Head’s down as engine rebuild continues

Good progress this evening! Today I bought a couple of bolts (at 20 pence each I thought it worthwhile to buy a spare) to replace one of the four Whitworth bolts that keep the fuel pump in place. So, first job of the evening attach the fuel pumps and the two fuel inlets. I had to remove the rocker pillars and move the push rods out of the way of the bolt heads in order to attach a spanner. Next, we tightened the head nuts. The torque setting for head bolts on a Ruston Hornsby 2VSH is 110/120 ft LBS. I’ve not been able to find any guidance for the sequence of tightening the bolts so I (Stuart actually) simply worked out from centre, tightening those opposite.

On reflection … a very successful day. Before the next session I have to remove the nasty oil from the exhaust manifold and reattach that section. Then the cooling system needs rebuilding. Last thing this evening I tested the thermostat in a mug of hot water and watched it dutifully open immediately. So I just need to craft a couple of gaskets and we can move on to setting the timing.

Is it possible that I may soon be cruising again driven by two cylinders operating in harmony? Fingers crossed.

Finally, back to work on the engine – shear frustration

After months of frustration due to being too busy with work and study to rebuild the engine, I’m finally back in overalls and up to my eyes in oil and diesel … happy days. I have all the required parts and the luxury of expert-guidance from fellow boater, Stuart – who, with help from his wife, Sharon, has recently completely fitted-out their own narrowboat and restored the Lister diesel engine, all in little more than 12 months! Evidently, when they say they’re going to do something, they do it. Which is very reassuring for me.

Saturday, July 12th 2008 – Thanks again to Ray Hooley I have a new head gasket and 5 thousandth shim. In just 2-3 hours the engine is rebuilt, loosely to ensure that all the parts are available and intact. Unfortunately, one of the bolts required to secure a fuel pump sheared and I don’t have a replacement. I’ve removed the sheared bolt but I have to wait until Monday to buy a new one. Other than that everything else seems to be in order.

When I buy the replacement bolt the engine should go back together without any further problems. Fingers-crossed.

I have a new air filter and fresh oil – Exol Victory 20w/20 (recommended for a Ruston Hornsby 2VSH). It is important to use oil that is low in additives as, I’m told, the additives used for modern high-performance engines can coat the cylinders of a slow-running engine.

My narrowboat: Rambler – interior

A friend of mine, Shakila, took these pictures of Rambler when she visited recently (thanks). They’re good photos so I thought I’d post them …

Rambler has a bedroom with bunks made form oak-faced ply and solid ash trimRambler - Lounge from Galley

For the living room I’m looking for a second-hand leather two-seater sofa along the lines of a Chesterfield. I’m also looking for a nice second-hand mahogany desk with leather inlay.

Bump Clearance (or Mind Your Head)

In the context of narrowboats the term ‘bump clearance’ could refer to several things: the height of the cabin, the height and width of a tunnel, the distance between the boat and the bank of the cut. Clearly, ‘bumping’ is a common occurrence on the narrow waterways in the North West of England. The evidence is visible in the scratched paintwork of the narrowboats and the scarred and lumpy heads of boatowners.

Bump Clearance is actually a reference to the gap between the top of the piston cylinder and the top of the piston when it’s situated top-dead-centre of an internal combustion engine. The reason I mention this is because I am in the process of buying shims to compensate for having skimmed the cylinder head. I called Ray Hooley for advice. Ray informed me that the bump clearance range for a Ruston Hornsby 2VSH is 0.83mm (min) and 0.95mm (max).

My expert diesel engine fitter friend, James, measured the distance of the pistons at top-dead-centre using a micrometer and discovered that the pistons are actually 0.2mm proud. I have to allow for this when calculating the depth of shim. Another measurement that I have to factor in is the 5 thousandth of 1 inch (0.00508mm) that has been skimmed off the head.

At the moment Ray’s shim stock comprises several @ 4 thousandth but just one @ 10 thousandth.

It’s raining so I’m not doing any work on the engine today.