Life at the end of the road

December 23, 2016

Three forward four aft!

Gosh, it’s exactly 36 hours since the winter solstice, so officially the days are getting longer. Not that we’ll actually see any difference for a while but it’s another of the year’s milestones by with. Almost 23:00 now on Thursday night and that’s the ferry cancelled for Friday so I’ll not be rushing off to work tomorrow. The Hallaig is firmly attached to Scotland with ‘Three forward, four aft, two springs and two breasts’ so she’ll not be moving anywhere until Saturday at the earliest. This may make my life a little easier but it’s not so great for those wanting to travel, or the poor ‘post lady’ who’s gonna have double mail on Saturday.

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This is the mountain of mail we had locked in the store on Wednesday Sad smile Fine by me but it does make the post lady crabbit Smile

Severely ‘pear-shaped’ from day one

With the shortest day behind me I was gripped with great enthusiasm so thought I’d tackle this job that I’d not been particularly looking forward to. Changing a stainless steel one way flap valve on one of the ships sprinkler systems. The Hallaig has three of them and more fire fighting and prevention systems than you can ‘shake a stick at’. This is a ‘wee job’ that ‘reared its head’ in September, the valve was passing a very small amount of water, which after time was building up pressure and setting off an alarm. Now the worst thing you can have on any alarm system is spurious alarms, cos pretty soon you get used to them and human nature being what it is. Well you get the picture, so at the time I tried to remove it, couldn’t and then managed to repair it in situ with a large hammer. Don’t ask but it did work, however, with the dry dock coming up in November my ‘back to back’ ordered another from the usually very efficient manufacturer of the system. Tyco https://www.tycoifs.co.uk/ Integrated Fire and Security are normally first class in both the service and replacement parts department but the failed sadly on this occasion.

To cut a very long story short, first the wrong one arrived and was promptly returned after much explanation of the problem. The right one was listed on the delivery note but the wrong one was sent, much apology followed with the promise of correct valve to be sent as soon as wrong one received. Many phone calls, emails, threats and months later the valve arrived on Tuesday so I set about fitting it on Wednesday.

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Not the easiest thing to access but with some minor surgery I managed to remove it only to discover the new one was a bit longer.

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Not a major issue methinks that a few alterations to the pipe work and I’d get it so I removed the fittings off the old one to transfer them to the new one.

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Bit of a problem though, the 1 3/4” BSP threads on the new one were not tapped deep enough causing the fitting to ‘gall’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galling . Galling is when the threads weld themselves together, usually due to poor machining but not always. The roughness caused by poor thread cutting can exasperate the issue but stainless is prone to it anyway. This being even more common in Indian and Chinese bolts, we had some Indian stainless M12 x 50 bolts and more than half of them locked up solid and had to be cut off!!!

Galling can often occur in screws and bolts, causing the threads to seize and tear free from either the fastener or the hole. In extreme cases, the bolt may lock up to the point where all turning force is used by the friction, which can lead to breakage of the fastener or the tool turning it. Threaded inserts of hardened steel are often used in metals like aluminium or stainless steel that can gall easily.

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This fitting was well and truly galled into the new valve and took some serious effort to remove. When I’d finally removed it

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both the valve and fitting were in poor shape so I decided to have a go at cleaning up the threads on the new fitting and then refit the old valve. It had after all been working OK since September and now it was out I could lap the flapper so it would seal even better.

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Sadly my efforts with a hacksaw blade and small triangular file proved fruitless so as a last resort I cut the top two threads off with a 1mm cutting disc and all was peachy. Had I one of these on the ferry,

091216 008 Correct fit for thread file

a ‘thread file’ I could have sorted it but mine were at home Sad smile I bought two of them over twenty years ago in a sale at Jansvans in Portree, they were £9.50 each and at the time it was money I could ill afford but they’ve ‘saved my ass’ many a time. Why only the other week I was using them on the threaded bar for the ‘ole Smile

Ten minutes lapping with some coarse and then fine grinding paste had the valve nicely lapped in.

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Then it was just a matter of putting it all back together, then topping up the water and nitrogen.

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Our own little carol service Smile

The weather may have been pretty grim on Thursday, at least in the frequent hail showers but that didn’t stop Raasay Primary School from spreading good cheer throughout the island. They had already been to the shop and sung in there for the staff and postie. Now when I went carol singing in the dim and distant past it was for money. The Raasay Primary School children dished out little presents after their recital Smile

After the shop they came down to the ferry and gave us all treat too, first up in the wheelhouse for the rest of the crew and then in the lounge for some customers and myself.

 

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Poor Santa was at the other end of the lounge and missed out Sad smile 

The rest of Thursday was taken up with trying to replace some hydraulic hoses and bunkering.

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I say ‘trying cos I’d planned to change four at lunchtime and only managed 1!!! The first one went easy enough but the one on the left was seriously tight and given my ‘track record’ with the sprinkler system I left it alone. Methinks that this is gonna be a Sunday job next year Smile

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3000lts of marine gasoil will normally do us the whole week and we’ve capacity for going on 10,800lts but best to keep her ‘topped up’. If for any reason we loose our ‘hybrid mode’ and the weather is bad, that 3000lts can easily be 5000.

Friday

Having cancelled the ferry yesterday for the whole of Friday we secured Hallaig with extra ropes had today off. The way the forecast was boarding the vessel would have been dangerous and pointless. All the planned maintenance and paperwork was up to date and the chances are we’d be working late on Christmas eve as Saturday would still be seeing Barbara’s tail end.

