Tuesday, 12th September 2006:
We are now underway again and heading towards Paddington via the River Thames, Brentford and Bulls Bridge. Last week we were laid up on extremely pleasant public moorings at Runnymede while repairs were carried out to the engine. Our magnificent K3 had been performing extremely well but as we proceeded down the Thames between Windsor and Staines it suddenly developed a very loud banging or 'clacking' noise coupled with an occasional misfire on number two cylinder. An initial investigation revealed that the noise appeared to be coming from the injection pump and tended to occur with every revolution of the camshaft (which only completes half a revolution to every revolution of the main crank) - an examination of the pump revealed severe damage to its internal camshaft - the exterior hardening on the cam serving number two cylinder had broken down and, as a result, the cam had suffered excessive wear and was badly deformed. Thanks to the sympathetic consideration of Phil trotter, a trip by train and taxi to the Gloucestershire yard of R W Davis & Son Ltd.. produced a replacement pump which was fitted last Thursday. Before starting the engine with the replacement pump in place, we turned the engine over at low compression with the petrol taps open (during extremely cold conditions, the K3 can be started on petrol) and carefully checked that all else on the fuel injection side was working as it should. Miraculously, the timing was spot-on but the fuel delivery pipe between the pump and the injector on number two cylinder appeared to be blocked and further examination revealed the presence of ball of silver solder approximately 70 thou. in diameter which was firmly lodged in the delivery nozzle of the pipe. With the helpful assistance of the owner of a vintage Broom cruiser who had moored next to us (and who possessed a comprehensive toolkit!), we were able to enlarge the nozzle with successively larger mini-drills until the ball of solder rolled out! It is quite likely that this blockage contributed to the failure of the pump's internal cam and it can be imagined that the 'offending article' started life as an irregular shaped piece of solder debris which had been vibrating away inside the pipe for some considerable time - the continual hammering of the vibrations must have reduced and shaped the solder into a perfect sphere until it was small enough to become jammed in the outlet nozzle of the pipe! For anyone who is interested, the pump fitted to a K3 is a C.A.V. in-line, self contained model - part number: BPE3B 100Y400/3S6265 - if anyone out there has a spare one or a camshaft for one, please get in touch.
The good news is that it is fixed and the engine is running as sweetly as ever! As I write this we are moored at Hampton Wick so that Jane can attend to our victualling requirements over the bridge in the Royal Borough of Kingston.
May we take this opportunity to thank all those who helped us during our
forced lay-over at Runnymede: especially our temporary neighbours who offered
to provide water should our tank run low and put-up with our noisy petrol
generator, the Environment Agency who allowed us to overstay on what are
normally overnight visitor moorings, Phil Trotter at
R W Davis & Son Ltd. for providing a replacement
pump (within 24 hours!) and all those who helped either practically or with
advice and emails.
'GC' was not amused . . .
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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2006