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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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Replacement gearbox?

We Have a Hurth HBW50 gearbox on our 30foot narrowboat the engine is a lister petter LPWS2. The gearbox has failed 3 times in the last 10 years. We are rluctant to repair/replace with another Hurth gearbox is it possible to fit a PRM box instead?

Asked by: graham Wright  | Friday 18 January, 3.19pm | 2 answers

Fitting Accumulator and Expansion tanks to water system

I have decided to install an accumulator and also an expansion tank in our boat's water system, hoping to gain two benefits:
1. To stop the irritating "kick" the pump makes every few minutes, which I assume is due to the water pressure falling downstream of the pump, causing it to cut in briefly to re-pressurise the system (we have to switch the pump off at night so we can get to sleep). There are no leaks in the system, so I am guessing that the pressure drop is due to water being forced the wrong way back through the pump.
2. Extend the life of the calorifier by reducing the pressure stresses on it and preventing warm water finding its way back into the cold water feed and coming out of the cold tap.
My question is about where to place the non-return valve(s). I realise I need one to isolate the expansion tank and calorifier from the pump and cold water side, but am wondering if it would make sense to fit another one between the water pump and the accumulator? I'm concerned the pressure from the accumulator will continue to force water back through the pump as well as pressurising the system as its supposed to.
Please confirm if I am right in thinking the accumulator needs pressurising to somewhere bewteen the pump's cut in and cut out pressures and the expansion tank needs pressurising to something a bit less than the pressure relief valve setting on the calorifier?
Many thanks for your advice.

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | Tuesday 15 January, 5.42pm | 5 answers

Passenger numbers

I own a 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat and several friends want to visit! It's a four berth (fixed double and convertible settee in the lounge) - what would be a safe number of people to take on short trips to show them the boat?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Monday 14 January, 3.36pm | 1 answer

Water in Bilge

My 60 foot narrowboat is just under 2 years old. I recently found that the "builder" had vented the pressure relief pipe from calorifier down under the floor of the boat. A fairly substantial amount of water had collected in the bilge and also travelled into adjacent compartments. I have cut hatches in the floor, removed ballast bricks and dried out as much as I can although some foil backed lagging between the ply floor and cross beams has held some residual damp. Other than a complete strip and refit of the entire floor, does anyone have any suggestions as to my best course of action (other than taking the builder to court).

Asked by: peter willard  | Sunday 13 January, 8.38pm | 5 answers

TV installation

I am installing a TV on our narrowboat and wonder what the best sort of aerial is. We cruise the fenland rivers and bridge headroom is often low so we'd need something sitting low on the roof, or demaountable.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Saturday 12 January, 2.39pm | 3 answers

Pram canopy and cratch cover

Can anybody recommend a company to supply and fit a pram canopy and cratch cover for a 60 x 10 widebeam narrowboat. We are based in Essex.

Asked by: Alec McCann  | Sunday 6 January, 7.22pm | 1 answer

loo talk

What is bthe current state of debate surrounding pump out Vs cassette? I have an old pumo out and I am considering converting to cassette. Any thoughts would be warmly welcome. Mike.

Asked by: mike bellion  | Sunday 6 January, 11.49am | 4 answers

Water Pump

We have just found that our pump has failed, this is for our main water supply, currently we have a Jabsco Par-max 2.9 auto model 31395-0292, this was fitted when the boat was built and is coupled with an accumulator tank. my question is is replacing this with a like for like the best option? obviously there would be no pipe work modifications required but as i have read this is not meant for long periods of constant use and as the shower would mean it is running for about 10 minutes at a time i am concerned that this may be why the unit failed (bearing on pump head siezed)
also is there any water filters/strainers that i could use to protect the pump better in future?

Asked by: Carl Merry  | Wednesday 2 January, 9.23am | 1 answer

Solid fuels central heating?

Hi, I'm spending my Christmas planning our first self fit NB (thank you for all the helpful tips and advice already here)
The problem I'm tackling at the moment is heating. I feel that for most live aboard situations central heating would not really be necessary as in cold weather the wood stove would be on most of the time and with such a small space to heat and with good insulation I get the impression that the biggest problem is keeping cool!
However, with an eye on resale value, and how radiators seem to be a selling point. I was wondering if it is possible to use a back boiler to feed radiators and to supply hot water?
Most of the information I have found on such things say either that you will need an expansion tank (not possible as far as I'm aware on a boat) or that they require a pressurised system, but that most if not all boat stove suppliers say that this system is not safe to use with there fires.
Is there a solution or is it simply not possible or not advisable?
Thank you for your time

Asked by: Carole  | Thursday 20 December, 10.44pm | 1 answer

Water supply

Last year I got fed up with all the plusing and noise when the water pump was running, so I fitted a accumulater on the output from the pump which has made a big difference. Would you recomend that I also fit one on the hot water output from the calorifier, however this would be located in the engine bay. Also what is the best way to set the pressure in the accumulaters.

