Monday, May 10, 2021

Yee Haah!

 Quite a number of my readers will have met my (very) old pal Rick and some of them know that he is officially a brilliant engineer.  What that's what his boss said at his retirement do anyway. Not only that but he can mend clocks, build walls, make a Stirling engine, make seedy cake and jam, and a host of other intantorium things I haven't got time to mention tonight.   However today he excelled himself.  I invited him over to Herbie to see if we could start her recalcitrant BMC engine.  All it was doing was coughing and spluttering and giving the starter battery too much stick.

"What shall we try then " said Rick.  "Are the glow plugs working?"  "I very much hope so" quoth I, remembering what a pig they were to install when I fitted new ones.  A glance at the voltmeter showed it drop when I turned the key, which is always the sign that the plugs are taking plenty of current.  I pronounced them fit and healthy.

"I reckon she's not getting the fuel through", I suggested, and reached for the little ring pull on the fuel lift pump giving it a dozen or so tugs.  A tiny bit of diesel wept out of the top joint of the fuel filter.  "Well there's some there now, let's try her again"

The engine coughed and spluttered, hiccuped , coughed some more then hey presto she burst into song.  Ta daa!  So I suppose it was some air in the fuel line, probably caused by a weeping leak somewhere.  BMC engines, just like old British motorbike engines are not the best at keeping fluids securely inside.

I'm convinced that it was Rick's mere presence at the scene that made the engine decide to co-operate.  He didn't even lay hands upon her, but she knew she was in the presence of engineering genius.  Mind over matter.

Earlier in the day I had a miraculous result in fixing a water tap.  We have a little tap that dispenses filtered water and after a long winter's lack of use it had stuck open.  What a potential disaster that was.  As soon as I switched on Herbie's electric water pump, the little tap let forth a stream of  the precious fluid but the pesky thing wouldn't turn off.  You can hardly go boating with a water tap on all day can you?

I removed the knob from the top of the tap and set about trying to loosen the nut which gives access to the washer.  Would it move?  No. Hmmm. I supposed I would have to remove the tap and take it home to have a better go at it, or else buy a new tap.  Dejectedly I replaced the tap knob and gave it a twist and suddenly it worked. In fact it worked rather more smoothly than it has done for a year or two. Ours not to reason why, dear reader, but it's fixed anyway.  Job's a good 'un.

So a good result all in all.  Herbie is now reasonably fit to go cruising.  As soon as we get some half decent weather, we'll be off.


Halfie said...

If by "half decent weather" you mean pouring with rain only half the time, then you might as well get going now!

Mike Todd said...

A long established principle of fault fixing (in whatever discipline) is that if you 'fix' something (ie make the symptom go away) without understanding what was the cause then the odds are very much on the side of having the problem re-appear, usually when you can least afford it! I am always very worried when a problem 'just goes away'.

Herbie Neil said...

Mike, you're right. In hindsight, I do have a theory on the tap but it's not possible to test in retrospect, However if it happens again I have an idea what to check.

************** Brian and Diana on NB Harnser******** Maps by said...

I use to have the same thing with an old diesel Landrover. When I got home after 2 weeks away I would work the lift pump several times before attempting a start. If I didn't I had to bleed all the rotary pump and injectors, That little bit of air would shoot into the rotary pump and it was end of play, tickle the lift pump and we were away first time. I do the same thing when we get back to the boat, just tickle the lift pump before attempting a start.

Oakie said...

Stronghold had to be jump started, but 12 secs on glow plugs and started first time. Clearing out the inside now and up for sale shortly. A sad time after 15 yrs, but it comes to us all eventually.

Herbie Neil said...

Oh dear Ray, you'll be missed on the cut. I would think Stronghold will be a good buy for someone, you've looked after her so well. As you say it does come to us all eventually - Anno Domini and al that. We're not feeling so energetic ourselves. This year we're opting for 'easy' cruising and avoiding too many hard locks. If you fancy a short trip sometime, you'll be welcome on Herbie.

All the best

Neil & Kath