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Rubbish around the propeller


Dunworkin
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Any advice from experienced heads...! Just returned to our marina after quite a long cruise (during which I cleared the prop of plastic 3 times), and have checked the weed hatch again today as she felt a bit sluggish for a while at the end of our trip. We’ve pulled more plastic from around the prop again today.

 

The only real problem I picked up was that she was slower than usual, we only cruise very slowly anyway, but it worries me what damage could have been done by the engine working much harder (I guess) with all of the crap around the prop. Not sure how long it may have been there.

 

It’s a Beta Marine 43 engine on a 58 foot narrowboat.

 

Any thoughts, or advice appreciated.

 

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5 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

Any advice from experienced heads...! Just returned to our marina after quite a long cruise (during which I cleared the prop of plastic 3 times), and have checked the weed hatch again today as she felt a bit sluggish for a while at the end of our trip. We’ve pulled more plastic from around the prop again today.

 

The only real problem I picked up was that she was slower than usual, we only cruise very slowly anyway, but it worries me what damage could have been done by the engine working much harder (I guess) with all of the crap around the prop. Not sure how long it may have been there.

 

It’s a Beta Marine 43 engine on a 58 foot narrowboat.

 

Any thoughts, or advice appreciated.

 

Its the way of the canals, not a problem, just a damn nuisance. Poly bags do little damage, may wear a bit of blacking off the extreme end of the swim .

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The wash was a short straight plume coming from the back which rather put me off the scent a bit...on the other occasions the wash has been very messy...

2 minutes ago, hider said:

Its the way of the canals, not a problem, just a damn nuisance. Poly bags do little damage, may wear a bit of blacking off the extreme end of the swim .

The plastic wasn’t carrier bag type stuff...felt a bit thicker, heavier,...not a huge amount of it but enough to tangle around the propeller and some thin rope type material around the prop shaft behind. We never came to a stop of anything like that.

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18 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

Any advice from experienced heads...! Just returned to our marina after quite a long cruise (during which I cleared the prop of plastic 3 times), and have checked the weed hatch again today as she felt a bit sluggish for a while at the end of our trip. We’ve pulled more plastic from around the prop again today.

 

The only real problem I picked up was that she was slower than usual, we only cruise very slowly anyway, but it worries me what damage could have been done by the engine working much harder (I guess) with all of the crap around the prop. Not sure how long it may have been there.

 

It’s a Beta Marine 43 engine on a 58 foot narrowboat.

 

Any thoughts, or advice appreciated.

 

You're obviously cruising in the wrong part of the system....

Boating is not like driving a car where you're insulated from what's going on around you.

Boats need constant fettling and you need to be aware of the slightest change in sounds....

As long as you don't / didn't overheat the engine all that will happen (before there's so much rubbish around the prop that you stop) is that you'll use more fuel.

I was always taught that it's a good idea to select reverse and give it a short burst of power every so often.

The problem is that a small amount of rubbish will attract more and more and more - then a visit down the weed hatch is necessary and often very unpleasant.

 

You're lucky you have a Beta - even if it's a 43 - a BMC would have stalled long since.

 

 

Edited by OldGoat
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8 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I normally feel it straight away and the wash behind the boat tends to change as well

I agree. The engine tone changes. Coming through Hopwas today. Passing under the bridge near the social club. I detected the above symptoms. Knocked the engine into neutral. Went astern quite hard. Look into the water and saw nowt of any significance. Went ahead again, still the same. Repeat and saw nowt. Carried on all okay. This I do quire frequently, certainly in the autumn when there's leaves attaching themselves to the prop area. 

With regard to effect on the engine. Don't think it'll do much harm. Like giving a car a steep hill to climb. It survives donnit?

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10 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

You're obviously cruising in the wrong part of the system....

Boating is not like driving a car where you're insulated from what's going on around you.

Boats need constant fettling and you need to be aware of the slightest change in sounds....

As long as you don't / didn't overheat the engine all that will happen (before there's so much rubbish around the prop that you stop) is that you'll use more fuel.

I was always taught that it's a good idea to select reverse and give it a short burst of power every so often.

The problem is that a small amount of rubbish will attract more and more and more - then a visit down the weed hatch is necessary and often very unpleasant.

