Re: Vetus Alarm

John Clark

Last March when we left Martinique shortly after purchasing our SM, unbeknownst to us, the seawater inlet hose leading to the seawater pump on the engine developed a crack allowing the pump to suck air instead of water.  I discovered this during the passage when the wind died and I started the engine.  After starting the engine, I immediately thought it sounded wrong….more like a Harley Davidson than a sedate sailing yacht. I opened the engine hatch and found smoke everywhere and smell of hot rubber and plastic, of course this happened in the middle of the night.  Obviously I shut down the engine and woke up the rest of the crew.  We investigated and found no SW flow, checked impeller, found it trashed.  We replaced the impeller, still no flow.  Checked some more and found the hose issue.  Fixed the hose, got water flow….right onto the floor of the engine room!  Found that the plastic Vetus muffler had melted…well by then wind had picked up and I said we will deal with this in the morning and I went to bed.  Next morning I took the muffler off and looked at it closely with my “McGuver glasses.”  I got a piece of plywood and a tube of 5200….and a big bunch of hose clamps and patched over the melted portion, reinstalled and presto back in business before lunchtime.  We got a new muffler in St. Martin , but I kept the old patched one as a spare!  This failure happened so quick, less than 2 minutes, that the engine never overheated.  The only indication was that the exhaust sounded wrong.  I will eventually install an exhaust temp alarm, for this exact reason.   I understand that Amel installed stainless steel mufflers, but the hoses and other fittings can also be damaged quickly when there is no cooling water in the exhaust.


(FYI: My SM was repowered by her first owner changing out the original Perkins for the Volvo TMD22, I expect that was when the plastic Vetus was installed.)


John Clark

SV Annie SM 37

Morehead City NC

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