Saturday, September 10, 2011

Irene Adventure

I was really expecting a lot more wind.  We didn't get more than a bit of gusting (20mph?) now and then.  It was the flooding that took out the power.

Tardhaus is fairly high, so we weren't worried about flooding damage, although there is a bit of water in the basement.  When the power went out, we transferred over to generator.  We have an old generator powerful enough to run the whole house running off a rebuilt 1.6L VW Jetta diesel engine.  Through several mistakes, the generator overheated, overpressurized the cooling system (pressure cap didn't release), and ruptured one of the coolant lines.  The generator was shut down using the kill switch shortly thereafter, but damage to the engine was likely already done by that time.

We triaged the engine, repaired the coolant system hose, and discovered it was also very low on oil - this is odd as it usually only leaks very very slowly when running.  We put more oil in, refueled, and started it back up - it seemed to be running fine.

About 10-20 minutes later, the engine started "dieseling", revving higher and higher.  The "panic/kill" switch was used (this cuts off the fuel), but the engine kept revving higher and higher.  All tards quickly evacuated the vicinity of the generator and the circuit breaker was thrown to disconnect the generator from the house.  We then waited about 2-3 minutes as the engine continued to rev well past it's rated RPM limits.  It was known that we were now simply waiting for the engine to destroy itself and stop on its own.  As the fuel valve has been turned off by the kill switch, the engine was likely running off its engine oil, which was getting into the cylinders via damage caused by the previous overheating - nothing to do but wait for it to stop by itself.

After some knocking and crunch noises, the engine stopped.  Post inspection showed no fire and the engine would turn over and run, but the generator didn't turn.