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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 maintance

I am planning to carry out my first engine service and have 2 questions on my thorneycroft 2 cyl engine circa 1991
1. my book says use 10w30 engine oil but i can only buy 10w40 will this make any difference
2. i am going to change the fuel filter will i have to bleed the system after fitting the new one my book says that the pump has a mechanical pump
any other advice you could give me would be well received
many thanks

Asked by: Jim Bratt  | Wednesday 23 February, 8.34pm | 2 answers

Selling a self build Narrow boat

I am planning to buy a second hand boat, strip it and fit it out myself. I want to sell it straight away. I am told there are certain standards and safety issues that have to be addressed before selling the boat on. Can anyone please advise me.
Many thanks

Asked by: Ray Sutton  | Sunday 20 February, 1.27pm | 2 answers


I was hoping to cruise the LLangollan canal this year but have been told with a draft of 66cm.this is not possible is this true.

Asked by: CHRIS ANDERS  | Saturday 19 February, 11.23am | 2 answers

Route question

I'm planning a journey. I'd like to go from Nottingham to London, eventually ending up on the river Lee i east London.
I'm planning to head down the Leicester line of the Grand Union, but then I face a choice and was wondering what someone with experience of both routes would suggest.
The first option, to carry on down the Grand Union seems the most straight forward, but involves lots of locks and goes through some not very exciting places like Milton Keynes!
The other option down the Oxford canal then to London on the Thames appears to have far fewer locks and potentially prettier countryside but the dangers of a big river and risk of being stuck due to river levels. I'm planning to travel in late March and April.
Does anyone know which route is quickest? and any other advice gratefully received.

Asked by: Annwen  | Thursday 17 February, 4.32pm | 1 answer

Return pipe on Lister engine

What is the best stuff to use on diesel leakage on a return pipe.

Asked by: Lynne  | Wednesday 16 February, 1.41pm | 2 answers

LPG supply pipe size?

Please could you advise me on the size of LPG supply pipe (low pressure side 37mbar)I require in my narrowboat to feeda free standing oven/hob on a run of approx 9 meteres.the one fitted is 10 mm but not sure if this is adequate this is the only gas appliance that will be on the boat.please advise. thank you

Asked by: Ray Fleckney  | Wednesday 16 February, 11.45am | 1 answer

boat fit out

I am re-fitting out a 12 year boat 60ft.It had slab insulation which I shall replace.I am going to put 25mm thick foil backed polyurethane between the steel support framework, then fix 50 x 25 wood battens to the sreel frame every third bit of steel framing on the side of the boat. On the roof I will run 3 wooden battens length wise which will be used to fix the oak ceiling panels.I am worried about condensation as some steelwork will be left exposed as will the foil backing on the insulation which could cause condensation to drip on to the wooden roof linings when it gets very cold and I light the wood burning stove. Should I have all steelwork covered with insulation.

Asked by: boatfitout  | Sunday 13 February, 9.44pm | 3 answers

hot water system

i am starting a self fit out of a 32ft steel hulled boat. the boat doesnt have an in board engine but i would still like to use a calorifier linked to a backburner on the solid fuel stove. to me it makes sense using the excess heat this way,but i would like a back up source of hot water for times when the woodburner is not in use or just to bring the preheated water from the calorifier to a comfortable showering temperature. the ideal solution would be, i think, an instant gas hot water heater controlled by a thermostat which would kick in whenever the water wasnt at the desired temperature. the only water heaters i can find simply raise the incoming water temp by 25c or so with no control over this. i can imagine a problem with dangerously hot water coming out of the taps.
do you know of an instant hot water heater which can be used like this or have any other suggestions for my hot water needs. the boat is not really long enough to warrent having full central heating, and energy efficiency is very important to me, thanks theo.

Asked by: Theo  | Saturday 12 February, 11.29am | 2 answers

prop distance

is there any proper distance between stern tube and prop ie min or max

Asked by: bruce  | Friday 11 February, 10.58pm | 3 answers

Bread maker

I have a 2,500 kva mastervolt Dakar Inverter with four domestic batteries. If a bread maker is listed at a max of 550w is it alright to run without engine? If I did this how long would it take to flatten the batteries? Can anybody help or recommend a bread maker.

