Trillium's Trundlings...

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Une autre jour….encore le same vieux merde..

Post by molemot on Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:57 pm

I awoke with the dawn and the leg had STOPPED throbbing ! Had to be a good thing, right? I had a good peer at the injury…the 1950 first aid dressing had slipped off overnight? So I had a bit of a clean up and debride of the messier bits and then stuck a large waterproof plaster on it. Still feels good, 12 hours later…. Took the myriad of pills that flesh is heir to these days… put on some more salubrious clothing, as the engine room filth is fine for a bit…but when Voyaging is to Commence, something a bit less foul was indicated. Then I had the usual two croissant breakfast with a mug of cocoa…REAL cocoa, not the “Captain’s cocoa” of yore, which was remarkably like Bacardi and coke. Time to take the Volvo back to her temporary lair… so drove down the hill and walked back. This was a job best done early, before the Sun had Got His Hat On…the day has simply got hotter and hotter and I am currently covered in assorted oil…engine, gearbox, 3in1 and suntan. Anyway, stuffed her inside and locked her up and wandered back up the hill. Disconnected the shoreside power (thank you, Rex!) and then thought that perhaps it might be a good idea to see if I had got rid of all the foul yellow snot infesting the fuel system…
 
I had better change back into the Engineering Rags… and this would have won an award at the Edinburgh Festival. I had just climbed the hill from the garage to the boatyard…so I was …er….Perspiring? No, bugger it, I was drenched in sweat and it was trickling off my nose and earlobes… and I had to take off a polo shirt, which meant I had to pull the back of it over my head. Whilst it is stuck to me like things used to stick before NASA gave us the Non Stick Pan. Not only that…but I have now managed to dislocate both the left and the right shoulders.. so upper body mobility R’nt US…. The contortions and cursing and heavings and twistings and imprecations and mad outrage would have had an audience in stitches…remember those music hall escapologists getting out of a straightjacket…? Nothing on Douglas… (Goon show quote)..”I’ll just get my left leg over my right shoulder and then my right foot into the middle of that…Nothing can hold ME! NED!! Son of Houdini!!!” you have to imagine the great Harry Secombe giving voice….come to think of it, we are of a size…. 
 
Then I undid the fuel pipe to the carb…suck the end into a redundant glass.. and cranked away. No fuel in the carb as the engine hadn’t run for more than a day….but the fuel pump was squirting right willingly.
 
Sadly, it was squirting a mixture of Essence Super and Snot.
 
The bottom of the glass had far more than I was prepared to countenance. So I turned everything off and sat there looking at the foulness infesting the petrol pipes and tanks…. What to do?
 
First thing had to be to localise the shite to one of the two tanks….if possible. Could be in both …. So the way to do that was to turn the known “good” tank OFF…then one I had out and pressure washed and hot air dried and endoscope inspected… and pump a whole bunch of hydrocarbons out of the other one. Now, the engine mechanical fuel pump…although fine for pumping fuel to the carb…wasn’t going to be up to the task of pumping 3 or 4 litres rapidly, to give a decent sample. Fortunately.. and this is a manifestation of Never Throwing Anything Away or even moving it from where it might be useful…fortunately…in the bilge…was a turbine type fuel pump from a V12 Jaguar, which I had used when I drained the 10 year old petrol out of Trilly last year. A bit of ingenuity with insulating and Gaffer tape and some redundant cold water hose…(remember the water tank saga and the short circuiting of the calorifier..by the way, that’s all fine now, so the calorifier MUST have a leak somewhere, a bit of Proper Plumbing beckons)…and the turbine pump was coupled into the fuel system. I ran the output hose (VERY long) into a redundant 500cc glass…that I put into an old white plastic bucket that had contained lard from a chip shop. We Douglas’s are healthy types… Then I plugged the pump into the 12 volt supply….and petrol started to fill the glass. There was quite a quantity of filth, too…enough to render the fluid opaque… and I let it run until the glass overflowed and ran into the lard bucket. Bet you never realised that a lard bucket was an essential part of boating, eh…YLSNED…Then I turned off the pump and inspected the glass contents closely. There was the layer of yellowness, as ever…. Then I decanted the glass contents into the bucket and the bucket contents into the tank via an extemporised kitchen towel filter in the funnel.
 
I do NOT recommend this to others…In this case it’s definitely a case of  do as I SAY, not as I DO. I have this sort of problem occasionally… and it does tend to destroy ones authority. It’s all very well to caution people against low level aerobatics, but when they have seen you pulling up into an aileron roll at 200+ knots and about 50 feet, they find it difficult to take you seriously. All the explaining about establishing an upward vector and pushing forward whilst inverted didn’t seem to help; and these days I’d probably be shot. Still, as I say, don’t do as I do… However, needs must and I took every precaution I could think of, and it all worked.
 
Then I did it again! I pumped about 3 litres from the “dodgy” tank..and the fuel became clear as gin. Better!!
 
Then I turned that tank OFF and the other on ON and repeated the tests…all gin clear.
 
Maybe, just maybe, I the initial crap was the filth still in the fuel pump? Whatever, the system was now pumping beautifully clear Essence Super Moins Snot. And I had been sucking it through the mechanical fuel pump, so whatever had been in there certainly wasn’t now.
I think I could give it a go….by now it was 1150 and the locks close for lunch at 1200 until 1300, so departure was delayed until 1300…and we carried on sweltering… I rigged the cabin fan to blow into the engine compartment, hoping to encourage any stray hydrocarbons to bugger off.
 
Once it got to within striking distance of 1300, I tidied the boat, checked for leaks etc. and fired her up… no explosion… and the engine seemed happy with the clean fuel and new, hotter, sparking plugs. So…let go the lines…and off we went!!
 
