Sav­ing a sunken Beta

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: - TONY REPLIES… MARTIN, via email

Would the en­gine and gear­box be sal­vage­able from a sunken nar­row­boat that has been re­floated? It is a Beta 38 with PRM gear­box. I don’t know if, or how, much wa­ter ingress there has been. Would it re­quire a new en­gine, a re­build or could I get away with­out a re­build?

QThis de­pends on how long it’s been down and to what depth. The longer it has been down the more likely it is some­thing will have cor­roded, but if it has only been down a few weeks you might only have to fol­low the pro­ce­dure be­low.

If it is still in the boat that sank and the fuel tank filler or breather has been un­der the wa­ter, use a pump of some sort or an en­gine oil ex­trac­tor to ‘vac­uum’ all wa­ter from the bot­tom of the tank or use the tank drain plug.

Re­move the starter and al­ter­na­tor and stand them on end to al­low any wa­ter to drain out, af­ter a few hours, put them in a warm or hot place to dry out. Re­fit them.

Re­move the in­jec­tors and tie rag around the end of the in­jec­tor pipes or take out the glow­plugs.

Pump or drain the oil and wa­ter from the gear­box and en­gine and re­fill with any cheap en­gine oil. Change all of the oil and fuel fil­ters.

Spin the en­gine over on the starter un­til it stops spit­ting wa­ter from the in­jec­tor/glow­plug holes, then bleed the fuel sys­tem and re­fit the in­jec­tors or glow­plugs.

Try to start the en­gine. If it starts, run for five to ten min­utes and drain the oils again. Then re­fill with cheap oil. This time run un­til the en­gine is up to run­ning tem­per­a­ture, then change both oils and fil­ter, but this time, re­fill with the cor­rect oil.

ADo make sure you re­move the in­jec­tors or glow­plugs be­fore turn­ing over the en­gine, if you don’t give any wa­ter in the cylin­ders a way out, you will bend the con­nect­ing rods or smash the pis­tons, then it will be an ex­pen­sive en­gine re­build.

Only if it will not start would you think about an en­gine re­build, and re­mem­ber a failed starter could pre­vent the en­gine start­ing, so do not con­fuse that with a seized en­gine.

If wa­ter has got into the tank, and af­ter pump­ing out as much as you can from be­low the fuel, I would sug­gest you use Fuelset for the sum­mer to help re­move any that re­mains.

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