Asked by: Robert Bush  | Monday 7 February, 5.33pm | 5 answers

battery bank

I would like to have a deep cycle battery bank 3 x 135Ah (405Ah) and one starter battery 110Ah. I found on internet that suggested ratio alternator to battery bank is 20-25%. I would like to ask you about the confirmation please.
The second issue is the localization of battery bank. My boat is traditional narrowboat so the olnly space I can think about is the current place of the batteries under the deck. Do you think it is safe as it is confined space? Currently one leisure heavy duty and one starter batteries are there but with more batteries there would be more hydrogen from charging...
Kind Regards

Asked by: Joanna and Jarek   | Monday 7 February, 4.25pm | 4 answers

Underfloor heating on a narrowboat

Hi, I am interested in fitting a wet underfloor heating system as a primary heat source in my boat, which is 58ft long. I have been advised that most of the heat will be lost downwards in the bilge, is this true or can the floor be sufficiently insulated without losing too much headroom? Also, is there a way of calculating the amount of heat needed and what centres the pipes should be set at? Many thanks, Isaac Davis

Asked by: Isaac Davis  | Friday 4 February, 3.56pm | 5 answers

tv aerial

what is the best type of small tv aerial for use in a bad signal area.must be able to pick up freeview channels

Asked by: christopher smith  | Sunday 30 January, 5.59pm | 3 answers

Help with fitting out a boat in cambridge

We have bought our first boat its 42ft and have not got a clue where to begin as its a shell.
We contacted a marina and it would cost mega thousands to kit out.
Has anyone any ideas of builders or workers that can help plan and design our boat please.

Asked by: susan  | Sunday 30 January, 12.40am | 4 answers

Engine and prop. shaft problems (leaks)

Here are 2 novices in narrowboat world who are in the process of buying the boat. We felt in love with a boat which was over our budget so to cut the cost we unwisely cut the surveys (it comes with new BSC). The engine sounds good and the first impression was the same but few days later I brought better light and found the leaks around the engine.
First there is a bowl sprayed with black grease around with a bilge pump under the propeller shaft, here is a photo:
Then I found the pot under the engine half-full of engine oil:
and one of the valves shows some small leak too:
There were not any leaks when we tried it today for half an hour (mostly idle gear)
Well, we should take the survey before but could anyone suggest us how serious and expensive can it be to repair? The brokerage (or the owner) does not want to agree for a service now (we would pay for it), before changing the ownership so we are a little suspicious. My wife wants to pull out and just loose the £1000 deposit but I would find some money to fix it if it is not very expensive. The boat seems to be very good except the engine.
Could anyone share his/her experience or give a piece of advice please?
Thank you already.
Kind Regards
Jarek and Joanna

Asked by: Joanna and Jarek   | Saturday 29 January, 7.23pm | 4 answers

Boat insulation

The insulation on my boat is between the roof ribs only, leaving the bottom of the ribs exposed causing water marks on the roof panals(one inch gap between bottom of ribs and roof panals),the builder says this is to allow for ventilation to carry the moisture away. But this is not happening as it is dripping onto the roof panals and penetrating through them leaving water stains. Should all the steelwork be covered with insulation?

Asked by: David Anderson  | Saturday 29 January, 4.46pm | 1 answer

water tank leak

We have a leak in steel tank on 1970's springer narrowboat, any suggestions to fix

Asked by: Lynne  | Saturday 29 January, 1.56pm | 1 answer


We are considering fitting a Solarventi Sv3 a Solar powered ventilation system to our new boat -have you come accross this and have any thoughts? We welcome you opinion
Thank you
Steve and Sally Edis

Asked by: SALLY EDIS  | Thursday 27 January, 8.43pm | 3 answers

New cooker

We want to upgade our cooker to a twin cavity unit, ie separate grill. We need a 500mm wide,(crucial) 600mm deep, 900mm (ish) height freestanding unit, LPG, preferrably 12 volt ignition. I have trawwled the net but there are very few units 500mm wide.
Has anyone got any ideas?

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Monday 24 January, 10.00pm | 3 answers

Solar panels

We are thinking of installing solar panels on our 60' narrowboat - we live aboard for long periods in the summer but the boat is often unattended for equally long periods in the winter. We want sufficient power to keep lights and water pump working on non-cruising days in summer and to keep the batteries alive in winter. Any advice would be useful, thanks.

Asked by: Lynn Barrett  | Sunday 23 January, 4.12pm | 2 answers

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