With winter coming on, it's been time to catch up with a few essential maintenance tasks on Patience.
Firstly, I have replaced the seals on the Jabsco WC, as it had stopped working properly over the summer, with rather unpleasant consequences! It now works perfectly!
Secondly, I spent an afternoon servicing the BMC 1.8 litre diesel engine. It was a beautifully still, sunny, autumnal afternoon on the Great Ouse, with only a few swans for company, curious to know what I was up to. I changed the engine oil and the oil filter. Draining the old oil out was facilitated by a very effective sump pump (top left in photo). I also replaced the fuel filter and bled the fuel lines. Finally, I cleaned the relatively coarse mesh filter over the engine air intake and lubricated the throttle and gearbox linkages. In common with many narrow boats, there is no paper air filter element fitted, as the engine compartment is a relatively dust free environment. The filters were obtained from ASAP http://www.asap-supplies.com/ who provide an excellent on-line technical support and parts at very reasonable prices. After all this, the engine fired up first time and seems to be running fine.
I have replaced the dipstick/oil filler on the PRM Delta gearbox, obtained from the very helpful people at Lancing Marine http://www.lancingmarine.com/ The old one looked as if it has been rather mutilated by the use of a mole wrench rather than a correctly sized 18 mm A/F spanner!
Finally, I increased the tension in the alternator belt slightly (to give the recommended +6mm play on its longest length), drained down the domestic water tank and associated pipework and checked the antifreeze mixture in the engine with a very cheap, but effective, hydrometer from Halfords. The inside of the water tank is still in very good condition after its repainting with two coats of bitumen in the spring, although some rust is coming through in one or two places, so it may be worth giving it another coat next spring to keep it in top condition.