We visited Nantwich Canal Centre today to enquire about progress on our central heating repair. NCC is of course based in Nantwich Basin, on The Shropshire Union Canal. I visited this place during a hire boat holiday in c1972, and took a photograph whilst there. Today, I took another from the same spot, have a look at the differences.....
Nantwich Basin c1972
Nantwich Basin 2011
As for the repair, I am told the parts are now in stock, and work will be done during the coming week.
Today we met up with Tom and Jan, writers of the blog Narrowboat Waiouru, who are now over here in the UK. The weather performed for us, and was warm and sunny for the whole day. We had a look around the Portland Basin Museum, <Click>, before heading out of Ashton-Under-Lyne, towards Huddersfield and The Hartshead Inn for lunch, <Click>.
Clinton at Nantwich Canal Centre contacted me today with estimates for work to get things relating to the boat's central heating up and running again. He gave me a guesstimate for a repair to the existing Alde boiler, which included making good any joinery that was disturbed in the process, at £872 including VAT. This includes only a guess at what the problem may be, once they get it out, at £200 for parts. (I had also asked for the leisure batteries to be replaced, and these are included in this price).
The other, more definite estimate was for a brand new Webasto diesel boiler, plumbed and fitted into the engine bay, and then connected to the existing central heating / hot water system. The gap where the old Alde had been in the back cabin would be reconstructed to include a doored storage space by their on site boat fitters. The leisure batteries would also be replaced, as I had requested. The total cost for this was given as £3,200 including VAT.
This is a link to the Webasto Marine Division website: <Click>.
All things considered, such as we still don't know the exact cause of the Alde boiler leak, the fact that there is evidence of other corrosion on the front face of the water jacket, and the cost of running the thing in terms of gas, even when it is up and running, I decided to go with the new Webasto. The new boiler will run three domestic radiators and / or hot water via the calorifier.
Clinton is now making enquiries regarding parts deliveries, but the boat will be with them for the next couple of weeks.
Bearing in mind that Nantwich Canal Centre is my most convenient location to get the repair done, (I just don't have the time or the inclination to take the boat all over the country in search of other estimates). And, NCC only supply the Webasto as their favoured diesel fired boiler option, (I could have gone for a new Alde 2928 at a lower price fitted, or even had the old one repaired.) Have I made the right choice? I am sure there is a lot of opinion out there.
Nantwich Canal Centre use a quote in their advertising that is taken from Red Adaire, the US oil field troubleshooter. It goes like this: "If you think it is expensive to hire a professional to do the job - wait until you hire an amateur." Today, during my attempted solution to a leaking central heating boiler, I found this couldn't be more true, and the following should be a warning to all those who are in the market wanting to buy their own narrowboat.
Today is the day we decided that I would come down to the boat alone because we have arranged to have the central heating boiler serviced, and a leak behind it repaired tomorrow.
The boiler is the slimline Alde which stands just to the right of this bulkhead, and is the full height of the space and about 5 inches wide, very compact, but not that gas efficient. Fingers crossed that the leak is just a plumbing joint as I suspect it is. While I've been here today I also took care of an engine bay inspection, battery and coolant fluid levels checked, as well as engine oil. All was well except one of the leisure batteries required a water top up, so will now have to be monitored. When I had replenished it I put the smart charger onto recondition mode. The bank charged up to full OK.
I will report how the service call went later in the week. Margaret, who is still doing a temporary teaching contract, will join me for the weekend on Friday evening. In the meantime, where's that lager kept?
The bad luck bug seems to have struck again, this time in the car department. Margaret has her own little yellow Peugeot 107, which is great around town, and, importantly in this day and age, does over 60 m.p.g. It is now 5 years old and has 45,000 miles on it, but seems to have become a little unreliable. Earlier in the year the clutch went, no drive at all, just like that, at 40,000. It was repaired without any problems, but a search of the Internet forums indicated that we were not alone in experiencing this problem at such mediocre mileage.
The other day, whilst out on a trip to Settle, a grating noise could be heard from the engine department. The car continued to run OK, and a quick look under the hood revealed nothing untoward, so we continued our journey. A few miles down the road, the battery warning light came on, quickly followed by the flashing STOP warning lights and the coolant temperature warning light. Another look revealed a missing alternator belt.
Having managed to get the car safely home, I again searched the Internet forums on "shredded alternator belt Peugeot 107" and found that literally hundreds of owners had suffered the same problem, all as a result of a failed water pump. All occurrences were around the 50,000 miles mark, which is where I suppose ours is.
A visit to our local garage was met with "oh another one of those" when I explained the problem, and of course it was! When the owner contacted his parts supplier it was a case of "we have sold dozens of those, I think they have modified them now".
So, this weekend, the car is in for repairs instead of us boating. This one will cost approximately £100 for a genuine (modified) Peugeot pump, £15 for a drive belt, and two hours labour. If you have a Peugeot 107 with mileage approaching 50,000, beware! And to make matters worse, the weather has turned again, to hot and sunny!