With U96 Safari in dry dock for a major refit before its next rampage on the high seas time to review what was on the Harbor Master’s checklist. The Caterpillar engine had been suffering from major overheating issues and during 2013 had become a cause of serious embarrassment when hill climbing as the engine went on reduced power enabling cyclists of the Lance Armstrong caliber to pass with ease!
“Why has that bloody Check Eng Light come on again?”
“It’s overheating again Captain !”
“Sorry Capt I wasn’t being insubordinate, I said the CAC isn’t SUCKING”
“Will you look at das crap unt der CAC”
Yes, it was a bit dirty
Other refit items were improvements to the crew’s sleeping quarters and an upgrade to the weapons and entertainment suite.
The crew’s quarters need an upgrade
It does seem that RV’s and Submarines suffer the same fate when they are running on diesel power as seen in “The Hunt for Red October” when the sub was on sea trials prior to the Typhoon Class Sub’s defection to the USA.
“3 Kts max !!! Chay Blyth could have rowed us faster….”
“Get me the people who built this F…ing diesel….. RIGHT NOW!”
“So you are telling me that the F…ing dipstick is marked incorrectly ..and we need a longer F…ing slobber tube?”
U96 was laid down in 1996 with the 3126 CAT engine and I purchased same in 1998 with about 13K miles on it. She was only used on limited forays, went to a rental company for a short while, and was then duly “smudged” and re-entered service in 2005 for the Ahrma National Trials program. During my “Money NO
Object” phase a 2001 Beaver Marquis joined the fleet, served with flying colors, and was replaced eighteen months later with another 2006 model Beaver Marquis with all the bells and whistles. As you can’t drive 2 RV’s at the same time U96 was sent to the Cozy Comfort RV Park as a luxury static rental where she was parked until the great recession.
The 2001 Beaver, a truly superb coach
unreal woodwork and carpentry
Technically very clever ……but
….woodwork not up to previous Beaver standards
With the Beaver returned to the bank, as three mortgages, soon to become ONE came ever closer and depression setting in as personal possessions went out the door one by one it was time to reuse old
faithful after some intensive maintenance. A couple of seasons with the dying Ahrma Trials circuit and the start of ITSA Mtn West and while not the opulent decadence of the Beaver, U96 (Das Boot), has been doing well despite the constant over heating scenario. Finally time to address the matter before this season.
final clean up in the engine bay
Having enlisted the help of Jack, my Bus Mechanic, U96 was duly attacked and offending grease coated items were removed, cleaned, and are now being refitted. The main problem unit, the CAC has gone back in and yesterday the monster cowl was given another dousing of silicone.
Today the thermostat, the heater hose for the extended slobber tube were all collected and awaiting Jack to finish buttoning up. Just the fan to go back in and pipes various to reconnect before refilling the radiator and starting the mighty motor.
The TV was fitted and only needs some minor trim adjustments and then it will be time to dewinterize the water system and fill with fresh checking for leaks as we go.
Another bracket gets fitted for the new flat screen
…..and it all works
Jack pressed on Thursday connecting and checking pipes and hoses and changed the thermostat. The fan and boss are all now back in so seemingly all that remains are the header tank and hoses, the tube
that is known as “slobber” and the rear grille and lights. Finally it will be time to replace the 6 gallons of green coolant and test fire for leaks and any other problems.
Saturday, 29 March, and Spring Break begins ! My arms and shoulders certainly need a break from the driving of the Vintage school bus with 5 speed box. Didn’t get to see Jack last night so I’m assuming he will be here this morning for any last bits. Still plenty to do over the weekend then get the Beemer up and running for AZ and 3-4 days of something completely different.
The morning goes fairly much to plan. Last bolts tightened, slobber tube secured, and radiator filling gets the all clear. With 3 gallons down the hole green stuff starts pouring out of an old tube which has split on moving….. good find. Soon replaced with fresh rubber and the game continues until the header tank says enough. Quick check on oil and transmission fluid and time to hit the start sequence. She runs, no leaks and all looks good. Jacks retracted and wait for the old girl to warm up. All seems good so the rear grille
is secured ready for a run up Mancos Hill tomorrow to see if I hit the jackpot with all this work.
Sunday morning and clean up phase begins prior to the “sea trials”. Spanners, wrenches various, and numerous other bits and bobs are collected and sent back to the workshop. A couple of bags of trash
and a fallen branch are cleared out of the way. The new mattress is humped back over the engine room and the bedding reapplied. Pink antifreeze runs freely from the taps and the water heater is brought back into the circuit and fired up. Generator gets a test run along with the onboard heaters as its pretty chill this morning (well it is only March when all’s said and done!) Tanks replenished and the engine started ready for the off.
Crew quarters ready for the road
With everything up and running the Captain gives the order to cast off fore and aft and with cable TV,water, and shore power disconnected U96 puts to sea. Conditions, coolish at 49F, a strong South Westerly wind 20-25 mph and overcast. Leaving Dolores the temps are showing 170 on the rad and transmission oil just coming up to 140. U96 makes nothing of the Dolores hill and with full left rudder we turn for the 18mile run to Mancos. Plain sailing here and the motor certainly seems to have much more power in reserve. Temps now 170 rad and 180 oil. Leaving Mancos the climb begins and the last time we came up here the red light came on, the engine de-rated and we were down in second gear at 15mph with the Hazard lights on! Today she sails up the climb, downshifts only to 5th and maintains 50-55 to the top!!! No issues on the return run with max rad temp only touching 185 and oil at center gauge around 200.
With a very successful refit completed U96 embarks on a “party barge” Sunday trip to friends where much drinking will be the order of the day and we have our mobile hotel on wheels parked in their driveway. Time to bring on the other “Das Boot” a bit like a Brit Yard of Ale !
……. a refreshing version of “DAS BOOT”