The next few hours until 1800 were a total anticlimax. She never missed a beat…we went up one side of the hill..the Loire side…and down the other…the Seine side.. loads of automatic locks, a piece of cake… and moored up in Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, in the shad under some trees.
 
Have I cracked it at last? Will the Gremlins go for unconditional surrender? Are there other, as yet unencountered, piskies lurking within… We shall have to wait until tomorrow to find out!!!

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:16 pm

Can't wait...a night cruise please Smile
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Had no internet yesterday....(!)

Post by molemot on Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:51 am

  
Keep on truckin’, Poppa…truckin’ them blues away…




And, boy, do I wish they’d go….the blues associated with this little jaunt would have done for a lesser man. They’d be on their knees…ah….so have I been, worshipping at the shrine of the Watermota and the J-Type Gearbox….not to mention the fuel system…and the domestic water system…and I’m sure there have been MORE things that have brought me to my knees, but only because that was the only way to get AT them!

 



Yesterday had been a very curate’s egg sort of day. Beautiful weather…if somewhat overly warm…the mornings fartings about with the fuel system, AGAIN, ending when I had delivered 3 litres of gin clear petroleum type Essence Super from each tank. Thus encouraged, I returned the Volvo to her temporary lair and cast off…And we had a great time, Trilly and me, going up one side of the hill and down the other. She never missed a beat… and we moored in Rogny at the hire cruiser base and connected to the electricity and had a beer… Could not be bothered to fiddle about with ablutions; wasn’t intending to go out and eat, and the morning had left me fair frazzled…which frazzling had been fair reinforced by the 35°C temperature of the day. Slathered in suntan oil…hadn’t had to do THAT in years and years. So it was to be a quiet evening… I had some largish prawns with a tartare sauce dip to start off with, then a chicken breast, cold, with some microwave chips done in the oven…all washed down with liberal quantities of bourbon and coke zero, served over a glassful of ice. Bless my new freezer…not many 22 foot boats have a freezer…but Trilly has worn the first one out!! Great to have a magnificent drink in a 500cc glass…big enough so that it can defy even the mightiest of swallows…and it takes more than one of those to make a summer! Hardly gourmet fayre…but eminently satisfactory, especially with some Branston Pickle for the cold chicken.  After that, toddled off to bed…with the fan wafting a cooling breeze, not as good as air con, but a darn sight better than simply suffering.

 



Came the dawn….and I lay there wondering what to do today. I had decided overnight that the engine slow running needed the smallest of tweaks…. Wouldn’t take long, she had been running like a train…

 



This is one of the Douglas clan failings. Near enough is NEVER good enough…I remember watching my father adjusting the home made television set. Bits of airborne radar equipment bought Government Surplus… I grew up in ¨Proop’s and Lasky’s, an early denizen of the Tottenham Court Road and Lisle Street…before they turned to less salubrious activities involving cards inviting one to “Walk up”…

This TV was full of exotic things like EF50 valves…or “tubes” for the American readers.. in red aluminium cans rather than just the usual glass bottles. The valve bases had screw threads to screw down the valves so that they wouldn’t come loose under the stress of a Mosquito night fighter manoeuvering to attack some swastika carrying foe, who was bent on shooting down our Lancasters…(other heavy bombers are available)…the sight of the several chassis all spread over what had been the dining room table and wired together and producing a PICTURE on a SCREEN was so much more impressive than other people’s dull wooden boxes!!

 



Now, Dad was a perfectionist. This meant that the picture had to be RIGHT…all the geometry and the contrast and the brilliance and the vertical and horizontal stability and all of the thousand and one things simple “consumers” know not of. It was watching this go on that taught me the meaning of  “iterative adjustment”.. every time you tweaked one thing, everything else changed too…so you went roundandroundandroundandround until you had achieved perfection.

 



Life, of course, isn’t like that… oh no. So whenever there was a programme that one of us wanted to watch…”Muffin the Mule”…or “Television Newsreel”…you could guarantee that our resident perfectionist would have taken this moment to give it another tweak. Actually, Dad’s favourite programme was Test Card C…this was well before the small girl in the central colour photo, colour wouldn’t arrive for over a decade…but all the shadings and patterns on the card referred to particular levels of blackness, or bandwidth, or other arcane stuff that mattered to the achievement of perfection. No such thing as good enough…so many’s the time we watched strange squiggly pictures whilst Dad struggled with the nth iteration of  whatever adjustment he was attempting ! When we finally inherited a colour TV from my late Aunt Agnes, it got even worse…setting up a colour TV in the early days of CRT displays was more of an art than a science. Every small section of the picture had to be adjusted separately…and they all interacted…so the iterative lobby had a field day.

 



This was supposed to be about a quick tweak on the carb….by now, you have probably guessed the outcome….!! I started her up, and she ran beautifully. Not much point in doing anything to that…So I put her in gear and let her idle for ten minutes, never missed a beat. I could count the individual firing strokes…and she was idling nicely. So I opened her up…and the misfiring started, banging and popping and cylinders losing interest… Oh Golly, I said (or words to that effect) can’t leave her like this…and there we were, back in the throes of Engineeringland.

 



I removed the drain plug from the carb. float chamber .. it’s actually there so you can get the main jet out, but also jolly useful for draining purposes…and drained the contents into what killed my father back in 1977, one of the mountain of Golden Virgina tobacco tins that fed his lifelong addiction.. and gave him the unexpected heart attack. There in the bottom was some yellowish water, under the petrol…

 



I had thought we’d got past this? But no…. So I played around with draining some more and the misfiring went away and then it came back…so I did a Plug Cut to see which cylinders were misfiring. To do this, you run the engine flat out under load and then turn the ignition off…in a car, you have to declutch as well so that the engine stops rotating, but boats do that anyway. I took the plugs out… and 1 and 4 looked suspect…they were all rather black. Mixture too rich, then…Cleaned the plugs and refitted them. Sat and thought….