With the family all here yesterday and me not working I treated myself to a few glasses of vin rouge and had a lie in until 6:00am Smile It was pretty boodly wild then, probably what woke me, so I went out to check for damage. A rattling from the barn had me worried but that turned out to be just the doors and all was well.

There wasn’t any damage but there was certainly a lot of water so when it was light I went back out to clear the drains and feed the pigs.

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That done and with some breakfast inside me I accompanied the postie to work, not that she’d be doing anything but it would give me a chance to have a look at Hallaig.

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It was pretty scabby but she was sitting nicely on those four huge stern ropes, the power was on and no alarms sounding Smile Just as well really cos there was little chance of getting safely aboard

After the postie had finished work we headed up to the Orchard for some ivy to go with the rest of the locally sourced and made decorations.

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It’s never going to be a classic, dunno how old this remnant of the Soviet Union is but Lada’s quite often looked this bad after three or four years Smile 

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An atmospheric tree and a fine set of horns on the way home Smile

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21 Comments »

  1. Your updates rule, fascinating stuff. Have a great Christmas!

    Comment by robinbrinkler — December 23, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

  2. lada bits will make good ££ on fleabay Paul, some madmen are restoring them and 95% of them have been crushed, you could help out a collector, I kid you not.

    Comment by v8mbo — December 23, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

    • Aye yer probably right Robin, most of em rotted quicker than a Lancia Beta 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

  3. Well I know you’ve not posted so much this year but it has still been brilliant and wonderful to read. Anyway, Happy Christmas to you and your family and all good wishes for 2017 Paul and hope you get what you want for Christmas. All the best from Stan and Teresa, Slainte

    Comment by Stan — December 23, 2016 @ 9:02 pm

    • Hi Stan,
      Christmas has started early here at Sonas, hope to be more active in 2017. Have a good one yourself.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

  4. About 8 years ago an Egyptian businessman sent two of his workers out to NZ to live in a container at a scrapyard here for 6 months while they scrapped Ladas and Peugeots from all over NZ of their oily bits for profitable sale in the Middle East and Africa.
    We in NZ learnt all about Ladas, especially the Niva 4 WD from a deal we did in the 1980’s, butter to Russia in exchange for the Ladas. Some even had limited slip diffs..they were great little vehicles off road…
    Their only Achilles heel was created by adding an afterthought 5th speed to the 4 speed gearbox…didn’t last as the vibrations made the output shaft nut vibrate loose..crunch.

    Comment by John — December 24, 2016 @ 1:05 am

    • Morning John, the Niva had an awful lot going for it, coil sprung and great off road. I’m guessing you could put a Fiat twin cam in to? Just suffered from that terrible build quality and poor electrics. Golly gosh, you can still buy a new LHD one here for £13K 🙂 Perfect Raasay vehicle I would say 🙂 Just checked on eBay and there’s not a single working Lada for sale in the UK!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2016 @ 6:42 am

  5. Leaving the hoses until another day, speaks of experience.
    It’s hard to step back when your a lad and just want to get the job done. I am just about to start and test drive a car I have had in bits since Easter. I had the wheels, sump, driveshafts and brakes back on it yesterday. Experience had me stepping back, putting the battery on charge and leaving it until today. Very different to the lad I was. Who was in such a hurry to see a lady friend he left the nut off the swing bolt on the DT125LC he’d just rebuilt.
    Happy Christmas

    Comment by cabbage — December 24, 2016 @ 3:05 am

    • Yes Cabbage, been there, got the book, video and T shirt 🙂 What’s your project?

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2016 @ 6:44 am

  6. Happy Christmas to you and your family, Paul. The storm might disrupt power in the rest of the island (though I hope not) but you’ll be snug at Sonas. It’s windy on the hills above Bacup but nothing too much yet.
    Sue

    Comment by Sue — December 24, 2016 @ 8:31 am

  7. With stainless steel it’s best to order up the fittings as well as the valve, have you got some “goop” – https://www.swagelok.com/en/catalog/Product/Detail?part=MS-TL-PGT
    Good stuff saves a lot of hassle.
    Merry christmas.

    Comment by Kev — December 24, 2016 @ 9:25 am

    • Cheers for the tip and link Kev, that’s the first time I’ve had a pipe fitting ‘gall’ (possibly the second if the hydraulic hose has).

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2016 @ 10:02 am

  8. Thanks for another year of fascinating insights to Life at the End of the Road. Never got past Brochel on our only Raasay visit. Must do better next time! Best wishes from The Pennines.

    Comment by Dabid & Margaret — December 24, 2016 @ 10:27 am

    • What, you came to Raasay and never got past Brochel, do you work for the council roads department 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 2, 2017 @ 3:37 am

  9. Hi Paul,
    Fascinating read again. Love the behind the scenes view on keeping the ferry running. Had no idea the daily / weekly and one off maintenance required. Have a great holiday.

    Comment by mikewr — December 24, 2016 @ 11:07 am

    • Hi Mike, if we’re ever in Troon again, drop me line.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 2, 2017 @ 3:36 am

  10. Seasons greetings Paul.

    Felt like donning waterproofs just to look at those wild weather pics.

    Comment by Andy — December 24, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

    • Hi Andy, same to you and the family.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 2, 2017 @ 3:35 am

  11. Is the new pier better or worse than the old one for getting back to Skye?

    Comment by royclearychubbybrown — December 24, 2016 @ 5:06 pm

    • Hi Roy, no comparison, the new pier is far better.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 2, 2017 @ 3:35 am


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