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    by Published on 12-11-2011 10:34 PM
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    In February 2010, Kim and Robin Byers’ (CSR screen name rabyers1) 3-year-old son, Benjamin, was diagnosed with A.L.L. or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After a 6-week stay at Duke Children’s Hospital undergoing rigorous and aggressive treatment, Benjamin’s leukemia was in remission, and he was ready to resume his full time job of being a typical little boy.Friends at Sea Ray, who keep up with our antics here on Club Sea Ray, read the posts about Benjamin and sent him several packages of Sea Ray items to help him and his family over a tough time.Now, skip ahead 1-1/2 years………Sea Ray has stayed in touch with the Byers family, and they invited Benjamin and his folks to attend the invitation-only Yacht Expo 2011 held at the Sykes Creek facility. So, on December 2, after registering at the event and receiving a package containing hats, shirts, and other gear from Sea Ray, Benjamin joined Capt. Rusty Higgins on board Rusty’s new 2012 610 Sundancer. Here, Benjamin gets the lay of the land: Here is Benjamin at the helm and first mate (little brother Brody) manning the throttles on the 610DA: After an appropriate orientation and a short trip down the barge canal behind the Sykes Creek factory, here is Benjamin at the helm of the 610 heading down the ICW at Merritt Island, FL with an able-bodied, but minimal assist from Dad, under the watchful eye of Capt. Rusty: Speaking as a boat guy, I am sure the highlight of the trip was getting to run Capt. Rusty’s boat, but Benjamin and his family also seemed to enjoy the other weekend activities which included rides on several of the new 2012 Sea Rays, watching the photo helicopter fly just a few feet off the water very near the new boats while photographing/videotaping customers on boat rides, and joining the customers and Sea Ray employees and management for the evening dinner hosted at the Sykes Creek factory. Benjamin’s trip concluded with 2 days at Disney World, also hosted by the folks at Sea Ray. I don’t know any other company in this industry or any other that would go to this extent to try to bring some joy to a little guy who has had to deal with some difficult challenges in his short life. The great folks at Sea Ray, both at Sykes Creek and at their corporate offices, have certainly taken their commitment to customer satisfaction to a whole new level. These are regular folks who really do care about their customers……..even the 4-year-old ones.Postscript:• Benjamin is doing great and is about ½ way thru a 3 year treatment and follow up program. Those of us who were fortunate enough to spend time with the Byers family this week can attest to the fact that Ben is 100% boy. You would never know he has had a life threatening illness.• Benjamin was selected to be a poster child for the Duke Children’s Hospital and here is a link to his page there:• If you would like to know more about Benjamin and his battle, click here: ...
    by Published on 04-17-2011 09:24 PM

    Quote Originally Posted by SeaRenity View Post
    Both engines have new IAC and if I move the throttle it doesn't really help. I have never changed rotors/caps and engines have 330 hours.
    ......Just to be clear, the IAC vent filter, also called the IAC muffler, is not the IAC. It is a filter for the IAC. It can get dirty and clogged.

    Cost is about $2 each.

    The IAC vent filter is inside the throttle body assembly and its easy to change. They are about $2/each. If what you say is correct, moving the throttles forward out of gear does not result in a improvement then let’s look a the rotor and cap.

    First, go on another boat. See if your boat is cranking longer than other boats with the same engines.

    If yes, then lets open the cap and look at the contacts. Use a tork screwdriver. Do you have a tork screwdriver set? Removing your engine cover, the big black rectangular piece of plastic on the top of your engine, will make access to the cap much easier. All your spark plug wires go to the cap. Just remove two tork screws and pull off the cap. No need to remove wires at this time.

    You are very over due for a new rotor and cap. As odd as it sounds, low hours are harder on a rotor and cap then high hours. Lack of use causes corrosion. Winter storage causes corrosion. Only use prevents this corrosion. Mercury Marine recommends changing the motors rotor and cap every 3 years.

    With the cap removed, turn it so you can look inside the cap. You will see little metal contacts. Do the contacts look clean or do you see corrosion? Look down at the rotor. You will see a metal piece that looks like a Popsicle stick. This piece spins around and makes contact with the metal contacts in the cap. How does this rotor look? Do you see corrosion? Are the outward corners shiny or black?

    If you see corrosion, black tips or white residue, it is time to install a new rotor and cap.

    How do you know the correct part numbers? Well, on your engine cover is your engines serial number. Write this down. Next go here: Note: I am not saying to buy the parts at this website. In fact the prices are higher here than you can find elsewhere .This mercury marine owned website will help you find the correct engine part numbers.