 



What had I not done? Hadn’t looked into the fuel pump and the little filter in it… so I extemporised a fuel catching drain from an old soft drink bottle, put that underneath the pump, and unscrewed the top. As I thought…the fuel level in the tanks was higher than the pump, and petrol started to run out into my drain bottle. There were some assorted grotty bits of detritus in the filter, and some water ran out into the drain bottle. I put the filter back and screwed the fuel pump top back on.

 



More thinking…..I had been running on Both tanks. Now, I had had the starboard tank out earlier this year and was absolutely certain that there had been no nasties in there. However… the port tank had sat all winter with some petrol in it, so there could have been condensation and other sources of water contamination….and the engine symptoms were exactly that, water contamination misfire, which is why you always drain a sample out of a light aeroplane fuel system to make sure there isn’t any water in it…can spoil your entire day. Usually just AFTER takeoff….So I decided to turn the port tank OFF and leave the starboard one ON and see what happened…

 



What happened was that there was some banging and popping and misfiring and then she settled down to running perfectly!! So perhaps…just perhaps…running on the starboard tank only will fix the problem…at least enough to finish the cruise without further mechanical ministrations?

 



By now it was 1500 and the original idea of a shower and a change and lunch at the restaurant by the lock had evaporated…Rex and I had had a beer or two there some months ago, and it looked worth a visit…. But not NOW!!!!

 



SO I have more than enough fuel to get back in the serviceable tank…I have to be back in Briare on Thursday, to sort out the boat and the car and the house and the laundry before hightailing it back to the UK on Sunday next.

 



Hope you all had a rather more relaxing Bank Holiday than I did….!!!  

 

 

 

Sorted out the internet this morning. Its a free Wi-Fi from the tourist office... and the range gave problems yesterday. Today, having found the tourist office and established that the antenna is there, I have placed the Wi-Fi dongle into a plastic funnel, lined with kitchen foil as a reflector, pointed it at the tourist office and now have bags of signal strength. Firefox was reluctant to connect me to this netork, so I am now running on Internet Explorer...this trip is using every bit of engineering knowledge I have!!!

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Just how many eggs does the cursed curate HAVE??

Post by molemot on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:19 pm

Because I haven’t yet hit the limit of his supply….another day, another egg. Having established that there is water contamination of the left hand tank, and found no trace in the right hand one, despite allowing the old girl to run for quite some time, and then draining the carb. float bowl to reveal nothing but clean petrol….when we set off today, the banging and hesitance and farting  and all the same old stuff was back!! Even though we were running on the right hand tank only..which was supposed to be fine. OK, there was a lot of low speed trundling into locks from the outset, so no chance for her to get up to a decent temperature…but, really…after all the effort…could it still be water in the fuel?
 
Struggled over the hill, six locks up and six locks down, doodah, doodah….ended up in Ouzouer Town…OOOh de doodah day. Stopped; got moored; plugged in to the power, filled the water tank and then it was time to Peer at the Engine.
 
AGAIN.
 
 
Got out the tobacco tin drip tray. Undid the drain plug…out came the contents of the float chamber. A rapid but intense scrute….and there, in the bottom, was the same old dribble of water laying under the Essence Super. So there was STILL water contamination!!! Phosphates….. and in the “good” tank, too. I have no idea how it could have got there…other than from the jerry cans I used to fill her up. The caps are a good tight screw fit, you could spray a fire hose on them and not get any water through. At least, I DO now know what the problem IS. Fixing it needs sucking out the stuff from the bottom of the tank and fitting a separator so that it can’t happen again. Sickening. Tomorrow is the last day of this jaunt, so – although I have several possible designs for home made separators I could produce here, it doesn’t seem worth it. Better to buy the genuine product and plumb it in properly, at this point.
 
Tedious; very.
 
Still, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks…glad I didn’t try to make Paris, that would have been a right hassle…and the engineering stuff has stopped any chance of boredom…tomorrow I shall limp back to Briare and there she will stay until I can get back to her and sort the stuff in the bottom of the tanks and fit a separator…after which she OUGHT to be sorted….how many times have I said that………….
 
Couldn’t get online at Ouzouer…so I wrote the above but couldn’t send it. NOW, I’m back in Briare…farting and misfiring all the way, even though I drained a bunch of water out this morning. The tanks don’t feed from the bottom.. the outlet is a good 1½” above the bottom of the tank. So the water lays in the bottom…until it gets shaken up by the old girl rolling and pitching…then it gets sucked in to the maw of the fuel pump and then it’s on it’s way to prove that water injection isn’t as simple as just having the stuff sloshing about in the tank. Anyway, we made it, and are moored back where we started, two eventful weeks ago. The boat commissariat is now down to one small tin of  M+S Hot Lamb Curry and a few croissants…last night’s meal was a much anticipated one…
 
I’m not sure if I mentioned that, whilst in Gien looking for rollpins in the car, I went into Auchan for provisions…and there I bought a Duck Pie!!! Now, the French do not seem to understand pies…this was with all the usual French attempts at such comestibles, usually filled with potato or courgettes or other inedible vegetable matter… but  a DUCK pie??? Sounded hopeful. And the picture on the front of the box in the frozen food display was appetising, too…contains duck, foie gras, ceps and a touch of armagnac!! How could one go wrong??? I had been looking forward to this ever since, and the Northernmost Outpost of this Expedition seemed an appropriate place to stuff it in the oven and bake the bejasus out of it.
 
