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Ice Breaker Tugs and Ailsa Craig Engines


Adie
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Good evening, pete march, father of laurence henry writing to say EREBUS is extremely rotton, however, with some expert tlc administered by Brinklow Boat Services the craft will again be afloat. laurence has entrusted the stripping out of the interior to me which by next thursday will be finished. The memories of messing about in her have flooded back as i definately never expected to see, let alone work on the boat ever. The purest critics of modern compact engines have to accept elsa craigs do no longer exist as manufactures,the next best thing is a compact engine with all the spares available, which in the fullness of time will become classics in their own right. When i owned EREBUS it started on the handle every time, and have no recollection of an explosive cartridge being used. sincerely peter, p.s. and a very big HELLO to all boaters who remember those fun days kicking around Camden Town in and out Dingwalls, smoking a bit of weed and being care free. I'm into historic motor cycles now, live alone with my trusty guard dog charlie and about to relive those happy days now being enjoyed by two sons laurence and sam.

  • Greenie 2
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Hi Pete ….

I spent a few happy evenings with you after you bought your wide beam.  

I never saw you use the cartridge starter, but you showed it to me and even had two cartridges lovingly wrapped in oil cloth ….. just in case.

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I have a boat, "Aquabelle", currently running two Ailsa Craig RF6 engines that are in good shape, although some of the ancillaries are giving trouble from time to time. The engines were built in 1959 and fitted to Aquabelle in 1960 as a replacement for two RF3 engines fitted on build in 1939.

My main trouble is the multi-clutch gearbox where the reverse brake band has run out of adjustment, needing a bodge on the pivot to gain a little more life. Has anyone any experience with these gearboxes and knowledge of repair/rebuild?

Aquabelle is a 45ft motor yacht and was at Dunkirk for Operation Dynamo.

 

Apr 2012-04.JPG

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What sort of gearbox is it?  That will allow the real experts like RLWP to advise.

 

It should be possible to get a reverse band re-lined.  You will need to take it (them?) out and to a relining expert- the folks who do truck brakes are a good start but you will find clutch and brake reliners in the vintage truck and tractor magazines on the shelf at WH Smith or another newsagent.

 

Bremskerl (in Bath)  did my last cone clutch reline but Google will find someone fairly local.

 

N

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Crikey, I bet that's a heavy lump. The biggest problem, I think, is actually dismantling the gearbox. I never found a way to get the innards out, I replaced the bushes on the planetary gears on one of them years ago but I gave up trying to renew the rear bearing as I simply could not find a way to get at it. Good luck.

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Thanks for the advice (who are RPWP?). Not sure about the make of the gearbox. I assumed it was by Ailsa Craig as it is shown in my engineering drawing (attached) of both engine and box together. The box is a multiple plate assembly (alternate bronze and steel I think) with forward gear engaged by a cam which compresses the plates together. Reverse stops the who assembly and changes direction via a sun and planet gear. It is all immersed in oil.

Yes they are heavy - 3/4 of a ton each!

coupe marche arrière copy.jpg

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RLWP is one of our members.

A couple of firms will reline clutch and brake linings:

http://custombrakes.co.uk/

http://www.saftek.co.uk/classics.html

The bronze/steel plates and planetary reverse is much the same as the Parsons F type box. Different dimensions of course.

 

Found this:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ailsa+craig+RF4+gearbox&client=firefox-b&biw=1424&bih=882&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=Cr0zt69G2NZPmM%3A%2CT7SChpLrFwxJ1M%2C_&usg=AI4_-kQpUkXW9eQOtyfRWCDTbD1CYFQx2A&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwipls-Xl8_eAhXLK8AKHcq6Dl4Q9QEwAnoECAYQBg#imgrc=7RzqoIxyMLK6fM:

Edited by Derek R.
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Thanks for the Links. I knew about the boat Ruda but had forgotten the picture of her gearbox. Unfortunately, Ruda's owners had to change the Ailsa Craig engines a couple of years ago as they had worn beyond repair. I expect the gearboxes were discarded with them and are now scrap.

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Hi Colin,

 

it is an Ailsa Craig gear box. Ice Dragon's RF1 I suspect has worn brake bands, it's essential to have a good flow of clean oil otherwise they wear very quickly. I haven't got in there yet but I will investigate getting the worn parts metal sprayed and machined back to original size.

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2 hours ago, ColinD said:

Thanks for the Links. I knew about the boat Ruda but had forgotten the picture of her gearbox. Unfortunately, Ruda's owners had to change the Ailsa Craig engines a couple of years ago as they had worn beyond repair. I expect the gearboxes were discarded with them and are now scrap.

I understand that Ruda's engines complete with gearboxes went to the Internal Fire Museum in Wales,definitely not scrapped.

We have two RFS2 industrial units in Hunslet  locos here, one needing a major repair. Also, in varying states of dereliction,three RFR4 marine units. RFR means there is a reduction box on the back of the gearbox, ratio is 21/2:1. Otherwise the gearboxes are standard Ailsa Craig design.PM me if you think they could be any use to you.

