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Breathing Life Back Into The Heart of the Beta III Part 3

Repair and Recommissioning of a 1956 Gardner 6L3 engine.
Posted - 07th September 2014
Following on from our previous updates, the story of Beta III's Gardner 6L3 engine has moved on another step towards being fully running once more. Finally after a prolonged stop over at Arc Fab Sussex (Riveted Narrowboat Co) in Lewes ,the engine arrived with us on the 4th September. After some huffing and puffing getting it into the workshop, the stripdown and inspection began. We already knew the engine wouldn't run on all its cylinders and that the fuel rack was seized, so the next step was to investigate all possible causes for the lack of running on certain cylinders.
Initially the manifolds, pipework, cambox, injector pumps and all ancilliary bits were removed to allow removal of all the crankcase doors so we could inspect inside. Removing the timing case cover revealed a slightly worrying view; a timing chain so loose that we could make it jump round a tooth without undoing any of the tensioners. This could have been fatal to the engine had this happened whilst running as it could have caused pistons to come into contact with the valves. This could have also contribulted to the poor running and excessive smoke as the injection and cam timing was wildly incorrect.
The next task was a compression check, first up cylinder one and all appears well, but cylinder two is a different story with virtually no compression. Cylinders three to five are better but a long way off cylinder one, finally cylinder six seems ok. So with cylinder two leaking past the rings and valves and three to five passing valves it was time to get out the endoscope. A few minutes later and the primary cause of most of the running issues becomes apparent. Where the engine had sat for many years the salty sea air has done its magic with a combination of corroded valves, seats and in cylinder two a rusty cylinder liner. So after a discussion with the owner the cylinder heads were removed and the task of identifying all the bits that need some tlc begins.

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