Life at the end of the road

March 12, 2011

Lagged off :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:55 pm

Not quite so bright this morning, grey skies and little snow meant that I should have used my lights, but didn’t in an effort to convince myself that it was approaching spring. Hard really with thick ice on a few of the steeper hills that would have made upward progress ‘entertaining’ in an ordinary vehicle. My two ton twenty five year old gas guzzler being anything but ordinary barely even noticed 🙂 Had I not met the gritter heading north at Glam Brae I’d have phoned wifey and told her not to bother heading for Kyle but our sterling contractor was earning his keep well 🙂

The day was bitterly cold with a raw north easterly wind bringing with it tiny flurries of snow that thankfully melted on contact with the relatively warm ground at sea level. Applecross and even Kyle however seemed to catch a few heavy showers, or at least it looked that way from my odd forays above deck. Today was most definitely an ‘engine room day’.

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And what could be cosier than painting the exhaust lagging for the engines, generators and central heating system 🙂

The day past quickly enough and rather than spending the intervening break between 18:30 and 20:15 doing what I usually down writing rubbish on here I got stuck into a Sunday job. Truth be known I’d nothing to write about so thought I’d going do something interesting like take an oil sample from one of the fluid couplings 🙂

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These huge couplings between the main engines and gearboxes provide a method of gradually taking up the drive as the engine speeds up, they also allow the engine to be turned over by the starter motor with the extra load of the gearbox, drive shafts and Voith units.

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They require little attention other than a yearly oil change and oil sample, the aft one was removed and surveyed for the first time when it was about twenty years old and was found to be as new inside. Hardly surprising really as regular sampling of the oil gives warning of trouble long before any symptoms appear.


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Whilst all the safety guards were off it was a good opportunity to check the other coupling in the system, the ‘Fenner coupling’ this is a rubber tyre that allows a little bit of flex between engine, fluid coupling and gearbox, and will in the event of some catastrophe ,like a wire or bit of Scotland in one of the Voith units, shear.


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That’s it left to right, engine, Fenner, Cooper bearings, fluid coupling and gearbox 🙂

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And there’s the oil, so clean you could put it on a salad 🙂



  1. There is a degree of dubiety being expressed by my female parental unit as to the likelihood of that oil ever even getting within sniffing distance of a salad! Some bipeds are just too fussy…

    Comment by Kingdomcat — March 12, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    • You’re female parental unit has obviously never tasted one of my salads KC 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2011 @ 6:44 am

  2. Fluid coupling now they bring back a few memories. We used to use them down the pit on the conveyors with 120 hp direct start electric motors. The conveyor would get overloaded or jam, the motor would keep turning the fusible link would blow boiling oil sprayed every where. Those were the days.

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — March 12, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

    • Morning Dave,

      aye they do get rather hot if something goes pear shaped on the driven end end 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2011 @ 6:53 am

  3. So the Fenner coupling is the sort of grown up equivalent of the shear pin on your Yamaha 4hp outboard, right? How does the Fenner shear? Would the bolts just tear out the rubber?

    Comment by Neil King — March 13, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    • More like the rubber cush drive in a 9.9hp Neil, the bolts don’t actually go through the rubber, the coupling is trapped between two plates. In practice they do generally tear but I have seen some spin between the plates. Having said that when SHTF you’re not usually watching the couplings to see if the fluid couplings spinning or the Fenner, your usually trying to get something out of the propeller 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

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