Easy Ways to Keep Your Boat In Great Running Condition
So I was thinking about Bitcoin today, the electronic crypto-currency that seems no less cryptic compared to exactly what’s in my pocketbook these days, and this got me considering huge stone money on the isle of Yap, and since I spent the majority of my time on Yap reconstructing an alternator, this got me thinking of alternator belts. Before you fire up ye ol’ iron genny for the season’s very first smoke-belching run out to the mooring, to the dock, or to the fuel station (I sure hope it’s certainly not to the pumpout station), you, too, might want to think of your alternator belt.
A number of the following tips are actually culled from editor-at-large Nick Nicholson’s Offshore Log report on alternator care, written throughout his circumnavigation. For a much more extensive discussion of alternators, refer to Nigel Calder’s Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, which deals with the topic in great detail.
Check belt for extreme wear. Compare the belt width and depth with your extra belt (you have one of these, right?). When the area around the belt is actually covered with black dust, the belt is most likely slipping or misaligned. Small-case, high-output alternators get very, very hot.
Certainly, you must get the correct measurements and kind of V-belt. Search for A-series industrial belts, available from many autoparts stores. A quirk of these kinds of belts is that the belt number is not actually identical to the belt length: an A41 belt, for example, is 43 inches long.
Inspect belt alignment. The belt must be properly lined up with the motor and alternator pulleys. Do not assume that the pulleys are lined up, even if you possess a factory-installed alternator. A misaligned belt will often chirp– as opposed to a squeal or screech for a sliding belt. You could perform a standard alignment check using a straight edge placed across the pulley faces. If the belt walks up one side of the pulley while the motor is actually operating, misalignment is often the cause.
Inspect pulleys for corrosion as well as proper operation. The pulley must not wobble on its axis. If the pulley-end bearings have actually stopped working (listen closely for distinct rumbling or roughness as you rotate the unloaded alternator), check alignment carefully right after replacing the bearings, as this may have contributed to the failure.
Proper belt tension is an equally important issue. The correct belt tension depends on the pulley arrangement on the specific motor, in addition to the type of accessories driven by the belt.
A Gates Krikit V-Tension Gauge is actually an useful tool to carry board when it comes to checking belt tension. It is simple to use, and the guideline sheet provides belt tension guidelines for a range of pulley and accessory combos.
The motor compartment should be kept tidy. A great deal of air gets sucked through an alternator. If your motor runs dirty, that dirt will certainly find its way into the alternator, covering the windings and other elements.
Bottom line: By paying a little bit of attention to your alternator belt before the season gets going, you could save yourself some huge Bitcoin down the road.
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