13 November 2021 – Back in the Groove
It has been three months since I last blogged. We had a holiday, in September and part of October, flying to Austria, Netherlands and finally Canada to visit family. As always, it was a whirlwind trip, and this time a little more complicated because of the pandemic travel restrictions. Nonetheless, we prevailed, and brought back the usual suitcase full of boat parts and other hard to find things.
On return to Alanya, we bought new e-bikes. These are made by Volta, here in Turkey – although I suspect they are actually Chinese manufacture, and assembled in Turkey. We bought identical VB1 models: weight 22.2kg, max speed 25 km/hr, 36V, 8.8Ahr, 250W motor – and a stated range of 30-110km (although in practice, I find it might be more like 35km). These are definitely “starter” e-bikes and were cheap for us to buy (about $710 CDN each) and we are getting a great deal of use of of them.
Independence Day, or Republic Day is a public holiday in Turkey commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, on 29 October 1923. The annual celebrations start at 1:00 pm on 28 October and continue for 35 hours. Here in Alanya, we noticed that only the government offices were closed, and the shops remained open. At the marina, they threw a small party and invited the cruisers to attend. Since this is the first time this marina has had any sort of public gathering (largely due to COVID-19) restrictions, I thought it was newsworthy. We attended, had free food – and mixed it up with many foreign and local cruisers.
We have had an annoying problem with our Volvo engine, one that has plagued us for the past three years. The engine has an alarm (idiot light) and a gauge to indicate coolant temperature. As the engine gets close to 80C (operating temperature), the idiot light and alarm start to sing, ever so slightly. As it gets just a little warmer, the sound gets louder. Of course, I immediately hop into action with an infra-red heat gun to check the actual engine temperature in a number of places, and it’s never more than 80C. After much deliberation, I decided that the sensor must be defective. This Volvo sensor (ordered through the local Volvo dealer) cost me 150 euros – an exorbitant price in my opinion (but apparently normal for Volvo).
I drained the coolant, replaced the sensor, ran the engine up to temperature – and refilled the coolant to the proper level. Afterwards, I tested the old sensor in a coffee cup with boiled water. Both the new and old sensor are identical, indicating maximum temperature 120C, and operating temperature of 95C + or – 3C. Like a good mechanic, I checked the operation of the old sensor and observed that it triggered at 80C, much too early. It was an easy, although pricey fix – but I’m glad to know the reason for the failure. At least my labour was cheap.
Our HF/SSB radio, an ICOM IC-M802 – bought and installed in 2008 – has had a failing screen for more than a year. We have been in hot/humid environments for so long – that the LCD screen fails. Other screens have similarly failed, and we had to replace of VHF radio – since it could no longer be repaired.
Falling on the advice of my friend Ken Gooding, I undertook the repair myself. I ordered the part from ICOM Canada in Vancouver, and then took the control head and screen apart. This is the start of the process.
This is the end result, after about 1.5 hours of labour – again, cheap – because it was just me. This kind of job is in direct contrast to the labour required to work on the engine, or repair a facet. There are many small wires and delicate connectors. In the end it worked out fine.
I bought a box of carbon water filters the other day on N11.com, a Turkish online site. These filters cost me about $1.00 USD each, an incredible deal compared to West Marine in the US, where they sell for about $ 25 USD. It’s a good time to stock up.
Turning to the engine, the Volvo TMD-31B, I: changed the oil and filter, changed the primary and secondary fuel filters, changed the anode, and adjusted the valve tappet clearances. Next on my list is to work on the ONAN generator, which I haven’t been able to start in a while (not the battery, or the starter….).