A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


Bang goes the engine

20th August 2023

A lovely week of odd jobs; nothing major, but fulfilling progress in the right direction. It started with a gas and diesel refill, and then I got to work painting the newly-welded sections.

I also finished putting silicone in the kitchen window frames; I had done one of them the week before, but soon realised the deep channels were gobbling up Marineflex faster than I could conjure new tubes. But fear not! 10 FedEx’d tubes later and we were back in business:

Marineflex tubes

The kitchen window frames are ready with the windows now waiting for installation, which I shall tackle next week. I also made the pilgrimage to pick up the insulation; 2 kits ready to go, as soon as the rest of the boat is prepared. We’re getting close!

Boxes of insulation tanks

Another thing I started on was properly sealing the lounge windows, first by trimming off the excess mastic tape around the edge, and then squidging a line of silicone around:

Masking-taped lounge window

Siliconed lounge window

Incredibly satisfying work; I did two of them, and some rainfall proved my handywork successful. Finally, I removed all the rust on the hatch and doors and started painting those, finishing my 3rd coat this morning:

Hatch and door painting

And on Saturday, what excitement! Just as the boat reached the top of a flight of 8 locks, BANG goes the engine, followed by steam. 30 minutes or so later after parking the boat and some troubleshooting, it was clear what happened: the end seal on the coolant reservoir had exploded, presumably because said reservoir was empty (or close to):

Broken coolant seal

Coolant reservoir

Luckily a nearby chandlery had the parts I needed, and the fix was straightforward: put a new seal back on with a jubilee clip, flush the reservoir and refill the engine coolant. I don’t think any other seals or gaskets broke (fingers crossed 🤞); I was quick to shut off the engine when it happened.

Until next Sunday!

- Nick

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