So I turned on the oven…and allowed the temperature to stabilise..so in she went. After some time, there was the unmistakeable smell of conflagration. So I open the oven and found that the thing had leached all sorts of liquid…which had been converted to carbon. The very edges of the puff pastry envelope were getting a bit singed, too…to I stuck it down a shelf and lowered the gas. There is no other control over the oven…nothing sophisticated can be done, like Regulo 5 or whatever, it’s just twiddle the knob, peer at the flame and hope. So I shut the door again….and ten minutes or so later had another peer. The top was going brown!! The edges were what Mum used to call “highly baked” i.e. nearly charcoal but not quite. So I tried to turn the flame down a bit more…and it went out…So had to relight it and adjust it a smidgen higher..then left the doo just slightly open to compensate. Another few minutes went by…And I had another look…the very middle of the top wasn’t brown yet, but the rest of it was getting VERY…er….crisp. So I took my cooking thermometer (essential equipment for ANYONE cooking) and plunged it into the centre of mass of M.Canard’s Piething. 85°C. Okeydoke…that’s cooked, then…the hell with it, it’s EATING TIME!!!!
 
Only problem was that the leached juices had, whilst carbonizing, formed an immoveable glue between the bottom of the pie and the baking tray…despite having been anointed with sunflower oil first. So I had to resort to the Fish Slice…got a word in edgewise, there…(!)…and hacked it free; finally inveigling it onto a plate.
 
Then I looked at the sad offering… the label said it serves 6. Didn’t specify 6 what…possibly six blowflies or the odd half dozen kittens….still, there it was … So I cut into it.
 
Strange beigey stuff oozed forth. I peered at it, looking for proper chunks of duck meat.
 
All I could see was the odd mushroom, some lumps of strange white semi-translucent vegetable matter, some slivers of green stuff…and some string.
 
No, on closer examination it wasn’t actually string…but stringy looking stuff. I had a dreadful premonition that I had, finally, found The Duck….(!) I prodded at it with my fork. Moved it about a bit…girded my loins, picked up a forkful, and conveyed it to my mouth. Hmmm. It was a bit chewy…but, on the other hand, didn’t taste of duck. Or anything else much, either….I persevered with several goes at this ersatz pie…finally I realised that only one thing would make it palatable, so I reached for every Englishman’s panacea when confronted by disgusting Continental foodstuffs….
 
THE HP SAUCE!!! Anything with a picture of the Houses of Parliament on it will give a boost to the poor Brit stuck in some benighted backwater and forced to eat duck pie…when liberally slavered with the ol’ HP, anything becomes palatable. And so it was…..I did, in the end, see it off. But I shall not be having another….
 
It does look as if I shall either have to do some shopping on the way back to Mole End or else take refuge in a known restaurant…..
 
And thus ends the Captain’s Log of the MV Trillium for this little jaunt. It has, in some mean and masochistic way, been fun; I hope my readers have enjoyed it and will accept the occasional exaggeration with a pinch of salt….or a squirt of HP!!
 
Next year…now we know what needs to be done..PARIS!!!!

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And so….we come…temporarily…to the end of the lollipop.

Post by molemot on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:21 pm

Trilly is back in Briare, and I am, once again, in Mole End. Last time I was here I contrived (just) to NOT break leg or arm or finger or neck…..whilst falling over the recumbent stepladder in the workshop. I am still suffering from weeping abrasions and aches and the usual stuff. This time I did manage to avoid the horizontal posture…and stuck the laundry into the washing machine. It was not a pleasant experience, digging the washing out of its plastic bag…the general stench was chronic…living in the same clothing for days whilst subjecting it (and myself!) to regular assaults by oil and filth and bilgewater is liable to encourage bacteriological growth…not anything that Fleming, Alexander would have found useful. I’m just hoping that the washing machine on HOT with two Ariel sachets will contrive to subdue the encrusting filth back to a wearable state. But I’m not betting on it….
 
I spent a while turning all the boat systems off…gas and water and electricity and turning the stern tube greaser and putting up the hood (an interesting exercise after dislocating both shoulders.. one looks helplessly at the limb, and it looks helplessly back…)  Success did, in the end attend the efforts. After putting the ship to bed, I was loading the trusty Volvo when I saw Florence, outside le Petit st. Trop’ restaurant, doing things to their “Plat du Jour” board. It had been a looong way since the mornings pair of croissants…and even further since the duck pie of yore. So why not? I wandered over and yes, they were prepared to allow one horrible scruffy oik to eat there that evening and even had the “scruffy oik” table prepared, just in case…. I gratefully sank into the chair provided and then sank the 500cc of Kronenbourg, also provided. A very pleasant meal followed, and I left replete to drive back to my little old sod shanty in the West.
 
I suppose tomorrow will bring gardening…ugh…..but it has to be dealt with before I return to the ministrations of Prof. Dearnaley’s team at the Royal Marsden and they take a view on what has been happening to my prostate tumour…and who knows how long that’ll take? Hopefully, nothing too desperate will be needed and I shall be able to get back to the real world of fitting a petrol/water separator to Trilly, and thus expunging the fartybangyfarty stuff. I have already thought out a system to get a piece of plastic tubing to the seat of the matter…the bottom of the tanks by the fuel feed pipes. Once I have got there, I can pump out the filth at my leisure. I recall doing something similar on a Sunseeker Camargue…except those fuel tanks are the size of a small house and we got out all manner of bacteriological growth, water, and stuff that looked like something that would have fascinated David Bellamy …or, more likely, Professor Quatermass. O how magnificent it will be to get consistent smooth power!! Even the rated 45 hp would be nice….

