Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Water over-heating

This is one in a series of A Guide to Narrow Boat Problems.

Water overheating - temperature gauge too high (eg over 80 degrees)  
If the red ignition light comes on the fan belt isn't doing its job.
It could be an air lock in the cooling system.
Water level is too low and/or engine running temperature is too high.
Possibly caused by travelling at excess speed.
Overheating can also be caused by a leak in a coolant hose,  a fault in a water pump, a loose fan belt (pull to check tension; a constant squeak also suggests it is worn) or a failed head gasket.
Switch off ignition and remove key. Moor up, using a pole to the bank if necessary.
Carefully unscrew bolt on top of water tank while covering it with a cloth to prevent boiling water spraying out. Wait for the engine to cool down then add water slowly. When full (check with a dip stick) restart engine and run engine in gear for a few minutes to check against recurrence.
Check water level regularly and if it lowers again look for leaks in hose. Replace where necessary. 
If despite filling up overheating continues look to replace hose, tighten or replace fan belt, pump,  or gasket.
Check water, oil and fuel levels routinely. Check fan belt tension. Always carry a spare fan belt and know how to replace it and tension it.

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