Japanese Memorial/Rear Main Seal Leak


This morning I fired up the Western Flyer and drove it in for repairs, to an area previously unknown to many. Known on nautical charts simply as Fish Hook, it is located on Terminal Island, home to thousands of containers from container ships.  Just to the starboard of the main channel and past the federal prison with a view, there is a mooring field and a hundred small boat really antiquated marina. The area is purely industrial, because of course it is a working port.  Most of what I saw qualifies as a movie set kind for anything from CSI to Scorpion.

Bottom line is my starboard engine had a persistent oil leak that bugged me, initially diagnosed in Portland as a rear main seal leak. Patrick, owner of Marine Diesel Repairs is the guy I met this morning (from the vantage of my flybridge) with what appeared to be his pet.

Once I backed in and we tied up.  I actually surprised myself that I can now handle this twin-engine forwards and backwards.  Immediately he stated that we needed to do, (Patti you’ll love these words) “our due diligence”. Now what kind of boat mechanic talks like that?  Obviously a well-trained and experienced one, and most of all honest one. We or rather I began by cleaning up any residual oil spilled.  Patrick wanted to totally confirm the seal leak before starting on a grueling two-day job of unbolting the drive shaft, removing the transmission, dropping down the oil plan and suffering mechanic cuts, scrapes nicks, and possibly heat stroke in my engine room. Once the appropriate pads were laid down to mark the location of any oil leak;  I drove the boat around while he moved about in the open engine room looking for any offending leaks, and voila, leak(s) found; but not from the rear main seal.  Good news as any other leak on a diesel or gas engine is way far cheaper to repair.

This  morning the Western Flyer is getting valve adjustments (2) hours labor per engine and new valve cover gaskets.  More to follow once I pick her up at about noon!



Step off the dock and this big guy is there to great you.


The gasket and offending leaker.  It is always great when your mechanic points out to his crew that you have an extremely clean engine.  We’re not there yet, but working on it.


The above two pictures possibly show a leak source or two.

Fish Harbor in days past when the area was nothing more than marshland evolved into a Japanese fishing village, circa 1890s.  “While small motorboats increased the distance traveled for their catch, Japanese immigrants devised an unprecedented fishing technique. They would send an advance boat to scout for schools of albacore tuna, and catch the anchovies and sardines that the tuna followed for live bait. Then, a fishing vessel with a team of fishermen would release the bait and spear the tuna using short bamboo poles with hooks.

Due to local fishermen’s high yield of tuna, a number of fish canneries began to open on Terminal Island. By the 1930s, the Japanese community had increased to 2,000 with most of the men employed as fishermen and the women working in the canneries. At its height in 1942, the Nikkei population had grown to 3,000, just prior to its abrupt demise following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”

For add’l info visit http://www.californiajapantowns.org/terminalisland.html




This newly varnished flybridge cabinet doors are home.  Next we tackle the doors, windows and steps.  Outboard engine is in the shop for a complete tuneup.


In addition to the Sheriff’s Dive Team HQ I also found the HQ for the Zombie Response Team; should that ever be a concern for the citizens of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area!