. I was outside the Nex Gen workshop. I had had to wait four days for this fellow to have the part in his hands. When I walked in he was on the phone, I stood at the counter as he continued to talk. He them made another phone call and continued to talk. He appeared if he could not have cared less if I wanted to purchase a part or a new unit at $'000 of dollars. I stood around a looked beautiful as he went on with his consternation. His first words to me where “it hasn't arrived”.
OK show me the one on one of your units.
While he was showing me a unit the delivery truck arrived and he unpacked one unit. We collected all the extra pieces together for me to bolt the unit to me motor. I would have to connect the water and coolant hoses plus the exhaust outlet and I did not want to be one small item short.
The final bill was $860 including taxes and extras a large jump from the $600 he had quoted me in the email but I suppose he knew I needed the part.
I returned to St Augustine stopped off at a few supermarkets and stored to stock up and get the things on board with the aid of a car.
When I fitted the heat exchange unit everything fitted as expected and seemed to be in the right place. BUT the engine would not start. After a long time I relized that one of the electrical wires had become disconnected and the shut down uniit was on stopping the motor from starting. Quick fix and the Kubota was running cool and putting out 60 amps into each battery bank plus making 70 ltt of water and hour. I hope this continues.
I am now ready for the next leg north. Unlike my fiends The DoLittles I was not prevented from leaving because of some small detail regarding their papers by the now too familiar hand of Customs and Boarder Protection.
A magical moment on Malua.


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