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Got a technical question or a boating query? Post your quandaries here and pick the brains of the WW team. You can also add your answers to others' questions, or browse through previous answers.

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Failing Leisure Batteries?

The boat we have owned for a year has 3 x 120ah leisure batteries charged from solar panels via an MPT controller, a 55 amp alternator or from a charger when on shore power. The batteries are of indeterminate age.
Our 12 volt system runs led lighting, water pump, a LEC 12 volt fridge and a Webasto heatre (though only rarely). We have recently fitted a 2000 watt inverter but this is rarely switched on.
Recently it appears the batteries are acting very strangely. Over the course of a sunny day, they charge to 14.4 volts. They then rapidly lose charge to 12.8 volts and seem to sit at that voltage overnight with the fridge running. However, if any load is put on them, say the Webasto or the inverter, the voltage immediately drops to below 11 volts and has dropped below 10. When the load is switched off it slowly recovers to about 12.5 volts.
I have disconnected each battery in turn when fully charged; the charge on a multi-meter shows as about 12.7 volts and matches the voltage shown on the solar controller. All three batteries show about the same voltage so it doesn't seem to indicate one particular battery has failed.
We have just changed the starter battery as this had obviously failed; voltage dropped to below 8 volts, wouldn't charge at all. The starter and leisure batteries were probably fitted to the boat at the same time.
Do you think the leisure batteries have lived out their useful life and need replacing? If so, I'm inclined to replace them with 4 x 100ah lead / carbon batteries. Thanks.

Asked by: Darryl Cunnington.  | Wednesday 17 October, 12.00pm | 2 answers


Watermota exhaust

I have nauticus 27 with ford watermota 1100 petrol engine. The exhaust is straight through, water cooled the outlet stops about 100km above that water so is noisy. Can I extend the outlet to under the water surface or would there be too much back pressure

Asked by: laurence  | Saturday 13 October, 1.15pm | 6 answers


over heating engine on rivers only

For those whos engines overheat on rivers only, would it be feasible to add a small radiator with a fan running out of side of hull. Waterline may be a problem if so mount it higher up ??

Asked by: Gary  | Friday 12 October, 2.24pm | 2 answers


Painting ones boat

Not a question just a report of a fatal mistake. We had the paint on our roof bubbling and badly stained by droppings etc. We deduced this required stripping and re-paint. Following advice read and paint manufacturer recommendation we stripped back to bare metal. A long job as removing the sanded surface kills sanding discs etc, and was eventually achieved using 4" blade paint scrappers; hard work but cleaner and successful. Paint application was 4 coats of primer, 2 coats of pre-coat (undercoat) and 2 coats of top coat. The final finish is quite good for an beginner. Whilst applying the pre-coat in the open air we noticed small specks of paint on the sides of the boat which we then had to clean off with white spirit and re-polish, not a quick job. To avoid this when applying the top coat we booking a polly tunnel paint dock and took the precaution to cover the sides with plastic dust sheeting secured at the edges. BIG MISTAKE. On removal of the sheeting after only 6 days we discovered the paintwork on the sides had 'bloomed' in random patches to ruin the paintwork. The paint manufacturer advises that this is not recoverable(T-Cut and polish won't touch it) and a repaint is now necessary.
The moral is be warned. Our attempt to save money by doing the work ourselves has cost us dearly. Lets hope we can now find a professional painter who will do a good job at a reasonable cost. We have all heard of customers who have paid a lot of money for a finish that fails within 12 to 18 months.

Asked by: John Boggis  | Friday 12 October, 12.12pm | 3 answers


Boat company scam

Does the magazine cover stories of boat companies going bust and then starting again under another name only to go bust again, leaving people's lives ruined?

Asked by: costas  | Thursday 4 October, 2.27pm | 4 answers


What's the best way to drain the engine coolant?

I need to change the engine coolant in my Isuzu 42 hp engine as it is of unknown vintage. There is no separate tap or drain point to do this, so I have to remove the hose attachment from the bottom of the skin tank. But the bilge will then be filled with a large amount of toxic liquid, so cannot be just pumped overboard. What are the best ways of extracting and disposing of the old coolant easily and efficiently?

Asked by: Rod Nelson  | Wednesday 3 October, 12.45pm | 1 answer


2-pack on top of bitumen

My narrowboat was blacked only last year, but in the winter I was forced to do some icebreaking and it neatly removed a lot of the bitumen. I wanted to get it done again, and the boatyard is recommending 2-pack epoxy. Your last feature on the subject (October 2017) said 2-pack would last a decade or more - does that apply to icebreaking too?

