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Q & A

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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what is the raysheo of anti freeze for an espass diesel heater for my central heating on narrow boat thanks

Asked by: janet alderson  | Tuesday 17 September, 8.40pm | 1 answer

BMC 1.8 Random Engine Acceleration

I have 20 year old Calcutt Marine BMC 1.8 engine in my narrow boat. It was re-tuned by them 18 months ago after fitting new injectors and injection pump. It has now started to randomly accelerate and misfire at normal cruising speed, which improves slightly as the engine warms up, I have replaced both fuel filters but this has made no difference. Could this problem be due to air getting into the fuel system, if so how? Any help would be most appreciated.
Many thanks Peter Heath

Asked by: Peter Heath  | Monday 16 September, 7.26pm | 2 answers

Lister SR2 Issues

We bought a 45' narrowboat last year fitted with a Lister SR2 air-cooled engine and a 16" prop (pitch unknown). I find it won't go much above 3mph without overheating and over a period of a couple of hours or so the oil pressure gradually drops to 10psi at that speed and looks as if it is continuing to drop slowly. Stopping and manoeuvring are poor. The air intake to the engine compartment is only 290x130mm. The cooling air comes off the manifold, turns a right angle into a rectangular box 130x100mm and 700mm long, then another right angle into two 160mm dia hoses to the outlet which is also 290x130mm. This appears from the manual to be inadequate cooling so would a fan in the duct help and would a new prop be a help? The space between the skeg and underside of the boat is 20".

Asked by: Andrew Strawson  | Thursday 12 September, 5.17pm | 1 answer

Inflexibility of Nylon Rope

Some years ago I bought a reel of 14mm white nylon rope with the intention of making up my own lines. The rope has a lot of stretch in it, which seems an asset. When new it is soft and pliable but with some use it quickly becomes stiff and unwieldy, but then develops more give as it ages, but never gets back to the soft feel it had when new.
Any ideas on why this is and, more importantly, any ideas on what I might do to treat it?

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | Wednesday 11 September, 9.33am | 2 answers

What colour paints last the longest?

We are about to have our boat stripped and painted so we can change her colours. Which colours tend to look good the longest. Red we understand fades badly, so what do readers think last the longest?

Asked by: Marian Birks  | Monday 9 September, 9.11pm | 1 answer

Squeaking inverter

Just bought a narrow boat a few days ago.
On Monday I cruised 2,5 hrs after picking up. On Wednesday I started the engine to charge the batteries then switched on the inverter to charge my phone. After about 20 minutes a terrible noise came from the inverter, so switched it off. Since that time whenever I try to switch it on does the same, so I'm unable to use it.
Any idea what could it be and what shall I do to have 240V?
Thanks a lot for the kind help, I'm really desperate as I moved on her and can't use the sockets :-(

Asked by: Andrea   | Sunday 8 September, 7.05pm | 2 answers

Fire extinguishers

How many fire extinguishers should I have on my 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Saturday 7 September, 3.15pm | 3 answers

Sanitation hose odour

We have noticed an increasing plastic type smell next to our holding tank. This is not the same as when pumping out, and seems to be coming from the flexible hoses connecting the loo and the tank. Can anyone suggest a remedy? The boat is just over a 18 months old.

Asked by: John Phillip Lloyd  | Wednesday 4 September, 3.33pm | 2 answers


I think we need new batteries for a 59"7 narrow boat 4 leisure batteries and .1 starter battery ok . the 4 leisure batteries 2 show red and 2 show green as i can not get 2 of the same make of batteries can you mix diferant makes together thanks

Asked by: janet alderson  | Monday 2 September, 8.20pm | 3 answers

making a dinette

where can I get the plans to build one

Asked by: terry buchan  | Saturday 31 August, 7.26pm | 3 answers

Narrow boat length

What minimum length narrow boat would my partner and I need to tour the waterways system?

Asked by: Terry Quinn  | Sunday 25 August, 3.10pm | 2 answers

Spray foam

My boat is 4 years old and has significant staining on the hull side wood, on closer inspection the underside of the bearers has not been spray foamed, are rusty and dripping with condensation. The builders and spray foam company are saying this is due to a water pump leak we had and that it is standard practice not to cover the underneath of the bearers. The floor is fine, I would expect significant water damage to the floor if this was the case. I would just like peoples opinion on this issue. Thanks

Asked by: Nicole  | Thursday 22 August, 2.09pm | 3 answers

Lister engine

Looking at a well kept 1992 46ft boat with Lister lpw3 27bhp has covered 5616hrs. Acceptable??

Asked by: John Bass  | Wednesday 21 August, 9.17pm | 3 answers


my toilet does no flush on the canal boat its a thedford toilet we have cleaned the potty still does not work any sugestions what to do next

Asked by: janet alderson  | Monday 19 August, 3.06pm | 1 answer

kitchen appliances for canal boat

I bought a 59ft canal boat so what kind o microwave and fridge freezer do I buy as I bought a microwave fro boat but would not work

Asked by: janet alderson  | Monday 19 August, 2.27pm | 1 answer

Raw water cooling

I have a raw water cooled engine and while the water spits out of the exhaust I have another water outlet on the stern side which runs constant stream of cold water only when engine is running, following the pipe it goes to a type of plastic valve then pipes run to engine can you explain what is happening and how to stop it or is this natural, sorry to be a pain as we only picked up boat last weekend thanks jim

Asked by: Jim Bratt  | Friday 16 August, 7.02pm | 1 answer

Boating Forum Q on Overheating

The answer on overheating engines was particularly interesting to me, as I had hoped to avoid these problems by choosing a reputable builder (Evans) and a reputable engine (Beta).
In considering the Alde heat exchanger solution I need to ask if a pump is needed as I assume that my Eberspacher has an integral pump which pushes the water round the system when the heater is on. If a pump is needed, any advice on what and where to fit it would be helpful.
When increasing ventilation, does it have to be outside the boat, or would adding vents inside the boat into the engine room be effective?
Finally, my worst overheating incident occurred when trying to keep up with other boats on leaving Limehouse Lock. Why is it necessary to speed up so much if the passage up the tidal Thames has been properly timed to go up with the rising tide?

Asked by: John Rich  | Thursday 15 August, 9.01am | 2 answers

Hiring a canal boat

Please could you give me advice on the issues around hiring out our canal boat. I have read the MCA boat hire code and BSS website and I am well aware that it's not easy, but it is something that I would like to look in to seriously. A key area is clearly insurance. Can anyone let me know companies that provide such insurance?

Asked by: Richard Stimson  | Tuesday 13 August, 9.36pm | 3 answers

High tick over engine

My vetus 3 cyl engine ticks over at 1500 rpm when book says 850 any idea why and how to lower revs, just bought boat and has been in marina for 12 months could it be water in fuel thanks

Asked by: Jim Bratt  | Tuesday 13 August, 6.54am | 2 answers

Engine gauge issues

I have a Vetus 3 cyl engine and when engine is switched off The rev counter reads 15, also when running engine the volt meter is off the scale +16 make of rev counter and Volt meter is Rimmer
How can I sort this Many thanks Jim NB Ghostrider

Asked by: Jim Bratt  | Monday 12 August, 8.44am | 1 answer

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