Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Don't assume.......

.....anything, especially to do with old narrowboats!

At the weekend I found the coupling plate on the gearbox output shaft didn't fit just right on the prop shaft coupling, the outside diameter was ok but the PCD (bolt holes) was slightly out and there was only four and not six. No big deal, I thought I'd just take it all home, slot the holes and of course pop two extra ones in, due to four not going into six, geometrically that is.

Having a bit of time spare today, I popped the shaft coupling on the Mill/drill, with it wanting four holes I set it up all square so I could just use the x-y index table to save messing about marking out. Using a slot drill to slot two of the existing holes and then plunge two new holes at 90 degrees. All went quite well until, I came to bolt the plate on the shaft coupling....arrrggg, (look of disbelief) two of the holes in the plate were miles out. After checking all my doings, I found the plate to be wrong, the holes are not at 90 degrees. Is it some boat yards don't know standard engineering practice, don't have the tooling to do the job or, just don't care. Or, am I missing something.
Not wanting to start making a new plate, I thought the best thing to do was, (what I should done in the first place) is bolt the plate to the coupling and drill through it. Wonderful thing hind sight!
You would have thought I'd learned by now, because everything on the boat is out of line, twisted or bent.

Monday, 22 February 2010


Setting off from home Friday night and looking forward to a good working weekend on the boat, but on arrival finding Fradley once again under snow.
Saturday morning, looking out of a port hole and seeing that nothing had changed form last night, we decided to have another pot of tea while I persuaded my body to venture outside and lie about the cold around my feet. That just reminded me the January song by Lindisfarne.
After donning various jumpers, overalls and my now ripped and burnt orange dayglow jacket, I wandered off to the van for a load of tools, looking like some vagrant on the move.
Finally getting set up with welder, grinders and other necessary tools, I start to make the bracket for the throttle mechanism. As you may note from the above photograph, it's no tin can affair, made from 3/8ths plate and having three runs of weld alround. Most things I make tend to have that Brunnel look about them. I suppose it's with me being brought up along side steam hammers and rolling mills, everything was big and heavy.
After a bit of giggery pokery I had it all lined up, speed wheel fixed all the split pins in this time and fully operational. I say this because last time I did this, I did omit a split pin and eventually it did cause some embarrassment, I wont go into detail.
With this all connected we could now practice the starting procedure, in other words we could have a play with engine and do a bit of video
Sounds a bit better than the 4L2 don't you think and I hope it performs better.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A bit more done

Due to it being my weekend at the railway, bending more copper pipe for 4 MT 75078 and being Fireman on Sunday, there's not much to report on the boat front.
Yesterday I had to go out and earn a living but today I had a fiddle day the workshop, making the throttle mechanism.
This entailed scrapping an old "G" cramp for the Acme thread and machining various bushes and pins. Surprisingly, this took me most of the day, welding all the little bits together then linishing them up to look like a casting. Cheating I know, but you just can't get bits any more and you'll never know the difference, once it's painted. Well, you will now because I've told you. (am I waffling)
Might start the day tank tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Engine starting

Following the failed attempts to start the AS at the weekend I just couldn't leave it there. I had to go back to Fradley to do some welding work on one of the Ownership boats so, I thought I'd have another bash at starting the engine while I was there.
I made contact with the previous owner, David, he described how it was when he had it, which by the sounds, isn't much different to now. He did say, when they were operated in carrying days, it's said the boatman would drain the oil out of the engine into a container and put it on the range for a time to warm up. Lot of messing about don't you think?
After charging up the battery again, making sure all connections were tight, I gave it a couple of turns, not much quicker, there was white smoke at the exhaust, which is a start but no attempt to fire. Right.....take out the injectors, on inspection they were completely carboned up, gave them a quick wipe, after checking the pumps were actually working I connected them to the pipes so I could see the spray pattern from the tip while cranking the engine over. Nothing but a dribble! AhAh! jets blocked. After finding the minute holes and cleaning them out a few cranks and a perfect spray, right, we're getting somewhere now.
Put everything back together, warmed all the engine with the blow lamp, removed the air filter and while cranking the engine over, played the blow lamp over the air intakes. Heyyy.....Presto gadunk, gadunk, gadunk, what a relief.
Letting the engine run for a while to get warmed up I noticed the output shaft of the gearbox going round, thinking this was just oil drag I put my foot on the flange to stop it......nope, it's in forward gear? moving the gear shift one notch back we have reverse, so, where's neutral?
I started to play about with the gear shift and found neutral a few degrees back from what should be neutral. So, the reason the starter motor is running slow and getting hot is.....we're in gear all the time.
Next job, gear box top off and find out what's amiss.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Due to the amount of condensation on the inside of the boat, we were limited to what we could do this weekend. As we lay the false floor, we normally paint the hull sides, give the bottom of the boat and the bottom chine angle the rust treatment but, the condensation was so bad we were just wasting our time and more importantly.......money!

To make progress, Andrea got on with creosoting the floor I'd put together on Friday and we'll have to take it back up again to paint underneath when conditions are better. Meanwhile, I tinkered about in the engine 'ole making the exhaust pipe and various bits and bobs.

The problem we've got now, we seem to have quite a collection of junk in the hold, albeit usefull junk such as an old Stratford stove, various oil drums, a Gardner engine and load of wood I just might need one day. This has to be moved periodically to enable work to progress, so we spend quite a bit of time shifting stuff around, rather like one of those little games we used to have as kid, where you have to shuffle letters round a square frame with only one spare space. Something has got to go!

On Sunday with the exhaust complete, oil in the engine and battery wired up, I thought I'd give the engine a whirl. Well.....It was more of a grunt than a whirl, things wern't spinning quick enough to make it fire. The battery had just come off charge so there's nothing wrong there, the only thing it could be is that with eveything being so cold, the oil had thickend up. Time for a bit heat then, got the blow lamp out (big blow lamp) and gave all the engine a good warming and tried again........no go!
The engine has an hand start facility so I though I'd give it a good hand crank (if you'll pardon the expression) to see how hard it was to turn over. I could spin it faster than the dam starter motor so, it looks like there's something wrong with the newly re-wound motor.
After trying to start the engine several times by hand, I am now completely knackered and calling it a day.......Pub here we come.