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A slight coda to the main feature….

Post by molemot on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:23 pm

Now being safely back in Mole End, the first thing to be done was to check the jerry cans. Now that the misfiring has been definitely traced to water in the fuel..the fact remains that it must have got there, somehow…and since I can’t see that it had got into the tanks by the boat being rained on, then the jerry cans were the prime suspects.
 
So I got an old glass jamjar and a large plastic Tupperware box thingy…put the jamjar in it and positioned it outside the garage door. Then I opened one of the jerry cans and poured the dregs into the glass jar..any overspill being contained in the Tupperware box; not something they ever thought of, probably(!) When I examined the result, there was no sign whatsoever of any water. One down, two to go.
 
Trouble was, both the remaining cans yielded the same result; not the slightest trace of any moisture. Since I had been thinking that the Jerry Can Route had to be the vector by which I had adulterated the tanks and thus my two weeks holiday, I was not best pleased. One of the cans had had a pint or two of petrol in it…but no moisture…that was enough to fuel the mower and get the grass cut. And the cursed bamboo chopped back…so that’s what I did, merrily trundling around the grasslands and enjoying the ride on mower. Whilst I was doing this…I was thinking…
 
It may be that my much vaunted refuelling method, using a plastic siphon pump of the type with the squeezy bulb on top, had defeated me. Thing is, that will feed from the bottom of the jerry can…and feeds until the can is empty of all but a heeltap of  bugger all in the dregs department. So…had there been water in one of the jerry cans…it would have been the first to be sucked out; since each can had been used several times, by now any trace of water would possibly no longer be apparent. So I had been chasing my tail looking for water where there wasn’t going to be any.
 
Now the grass was cut…and no more progress was going to be made on the contamination front…so I toddled off to the shops, needing a few things for the trip back on Sunday. Oh yes….and then there’s the repassage , wot is French for the ironing….

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:29 pm

It does sound like a separator is the way to go for you. Do you leave her with full tanks most of the time?
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:10 pm

Hi Prof...being back in the UK at the mo., I have bought a separator (with a priming pump, as my new fuel pump no longer has such a device) plus 25 feet of 5/16" soft copper tube and a pile of assorted fittings. I have a plan involving a length of garden hose and some 1/4" dowel and the Jaguar V12 fuel pump...thrust the hose with the dowel inside it down the fuel filler...it gets to the bottom of the tank...keep pushing and it WILL bend and run along the bottom of the tank until it gets to the front where the fuel tap is. THe dowel will keep it straight. Then couple up the Jag fuel pump and pump out what's there...ought to be all the water and whatever other crud I have put in from the jerry cans. Once we have clear petrol, the trouble should be over. I shall also replace ALL the copper fuel pipe on the boat for both tanks...and fit the separator to the supply to the fuel pump. If that doesn't sort out the water-in-the-fuel, I don't know what WILL.....!!! She has been left with full tanks and empty tanks and part full tanks and all stages imaginable with no deleterious effects in the past; always a bit chary about leaving her with full tanks as 30 gallons of petrol is now about £150 and it can "go off" over the winter. Haven't had any condensation problems in the past 37 years; so why now? Never flown an aeroplane without checking the tanks for water, though...our old Airtourer  had a rubber bag tank and we never saw any water in that...but still checked it every time. The separator will allow me to see any water in the transparent bowl and drain it using the inbuilt drain, so - hopefully - the problems will be over. Medical crap permitting, I'm hoping to get back to her next Sunday..a day of fuel system fettling and a nice week's carefree autumnal cruise would be nice. Met for that part of France is supposed to be low 60sF and sunny....sounds good to me...fingers crossed....

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:33 am

Yesterday arvo was spent pumping petrol into various containers and decanting it like a fine wine....although without the candle flame that one uses to shine through the flow of wine to determine the exact point when the lees are reached and thus the point to stop. Candles not too clever with hydrocarbons....(!) The thing is, the idea to use a length of garden hose and a length of dowel in it worked perfectly, after a few false starts.... firstly, didn't have any dowel, but did have a sort of half rounded section....then the fuse in the Jaguar V12 petrol pump circuit had blown...then the half round section snapped as I tried to get it into the tank, so I had to extract the remains from the hose and use just the longest bit left. However, the next time it slid in a treat...as the actress said to the bishop....and went right in until it hit the end. It was at this point that I discovered the pump didn't work and had to fault find that. No fuses...so the usual bit of kitchen foil was pressed into service. Plugged the thing in...and, AT LAST, it went gurglegurglefart and spewed out some very insalubrious fluid. Ek....very ek! Then it gave a sort of cough, hesitated due to the added load, and began to disgorge unreal quantities of the same snotpus that I have referred to earlier in these chonicles. A sort of curdled minestrone...the poor old pump was suffering, supposed to pump petrol and now pumping filth. So I let it pump for a while...about 3 litres worth... then turned the pump off and inspected the result. There was a layer of petrol floating on loads and loads of yellowy muck....so I decanted the petrol and poured the filth into an old 5 litre oil container.

Then I did it again....less filth, but still more than satisfactory....more decanting.....and repeat the process once more. At least I was getting the crap out of the tank!!! Oh yes...this was the tank that I knew to be clean....the one I had pressure washed and dried out and inspected with the endoscope back in June...or July...and thus the one I had thought should be clear of any problems. Ah well....press on regardless...so I repeated the treatment on the other tank; getting up to sommelier standards at decanting by now.....and after several repeats on this tank, I went back to the first one to check.