    Click on “Part Search by Engine Serial #” and enter your engine serial number.

    After you hit enter, look for “Distributor and Ignition” most likely this will be on the second page. Now look for "Cap Distributor" and "Rotor." Now go shopping for these parts at your preferred supplier, internet discounter or local Mercury dealer. I recommend you stick with genuine Mercury parts for these items and I don’t say that for all parts.

    With your new rotor and cap in hand:

    You will need a tork screwdriver ...
    Published on 02-21-2011 09:08 PM
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    Diesel fuel is far different from gasoline. With gas, you pretty much put it in the tank and forget it, or you could in the days before E-10. Diesel fuel requires some management or you will suffer from the effects of poor quality fuel. Understanding the major differences goes a long way in helping to avoid fuel quality problems.

    Diesel fuel is a fuel oil that is subject to contamination by both dirt and moisture from poor handling practices, leaks in piping, moisture condensing on the interior walls of tanks at the refiner, the distributor, your marina or retailer and in your boat. Microbial growth occurs in diesel fuel in the form of bacteria and algae that seem to thrive in the presence of water.

    Water or moisture droplets in fuel will cause mechanical problems with pumps and injectors and will cause corrosion in the lines and fuel handling parts (distribution pump and injectors) of the fuel system.

    A lot of moisture is introduced into diesel from the tanks the fuel is stored in. Every tank has this potential, but a boat’s fuel tanks are vented to the atmosphere. As fuel is used, the volume used is replaced by air drawn in through the tanks vent line. The vent is frequently about 3 ft. above the water line, so any air drawn in the vent line is going to be moisture laden. Then as temperatures fall in the evening and rise during the day, the fuel tank will condense moisture on the tank walls in the space above the fuel remaining in the tanks. As droplets form, they will run down and into the fuel. Since water is heavier than the fuel, it accumulates on the bottom of the tank.

    Microbial growth in the diesel fuel is then possible since water is present to feed the growth. The growth seen in diesel is most often long stringy clumps of dark green or black crud that often will adhere to the tank walls and bottom. Sloshing around when the boat is in motion often breaks the microbial clumps off wherever it is adhered so it can then make its way to the filter system. It doesn’t take much to clog up a set of Racors.

    Virtually all boats have dual fuel filtration systems. A primary filter, usually a Racor brand turbine filter, will be located between the tank and the engine. The design if the Racor is such that it will separate water from the fuel and collect it in a bowl at the bottom of the filter housing before it traps any dirt particle larger then the trap size of the filter element. Most Racor primary filters are available in 2 micron, 10 micron and 30 micron trap sizes. Another or secondary filter is located after the Racor, usually on the engine itself and most frequently supplied by the engine maker for his particular engine. Some manufacturers publish the trap size of their filters, some do not, but generally they are 2-5 micron filters.

    Cold weather brings on other problems with fuel since diesel fuel will not flow in extremely cold conditions. It can gel or form wax crystals in the filters and plug them which stops fuel flow. Most fuel refiners formulate their fuels for cold weather use by mixing no.1 diesel (lighter, less viscous) with no. 2 diesel to yield a blend that does not gel in the climate area in which it is to be sold. This is not a major concern to pleasure boaters because we don’t usually go boating when the temperatures are cold enough for fuel to gel.

    Bulk storage tanks and fuel handling between the refinery and the fuel fill ...
    Published on 04-14-2010 09:02 PM
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    One of the systems on our boats that we nearly always take for granted is the steering. The reason is simple: it always works, it never causes problems and it requires no maintenance. But what do you do if you lose your steering?

    Steering loss can happen and I would be willing to bet that very few of us have the necessary ingredients on our boats or are prepared for an emergency fix.

    Any boat with Teleflex Sea-Star hydraulic steering is subject to losing it’s steering. For Sea Ray boats this usually means inboard and v-drive powered boats above 32 feet. Unfortunately, when the Sea Star system fails, it is seldom a partial or intermittent failure.

    How The System Works:

    The basic Sea Star system is a hydraulic pump operated by the rotation of the steering wheel. Hydraulic oil is pumped out of one port on the pump and into the hydraulic line that runs to the stern of the boat where it then connects to one port on the steering cylinder. This causes the piston and attached cylinder rod or actuator to move toward the opposite end of the cylinder. The ball joint on the end of the cylinder rod is attached to the boat’s rudder linkage so moving the cylinder causes a similar action in the rudders. As the piston moves, oil is displaced from the opposite end of the cylinder via the port on the other end. The displaced oil travels back to the pump and enters the opposite port. The hydraulic steering system is a closed system. The oil in the lines, the cylinder and the pump form the reservoir for the pump. The cylinder has internal check valves so the rudder cannot move and remains stationary unless the helm pump is turned and oil flows into the cylinder.

