Breathing Life Back Into The Heart of the Beta III

Repair and Recommissioning of a 1956 Gardner 6L3 engine

Posted - 14th June 2014
You may of heard of the Massey Shaw (A 1935 Built Thames fireboat that has recently been restored with the aid of Lottery funding) but have you heard of the Beta III ? The Beta III was built in 1926 and is one of the Massey Shaw's sister ships. Unfortunatly the Beta III has not been as fortunate as the Massey Shaw having lost, long ago, the twin Gleniffer diesels that powered her for most of her life, along with many of the original firefighting fixtures and fittings.
During the early 1960's the Beta III was converted into a sightseeing cruiser and at this time was re-engined from twin 6 cylinder Gleniffer engines to a single Gardner 6L3. After many years sightseeing and a period as a floating bar in the 1980's, the Beta III eventually ended up in Rye, Kent with a very uncertain future. This was of course until its current owner came along and has begun the mammoth task of bringing this old lady back to life.
Beta III Fireboat Gardner 6L3 engine 001
Beta III Fireboat Gardner 6L3 engine 002
Beta III Fireboat Gardner 6L3 engine 003
Beta III Fireboat Gardner 6L3 engine 004
Beta III Fireboat Gardner 6L3 engine 005

This is where MPS comes in. After many years of neglect the Gardner 6L3 hiding in the Beta III's engine room needed some TLC to get it back into a reliable and usable condition. Our first visit to the boat found that although not seized and appearing to have good compression some other bits were not so good. The fuel injection pump and cambox are partially seized resulting in an engine that starts, all be it only on a couple of cylinders. Over the restoration of the Beta III we will be working on the engine to get it back running smoothly. First up is the fabrication and replacement of most of the off engine systems. Bilge pump, raw water, exhaust and fuel systems. We will post updates as the work progresses.

For more information on the restoration of the Beta III see the blog here Beta III Fireboat Blog

Video Courtesy of - Taken by the boats crew while getting the engine started to move Beta III from its mud berth to be lifted out for restoration. Dec 2013