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Everything posted by Tony1

  1. Did you have supporting struts underneath the plate? I ask because at the moment I'm leaning towards the wood option, for a few reasons: 1. Soundproofing It was very simple to screw the soundproofing sheets to the underside of a wooden board, whereas with a metal plate the attaching might not be so easy- e.g. I dont want bolts sticking out through the upper surface. 2. Struts needed? The wooden board hasnt needed struts, whereas some folks are saying aluminium does need struts- that means I'll have to cut the soundproofing into sections and fit it around the struts, which I think will be a pain, but it will also reduce its effectiveness 3. Price Wood seems like it will be cheaper 4. Soundproofing again My engine is quite agricultural and a bit noisy. I'm guessing wood dampens the sound better in general, and if I do need extra soundproofing with metal, that's an extra cost It does seem like wood (with some edging on the vulnerable corners) is the path of least complications, and lowest price....
  2. Thanks everyone, thats really useful info. It seems metal could be an option as long as you attach rubber edging to stop rattling etc, and maybe split the large plate into 2 sections to make it easier to lift. But on the other hand, it does seem the typical life of hexagrip can be 10 years or more, and perhaps in my case there has been damage to the edges that was not sealed and allowed water in so that it rotted prematurely. So hexagrip or similar is not as bad as I suspected.
  3. Cheers, that did not occur to me at all. I guess using steel deck plates would solve that issue, but I dont know if steel plates would be practical, with being so heavy?
  4. The engine cover boards on my cruiser stern are getting a bit rotten around the edges, particularly the smaller one over the weed hatch, and some time in the next few months I ought to replace at least the smaller one. I must apologise as I don't know what they are made from- its some kind of ply, coated in a black plasticy film. I think there is a hexagonal pattern on the film, so perhaps it's hexaboard? Anyway, despite the boat having a tonneau-style cover over the stern, which the previous owner would have made use of (in between his periodic visits to cruise the boat), and despite it being about 6 years old, the smaller board is pretty far gone- or at least the outer edges are. Seeing how poorly it's withstood the elements, I don't have a lot of faith in the idea of a wood-based replacement, and I'm wondering about using aluminium chequer plate instead. It'll cost, but it will be a permanent solution. So I was just wondering- has anyone had experience on a boat with metal engine covers (or spoken to people who have these)? Does metal have any serious disadvantages other than cost? I can imagine they'll transmit the engine noise more than wood, so I might need another layer of soundproofing, and I can imagine they will be pretty heavy. The bigger cover is maybe 5ft by 3ft- so maybe I could use two separate sheets to replace that one, to make it easier to lift and manhandle? I'm tempted to try out a replacement metal plate just over the smaller weed hatch section (about 1ft x 3ft) , but before spending any cash I'd be very grateful to know if there are any major cons that might present themselves afterwards to spoil the party.
  5. I definitely didnt allow a few seconds pause between fwd and reverse during my first 2 months aboard- and thats when much of the damage will have been done I'd love a PRM150, but I think to be honest the most cost-effective solution is get another PRM120 and just to go easy on the gearbox, which is where I went wrong when I first got the boat.
  6. Do gearboxes tend to fail every 5-10 years? Its a pretty grim prospect for the boating community... I was probably a bit ham fisted when I first got the boat, but since then I do tend to have half an eye on revs and gear changes, so I'm surprised its gone (if it has gone) this quickly. But its quite possible I've been revving it a bit keenly in reverse when I've been winding, and perhaps the prop has caught up or knocked against something when I got near to the bank- it only has to happen a couple of times to do some real damage. In fact, its very interesting that the loss of power (even in forward gear) became suddenly very noticeable after I'd turned the boat near the Anderton lift and started heading east on our short cruise. I never went closer than 6 feet to the bank in reverse, but maybe that was enough to catch on something. Its also possible the previous owner was a bit more aggressive in his use of the gears and throttle. But it was his 'holiday' boat, and the engine only had 550 hours on it when I got it (about 15 months ago now)- and its still only got a bit over 1,000. I'm sure most of the parts in that gearbox are still going to be in decent condition, and if there is chance this will happen again in a few years, I might well get it fixed up and hang onto it as you say.
  7. That's very kind of you Tracy, and hopefully if a new drive plate looks to be advisable, they will also do that. I'll ask the guy's opinion- although my suspicion is they will be focusing only on the essential work needed to get the boat moving safely again. If something ain't broken (properly), I won't be expecting them to fix it.
