Friday, December 22, 2017

To all our readers!

So here we are on shoreline and running the engine until it has done its 10 hours and then Del can check it.. It has been quite good really because we have been able to do loads of things we couldn't have done on the cut.. Today we fixed the immersion heater which had stopped working when we were in Liverpool earlier in the year.. We fitted a new one and it had to be rewired, also as it was warmer, we let the fire go out and fitted the rope on the doors.. The veiws are still stunning here in the morning and we are looking forward to Christmas now..

We are now going to take a break from the blog.. Oh nearly forgot, we haven't heard back from Beta or received our invoice yet..
We just want to wish everyone who reads the blog a very Merry Christmas and lets hope its a fantastic new year..

Rev counter problem

After doing the crankshaft pulleys, Beta asked us for the hours that Derwent6 had done.. When we looked we had a blank screen on the hours gauge.. After looking on the forums we saw that if they have a damp problem they stop working..

When Del was doing the pulley's it was snowing at times, and as light was needed to work on the engine the sliding hatch was left open and the gauges got wet..
Del removed the Rev Counter and dried it out next to the fire, and he also noticed one of the panel bulbs had blown.
We went to the chandlers in Braunston and picked up a few things...... oil, a chimney brush, and some rope for the fire door..
On our return Del fitted the bulbs and refitted the Rev Counter and hay presto it worked..
We have now sent the hours into Beta and are waiting for our invoice.
We are enjoying being on shoreline for the Christmas period and also having a hire car is a nice treat..

Monday, December 18, 2017

Dense Fog for a treat!

It was another cold night and the canal was frozen, but only just. Del got up and started to chop up the wood on the roof to fill up the front locker. Halfway through Al made a nice egg on toast breakfast to keep us going.. When the wood was done, Derwent6 got a quick wipe down and then we set off for a change of scenery..
It had warmed up very slightly and two boats had gone past us breaking up the ice, so we felt it wouldn't do too much damage. The problem was the dense mist which had descended on us, which turned into freezing fog..

We came through Hillmorton and it got like pea soup, so the lights were on.
They are really getting on with the new bridge at Butlers Leap which will be bridge 66A.
We came to Clifton Marina and we were blocked again by boats across the canal and had to wait while they moved them..
With all this fog we did spot some great wildlife, but the concentration levels needed were very high..
Things seemed to clear a bit as you came to the tunnel at Newbold but that changed when you came out the outside..

The fog was now so bad you could hardly see 50 feet in front of you, as you can see from this picture of a boat coming with no lights..
We turned into Brinklow Marina and found it still solid with ice as we pulled onto the services for a pumpout. We cut a path to get there...
Until this engine is sorted and we check our battery situation we feel we need to be on shoreline for a bit, so we have decided to treat ourselves to power and a hire car for Christmas..
It has been a tough week or so, but we got through it. We do like a challenge, we think that's why we do this!.. 

A Catch Up

It was a late start for us as we got in at 2.30am, so our morning started with a cup of tea in bed watching the Strictly final. It was pouring hard with rain outside and it was a nice feeling that Derwent6 was again running under its own power..
We did three hours of engine running so the batteries got a good charge. At 10 hours we have to take the pulley off again and re-check the allen key bolts on the clamp on the crankshaft pulley to see if they have moved, After doing this we will then mark the end of the crankshaft to check future movement.. It also has to be checked again at 40 hours.. If you look at the latest engines they have a adjustable plate fitted on the end of them which it looks like it bolts to the clamp, why haven't we got this design?
We had collected all our Christmas cards from Kent and opened them up over a coffee and a mince pie and then put them up. A big Thank you to all of you that sent one..
We had run our food levels right down, so planned to go out for lunch. We had the car and thought we would go for a nice Sunday roast dinner.
With full tummies and the rain having stopped we made our way back to Derwent6.
In the evening we watched Sports Personality and the Apprentice before going to bed to catch up with more sleep..

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Running at last, to a 30th Birthday

So again it was up early and everything in the engine room ended up on the bed with a old sheet over it..
Del set about trying to split these pulleys and first tried a sander around the end where it was stuck coming off. After a bit of grease it still wouldn't budge, so a bit of brute force was then in action. Terry had a good grinder we could borrow and we ended up taking a lump of the old pulley. Hurray! it fell off...
We bolted it together and then after another check of the clamp we fitted the old and new pulley on the end..
It was then a case of fitting the belts and my god they were tight to get over the pulleys, but were fine when they were on..

