Missing Link's saloon furniture comes in for preparatory surgery prior to a major transplant operation.

Kim Hollamby reports:

Missing Link’s saloon with the port side stripped ready for engine removal

The plot has thickened with regard to the failure of Missing Link’s KAMD44P. The reason seems almost certainly to be because the tappets were well out of adjustment.

Lynn Crossland, Technical Support Inspector for Volvo Penta UK in Watford ( see Grand Tour Day 139 ), had indicated to us on Thursday evening that the tappets should have been adjusted at the initial 50hr service only, as is normal for earlier versions of the 40-series diesel. But a conversation today with Felton Marine’s owner, Peter Felton, revealed the alarming information that it was also a part of the 200hr service procedure for this model.

Peter having assured me it was written in the owners manual, I went straight back to Missing Link to have a look at my copy and there it was, as plain as day. To say I felt silly for not noticing this before is a bit of an understatement.

Missing Link’s engines should therefore have had their tappets adjusted on three occasions in the past, at the 50hr, 250hr and 450hr services. Currently I am in a position to know that the procedure didn’t happen on the last of these, but am not sure about the other two. Questions are being asked however and not just by me.

Mark Vincent from Sealine at Kidderminster turned up today to take out the relevant sections of furniture in the port side of the saloon and then to cut an additional access hatch in the floor over the port gearbox. Had that been there from the outset it would have been useful for day-to-day checks, let alone a major operation such as we are now facing.

Mark worked so fast and produced so many components to be stowed wherever I could find space that I forgot to take any photographs. Less easy I suspect will be putting it all back again and I am grateful for the factory support that means it is not my job to do so.

Quite a few folk have now set their heart on us finishing the Grand Tour on the press day of the Southampton Boat Show next Friday; things will really have to move if we are set to see that target achieved. The next bit of progress is scheduled for Monday when the starboard engine head is due to be inspected and the port diesel will be removed.

Till then I find myself leading a hermit-like existence in the anonymous surroundings of the boatyard. The change of pace is strange after covering 110 harbours in less than 140 days. I’m disappointed to be missing the last ports on our schedule, but perhaps we can make a short mini tour next year to fulfil my ambition of producing a South East coast cruising guide series.

More news as soon as I have it.

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