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Dave McBadger

DM2 assistance required in Oxford

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Hello forum.

After a far longer than scheduled, and still not complete trip from Milton Keynes to Reading my DM2 has decided to not start any more.  It has always taken a bit of coaxing, time and libations to the goddess thumpera to get her going, but once there will, as advertised, run forever.

My current problem is exacerbated by being stuck at Osney lock and not having any access to decent power after days of forced stoppage due to water levels, although I have rented a generator to keep crankers and leisures from dying completely.  OK that's enough of that, to the problem at hand:

Please forgive my lack of knowledge and ropey terminology but here goes an attempt at an explanation - Until today, whilst in the process of starting there has always been puffs of smoke from the stack whilst the starter is cranking, and then she will splutter into life with a wollop more smoke and then settle down to burn pretty clean.  What I noticed today was none of the usual smoke when cranking and there was no indication that she was ever going to start.  I gave up after a while to try and preserve battery.  I know that's not very much to go on but does it sound like anything obvious?  To my mind it's fuel starvation.  I have checked the diesel level and there is plenty, however I don't know where to begin looking along the fuel line to see what's what.  I don't want to touch anything without an expert eye around in case i make things worse.  This is the first decent run that the engine has had since I bought the boat and I really should have had a service before departure however I am a numpty and didn't.  As previously mentioned she has run fine on the 6 travelling days to get us this far.

I have RCR cover, however I don't really want to call them out for something that may be able to be cured by forum...

If you know of a likely cause, or a good RN engineer in Oxford, I am happy to pay whatever it takes as we are still 2 days from home, I'm stuck on the layby by the lock so the nice EA chaps will want me gone as soon as it is safe to do so and I really need an engine to do that.

 

If you have done, thanks for reading.

Cheers,

Dave.

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If you're not used to wielding spanners and worse (Birmingham Screwdrivers et al) it might be more sensible to call RCR - especially as the head layby /  East Street moorings an where you are have good road access.

The River is still on reds and with high flows - so you shouldn't be going anywhere yet - eve if the engine is working. I'm not conversant with my distant cousins engines, but any resolution is going to need undoing pipe joins, looking at fuel filters / fuel pumps etc.

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You pay for assistance, better use it. If there is no white smoke when cranking, it is not getting diesel into the cylinders. Fuel filter/s? air in fuel system? 

  • Greenie 1

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35 minutes ago, Dave McBadger said:

I have checked the diesel level and there is plenty

 

There is almost certainly a fuel day tank above the engine. Is this where you checked the diesel level and found plenty?

Just wondering, as this boat is new to you and you may possibly not be aware of it.

If the day tank is empty it would give exactly the symptom you describe. 

 

 

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EA will probably want you to move as soon as the river is off the reds but it will still be flowing fast, you really really should not go onto the river till you have a reliable engine. Maybe a boat coming up the lock could tow you back up on to the moorings above the lock? though that is a fast flowing bit of river for inexperienced towing.

You pay for RCR so call them out, but I hear the service is variable, especially on vintage engines, so don't spend any big money without a second opinion from somebody who knows about old engines. It sounds like a fuel issue, but the fact that its always started badly might be because there is also poor compression.

When you do eventually go onto the river try to find another experienced boat with a decent big engine to accompany you.

.................Dave

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2 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

 

There is almost certainly a fuel day tank above the engine. Is this where you checked the diesel level and found plenty?

Just wondering, as this boat is new to you and you may possibly not be aware of it.

If the day tank is empty it would give exactly the symptom you describe. 

 

 

If its a modern RN it is unlikely to have a day tank and has a lift pump like most modern engines. Certainly sounds like fuel not getting through. There is probably an in line fuel filter as well as the gauze one in the lift pump. It could just be some crud blocking the fuel line if the boat has been stood for a long time and then you have bounced it about on your first trip out on it. Get RCR to send somebody out or have a word with RN, Dave Bixter is the man and his numbers on the website are 01788 578661, 07812 039110. He might know somebody local who can help

Edited by captain birdseye

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12 minutes ago, captain birdseye said:

If its a modern RN it is unlikely to have a day tank and has a lift pump like most modern engines. Certainly sounds like fuel not getting through. There is probably an in line fuel filter as well as the gauze one in the lift pump. It could just be some crud blocking the fuel line if the boat has been stood for a long time and then you have bounced it about on your first trip out on it. Get RCR to send somebody out or have a word with RN, Dave Bixter is the man and his numbers on the website are 01788 578661, 07812 039110. He might know somebody local who can help

That's useful!

When new folks come on here it's difficult to offer suggestions as 'we' don't know what their confidence and competences are. Each boat is different  and we can't guess what's on a particular boat. There are no standards and to some extent each boat is unique. If the OP is not confident - then call somebody who has access to information - even if he isn't an expert on that device.

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Thank you all for the replies.  Firstly I will call out RCR in the morning. @captain birdseye is quite right; There is a lift pump and I am hoping that it is just crud.  I have located said lift pump and consulted the RN instruction manual (It's no Haynes!! but a lovely piece of writing nevertheless).  I'm handy enough with a wrench and wd40 but need more detailed instruction if attempting to undertake any tinkering myself.  Will update after RCR visit.

