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Technical Stuff: Locking Fuel Caps and Aerial Connectors

Posted by indigodream on 17 November, 2008

Alert guard dog!

Alert guard dog!

Yesterday was a potter round the boat morning and catch up on a few jobs which have been on my to-do list for ages.

Sadly the contents of a diesel tank are now worth serious money and theft is becoming more of a problem – Narrowboat No Problem blogged that they lost 100 litres or so of fuel last July, it is quite a discussion topic on forums, insurers are warning about diesel theft, there seem to be regular news articles like this, I read somewhere about a range rover’s tank being emptied by someone punching a hole in it. It is worth doing something to secure your tank. After all our intrepid guard dogs won’t always be on duty, vigilant and alert to every last noise.

A while back I wrote about my deliberations about locking fuel caps for a flush deck fitting. To re-cap: Tony Brooks suggesting fitting a simple hasp and staple across the top of a flush fitting – We noticed that Sanity had a similar style fitting. asap supplies do a natty locking cap (Perko P-1324DP0BLK) but it does not have a BSP thread so I would need to change the filler. Gypsy Rover got a nice shiny fitting from Beeston Marina but that needed a bigger filler hole.

I did not want to start enlarging holes so I went for a retro fit cap from Fuelock.

I liked the product – it is nicely made in a rigid plastic with an offset cam lock, narrows the opening a bit but that does not look a problem, I didn’t want an armour plated cap, so it looked perfect ….. but ……….. it did not fit! Ignorance on my part – I thought that a 1½” BSP fitting would measure about 1.5″ but no, BSP is a reference to the internal diameter of the pipe with that thread on the outside measured in furlongs multiplied by 7920.

Fuelock say on their web site that they have a “No quibble money back guarantee if it doesn’t fit your boat”. But does that happen in practice? After all it was not their fault that the cap did not fit. Well they are a nice company to deal with and yes it really it is a no quibble guarantee. However they were looking into making a smaller fitting so we sat tight and waited. It seems that many narrowboats have a smaller filler cap, (must be 5p cheaper!) and they were looking at a bit of research into popular sizes before re-tooling for a smaller cap.

New blister packaging

New blister packaging

The new smaller cap came last week so I fitted it yesterday. Really easy, takes seconds. Comes with simple to follow instructions. I had been worried about tight clearances around the cap but that was not an issue. A determined thief will get in but then a determined thief can also make a hole in your tank so I am happy with the fuelock.

Hopefully it will work on those rare occasions when the guard dogs are taking a brief nap or are distracted 🙂

tough being a dog.

Greyhound distracted by diet food

One other task was to repair our vhf aerial. Problem was that the connections to the plugs were rubbish and I had compounded the problem by over-tightening them and shearing the cable.

So first thing: Get new connectors. Bit of a problem when you don’t know what they’re called. I now know they are PL259s, obvious really. We found them a bit hard to track down – most chandleries seemed to have entire kits for loads of money but not just a simple connector.

pl259 connectors

pl259 connectors

Fortunately Force4 chandlery in Bristol stocks them – they are a nice chandlery, knowledgeable, good range of stock and reasonable prices and I enjoy shopping there. Strangely the price in the shop was less than the web price. I have since found out that Maplins stock them for a much cheaper price but don’t have the smaller size that I needed at one end. The Uxbridge branch did have TV aerial plugs which was another job. You can also get non solder type PL259 connectors here.

Next thing: How do you fit them? Don’t try and guess. Do a search on the web. I used this site and this site. In particular do check that the core is isolated from the sheath with a multimeter. Only problem now is does it all work? Tried to listen in on Thames VTS from Uxbridge but heard nothing. Hopefully it is just too far as opposed to me over-tightening (again) that last connector inside the stand. I think we need a trip to Limehouse to check! Any excuse …

Dog Update:

To be fair, Lou can’t be a guard dog at the moment as her foot is still swollen to twice its size – so we’re back to the vet later, again….

Fuelock Update:

We have had some problems with the fuelock, they seem to have been solved by filling it with engine oil! See…king-fuel-caps

The Fuelock web site has gone, I am not sure if they are still in manufacture?

2 Responses to “Technical Stuff: Locking Fuel Caps and Aerial Connectors”

  1. Greygal said

    Er..I see how this dog thing works..”I know, I’ll hurt my foot and mum will feel sorry for me and then I’ll get the last slurpings of the ice cream tub plus other tasty titbits. Tidy!”

  2. indigodream said

    If I could convince Lou to got a whole week without injuring her foot then she’d find out that these treats are delivered anyway!

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