Indigo Dreaming

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Archive for January 25th, 2009

Technical: Getting our Webasto Fixed

Posted by indigodream on 25 January, 2009

We have been really happy with our Webasto. It has been running for almost 3 years without any trouble and kicks out a decent amount of heat.  In November we noticed it had stopped by itself a few times, so perhaps time to get it looked at. We had the boat booked in to get serviced by someone a bit more expert before we went down to Excel so thought get them to look at the Webasto. JP Marine had a look at the boiler, told us it was normal for the them to stop every so often (we now know that is wrong) and ran some diagnostics on it which suggested that all was working well.

On our last day outside Excel our Webasto died. The burner had simply coked up,  definitely time for a service. We thought that JP Marine would be only to willing to help as they had run the diagnostics on it but we’re still waiting for them to come back with a quote. So we needed to find someone else who could service the Webasto, hopefully someone based near Limehouse where the boat is based at the moment. Now Limehouse is not exactly the centre of a thriving narrowboat repair area but there are a few truckie people nearby who are Webasto service agents so first thought was why not try them? Hopeless (“Can you drive down so we can have a look? Thermotop C, ooh what’ s that, you had better give us all the numbers you can find on the machine and then we will get back to you”).

We turned instead to Max at PR Marine  in Chelsea Harbour Tel: 07984 943754. The address bit was a bit scary but his charge for driving across London to Limehouse and doing the work seemed reasonable so we booked him in to do the work on Saturday. It all looked good ’til he rang on Thursday that his supplier could not get him the service kit – seems there is an issue getting them over from Germany. A quick call to those nice people at Kings Lock Chandlery – problem solved. They had 4 on the shelf but the service kit is eye-wateringly expensive.


Emergency Bow Hauling Teams practising?

Yes, our Webasto was badly coked up. One bit needed cleaning, the main burner needed to be replaced but we gather all is working well now. We haven,t been back to check as we went to watch a bit of rugby instead!

We had a good long chat at the Boatshow with the Man from Webasto who said “No No No you must NOT run the Webasto just for an hour as it will coke up. Give it a good burn, at least 2 hours”. So our policy this autumn of setting the Webasto to come on for just 1 hour when it is frosty is probably to blame :-(. We will know better in the future but not sure how much difference it will make – Max’s advice is to service every year. Mind you that is also British Gas advice on domestic boilers but we only get ours serviced every 12 years as all they seem to do is come look at the boiler, say it looks nice, have a cup of tea and go away.
Other nuggets of information on Webasto from the Boat Show:

The timer that comes with the Webasto is c**p, well perhaps that is unfair it is very good at doing what Webasto intended it to do, namely turn on the Webasto once at any time in the next 24 hours but that is nowhere near enough to be useful. BK Marine and now Kings Lock supply a 7 day timer which is much better but surprisingly it is not approved by Webasto. They are still assessing something with pretty LED lighting. As far as we are concerned the 7 day timer is the business and might now be sold as a 14 day timer.

Having been on Tony Brookes‘ engine maintenance course we have loads of filters on all our diesel lines. Even the Webasto has a sedimentor and an agglomerator. JP Marine were a bit sniffy about it, saying it is not recommended and wanted to remove our filters. The Man from Webasto this time said “Yes have some filters ” but interestingly he said Red Diesel is fine when it leaves the refinery, the problem is what happens to it afterwards. Based on our experiences on Dragonfly with the Mikuni, having filters is a wonderful thing.

The staff on the Webasto stand had a cut away Thermotop C and explained just how easy it is to replace the burner unit yourself. Only thing is that it is a bit tricky to make sure you have correctly bleed the system, and to do the job properly you need to make sure that the CO is set at 14%. Getting a Max to do the job is a goodie.

Whilst I was waiting for Max to turn up at Limehouse I chatted to one of the locals. Seems that the boats in the marina have had a rash of  central heating units going. The best story was of a guy with an Eberspacher which, to be honest, had never worked right. despite several people having looked at it.  An engine fitter fitter finally solved the problem – the fuel line was off a tee from the main engine feed and far too small a diameter. He put a proper feed in direct from thehis  tank, heater now works a treat.

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