Bill

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On 14/08/2018 at 21:55, Hastings said:

Adie - You may be aware that I wrote and published two books which contain a photo and details of all known historic ex-working narrowboats (Historic Working Narrow Boats Today vols. 1 & 2).  Between them, they contain not far off a thousand boats.  You can see more about them at www.canalbookshop.co.uk/canalbookshop%20books.html . I didn't know about your ice boat - but do now!  Although a new edition of the booksis not imminent, I try to keep the electronic copy of the book up to date, ready for the day.  Might I please use your photo?  If so, please PM me with your full name, as we attribute photos to whoever took them.  Many thanks.  Peter, CanalBookShop

Hello Peter do you have any pictures of Erebus in your collection I would be interested to see is there any in your books as wellHello Peter do you have any pictures of Erebus in your collection I would be interested to see is there any in your books as well

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10 hours ago, Henry said:

Hello Peter do you have any pictures of Erebus in your collection I would be interested to see is there any in your books as wellHello Peter do you have any pictures of Erebus in your collection I would be interested to see is there any in your books as well

Hi Henry - I don't have any pictures of Erebus, and in fact did not know of its existence until it appeared in this thread. Also, I don't think that it's on the HNBC list.  I'd like to create an entry in the digital version of "Historic Working Narrow Boats Today" that I keep up to date, ready for a future reprint.  Would you have a suitable photo I could us?  Also, it would help to know length, approx. date built and original owner, if you know.  I think I'm right in saying that just about all ice breakers were built for a specific canal company - there are examples around built for Shropshire Union, BCNS, Oxford Canal etc.  Many thanks, Peter, CanalBookShop

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  • 2 years later...
On 05/08/2018 at 12:01, Adie said:

Hi All,

I have just discovered this forum and have noticed references to "Ice Dragon". I own "Ice Dragon"; a historic, 30ft ice breaker tug with a single cylinder, Ailsa Craig engine. I am currently rebuilding both boat and engine and would be interested to hear from anyone who has more information on either. These engines seem to be very rare; I have been aware of "Erebus" for a long time which, judging from a previous thread, seems to be in similar condition. Does anyone know how "Erebus" is progressing?image1.jpeg.583a8e6db941a835f74336ac00df139e.jpeg

 

I am late to this thread, but stumbles on it google image searching for something else, what a lovely looking boat! Are you able to update us on progress?

 

Daniel

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I put the AC in Gorse when I owned it in the late 80s. It replaced an SR2.

The gearbox went after about 6 months and was repaired quite easily.

 

The engine had hand start but was almost impossible to hand start without the use of the cotton plugs that screwed into the head, I think they were called Zundfix? Got stuck one time in the winter without any and had about 4 blokes taking turns at starting it which it finally did after about an hour!

 

 

 

1000684_17q2FFrIxQMgLi.jpg

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If you have to take the water pump off the front of the engine one of the screws has a left hand thread.  Admiral says it was almost impossible to hand start the thing. I had an Ailsa Craig and it was absolutely, totally, impossible. rigged up a starter, sprocket, chains etc and it was a good starter but if you got tangled up in the chains it was a sod. Swapped it for a BMC 1.5 - much safer!

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4 hours ago, Admiral said:

I put the AC in Gorse when I owned it in the late 80s. It replaced an SR2.

The gearbox went after about 6 months and was repaired quite easily.

 

The engine had hand start but was almost impossible to hand start without the use of the cotton plugs that screwed into the head, I think they were called Zundfix? Got stuck one time in the winter without any and had about 4 blokes taking turns at starting it which it finally did after about an hour!

 

 

 

1000684_17q2FFrIxQMgLi.jpg

I have a Puck P-24z two stroke twin cylinder diesel which can use these in one of the cylinders. They really work and I suspect handy in the colder months!

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5 hours ago, Admiral said:

I put the AC in Gorse when I owned it in the late 80s. It replaced an SR2.

The gearbox went after about 6 months and was repaired quite easily.

 

The engine had hand start but was almost impossible to hand start without the use of the cotton plugs that screwed into the head, I think they were called Zundfix? Got stuck one time in the winter without any and had about 4 blokes taking turns at starting it which it finally did after about an hour!

 

 

 

1000684_17q2FFrIxQMgLi.jpg

I made some Zundfix type starters for our Ailsa Craigs some years ago.. Blotting paper soaked in saltpetre solution, allow to dry naturally. Cut them into strips and roll up tightly. Yes they do look like cigarettes. Remove the holders from the cylinder head, insert a starter into each and light with a match. They smoulder gently, just glowing red, screw them into the head and wait a minute or so before hand starting.  Don't forget to pull the de-compressor lever right over  for high compression  at starting. They work surprisingly  well.

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Boatmen on the L&LC reputedly used a glowing fag end to start the 'new' Widdop diesels used in Canal Transport Ltd boats when they ran out of cartridges.

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