So, we are getting a lot done around here
and we think we will stay here for 2 or 3 weeks, perhaps 4. We have several
projects in progress using local trades people and we are optimistic we will
have them all tackled within that time. First, we had a guy come and pull out
our generator alternator (our set is a 6hp Kubota diesel with a belt driven
Markon AC alternator – basically a huge alternator which puts out 120v/60hz AC
power). The alternator stopped putting out power about a week after we left NZ
last May. The engine still runs sweetly. The guy found that the shaft nut was
loose and the whole thing had been vibrating like crazy until it scored the
inside of the case and ripped out one of the (important) wires. He reports today
that the front bearing is shot, the shaft is scored and needs replacing and the
case has a groove dug in it where the stator was vibrating against it. He also
reports that the windings check out and are fine. He is investigating the
availability of a new case and shaft. Bearings will not be a problem assuming
the rest can be dealt with. Worst case the alternator will have to be replaced.
He will also investigate what the cost is to replace it and we will decide what
to do when all that info is in.
Next we had another fellow come take a look
at our bow thruster which has been working intermittently of late. He
immediately found the entire motor (electric) was loose and that the bolts which
hold it down won’t tighten when turned. This morning he spoke with the
On to the next project – yesterday we had
a mechanic in here who specializes in engines and related gear and I described
to him several problems we need addressed. He seemed very intelligent and quick
and I have great confidence that he can do the job. First we need to replace the
seals on our dripless stuffing box. When we were in
Second, we want to fit a device between the
shaft and the transmission sometimes called a flexible coupling. This is a
rubberized plastic donut shaped device which absorbs shock, lessens vibration
and allows slight intolerances in the alignment which would otherwise cause
problems with the transmission. It is highly possible that the original problem
with the transmission was caused by the engine being out of alignment. This
device might have prevented that damage. In order to accommodate the flexible
coupling, the shaft will have to be shortened a bit (perhaps 1.5 inches or so)
at the transmission end.
Third, since we have a fixed blade prop (as
opposed to a feathering blade prop) and the hydraulic transmission cannot be
locked in place by putting it in gear (since there is no pressure when the
engine is off, putting it in gear does nothing) the prop, shaft and gearbox
freewheel when we are sailing. This is another thing which may have contributed
to the demise of our transmission and stopping the shaft from spinning can only
help to reduce wear and tear on the parts when sailing. To solve this problem we
will install a shaft brake or shaft lock device which is essentially a disc
brake on the shaft. A disc is attached around the shaft and a caliper is
attached to the boat which sits over the disc. When the engine is running
pressure from the transmission oil opens the caliper allowing the shaft to spin.
When the engine is off the caliper closes and locks the shaft in place.
Finally, once all of this is done and
everything is back together, the engine will be re-aligned using a dial gauge to
very close tolerances and we will be back in business better then ever.
Today we ordered 4 new 8D house batteries to
replace the ones we put in the boat three years ago. These batteries were
supposed to give about 5 years of service but have prematurely lost their
ability to maintain a charge. They are at about 50% of original capacity now and
one of them has been completely bypassed as it shorted out in July while we were
Last, but not least, we plan to paint the
bottom with new anti-fouling paint. We are going to do this ourselves this time
as it is not so hard and it wouldn’t hurt to save a few bucks.