 

You're lucky you have a Beta - even if it's a 43 - a BMC would have stalled long since.

 

 

 Didn’t pick up any change in engine tone...have to hang head in shame and admit to not checking the engine temperature. How would over heating manifest itself...?

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4 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

I’m guessing that if it was overheating then we’d have picked up some indications whilst cruising ?

 

Well - after the temperature gauge shows its running hotter than normal,

then it boils up

then it boils dry

then a final indicator is when the engine seizes up.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Some canals are treated by the locals as the municipal dump. The two worst I've found so far are the Walsall Canal and the western end of the Rochdale Canal. Where are you experiencing this?

Most rubbish, including the majority of plastic, is denser than water, so will eventually sink to the bottom. I've found that on very badly rubbished canals, bursts of high revs will stir "things" up from the bottom that are best left undisturbed. They then seek out the prop and wrap them in a loving embrace. Setting off and stopping in locks and so on with the gentlest possible revs in forward and reverse seems to minimise the stirring and the number of visits down the weed hatch. Not eliminating them of course. Lorry tyre inner tube, builders rubble sack, long length of very tough wire, plastic bags beyond number... No problem with an overheating engine with the inner tube and rubble sack. They both stalled it instantly.

 

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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41 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

 

 

You're lucky you have a Beta - even if it's a 43 - a BMC would have stalled long since.

 

 

Another sort of rubbish. Not like you OldGoat, why upset all the thousands of BMC engine boater making false statements??

Don't worry about plastic bags, wait till you get a mattress on the blade.

Steel radial tyres are fun too, ensure you have a hacksaw or better still a wire saw like this- https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=wire+saw&_sacat=0&_sop=15

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16 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

I’m guessing that if it was overheating then we’d have picked up some indications whilst cruising ?

For me, there was a noticeable decrease in forward motion and in two instances clouds of (steam) = water vapour.

OTOH on my first foray onto the canal system (we hired from Planetcraft - under Gravelly Junction...). On returning the boat the yard said "didn't you notice that there was a helluva lot of weed and rubbish around the prop?  You've wasted a lot of fuel...

 

Thus it's easy to criticise and easy to ignore the symptoms... 

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18 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Well - after the temperature gauge shows its running hotter than normal,

then it boils up

then it boils dry

then a final indicator is when the engine seizes up.

 

13 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Some canals are treated by the locals as the municipal dump. The two worst I've found so far are the Walsall Canal and the western end of the Rochdale Canal. Where are you experiencing this?

Most rubbish, including the majority of plastic, is denser than water, so will eventually sink to the bottom. I've found that on very badly rubbished canals, bursts of high revs will stir "things" up from the bottom that are best left undisturbed. They then seek out the prop and wrap them in a loving embrace. Setting off and stopping in locks and so on with the gentlest possible revs in forward and reverse seems to minimise the stirring and the number of visits down the weed hatch. Not eliminating them of course. Lorry tyre inner tube, builders rubble sack, long length of very tough wire, plastic bags beyond number... No problem with an overheating engine with the inner tube and rubble sack. They both stalled it instantly.

 

Jen

Most probs were on the BCN...! ...but I suspect that this last batch was picked up on the GU...Leamington Spa or nearer Braunston. Turns out that the Leader of the Opposition has been keeping a gentle eye on the temp gauge which she can see from her normal position at the stern and hasn’t seen anything obvious...we’ve checked the stern gland after each and every stop and not seen any obvious sign s of trouble so hopefully we got lucky...won’t be forgetting to check the temp gauge in a hurry..??

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20 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Well - after the temperature gauge shows its running hotter than normal,

then it boils up

then it boils dry

then a final indicator is when the engine seizes up.

Problem with that is that if it's like my Beta 35/38 it will only have an LED, (although I have now fitted a gauge, which is much much better.) So just before the engine seizes up the red LED lights and the buzzer buzzes then the engine seizes.  

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2 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

Most probs were on the BCN...!

That explains it. I'd never had to visit the weed hatch to remove rubbish until I first ventured on to the BCN. Hasn't put me off. Have now done around 80% of it I reckon. There is something about boating through urban grot.