  8. Thanks Tracy- I've looked up a few example prices and a new PRM120 seems to go for about £700-£800. I'll just have to see what they offer. I'm still hopeful the guy will see something that is relatively cheap and simple, but I'm preparing myself to be told I need a replacement box. RCR will do the labour as part of their service, and to be honest if they propose a recon box I'm not going to accept that without some negotiation, and I'm happy to pay a few hundred extra if it means getting a new unit- but what I dont want to do is bear the full cost of new unit. If there is a sum to be gotten back as part of a gearbox exchange, I'll make sure they are aware of that, and see if I can it factored into the deal somehow.
  9. Thanks Booke- I think RCR promise to pay for replacement parts up to £1000, but I suspect they retain the option to offer whatever is a cheaper option. So if a new box is £700 and a recon unit is say half that, I think they will probably try to push the recon option to save money. I've no idea how thorough they are- the guy may get inside the unit and identify a knackered clutch, or he may just try out reverse gear, and then say 'replacement box needed'. We shall see- but if a replacement gearbox is on the table as a solution, I hope they will accept an offer from me to pay for the extra cash needed to get a new box.
  10. I had a prolonged session trying to clear the prop- there was a bit more rope round the shaft, and a few twigs had gotten wrapped around since yesterday's session, but it made no difference- still very low on power in reverse, but seemingly normal power in forward (as best I can tell). I've given up and called RCR, and hopefully they'll have a guy out tomorrow to do an initial diagnosis, so I'll keep you posted on his findings. My hope is that its the reverse clutch, and its a cheap/quick replacement job.... I'd be surprised if they suggest a new gearbox as its only 6 years old, and most of the parts are probably in better nick than the ones I would get if they were to offer me a recon unit. I'm hoping if that's the way it unfolds, I can can offer them the extra money required to buy a new gearbox- I have a bit of a distrust of recon units after a recon car engine blew up on me years ago- what a waste of money that was...
  11. That's a good shout, thanks Tony I'll do that
  12. Thanks David, I'll have another go at the prop before calling anyone out, I did get a lot of crap off it yesterday but there's a chance I could have missed some, as I was in kind of a hurry. The gloves do impede your feel somewhat, and make it harder to tell whats there, so I might give it a try with a bare arm.
  13. I wanted to give a quick update and a correction to my earlier description of the problem. It was hard to tell in the failing light yesterday, but I tried reverse again this morning and there is some (slow) backwards movement. The prop shaft is also turning in both directions when fwd and reverse are selected, although its hard to say how fast it speeded up as I increased the throttle. When fwd drive is engaged, even at low revs there is the expected surge and turbulence in the water around the stern, but in reverse this turbulence is not really noticeable. I could only be sure the prop was turning because the boat did start to move slowly backwards when in reverse, and along the nearby bank there was a slight turbulence and movement of the water, which had to be due to the prop turning. So I do have some rearward power, but its greatly reduced- could this be a slipping clutch? The gearbox oil level seems ok-ish, although its hard to tell precisely as its quite thin fluid (visible mainly because it has its red coloration), but the level is at least as high as the indicator line, probably not much higher though. lf that line represents the low limit, then maybe a top up or change would be required? I'm thinking I might as well get down to the local Halfords for some ATF fluid, and change the gearbox oil before I call RCR, since low gearbox oil is one of their exclusionary clauses.
  14. I spoke to a checkout lady in Sainsburys back in October, who said she thought it was going to be a harsh winter. Her prediction was based on the presence of some kind of berry in abundance (I think maybe blueberries), in a given month. I'm afraid that I did not hide my scepticism and my amusement about her belief in this prediction method, and I even joked with her good-naturedly about it. I can remember turning back to her and shouting "look out for the blueberries!" in an apocalyptic tone as I left. Little did I know, she was spot on. Those dammed berries....
  15. To be honest I have got one of those full-arm gloves for my right hand (God knows where the left one went), but after half an hour of pulling, groping and cutting, my hand was stinging with the cold. And to add to the fun, it snowed all the way back to the mooring. Ordinarily, I'd find that very poetic and lovely, but with no reverse gear, and an unknown but possibly major issue happening, it was just miserable. The joys of winter...