Asked by: David Anderson  | Sunday 16 December, 1.07pm | 1 answer

online subscription

I have just received a gift of 12 months subscription,I am logged in but
Unable to open any of the magazines

Asked by: Bob Witterick  | Friday 7 December, 3.49pm | no answers yet - add one

Internet access

I want to be able to access the internet when at the marina and when cruing, unsing my laptop from home. What do I need in order to do so?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Sunday 2 December, 2.17pm | 2 answers

removing transfers

I bought a boat last summer that was a quality build by Amber boats. I would like to remove some on the letter transfers on the side indicating where the boat was previously moored. The boat was built 2008 and has very good paint work in original black. Please can you advise the best way of removing the letters without damaging the paintwork and appearance of the boat?
Phil Hill, Litchfield

Asked by: Phil Hill  | Monday 26 November, 8.33pm | 1 answer


Hello, I have a 60ft narrowboat which is stuck in a marina on tha Avon and due to the strong currents and flooding cannot get to a pumpout or diesel pump. I would normally drain the waste tank and fill the fuel tank but in the circumstances would 2 x 150 watt wardrobe heaters and a de-humidifier (conneted to shore mains)be sufficient to prevent pipes freezing or other damake if temperatures drop. The engine has anti-freeze and an insulating blanker. Should I drain the water tank? I will be going to stay on the boat one or two nights a week. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Asked by: Alan Denney  | Monday 26 November, 1.11pm | 1 answer

burnt out boat 57ft

i have a 57ft canal boat full steel with 1.8 bmc engine that the inside has burnt out and all windows now gone .nice project offer around 3k call dan in oxfordshie on 01869 346990

Asked by: dan chester  | Monday 19 November, 9.56pm | 1 answer

Portable Starter Battery charger

We have a narrow boat but have no shore power at the present time. We are having solar panel fitted soon however the starter battery is quite often dead when we go to start it. I am looking at buying a portable battery starter pack to attach and start the engine battery. As a novice to boating I would like to know if these are powerful enough to start the engine battery. We have recently had new battery but have not been to the boat for a while.
Thankyou. Mark

Asked by: MARK HURRY  | Saturday 17 November, 12.30pm | 3 answers

widebeam boat lifting yorkshire

where can i get my 24 ton boat lifted on to a lorry around south yorkshire

Asked by: miles halls  | Friday 16 November, 11.00am | 1 answer

Navigation from midlands to the south east

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to navigate from the Cheshire/Manchester area to my home town on the river stort?
I will be buying a boat next year to live aboard and there is not much choice in my home area but plenty in the midlands, if I could buy there and be sure I could navigate down to the lee/stort I would save on haulage and the trip would be much more fun. Also there is the question of size limitation, I would like to get a boat of around 57' x 10' but I believe that there are some narrow canals in places on the way so a wide beam may be the wrong choice for me. If anyone has made this trip or just parts of it and can help I would much appreciate some advice.

Asked by: Carole  | Sunday 11 November, 9.24am | 3 answers

Toilet advice please

Hi, sorry about the summery I have just noticed that! Moveng swiflty.
We are looking to buy our first live aboard boat and amungst other things I'm not sire which would be the best type of toilet to go for, i.e. Casste, porta potty or pump out? In addithion I would add that we do have another problem to considder as my partner suffers from IBS and as such will be using the toilet more often than most.
Thankyou for any advice.

Asked by: Carole  | Saturday 10 November, 9.36pm | 1 answer

Isolation transformers

Dear Sir.
I have recently been revisiting an article in your December 2009 issue regarding earthing boats, and isolation transformers.
My boat has a domestic bank of two 110Ah batteries and uses an inverter for supplying onboard 240V. Could you please tell me if a mains operated battery charger (from shore power supply) to directly charge the domestic battery bank can be regarded as an isolation transformer, both from the safety point of view and also from the electrolytic corrosion point of view. I take it there would need to be a shield between primary and secondary windings. Is a standard automotive charger likely to have this or some special marine version required.
Many thanks for your help.
Kind regards
Paul Rawson

Asked by: paul rawson  | Thursday 8 November, 11.34pm | 1 answer

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