Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A weak milestone but useful blog data

....As I reflected on this milestone I was quite pleased.

It is the 400 hours on my engine counter. Lets see I fitted this here. For those not boaty people we use engine hours as we cannot record miles run to gauge the wear on an engine and to work out service intervals. So for those not clicking the link it was fitted January ish 2013 - not long after I got the boat. So that makes the maths easy to work out 400 / 4 years  = average of  100 hours a year.

Ok we may not have travelled much but I have lived aboard for over a year so far in the four years we have now owned Percy.  It really helps having a gas water heater as unlike Waterlily where we had to run the engine for hot water we have what we use at home hot water on demand. This for a boat helps by only really needing run the engine to charge the batteries and during the summer and some of spring and autumn nature helps here with the solar panel.

As for diesel use, lets see I last filled up here  February 2016 when the engine counter was on 347. So I guess in the last 11 months I have only used around 50 litres of fuel. It is a sad reflection of the lack of cruising we did last year.  As Percy has two very large fuel tanks I guess we could go years based on that consumption before another fill up. However I'd like to cruise more and will so we will use more up in the next year or so.

So to servicing, a quick search of my blog tells me I fettled the engine  - including oil change in May 2015  - with the engine counter on 271 hours. So 20 months and 130 hours of use I think Percy's donk is due another oil change so I'll order some Morrisons oil again.

Percy's engine does not have a modern filter for oil, it relies on the oil not holding the minute particles that a modern oil does which are then filtered out via the oil filter under pressure. The Morrisons oil dumps the sludge in the bottom of the crankcase so at some point I need to open her up and check if I need to clean this area out. There is a decent sized door to gain access but it will require removing the water pump ..... a summer job so I may delay the oil to May and do a bigger strip down then.

Anyhow there are some uses for the blog, recording the above has been a useful reminder of what will need doing (oil change) and what does not need doing (diesel fill up)


  1. Nev, it might not be such a good thing having huge diesel tanks and using so little. At the last two Crick Boat Shows I went to the seminars on boat maintenance. There Mark, the Waterways World technical editor, told us that diesel can go "off" in as little as three months, exacerbated - if I remember correctly - by the constant heating (by the sun) and cooling. Until then I'd thought our small (100 litre) tank was a bad thing, now I see it as an advantage. We do carry a 20 litre jerry can inside (in a more stable temperature environment) which gets replenished whenever we refuel.

    I hope I haven't worried you!

  2. Hi John, no on the contrary you have educated me as I was unaware of this. I suppose it depends on what 'going off' means. I have a thumper of an engine that I think various people are running on all sorts of fuels. However I would wish to give it the best to ensure it gives me trouble free running, so my question back is how do you measure the fuel quality - is there a test kit or similar, do you know?

  3. One thing which Mark showed us was photos of "bad" diesel. Fresh, uncontaminated diesel was the familiar pinkish colour, older fuel turned progressively darker and murkier. Being an old engine yours might not have a problem with this, I don't know. It might be worth getting opinions from other, more knowledge, boaters.

  4. Thanks Halfie,

    I recently decanted some to re-prime the hand pump for the day tank and it looked good, more on the pinkish colour than dark and murky. Guess I need to cruise more !