This time, no filth...just a very small amount of cleanish water; nothing to trouble the new filter separator (once I have installed it!)...so it was time to inspect the discarded filth. I poured it into a clear container....2 1/2 litres of unspeakable infection....reminded me of how the septic wards must have been before the advent of antibiotics, dying patients with drains into under bed containers brimming with similar looking stuff. I have personal experience of this sort of thing...having endured peritonitis from my burst appendix, I still bear the scar of the drain tube...only man in the world with TWO navels (!) ...and I will never forget the rubber tube with a tap on the end and the stuff that came out of it. Fortunately, the New Wonder Drug streptomycin worked, I recovered and the next 62 years (so far!) have been bunce. Now all I need is the petroleum equivalent. There is no way that this crap has found it's way into the boat tanks through the shut fuel caps...or the jerry cans, far too much of that. Has to be some cursed infection, growing in the petrol... Now, I have come across things wot grow in diesel...and drained a significant quantity out of a Sunseeker, once...but I shall have to do some research into infections in petrol. Seems the stuff grows at the interface between the petrol and the water....

Still, having pumped a whole load of shite out of the tanks, I am hopeful that it has been subdued...at least.... Although one is reminded of the contents of the Domes in the Synthetic Food Plant in Quatermass 2!!! Let us hope that the addition of the filter separator will enable some trouble free cruising.....maybe next week???!!!   

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:53 am

Sonunds like a dose of the Mathmos
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:37 pm

Indeed, yes... I once met a chap who was fascinated by "lava lamps" and decided to experiment to find out how they worked and what chemicals to use. After redecorating the kitchen at home, he branched out into his kitchen at work...the main telephone trunk switching centre for Birmingham, iirc... and they all went BANG!!! too....weird stuff dripping down the walls....very much like what I am contending with. He did succeed in the end, and I saw several examples of his efforts...
If you have any idea of a suitable chemical treatment to clobber this stuff, I am all ears... and good luck with the Renault takeover, too....

Now involved in making new curtains for the beast...

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:55 pm

It could be that you were unlucky enough to buy some duff petrol. Might be an idea to google contaminated petrol (whatever that may be in French) and see if you get a result.

We could do with a bit of luck
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:31 am

Oh, a nice thought...but it came from a supermarket that sells thousands of litres and where I buy the fuel for the Lotus....there would have been one heck of a fuss! Still, it's worth a try.... What I NEED is some biocidal agent to pour into the tanks and kill it off!!! Hard to find, that is....

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:38 am

There have been a number of instances on this side of the channel where supermarket stations have sold contaminated petrol, so definitely worth a look.

Are you intending to re-use the fuel, or go for a complete purge?
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by F23 flittermouse on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:42 am

Moley, 
Do you think this could be the result of the higher percentage ethanol in French essence ? Something us resident Brits have to look forward to at our supply stations . Crying or Very sad

From wikipedia
"Ethanol is commonly produced from biological material through fermentation processes"


Sounds like you have a fermentation process still carrying on in your tank  wine

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:03 pm

That's a good call Derek, it could well be phase separation.

EDIT
Does this look like it Moley?

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:28 pm

Would that it did....there are three layers; petrol on top, then the snotpus and finally some even thicker waxyish muck. I gave up on the French E95 filth..that has 10% ethanol...and I'm running on Super, 98 octane and NO ethanol. Of course, there may have been some left in the port tank...I only had the starboard tank out this year, and that was cleaner than anything done by an obsessive compulsive loony after I had finished with it; inspected every crevice with my endoscope.
However.
The port tank had been out of the boat and drained last year...and i am not sure what there was in it; it might have been before I decided to go Super all the way... and there had been various proprietary liquids poured in too. Castrol Valvemaster and a couple of other things... one to prevent trouble from ethanol and one that is supposed to make the petrol immune from deterioration over the winter. There may well have been an interaction between the various chemicals... and since the tanks are commoned together by a T piece junction before the fuel lines reach the pump, it is entirely possible that any biological or chemical contamination could have infected the other tank; the levels do equalise, so fuel transfer does happen.
I shall do some more pumping and decanting and see how we go...all there was after the last time was a tiny bit of water, but all it needs is a few bacteria and away we go again. Have seen green slime issuing from the starboard tank before now....!
Thing is, there is far more gunk in there than could ever have got in from outside, so it is definitely some foul reaction taking place. Bacteria live in the interface between the water and the petrol, and part of their digestive processes produces water...and so the cycle continues. Never had aything like this in 37 years of Trillium Trundlings.....

Still, can't be downhearted, and today I have been making new curtains for the old girl. Last set were made by my sister-in-law at least 25 years ago, and they had become rufflette tape with odd bits of decayed cloth hanging in festoons.... Trying to find somewhere to work, I idly looked out across the fields and registered that it was a nice sunny day and the Charolais were frolicking in the field...then I saw the Flying Table and realised that I had found my workplace!!! An old sheet over the table and one of my nice new red folding chairs... right height for the table... and I was in business. Marking out and cutting followed...seemed to have a lot left over, so I measured it and it was less than a metre so I had got it right!!
Then I got out the sewing machine...and the extension lead...plugged it all in. Wound the bobbin....threaded the machine.... off we go!! Had a crack at a double hem on a bit of spare cloth...worked a treat. So I launched into the real curtains....started on the big ones; the two by the dinette and the one over the sink. Fought my way through the task with thread breakages and bobbin jams and giant knots (caused by threading it wrong) and finally got through the task of the three large. After that did two small, the front LH ones...and then it was 6 o'clock and cocktail hour so I gave up for the day. Just the small stuff left....then have to press them all... will do that at the same time as I do the ironing from last fortnight's washing!!!!
SO....progress here, too...hoping to get the curtains done and the ironing too tomorrow, then Saturday I shall pump the tanks once more and make merry with coachbolts and filter/separator and fuel lines.... So next week ought to get away cruising. Chilly nights but sunny days...although not much more than 16 to 20°C, but that's about par for the time of year...
Fingers crossed all round!!!!


