Our narrowboat’s Mikuni diesel heater was playing up. It produced a lot of white smoke from the exhaust. It tripped the switch, often taking four or five attempts to start it; and eventually it stopped working altogether, during the great freeze of winter. When the outside temperature is 14 below zero, you need to know that your heater’s reliable. So we winterised the boat and abandoned ship over Christmas.
Only a few months beforehand we had had the heater repaired by a boatyard on the River Lee, where they’d replaced the glow plug and given the heater a service. Soon afterwards the heater was misbehaving again. Turns out that they’d failed to spot several other burnt out components.
Thanks to Mellor Auto Electrical, a company in Ossett, West Yorkshire, the heater’s been working reliably for several months and the rest of winter was comfortable and warm onboard our boat.
I had to dismantle the heater before I could take it to be fixed, which took me a couple of hours to figure out, and that was no fun at all in sub-zero temperatures, crouched up between the engine and the hull. Putting it back together again took only half an hour, these tasks are so much easier when you know what you’re doing.
The photo below shows the engine room, with the Mikuni heater on the top left.