  16. Thanks, fingers still crossed its just a cable issue, but if they start telling me its a gearbox issue, I'll ask them to check the drive plate before stranding me here for 2 weeks
  17. Thanks Matty, I'll check the oil before I call the RCR. I'm hoping it will be ok, as it its been serviced every 200 hours as per schedule, and has always been fine, but of course you never know.... I think I read that RCR don't cover your costs if your gearbox oil level is low (user neglect), so I will have to make sure its not an issue before getting them involved.
  18. Hopefully that explains it- being unable to get the prop in reverse, and with the canal being so full of leaves and branches, would mean it wasn't getting cleared- and as I said, most of the forward power is still available, its maybe a 25% reduction, if that. Its quite hard to be sure when you're not the one steering. I must say though, its not a comfortable experience standing next to a newbie who is steering your boat. Not recommended for the nerves...
  19. Thanks Tony- to be honest my guest was driving for most of the cruise (as I'd promised to give her a chance to have a go at steering), so I cant be sure at exactly what point the forward power dropped, or whether it went into neutral at any time- it was her who mentioned that it seemed to be down a tad on power compared to earlier on, and I got the same impression when I drove for a bit. So in truth, it might not have taken a full hour to reduce forward power- that was just when she noticed it. But what I am sure of is that after cutting the string away initially, there was definitely a period where the forward drive seemed back to normal. And even when it did slow, it was only by a bit. Most of the forward power is still there. I'll get back in the hatch tomorrow and check if was fouled again on our return leg- it's even possible there are some bits of residual string left that I didnt get first time.
  20. Thanks MtB and Tony- one point that might shed some light is that when I first cleared the prop (clogged with string and fabric), full and normal forward motion seemed to be restored (in my case this means that at about 1300rpm the boat does about 3mph). It also seemed to respond much better after the clearing. But about an hour later, the forward speed was diminished again, but this time only by a bit. My guess at the time was that it had gotten fouled again, as the canal was so full of debris, but it could have been a clutch issue. Fingers crossed its just the cable not getting it into reverse, but I must admit I do now fear it could well be a clutch problem.
  21. Cheers David- I have found in the past that a burst of forward and reverse seems to dislodge leaves and even weeds. In this case I had a go at doing that, and that's how I became aware that reverse was no longer working. The prop turned half-decently in forward gear (enough to go slowly, and get moored up), but when I tried a burst in reverse, it was as if I was in neutral. So I'm hoping Nick's idea is correct, and its just the cable has come loose, and that it happening at the time when the prop was badly fouled is just coincidence. If its not the cable, then to be honest it'll be time for RCR to earn their annual fee....
  22. Thanks Tracy, in the morning I'll check the shaft etc actually spins in reverse. My DIY skills are rubbish so I bought gold RCR membership this year- which I didnt think I was really going to need- so hopefully they'll be able to attend tomorrow and diagnose the problem- and of course to fix it! Thankfully I'm in a decent spot not too far from shops in Northwich, close enough to a water point that I can tow it there, and I can even get coal etc if stuck for a week or two.
  23. Its the possibility of the hefty cheque bit that scares me to be honest- I've seen/heard some prices for replacement gearboxes and labour, they seem to start at 2 or 3k and go rapidly upwards. The boat's only 6 years old so I wasn't really expecting any serious mechanical issues for a while yet, but boats will be boats.... I'm starting to see why people joke about that BOAT acronym - 'Bring Out Another Thousand'.
  24. Thanks very much- I'll have a look at the cable and clamp in the morning, and see if I can see anything amiss. To be honest, my main fear in this scenario is that the jammed up prop has somehow terminally damaged the gearbox, or part of it, to the extent that a major and expensive repair or a replacement is needed. I really don't want to have to get it to a yard and have it hauled out for a costly repair. Even turning the boat around is a real struggle without being able to reverse, as I found out this afternoon.
  25. Thanks for this tip Nick, tbh I think I'm going to leave it till the morning before I try this out. Even with my full-arm length glove on, my hand was stinging with the cold by the time I'd cleared the prop, and its gone even colder now (though not as cold as Scotland, I'll grant you!). If I can get RCR to arrive before lunch I'll suggest this to them, if they can't make it tomorrow I'll try it myself. I think I've seen that cable you mentioned. Its disappointing as its only six years old, but if its been stressed by trying to run when jammed, maybe that's buggered it? In hindsight it was stupid to do a pleasure cruise so soon after a storm- the canal is full of leaves, branches and even small logs, and there was a real risk of damaging the prop. I think it did get a bit clogged in the last hour, as we did lose some oomph, but it wasn't too bad so I took a chance and carried on to the mooring spot. You live and learn....
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