Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Monday, 10 March 2014

It Is Hull Blacking Time Again.

It is two years in May since Kelly Louise was taken out of the water to have her hull re-blacked, and being coated in the very basic bitumen based paint, this is about the limit, if we are to keep the waterline rust at bay and hull deterioration to a minimum. In September this year Kelly Louise will also be 10 years old, so we have decided that we will give her a 'treat' that, hopefully will ensure a strong, rust free hull well into her future. We have made the decision to have her grit-blasted below the first rubbing strake and then re-coated in 2-pack epoxy blacking.
This was no easy decision, not least because of the many different paint systems that are available. A few years ago I wrote about the varying types of blacking paint, and how to identify them and their uses HERE. Now we have decided to use the 2-pack epoxy coating there are also many decisions to be made on which system within this category to go for. There are 2-pack pitch primers followed by a final 2-pack vinyl black top coat, 2-pack blacking that requires no final top coat, and 2-pack blacking that can be finished off with a compatible final 1-pack coal tar based (Comastic) final coat. None of these finishes can be used over an existing bitumen paint, so that is the reason for the grit blasting, which not only gets rid of all traces of old paint, and rust, but provides a good bare metal ground for the new 2-pack blacking to adhere to.

I had pondered the idea of simply mechanically removing loose material from the waterline before treating with a rust converter and re-painting with the same bitumen finish, but after discussions with the boat yard staff who are going to do the work, who themselves consulted various paint manufacturer's technical departments on my behalf, decided in the end to follow the route we have taken, which is simply the grit blast followed by re-finishing with a propriety brand of 2-pack epoxy blacking to the manufacturers intructions. Hopefully, all will turn out well. I will report on the results and prices in a couple of weeks time when the job is complete.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Genuine Parts Or Generic? That Is The Question.

When I started the engine for the first time last week, the alarm buzzer started to sound after around 5 minutes. The temperature gauge had gone right over to its end stop and its warning light was illuminated. As the engine was not yet warm, I suspected an electrical fault, and after investigation found the temperature gauge sender to be short circuit on one station. (Mine is a dual station sender, one for the gauge and one for the warning light).

As I find it difficult working in the enclosed space of the engine bay these days - (once in I can't seem to get out), I contacted Sandra at Ace Marine Electrical 07969 803439 - (Northwich based), to ask if she could attend and confirm my diagnosis, order parts and re-fit. Sandra has worked for me before, completely re-wiring the batteries and inverter in the engine bay after a cock up by another company who had then recently worked on something else. She does a great job and knows everything about narrowboat electrics.

The sender was confirmed as the culprit, and she made enquiries with the Barrus Shire agent, who quoted £120 + VAT for a replacement. Luckily Sandra had experience of the more normal price of this item, and refused to order it before speaking to me, instead enquiring with A.S.A.P Supplies whose helpful staff first confirmed which sender was required, whether it's resistance scale would match the existing Barrus de-luxe panel temperature gauge, and finally, whether it was in stock. Everything was positive, and a new Faria sender was ordered at £24 + VAT!

This was fitted by Sandra last Wednesday, and all is once again tickety-boo in the engine department. Total cost for the job - £70, including the first diagnostic visit. Great value I believe.

Volkswagen are currently running a TV advertising campaign which tries to get over their own point as to why their vehicles generally cost far more than their competition. To a certain extent, I would agree that you 'get what you pay for', but Barrus' £120 against £24 for a part that does the same job, and is made from the same materials?

To me - that is taking quality against price a little too far and is taking the p***!