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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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Engine oil change

I had a full engine service in May 2013. I have now finished for the year and the boat is in a marina. If I myself using the hand pump supplied with my Vetus M4.17 engine change the engine oil and filter now, do I need to change it again in April next year. The oil will only have sat in the engine sump for 5 months and should not have lost any of its viscosity or has more changes throughout the winter occurred to effect the oil, what would you advise please.

Asked by: David Anderson  | Monday 21 October, 2.18pm | 2 answers


Who are the best wide beam boat builders?

Asked by: Tony Spruce  | Saturday 19 October, 7.54am | 4 answers


How do boat builders know what weight of ballast to put in the bilge so that the boat floats level and the right depth. I understand they know weight of most things in engine room but their are many other facts to take into equation.

Asked by: Mr Vernon Whitehair  | Friday 18 October, 9.19am | 1 answer

fuel in bilge

I appear to be getting some fuel in my bilge water. What might be wrong?

Asked by: Celeste  | Wednesday 16 October, 7.23pm | 2 answers

Galvanic Isolator Inneffective

I had my hull surveyed a few months ago which showed quite a lot of corrosion pitting. I was concerned that this will continue to happen, so I fitted a new galvanic isolator because I was getting strange readings on my multimeter across the old galvanic isolator. I still get strange readings, and after much checking of my boat's system, eventually I connected a cable directly to the shore power socket (with live & neutral wires made safe) and measured the resistance between the shore power electrical earth and the boats hull. This was 160 ohms. As I was expecting a reading of 'infinity', or close to that, 160 ohms is a surprise. There are no other connections to the shore, other than the (dry) nylon ropes and the (rubber) fenders.
As there is clearly a bypass round the galvanic isolator, it will do nothing. Do you have any clue as to how I can electrically isolate my boat from the earth?

Asked by: FlatBattery  | Sunday 6 October, 6.32pm | 4 answers

info on making my 25`grp hulled cruiser into a narrow boat

I have a 25` in-board 60hp engined cruiser not sure of make as when I bought it the chap had a bespoke ply and wood housing on top,with low hight bedroom and loo with a step up into the steering part, as I will not be taking it to sea would like to make it more like narrow boat inside with living space any thoughts would be good or design ideas better thanks

Asked by: Rab Mcleash  | Friday 4 October, 5.36pm | 2 answers


Bought five 110 leisure batts two years ago. I am mostly in a marina with shore power and the charge showing on the monitor is 105, having been out for 6 weeks I run engine for 3hrs, monitor shows 40-50%, when engine is turned off batteries will slowly rise to 80%, at night I turn everything off, except fridge, and monitor shows 55-60%, in morning it reads 0% and have to run engine to get it up to 80%. Is this a sign that I need new batteries? If so, what type? Maintenance free? Gel? Cheap ones every 2 years? Any advice welcome. Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Thursday 3 October, 10.12am | 1 answer

Gear box

I have 120 gear box on 35hp isuzi engine when i have been cruising for about 3 to 4 hours it will not go into forward gear after slowing down in reverse,can you HELP.

Asked by: Eddie Kingswell  | Wednesday 2 October, 9.56am | 3 answers

Aldi boiler

I've got an Aldi boiler that has a very slow water leak in the state somewhere. I will get it fixed soon! But, in the mean time, how do I top up the system? I can't see a header tank or anywhere obvious to put water and antifreeze in to it?

Asked by: Carl Young  | Thursday 26 September, 1.27pm | 3 answers

Inverter question below

Further to my question below about the inverter showing a fault when the engine is running
I've got a victron monitor which says that the voltage going in is 14.84. So, a bit over the 14.5. Is that enough to tip it over?
What can I so to reduce the voltage?
The engine is a year old Beta 38 with 120 hours on it and under guarantee.

Asked by: Carl Young  | Thursday 26 September, 1.24pm | 5 answers

What depth should the rudder be?

We bought a 10 year old 58' semi trad narrowboat for cruising this year which had previously been used as a liveaboard in a marina, complete with washing machine. Now that the boat is lighter, it has been commented that the rudder is not sitting as deep in the water as it should. What depth should we be looking for and how can we achieve it? Also, what power will we need to run the washing machine whilst cruising, or do we need to remove it (which will make the stern even lighter). Thanks

Asked by: chrissy  | Monday 23 September, 10.47am | 3 answers

Inverter doesn't work with engine running

I've just replaced my 3000w modified sine inverter with a 5000w pure sine. Brilliant, it runs my PS3 and espresso machine, which is why I bought it. I thought all was well. But, I took the boat out today for the first time since fitting it and as soon as I turned the engine on, the inverter threw up a fault light and stopped working. Turn the engine off again and it's works perfectly. What's going on? How does it even know my engine is running when its drawing power from my batteries (5 x 110a all new). The 3000w ran perfectly. Thank you.

Asked by: Carl Young  | Sunday 22 September, 3.00pm | 2 answers


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

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