George and Mildred (pictured left) stood by to remind me of the most important thing about changing batteries on a narrowboat.
|Some of the swept up loose rust just using the crow bar.
|The starter battery sits just on the right. To the left is the one remaining domestic battery that is keeping the fridge going. All the live cables are wrapped in rag and plastic bags.
|The whole area has been coated with rust converter a chemical that reacts with the rust hopefully stopping it.
Sometimes timing works in our favour during our day to day lives be they on land or water.
The batteries have been in about two weeks so with the solar our stored power is at full capacity. Yesterday our engine decided it would start and perhaps tick over but would not run any faster. Sometimes it decided it would run at a fast tickover so Jaq could use the washing machine but then decide to cough and splutter after 30 minutes and die before the final rinse.
Well all sorts of thoughts start rushing through the brain cells from electrical problems perhaps in the ignition (unlikely on a diesel) to fuel bug. Always think the worst, blocked fuel lines, filters and injectors and work from there. Fuel bug was quickly eliminated as I had recently changed the engine based fuel filter and the water separator filter both contained clear fuel with no signs of bug. Air in fuel line was my next thought but the Vetus set up is self bleeding so this was unlikely.
The Electric fuel pump has to be the next port of call. All connections seemed ok but with the ignition on no sound or vibrations came from the pump, interesting. So remove the outlet pipe from the pump and with ignition on......nothing, fuel should have been flowing. That is the point you smile and shout silently "yes". The problem is still there but it feels good to identify it.
We now have to go back to 2012 and a similar thing happened on the Llangollen. An RCR (River Canal Rescue) engineer came out and discovered the check valve inside the pump had flipped over. The link HERE. Its the yellow centre sitting in a metal cup. So instead of changing the pump he fixed it, took him seconds to flip it back.
Move on 18 months and fuel pump problems on the Thames. This time RCR came out and I just let them change the pump albeit one that was in my opinion less efficient than the original but having to wait for one to be ordered was not possible at the time. I did however keep the original because I had a feeling I knew the problem. It took me seconds to fix after the engineer left.
In case any non boater is wondering why I didn`t just fix the pump myself instead of calling RCR the answer is tidal. We were soon to be entering the tidal part of the Thames on our way to Brentford and you do not want fuel pump problems on the trip.
So to the present and I have a pump that when I applied temporary power to hummed and sang out "i`m ready just fit me" so I did and all is well.
|From the Vetus catalogue note the price. If you have this type remember there is a filter inside that needs changing regularly. Twist end cap off and filter and check valve are revealed.
|The check valve that caused the problems. The Yellow ball and the metal it sits in turns on it`s side and just needs pushing back with say a tooth pick.
|The replacement fitted by RCR. No internal filter and costs about £35 on internet.
|The one I have just ordered from Amazon. £24 delivered click and collect to a location of my choosing further along our cruising route. Just can`t see £300+ difference to the Vetus one pictured higher up the page.