We were soon ready for ignition and kept our fingers crossed. The Beta 50 turned over slowly, as the battery had become a bit low, but then burst into action and purred like a kitten.
 It was a lovely sound and feeling to see the batteries getting charged and the water getting hot, it was time to spoil ourselves with a lovely long shower, with one ear on the rotation of the engine in the background..
It passed the first hour with flying colours and so we quickly got ready for the next stage of the day.
After checking and turning off the engine, we locked up Derwent6 and then we jumped in the car we had hired and headed down the M1.
We drove to Kent and popped in at Bernie and Sarah's and picked up our post with all our Christmas cards. We then went into Maidstone and to our nephew Dale's 30th Birthday. It was lovely to get together with some old friends and family just before Christmas. During his birthday speech Dale proposed to his girlfriend Fiona, a lovely surprise!..
It was a lovely evening and we said our goodbyes at midnight and then headed back to the M1. Staying over wasn't an option as we needed to double check the engine. We arrived back to Derwent6 at 2.30am and crashed into bed.. A really exhausting day!

Modified kit arrived

We had to get up early as we had a 7.30am to 10.30am delivery to pick up.. We got a text saying our parcel would arrive at around 10.00am and sure enough it did.. It was the package from Beta with our modified kit in it and we took it back to Derwent6 and inspected it..
You will notice there are only two pulleys, when we need three, so one will have to be bolted to this lot..
We then had to go out and get a 46mm deep socket and found one in a commercial tool shop in Rugby.
So the first thing to do is fit the engine alternator pulley and insert the large 46mm nut. We had to clean up the keyway hole in the crankshaft and then with a slight tap it slides on nice and tight. We then had to tighten the nut and what the instructions don't tell you is how to hold the pulley. We were given advice to remove the starter motor and then told there is a small inspection hatch on the right hand side standing behind the engine.
The torque for this nut in 110 lb/ square foot and this is very tight.
You need to wedge a screwdriver in the teeth of the flywheel and then turn the torque wrench till it clicks.
When this is done you then bolt on the clamp, bolting it to the pulley first and then tightening the small Allen bolts in sequence..
You then need to fit the belt as its easier to adjust and then split the front pulley.. This is harder than it looks and it wouldn't split fully, so it will be getting some heat on it tomorrow in the hope it separates.
We had some help from Terry again with the use of his generator, so we later went out and filled up his fuel can we had used up, thanks again mate..
Tonight we will be going to bed early as we had a early start today, but hope to make more progress tomorrow..

Waiting with freindly boaters

After walking round with a torch all night and watching the battery gauge drop, we decided to turn the fridge off as it was still very cold outside.. Al put some stuff in the engine room where it was coldest and we just kept phoning Beta for an update.. They sent us some information on what needed to be done with this modified kit and it appears you need to fit a clamp on the end of the crankshaft to stop the nut coming undone..
As the batteries got lower we needed to get some charge in them somehow and we had had a couple of kind offers for the use of a separate generator to link up with the inverter which would charge them.. Terry off nb Aqualady was moored in front of us and we linked our two cables together and this gave us some power to the batteries..
Meanwhile we were still talking to Beta, who were very helpful by the way, we were even getting emails at eight o'clock at night.. It ended up that the pulley had been made and a courier would be out first thing in the morning, once payment had been made.. This was a massive relief and together with  watching the needle rise on the gauge, we celebrated by going up the pub and grabbing something to eat. By doing this we also didn't need to use our batteries! It was back and straight to bed for us, still apprehensive about how tomorrow would go.....

Beta 43/50 bottom pulley loose

It was up early and first checking the batteries, they were OK. Al prepared Derwent6 for saving power mode, just in case things didn't go well with the belt problem..
Del set to work on taking the covers of the engine, and one belt was missing completely, while the generator belt was half hanging off and ripped on one edge..
It turned out the domestic belt was completely shredded and lying in the bottom of the engine bay.
  and the jockey pulley had been damaged. This should be completely smooth..
So the first thing was to release the tension on the generator belt and inspect the damage. All was plain to see when the belts were removed. The crankshaft pulley was almost hanging off and held on by the belts. On further inspection the large nut holding it on was finger tight, so it was a call to Beta the engine manufacturer. They seemed very apologetic and told us to remover the pulley and take some pictures. The pulley had to be split by three 8m allen bolts and the nut could be got to easily.
On removing this you could see what damage had been done.
The nut had come loose and then the pulley had been moving on its shaft and its location keyway had been damaged..
It had also wrecked the keyway and caused very slight damage to the crankshaft slot for the keyway to fit in.
 Photos were sent on to Beta for their inspection on to what had gone wrong and we were told we would have to fit a modified kit at a cost of £450.00 plus. We were then told the good news that the pulley had to be made, as all boats are different, and we wouldn't be able to get it till Friday.