 

Thanks again to all.

Dave.

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Update as promised.

The wonderful Seb from RCR came out and I now know how to bleed my fuel system and also what the decompression lever does!  (Well I knew what it did but my arms are not long enough to operate it from the tiller position when i'm turning the key)

The problem was an air in the lines and so now I also know to keep the tank well topped up when on the Thames as (especially now in flood) there is WAY much more sideways movement that in the canal... (DUH)

Thanks again for all the comments and I especially like @dmr idea of finding a kind powerful boat to tag downstream with just in case.  I am hoping that Osney marina has diesel and that a top up will stop any recurrence of the problem but a safety blanket sounds like a very good idea.

 

Cheers,

Dave

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28 minutes ago, LEO said:

Good news, nice boat, I've known it since the first owner had it built!.

I too knew the former owner and we often boated together.  He was a retired anaesthetist, (alas, he died several years ago), with a penchant for inventing and patenting clever medical instruments. He used his skills on his boat and made, inter alia, a fuel gauge which depended on air pressure; an anti-siphon device on his oil fire feed; and a ventilation system for an internal locker for a petrol generator which he managed to get through the BSS.  I know he also modifed the speed control but I can’t recall the details.

I don’t know if any of these devices are still on the boat.  I do remember he produced a meticulous owner’s manual, which I would imagine was essential for any owner.

It’s a really nice boat.  I’m pleased you’ve got it sorted.

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35 minutes ago, Dave McBadger said:

Update as promised.

The wonderful Seb from RCR came out and I now know how to bleed my fuel system and also what the decompression lever does!  (Well I knew what it did but my arms are not long enough to operate it from the tiller position when i'm turning the key)

The problem was an air in the lines and so now I also know to keep the tank well topped up when on the Thames as (especially now in flood) there is WAY much more sideways movement that in the canal... (DUH)

Thanks again for all the comments and I especially like @dmr idea of finding a kind powerful boat to tag downstream with just in case.  I am hoping that Osney marina has diesel and that a top up will stop any recurrence of the problem but a safety blanket sounds like a very good idea.

 

Cheers,

Dave

I don't think / pretty certain that Osney Mills don't have diesel and it's a stiff walk round the roads to get to something that's only 100m away. (There used to he a way through from the lockside, but I think that's been blocked off. The nearest bulk fuel is at Abingdon (three hours downstream - or less when the River's flowing....) Assuming the tank you're mentioning is a day tank, surely you've a way of pumping fuel into it? Regardless of the above you'll still have  at least a couple of days before the River comes off reds and with your low power you should really wait until the system is well into Yellows (The graduation scheme of flows is very imprecise) because there are at least a couple of places where you'll need a bet of 'welly'  to avoid the stream dragging you where you don't want to go.

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3 minutes ago, koukouvagia said:

I don’t know if any of these devices are still on the boat.  I do remember he produced a meticulous owner’s manual, which I would imagine was essential for any owner.

It’s a really nice boat.  I’m pleased you’ve got it sorted.

Yes, The "big book of Augusta" gets referred to quite a bit, although despite the instructions I have not been game to try and use the fuel level sphygnomanometer type arrangement for the fuel, favouring the stick with notches ... Must add a "do not go lower than here" mark now I have found it.  I may even add an inch or 2 to be on the safe side.

The petrol generator box is now storage as  the second owner had a diesel gen, and the diesel stove was replaced before I acquired her with a Squirrel, which in turn was replaced last year for a new Squirrel.  New fridge and stand up oven and a perpetual bathroom renovation which hopefully should be completed this decade but there is now a shower, a composting head and a washing machine where the rusted pump out tank used to be (it was a lovely job cutting that out, NOT) ...

 

Thank you, she is a lovely boat and I hope I will do her proud.  Please visit if you are ever near the Thames&Kennet marina.

 

Cheers,

Dave.

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when cranking do the injectors creak loadly and if held can feel the vibration threw them.

you have another option to check fuel and thats to slightly crack off the fuel pipes and turn over and look for fuel drips if this is ok redo up pipes if not there is your problem. and might be worth bypassing your fuel filter for testing it could be the lift pump.

if you have fuel you have 4 options all depends of the setup.

1. remove the intake pipe across the top turn engine over till you can see the intake valve open with it open squirt a load of oil in by this i mean about 8 pumps of a small oil can (put the nossle as close to the opening in the port) do this both sides.

2. remove the top rocker covers on the intake and do as above.

3. take the side cover off and try as above

4. if all above fail or you have no oil can remove the intake top covers turn engine over till intake valve is open and take a bit of card or something sim small ruler will do put it so the end is close to the open valve and pour in around 3-4 small full egg cup fulls in do same to other cylinder.

once oiled turn engine over with injectors creaking turn over around 10 times with exhaust valves held open then drop the exhaust valves.

if starts you can control engine running on the excess oil by having your hand ready to lift the exhaust valve lifter. it shouldnt run on the oil you poured in as its not really enough too.

this is not the ideal way to start it every time but should help for now.

you may find the pistons need to come out and the rings and groves cleaned.

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