So, we're out of Seattle again after GB worked on the raw water/engine systems failure for 9 days. The primary dilemma was the failure of multiple engine system components - either sequential or coincidental, impossible to tell. Local marine-engine pundits and some experienced mechanics were unanimous in saying, "Gee, we've never seen this before!" Here's what some of the failed parts looked like:
The starter motor. Failed completely at about 679 hours. Looking back through our ship's log, it appears it had begun to fail in July, 2006, at about 560 hours; that was the first entry reporting a "somewhat hesitant start." Of course, because those salty handymen far more experienced than us explained that starter motors "almost never fail and last the life of the boat," GB paid attention to (and improved) some irregularities we found in the wiring leading to & from the starter battery. Because the hesitant starts did not occur each time we ran the engine, we had no reason to assume the starter motor was the culprit. Until recently:
Once Mr. Starter Motor was replaced, the anti-siphon valve aka vacuum break, failed. Even after it was refitted with new seals & gaskets. Too bad I didn't also take a pic of the failed hose leading to/from Mr. Anti-Siphon Valve, as Mr. Hose was more likely the perp who caused this whole situation.
Finally, meet Mr. Raw Water Pump. See that emulsified oil circling the area that leads to the engine? Looks like mayonnaise (which is....ermmm....emulsified oil)? Yeah, according to the very nice marine mechanic who took an extra hour out of his schedule to rebuild Mr. Raw Water Pump, Mr. Raw Water Pump was about to croak. Damaged impeller, with a side order of utterly-shot bearings. 679 hours, and dead as a doornail. RIP, Mr. Raw Water Pump.
It will now take us 75 more engine hours and testing of two successive samples of engine oil to determine whether or not the entire engine has been compromised by the water the above component failures caused the engine crankcase to inhale. Best-case scenario: no problem. Worst-case scenario: the engine is toast and has to be replaced to the tune of about 20 large. So, in reply to the commenter who apparently has never worked on a marine engine and recently advised us to "quit your whining! This is supposed to be fun!" I say, buy me a new engine and gosh darn it, SMILE WHEN YOU DO IT.