So here we were in the middle of nowhere with no engine to charge our batteries. The good thing was we had heat with the wood we had on the roof and two bags of coal. So we had to save power, using everything we had by battery and in the evening lighting candles, very Christmassy!!
If you don't do this you will in the end lose your water pump and your toilet, and you need to drink and poo..
It was an early night for us as it had been a stressful day..


Our coldest night

Wow it was so cold last night, so much in fact we had to get up and put more coal on the fire, minus eleven was showing on the weather station..
When we surfaced we tried to take the bungs out and they were iced in.. The glass on the inside of the double glazed portholes were solid ice..

When we looked outside after managing to get the side doors open we could see there had been a bout of freezing fog which had got into everything and the canal was frozen solid..
The cratch was frosted right up inside and out.

First was to kick the central heating into action and defrost the windows and then we had dripping roof vents which also had ice on the inside. It seemed to travel through the metalwork on the frames which then freezes the glass. It was strange that things didn't seem damp. The fire was roaring and believe it or not Tooty had been out most of the night. I think when he saw the smoke from the chimney he was soon meowing at the front doors.. He came in with snow on his back..
We had breakfast and could feel things warming back up to temperature.. Del then went to run the engine and thought he would check the coolant first.  It was nice to see that the anti freeze had done its job and things had not frozen up. We had to run the engine anyway, so we kept out fingers crossed and started Derwent6 up.. We had a slight new rattle from the engine, but it seemed to be functioning ok, for now..
It was cold all day with the outside temperature staying at around minus two. We did a bit more internet shopping and also planned a bit for Christmas.. We just kept warm to be honest, it still looks very pretty outside and lots of folk were walking by with cameras in their hands..
Come the evening we needed to run the engine again to just top up the batteries. Al wanted to watch a bit of telly and Del played a game..
After about half an hour the rattle noise got a bit louder in the engine room and the revs changed from 1400rpm to about 1000rpm so Del went out into the engine room to see if things were ok. As he got there he heard a loud flapping noise and the engine was straining. The light then came on saying the domestic alternator wasn't charging, so the engine was turned off quickly.. "Sounds like a belt has shredded" Del told Al. It was so cold it was going to be a job in the morning, so we slept on it, not very well we can say.
Lets hope we get the rain tonight and we are looking at water again. watch this space..

Doing Day

As we pulled the bungs out of Derwent6's portholes we expected the canal to be frozen solid but due to it being windy it hadn't. It turned out to be a lovely day and the snow was still fresh and soft to walk on.. Today was going to be a doing day, and we started by sorting out our Christmas cards and our presents we had to send off, and then walking down to the shop to post them all. The towpath was so pretty to walk along, and with the schools all shut round here the kids were out to have fun in the snow..
It was nice to see that the roads were very wet, but clear of snow, but less could be said about the paths. We had to walk very gingerly to the post office, which was up hill, god help us when we have to go back down..
We sorted out our post, and holding on to each other managed to get down the hill and back to the canal. It was nice and warm on Derwent6 and after the kettle had been warming on the stove a nice cup of tea was in order.
It was then back to doing, and we started to wrap up the presents we had on board. It was fun with our Christmas songs playing in the back ground and the snow outside.. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone now..
With nothing on telly we relaxed with some music and sorted out some more Christmas presents, maybe we will pick them up tomorrow if the weather lets us..
Tonight we are due one of the coldest nights of 2017 with a prediction of minus twelve in rural spots (that's us)
So watch this space to see how we get on and lets hope nothing freezes (fingers crossed)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Let it Snow!

As the bungs came out we could see the window coated in snow, it just looked so pretty.
Del was up early and soon making a Mr Frosty.
The snow just kept coming and soon got to about six inches.
It didn't take long before he was ready for action, so look out for him flying around tonight..
Mr Frosty had a selfie with us and we snuggled back inside Derwent6.
Del watched the Arsenal game and then we had a lovely roast Chicken dinner. Our preparation wasn't that good because we ran out of gas, good job we had a spare bottle.
The snow never stopped all day, but it did turn a bit warmer and we got to take some nice snowy pictures..