When I press the start button nothing happens apart from a click from the vicinity of the starter motor. I originally thought that the battery was flat but, once recharged, all that happened was the same click. This depresses me. I have had so many problems with the starter motor. I cannot use the boat without an engine that starts reliably. I cannot leave from, nor return onto, the pontoon under sail.
The phone rings. It is Kiyuna san! He has the new oil line and is coming over.
I demonstrate the starter click.
He says, “Dai jou bu, I fix.” He takes off the starter motor and water pours out of it! How can this be? I can not think of any way that water could have got into the motor over the last few days but it is clear that it had been submerged. It remains a mystery.
He dismantles the motor and we find that it is filled with red sludge. Where did that come from?
99 people out of 100 would have chucked it away and bought a replacement – not Kiyuna san.
It is a very complicated device with many moving parts, springs, circlips, which he negligently chucks into a container. How he could ever remember which piece goes where and in what order is difficult to process.
We fill a bucket with diesel and start meticulously cleaning each part. Here I can be useful.
We have a great afternoon, sitting in the sun, cracking jokes and cleaning the starter motor. We do not have much common language but still have the best time.
The re-assembly is very complicated. “Next time you do it, Neil san.” Er, no.
Kiyuna san says, “There are many mechanics. I am not a mechanic, I am a magician.”
Once the starter motor is re-installed, the engine starts instantly. It is a miracle! The starter motor was full of sludge.
I have to leave but Kiyuna san goes to the Yanmar depot to pick up the new oil line. I can’t wait to see if he has installed it. Then the boat will be back in action
Kiyuna san will be 70 tomorrow! Wish him a happy birthday.