  • Greenie 1
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It has never occured to me that I should look at the temp gauge on my Beta 43.  If my engine was unhappy I would expect to notice a change in performance.  On the BCN I would expect more rubbish but I got (gently) around a BCN Challenge without needing to go down the weed hatch.  Are you just thinking a bit too much?

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8 minutes ago, pete.i said:

Problem with that is that if it's like my Beta 35/38 it will only have an LED, (although I have now fitted a gauge, which is much much better.) So just before the engine seizes up the red LED lights and the buzzer buzzes then the engine seizes.  

We’re not quite that sophisticated..thankfully! Ours is a good old fashioned needle gauge

Just now, system 4-50 said:

It has never occured to me that I should look at the temp gauge on my Beta 43.  If my engine was unhappy I would expect to notice a change in performance.  On the BCN I would expect more rubbish but I got (gently) around a BCN Challenge without needing to go down the weed hatch.  Are you just thinking a bit too much?

Possibly...just anxiety coming from absolute inexperience...!

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1 hour ago, Dunworkin said:

Any advice from experienced heads...! Just returned to our marina after quite a long cruise (during which I cleared the prop of plastic 3 times), and have checked the weed hatch again today as she felt a bit sluggish for a while at the end of our trip. We’ve pulled more plastic from around the prop again today.

 

The only real problem I picked up was that she was slower than usual, we only cruise very slowly anyway, but it worries me what damage could have been done by the engine working much harder (I guess) with all of the crap around the prop. Not sure how long it may have been there.

 

It’s a Beta Marine 43 engine on a 58 foot narrowboat.

 

Any thoughts, or advice appreciated.

 

There have been incidents where mechanical damage has resulted from something big and nasty suddenly getting snagged, but there's probably not too many members on here who haven't at some time caught their own mooring line and normally it just stalls the engine.  What you experienced certainly wouldn't have caused any damage.  Apart from the symptoms already mentioned, black smoke from the exhaust is another sign of a fouled prop.

 

You now know why the biggest misnomer in the English language is weed hatch.  I don't think I have ever had to use the hatch to clear actual weed from the prop.  Pretty much everything else that lands in the canal but weed, never. 

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Main thing I notice was exiting locks...normally just a click in to forward drive and she nudges out...but I was having to give a bit more throttle to get her underway....should have trusted my own suspicions and checked sooner...

  • Happy 1
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2 minutes ago, Dunworkin said:

Main thing I notice was exiting locks...normally just a click in to forward drive and she nudges out...but I was having to give a bit more throttle to get her underway....should have trusted my own suspicions and checked sooner...

Wait till it gets to autumn and you experience the dead leaves phenomenon...

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3 minutes ago, Neil2 said:

There have been incidents where mechanical damage has resulted from something big and nasty suddenly getting snagged, but there's probably not too many members on here who haven't at some time caught their own mooring line and normally it just stalls the engine.  What you experienced certainly wouldn't have caused any damage.  Apart from the symptoms already mentioned, black smoke from the exhaust is another sign of a fouled prop.

 

You now know why the biggest misnomer in the English language is weed hatch.  I don't think I have ever had to use the hatch to clear actual weed from the prop.  Pretty much everything else that lands in the canal but weed, never. 

Point well made....sometimes  a bit of smoke when first starting the engine but not noticed any black smoke whilst cruising...my normal attentions are focussed on how she feels, sounds and the plume in the water directly behind me.

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1 hour ago, Dunworkin said:

 Didn’t pick up any change in engine tone...have to hang head in shame and admit to not checking the engine temperature. How would over heating manifest itself...?

It's not the change in engine tone,the boat just feels different/wrong.You get used to feeling that when you moor on somewhere like the BCN.?

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27 minutes ago, Neil2 said:

You now know why the biggest misnomer in the English language is weed hatch.  I don't think I have ever had to use the hatch to clear actual weed from the prop.  Pretty much everything else that lands in the canal but weed, never. 

Visit the middle level in the summer- you should be able to collect an impressive sphere of it  round the prop on a good day ?

 

Edited by PaulJ
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1 minute ago, PaulJ said:

Visit the middle level in the summer- you should be able to collect an impressive ?sphere of it  round the prop on a good day 

 

Oh dear..! My main concern was the fact that this last present may have been there for a little while....but hopefully we would have noticed signs of engine issues (not just the performance issues I’ve mentioned) if there had been anything.

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