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Throttle problem on new narrowboat

A friend has purchased a new narrowboat. The throttle lever is in neutral, the end pulls out and allows boat to go forward. When reversing the throttle lever goes back to neutral and then has to pull arm out again to into reverse. This lever is very stiff and sometimes needs two hands to operate it and thus takes her eyes of where she is going. Also, there is no facility when in neutral to rev the engine for charging batteries when moored. There is only a minute charge showing when the engine is idling. Is this normal for a new boat to have no facility for revving the engine?

Asked by: john potter  | 5.27pm, Saturday 10 July

WW says:

New boats are prone to the odd "snag" It sounds as if something hasn't been assembled correctly, a call to the supplier is meeded, the operation of the single lever control should take very little effort from the operator. Many of the single lever controls are fitted with devices to prevent you from starting the engine while in gear, all the ones Ive experienced have a method of opening the throttle while in neutral for starting purposes. The use of the engine to charge batteries while moored will make you unpopular with neighbouring boaters, and stands a very good chance of damaging the engine in the long term by running for long periods without a load.
The low charge rate could indicate that the batteries are already fully charged.

Mike Jordan  | 6.20PM, Saturday 10 July

Most throttle controls have a way of operating just the throttle, for starting.
This might be a button/lever which is pulled out (or pushed in) to disengage the gear control levers.
Alternatively some controls (often Morse) require you to actually pull out the whole control lever- usually by grabbing the centre of the control (there are often finger indents for this purpose) and then you rotate the control into the ahead position.
It would be highly unusual not to have a "run up" facility in neutral, although the owner might want to take a closer look at the control, or read the manual for the control, which will, presumably, be in the RCD documentation, or available from the control manufacturers website.
It is not often that you have to pull out the control to engage gears (often there is life-up catch, to prevent accidental engaging of gears), but to pull out the control lever suggests that it has been setup incorrectly, as Mike suggests above- and that the gear cable might have been attached to the throttle connection and vice-versa.

Mark Langley  | 12.58PM, Monday 12 July

Readers say:

Thank you. My question is should there not be a facility for opening the throttle whilst in neutral either to faciitate starting or charging the batteries. My reason for contacting you was to get an expert opinion to back up my friend before she went back to the manufacturer.

john potter  | 11.06AM, Monday 12 July

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