    Steering Loss:

    Any time the oil level in the Sea Star system gets low enough, the helm pump will ingest air. Since air is compressible, once the level is low, the helm pump just compresses the air it has ingested when the steering wheel is turned. The air compresses in the lines instead of the pump moving hydraulic oil which means you lose your steering. The helm pump’s reservoir is small so it doesn’t take much of a leak to allow air into the system. The symptoms you will most likely notice are “spongy” or soft steering and a lot of play between port and starboard reaction to steering input. The steering play gradually increases until you have a revolution or so of play followed by a soft feel in both directions and no rudder deflection when you turn the wheel. Long before this, however, the boat becomes unsafe since its steering reaction is so vague and sloppy that you lose steering control.

    For air to get into the system, hydraulic oil must get out. So, where does the oil go?

    The first place to check for leaks is all of the fittings connecting the hydraulic hoses to the pump, to the cylinder, and if equipped, to the power assist module and the autopilot pump. It is also possible that the hydraulic lines, which are usually plastic, may have gotten crimped or physically damaged with clamps or screws securing them or something else somewhere between the helm pump and the ...
    Published on 03-21-2009 08:52 PM
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    From time to time there are comments on CSR about coring. Many people consider cored hull boats to be evil and won’t even consider owning one. The truth of the matter is that cored construction is quite common and is used on many high line and expensive brands.
    If you have read many threads on boat buying, you almost always see the recommendation to survey prospective boats and have that survey done by a competent marine surveyor. I was the Sea Ray dealer (where we also happen to keep our boat) the last couple of weeks, and saw the first cored hull problem this dealer has had to deal with. I thought some of you might like to see the problem and how the dealer and Sea Ray handled it.

    The boat involved is a 2000 460DA. The owner noticed the boat listing in the slip. At first, several months ago, it was a little bit, barely noticeable from the stern. Then it got worse. Eventually the generator exhaust was almost submerged which on this boat means she was listing about 3” to the port side. The dealer found the port side hull vent had been leaking. The vent hole is sawed into the cored side, so any leak can let water get into the cored area between the inner skin and the outer gelcoated skin. This particular boat had been leaking a while, and the hull side coring was found to be wet from the stern to about 5’ forward of the hull vent…….a total of about 10’ worth of wet hull/coring. The fiberglass guy at the marina identified the wet area by sounding the hull and with a moisture meter.

    This is a photo of the water draining out of the core:

    The hull vents were removed from the hull and about 3/16” holes were drilled in the bottom of the cored area to allow it to drain naturally. The bow was raised slightly until no more water would gravity drain out of the lowest, aft-most hole.

    Next, shop vacs were taped to the hull and any remaining water was vacuumed out of the cored side.

    Even though a large area of the core got wet, the extent of the damage in this case was some rotten coring between the inner and outer skins around the hole sawed in the hull for the vent. The damaged area needing repair was limited to the area on the bottom and aft end of the vent which was about 1” to1-1/4” into the core from the opening. The rotten area was dug out and removed, as shown here:

    The repair was done by digging out the rotten balsa and filling the area between the skins with West Systems Epoxy thickened with #403 Microfibers. The holes drilled in the hull were filled and sanded smooth. Since the repaired area at the vent was covered by the vent panel itself and the holes drilled in the hull were below the waterline and in an area covered with bottom paint, gelcoat repairs were not necessary.

    While the usual feeling here on CSR is that wet coring is the kiss of death, this is a case where a bad situation was caught and properly repaired with no long term negative impact on the boat or its value. Since the rotten balsa was limited to a relatively small area, and the wet area was easily drained and dried out, the boat was only out ...
    Published on 02-19-2009 12:17 AM
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    Raymarine is well onboard with the NMEA2000 rage with their new ST70 Plus Color instrument. This thing is sweet and one will definitely be going on my Seacraft this summer! This new 6.5? display is sort of a universal all in one display that can control their pilots and can be used as a stand alone instrument to display info on the N2K network. It is color, very bright, and has a lot of screen area relative to the size of the fixture. In fact the fixture is all screen!

    They include a remote keypad for control. So you can put the display up on your dash where it might be a stretch to reach it, and put the control keypad closer to the wheel for easy reach. There are three variations of the keypad available – an instrument keypad, sail pilot pad, and powerboat pilot pad. One keypad can also control multiple displays. The picture below is worth a thousand words. Should be out the 2nd qtr of ’09. I can’t wait! ...