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Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:46pm

Post Subject: Squeaking from Engine bay

I am fairly new to owning a narrowboat. I have a Barrus Shires engine in my 50' narrowboat. Recently I have experienced a nasty squeak coming from the engine bay. Initially I thought it was the alternator belt having recently had a new alternator and belt fitted (the engine has 3 alternators 2 on the same new belt). However having tightened the alternator as much as it can go and inspecting the belt it does not appear to be wearing so I am doubting this is the source. I also note that the squeak only comes when the engine is in gear and under load. However there is no squeak if the boat is in reverseI This leads me to think it may be more drive shaft than alternator. Any suggestions?


Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:12am

Post Subject: Squeaking from Engine bay

First we need to ascertain if the frequency of the squeak is in time with engine revs, propshaft revs or random. Without that information it is impossible to tie the source to an individual part of the drive system so all that follows is just guesswork based on little data. First check the engine mounting nuts. If the engine is suspended partway up studs make sure you tighten the BOTTOM nut up against the foot and top nut. Also check that the smaller bolts that hold the engine mounts onto the beds are tight. Next, what type of stern gland do you have? The age a Barrus engine with two alternators on one belt suggests that its an older boat so is likely to have a packed gland with a greaser so I assume that you are using the greaser. Please make sure not tins etc. have fallen down and wedged against the engine. Now you need a listening stick. This is either a long screwdriver or a simple length of wood. Put one end to your ear and the other end on various parts of the engine, gearbox, stern gland, alternators and any thrust blocks or plumber bearings on the shaft. The noise travelling up the listening stick will help you localise the source. Do not put the stick on a running shaft! Feel down the weed hatch to ensure nothing is caught between the prop and the back of the boat. Make sure there is at least a half inch gap there. If you have been running with an over tight alternator belt the bearings may be failing in one alternator so listen to those carefully. Once you isolate the noise come back and tell me where it is coming from so I can give you more information/guidance.

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