Perhaps I should explain about the Flying Table. A couple of years ago I had fitted this heavy solid wood table with a nice sun umbrella... and secured it with a bolt through the lower crossmember. Fine all summer, it was....and then we had a Gale. I was cowering indoors..and there was an almighty THUMP from the garden. I looked out the French windows onto the terasse and found the table had gone!!! The gale had got under the umbrella and lifted the entire weighty assemblage up, over the 3'6" railings around the terasse, carried the thng through the air and dumped it onto the lawn!!! End of umbrella...that became an assortment of bent steel tubing...and the table was sorely strained; but I did manage to bolt it back up and restore it to use. But it DID fly....!!!

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:06 pm

I am going to try this stuff...

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Works on diesel and petrol, apparently. Worth £20 or so as a trial....

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:24 pm

It's american, but might be worth a read

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Liberty on Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:29 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:I am going to try this stuff...

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Works on diesel and petrol, apparently. Worth £20 or so as a trial....

Very highly recommended by lots of salty boater types.
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:39 am

Here at Mole End I have now finished the curtains; using sister-in-law's efforts as a blueprint I knew what had to be stitched and how...new sewing machine ran like a....welll.....sewing machine(!) All 11 curtains are now done and pressed and ready to go to the boat. That WAS going to be today...but the fridge needs defrosting (the ice in the frozen food compartment had pushed the door open!) and the grass needs mowing....so a bit of a delay.

Meanwhile, have had a BRAINWAVE!!! Now that I have the filter separator, before I fit it, I can use the thing. It came with tails to take hoses, as well as the copper pipe fittings...so I can go back to the hose-into-tank system I used during the week...but take the flow THROUGH the filter separator and feed the output back into the tank!! So we have an oozlum...round and round in circles...every time the separator ought to catch more of the shite! Then I can drain it out of there and carry on. Plan is to make a copper tube end piece for the hose, flattened and angled so that it will go right into the angle between the end of the tank and the bottom, and thus get as much of the filth as possible. I shall go to the car factors in Gien and get some spare filters for the filter separator too...then I should be able to clean the fuel in both tanks without cross contamination and get at least 99% of the biocrap removed. Then, one hopes, the New Gloop should take care of the remainder...if any. Seems a rather better solution than pumping petrol into an open container....did NOT enjoy that; but it was the only way to remove the main quantity of snotpus...2 1/2 litres of it, over half a gallon. No wonder she wouldn't run properly....! Then the filter separator goes into the boat permanently and the end should be in sight. What a mess......first I saw of this sort of thing was years ago when my cousin came over and we took Trilly out...the starboard tank provided loads of green slime, on which the motor would not run. Pumped a load of fuel through and it cleared...but that was the start of it. What with one thing and another, she hasn't been used enough, and the problem has magnified itself....which is why she's been on strike....typical neglected woman....!! Two month's cruising every year seemed to stop all these troubles. Have ordered the Soltron Magic Gloop, so...hopefully...the end is in sight.....

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by molemot on Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:04 pm

TRILLIUM’S TRUNDLINGS….or lack of…. Episode 18 ( I think)!
 
 
Much has happened since the last trundling… see previous posts. Today the aim was to get the New Curtains back on the old girl and finally sort out the fuel system.
 
First, it was necessary to Mow the Grass… so petrol was sloshed into the ride on mower and she started up first go and we whizzed around the grass… first of the day’s tasks completed!
 
Next thing was to get to the boat….disposing of the week’s garbage along the way. No worries there..got to Briare and nowhere to park? So I did a slow circuit and slotted in to a newly vacated slot, just by Trilly’s moorings….. grabbed the kit and went on board.
Found I had left the curtains at home…. DULL twerp…
Still, the fuel system needed doing…. So I got prepared for that. Pipe from the tank inlet to the fuel pump…then to the filter/separator…then back to the tank.
Those of you who remember the tale of the Oozlum bird will need no explanation… for those of you suffering from youthful deprivation, The Oozlum Bird was a freak of nature…when pursued by it’s enemies, it flew round and round in ever decreasing circles until it disappeared up it’s own fundamental orifice, casting hell, shit, and derision upon it’s enemies…
I my case, I was pumping fuel from the tank; through the pump, through the petrol/water separator.. and back to the tank…roundandroundandround…with the snotpiss collecting in the filter bowl. So I connected it all up… and turned the pump to ON … sadly I had confused input with output, and the pump whirred…and strained… and ground away manfully… and the upper seal on the filter was burst through and petrol spewed half way across the harbour before I could turn it off!!!
A useful cautionary tale…
 Once I got it all right, the fuel pumped through at a great rate…. And no snotpus  had accumulated in the filter bowl. This meant that either 1) I had got it all during the last efforts…or 2) the system wasn’t working…(!)
Decided that the first option was most likely… so I pressed on, as they say, regardless…. Did the other tank with the same result, so I’m a lot happier now….
Finally, needed to sort out the starboard tank fuel tap … there has been a lack of sealing and a crap junction there ever since Sir Francis’s efforts agin the Armada. So I had a shufti…this time I have 25 feet of 5/16 copper tube, the pipe forming tool and assorted couplings….
Examination of the previous, slightly leaky, efforts showed that the pipe end.. although a nice double tapered swage, had not been sealing properly. The end nut needed a spacer to get the swage to engage properly with the taper on the tank; last time I had turned up some spacers on my lathe..but hadn’t realised that the outside diameter of the spacer has to be less than the outside diameter of the double swage. Thing is, the spacer was hitting the fuel tap thread… so it wouldn’t go tight enough to force the swage into the taper on the tap!!!  Once I realised that, it was back to the workshop and the lathe and new, tapered, spacers were fabricated….. that would do for the day; so I joined the CocktailClasses with an Old Fashioned…. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof….; tomorrow, I think….

