Let it bleed!

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

QOur nar­row­boat’s Ve­tus en­gine has stood idle for about 4-5 years. We put 40 litres of fresh diesel in the empty tank. It turns strongly but will not fire at all, de­spite nu­mer­ous at­tempts at turn­ing the en­gine to pump the fuel up to the en­gine.

AYou don’t just crank the en­gine to get fuel to the en­gine. You need to fol­low a pro­ce­dure called ‘bleed­ing’. If it has an elec­tric lift pump, turn the starter on and loosen the bleed points on the main fuel fil­ter and in­jec­tor pump in turn, only tight­en­ing them when fuel with no air bub­bles flows out.

If you have a me­chan­i­cal lift­pump, use the prim­ing lever or hand­pump and do the same. When no air is left in the fuel, loosen all the in­jec­tor pipe

Au­nions (the large nuts) on the in­jec­tors and then crank the en­gine on the starter. As each union drips or spits, tighten it and the en­gine should start.

Clouds of whitish ex­haust ‘smoke’ while crank­ing means fuel is be­ing in­jected into the en­gine. Only a few wisps or no smoke means you still have a fuel prob­lem. If you have the nor­mal Ve­tus elec­tric fuel pump, one thing to check is the small fil­ter in the end of the pump cylin­der un­der a bay­o­net cap.

I have seen just one en­gine with that rocker cover, and we could not find those seals. All I can sug­gest is that you get an­other rocker cover or make a seal your­self. I am 98% sure a rocker cover from a BMC B type petrol en­gine will fit, but try to get one from a 1.5, not a 1.8, in case it’s dif­fer­ent. Al­ter­na­tively, buy some solid neo­prene strip from the likes of Seals Plus Di­rect, cut the oval shape to fit the hole, then a round or oval shape to fit over the rocker cover by say 6mm all round and then glue them to­gether and punch the hole.

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