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Tuesday 4 September, 10.45am | 2 answers


Ironworks Company

Do you know anything about the Ironworks Company, which is named as builder of my 1989 57ft narrowboat? I have searched extensively, but I can find no reference to them, which is a pity as the boat seems to be quite well put together, currently moored at Wenlock Basin in Hackney.
Many thanks in advance
Andrew Drinkwater

Asked by: Robert Cowling   | Tuesday 4 September, 9.53am | 3 answers


Boating and epilepsy

Hi I'm interested in getting a canal boat in a few years. I have epilepsy and I was wondering if I can sail a narrow boat with epilepsy even if I engineered the back of the boat to be safe for me. My seizures can accrue months apart from eachother and are well controlled but I was wondering how I go about been allowed to sail a Narrow boat and with epilepsy if I'm even allowed? I shall look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards Isabel.

Asked by: Robert Cowling   | Wednesday 29 August, 1.22pm | 1 answer


water tank

our water tank has started acting strangely where we cant fill it up! it looks like an air lock - any ideas - we get a mini water spout every 30 seconds or so as we try to fill up.

Asked by: ashley chambers  | Tuesday 28 August, 1.37pm | 3 answers


Gardner engine

My Gardner 4l2 engine has started to race when in neutral, this only happens when engine is hot after say 2 hours of running,anyone know the cause of this, thank you.

Asked by: andy wakler  | Tuesday 14 August, 10.53pm | 1 answer


Electric engine power

Hi, I am thinking about putting an electric engine in to my 39 foot narrowboat and I am trying to find out what kind of power I will need.

Asked by: Fiona  | Thursday 9 August, 8.07am | 1 answer


Oven/grill search

Dear WW,
I'm refitting the kitchen on my 50ft narrowboat, needless to say I have limited space, for ages now I've been searching for a oven/grill (preferably integrated not freestanding) that will fit in the space I have which is 50cm wide and 55cm deep.
Please help, it's driving me to distraction.
Kindest rgds
Paul

Asked by: paul mappley  | Wednesday 8 August, 11.23pm | 3 answers


Smoking exhaust from a Barrus Shires.

My 2007 Barrus Shires 45 which has done in the region of 5500 hours, has recently started to emit a smoke particularly an tick over.
Is this normal or do I have a problem that I need to deal with?

Asked by: Mike Halsall  | Wednesday 8 August, 6.06pm | 1 answer


Prity W12PM WOODBURNER BACK BOILER

New to this so any advise please would be really appreciated. Has anyone used a prity w12pm wood burner 4+12kw and would it be to big for a 57ft
Many thanks

Asked by: ladyt  | Tuesday 7 August, 9.55pm | 4 answers


Water Pump on its Way Out?

Recently our water pump has started making different noises from usual: possibly a bit more gurgly and sometimes seems to run on sightly more than expected after the tap is closed. Although we have had the boat for 11 years, I have no idea if we have an accumulator. There are two mysterious boxes on the hull-side under each side of the pullman dinnette. Should we be buying a new pump at the earliest opportunity? We've had three pumps whist we've had the boat so at that rate we we might be due another one.

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Tuesday 7 August, 1.54pm | 3 answers


Engine vibrations

The engine in my narrowboat, a 3 cylinder Thornicroft 60 on oil filled mounts, is fine when on tickover, but as engine speed increases it starts to vibrate until between 800 and 1000 rpm the vibration of the engine is quite violent. Then at 1100 rpm the vibration stops and doesn't reoccur at higher revs. This has occurred over the last year, before which it ran smoothly at all engine speeds . Any suggestions as to a likely cause. The mounts are about 15 years old.

Asked by: Ian Burns  | Tuesday 31 July, 11.17pm | 2 answers


Blacking over vinyl tar

I found out recently that coal tar products are being banned from January 2019 and my narrowboat was blacked with Rylards Vinyl Tar from new last year and I understand that this product is coal tar based. I've also heard that bituminous blacking doesn't adhere to vinyl tar, so I was wondering which blacking I can use when the time comes, and for touching up any scrapes?
Many thanks

Asked by: Raymond Fowler  | Monday 30 July, 5.01am | 1 answer


Looking fior washer dryer

We are having a boat built. Need to decide on washer /dryer with depth available 540. Have you any suggestions as to a washer dryer? To consider amongst other things; can it do a separate wash cycle and separate dry cycle? Noise? Dimensions? Amount of water used? Quick wash cycle?

Asked by: Di Greasley  | Thursday 26 July, 4.17pm | 1 answer


Narrowboat hull

I am looking to purchase a narrowboat in the near future, and would like to know the Pro's and Con's of a 'Deep V hull'. are there any restrictions concerning depth of certain canals, locks etc. Also boat handling. Thank you.
Regards.
M Haskins

Asked by: marc haskins  | Monday 23 July, 8.27pm | 4 answers

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