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Today, it was curtains for Trilly….

Post by molemot on Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:29 pm

The ones I had newly stitched, that is. Two afternoon’s efforts with the new sewing machine and 11 seviceable curtains resulted…and today, I remembered to take them with me!! However, I get ahead of myself….
 
The first spasm was to finish sorting out the fuel system. We had been the gamut of draining snotpus and the Oozlum recirculating cleaning system; now it was the final thrunge…a new piece of copper tube, nicely formed, for fitting to the starboard fuel tap…and the installation of the filter/separator. I had high hopes that this would be a smooth operation, after yesterday’s lathe work and much checking of fits. WHY I thought it might be plain sailing, given that everything so far has been three steps forward and two steps back….sometimes four…(!) I cannot say. But optimistic was the mood when I arrived at the boat around 1300 hours. It had developed into a beaut day; clear blue sky and wall to wall sunshine…a slight chill from the breeze, but I was going to leave the hood up anyway.
 
Up with the access panels….and the carefully formed pipe end fitted perfectly to the starboard petrol tap. Some accurate marking and pipe cutting and this new short piece was successfully joined to the existing pipework, using a compression fitting…the existing pipework I had fitted earlier in the year, but had not realised that my dimensions for a critical spacer had been in error; this I had rectified yesterday with the new one…a nice interlude of lathework, makes a change. Now we had the starboard tank linked up once more…I turned the fuel tap on and rejoiced at the lack of any suspicion of a leak. Now to the next bit…
 
Installing the filter/separator…this had to go into the fuel line from the T-piece where the two tanks link together, between that and the fuel pump. The filter/separator would fit nicely to the right hand side of the engine bay, just behind where the propshaft goes through the hull. I fabricated a new piece of pipe to run from the T piece to the input of the filter/separator… using my bending tool it was easy to produce a lovely sinuous shape…once that was done, the filter/separator was fitted to the pipework and the unions done up. Now the position of the thing was fixed…so I was able to mark where the mounting holes were to go and drill through the GRP laminated hardwood engine bearers and fit the beast with a couple of coachbolts.
 
Looking good…..so I cut back the existing pipework and fitted it into the output from the filter/separator and tightened up all the unions…..checked everything again, since there have been a few sillies in this saga…(!) And that was it…..nothing to do but test it.
 
I turned on the starboard tank petrol tap…operated the priming pump on the filter thingy….that worked fine. Nothing else for it….had a good nose around to ensure that there wasn’t any sign of an explosive mix of air and petrol vapour….on with the ignition…and turn the key…
 
And away she went! Trilly lives again!!!! But what was this?
 
A MISFIRE????????!!!!!!!
 
Surely not….not after all this effort, analysis, planning, purchasing, filtering, snotpus and general blood, toil tears and sweat???
 
Yup. Thing was misfiring as it had before….HOW CAN THIS BE???
 
Then I realised that the remains of the snotpus and water and filth would still be in the fuel pump and the pipe to the carburetter as well. A faint glimmer of hope….in which case, it should clear after a bit….
 
So I decided to give her five minutes…put her in ahead, applied a bit of throttle ( this time we were moored firmly to the jetty!) and sat there, listening to the hesitance and spluttering. Amazing how long five minutes is…..
 
After two of the five, the engine had recovered herself and was running smoothly… hope magnified…and at the end of the whole five minutes she had not put a foot wrong again. I closed the throttle…and she idled at a ridiculously slow rate, absolutely rock steady. Opened the throttle, and she picked up straight away; no hesitancy or misfire, she was back to how she had always been. Back to idle…into neutral…and for once I had to turn her off, not just wait for the polluted fuel to bring her to a standstill. Seems to be sorted…. So I opened the fridge, found a beer, prised the top off with a spanner and sank it in a few glorious gulps.
 
Then I turned the key…and she ticked over as if there had never been any trouble!!! After this, I swapped tanks and ran her on the port tank….no hesitancy, no misfire, perfect. Being rather cheered up by the final ( please the Fates) resolution of the persistent misfire, it was now time for the Second Spasm…fitting the curtains.
 
This proved to be just as difficult and painful as I had anticipated. Nobody who has not had the misfortune to dislocate BOTH shoulders can really appreciate this…it is vastly frustrating to be working at and above shoulder level, when you need both hands to fit the curtains to the wire spring curtain rods….one feels so pathetic! However, press on regardless..and the job was, finally done…and the cabin has the new set of curtains, and very nice they look, too!!
 
On the whole, a successful day with only a very few alarums and excursions… so tomorrow it seems that the Second Act of the Autumn Cruise may well commence. Need to get some pleasure under the belt…..before the medical realities of urology assessment and the prostate have to be dealt with. I am hoping that these ravings may be far less entertaining, this time round….but I’m not holding my breath….     

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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Liberty on Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:24 pm

All the best of luck!!!  Lets hope that is the end of it!!!
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

Post by Prof Pat Pending on Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:33 pm

Sounds like you've nailed it Smile Fingers crossed and all that Wink
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Re: Trillium's Trundlings...

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