Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Boat Projects, Progress Report 1

Here's how my three big boat projects are coming along so far:

Project 1, Engine Charging Upgrade

I removed the existing alternator from the starboard engine. I carefully mapped all the existing wiring so that I can put everything back the way it was, if needed. One of the objectives of this project is to keep the old alternators as spares if a problem ever comes up with the new system.

I took the opportunity to remove the heat exchanger cap to extract the pieces of the raw water pump impeller that broke off on our way back from The Bahamas. Four blades broke. I found two in the pump. There were four blades in the heat exchanger inlet. That means two blades must have come from an earlier impeller failure. Hmmmm.....The broken blades really clog up the works. It's amazing to me that the engine doesn't overheat with all that crap at the head of the heat exchanger.

I installed the new alternator for the starboard engine and verified it is aligned with the engine crankshaft pulley. (Compass Marine (aka MarineHowTo) provides complete and helpful guidance for installing alternators.) Everything fit really well. All that was needed was a washer to shim the upper saddle forward a bit and to tweak the adjuster arm slightly.

The wire size for the positive and negative terminals on the new alternators is limited to 6 AWG. A service disconnect from the main battery bank is also highly recommended for the positive cable.  I shortened the existing 2 AWG positive cable, crimped a new lug terminal on the end and wired it to a new battery switch. (MarineHowTo also has a great article on making your own battery cables. I bought the recommended FTZ 94284 crimping tool and it makes amazingly good crimps, really easily.) I started making up the new 6 AWG cable to run from the switch to the new alternator. I wish I could have done more, but the new cables and appurtenances didn't arrive until after noon.

Next up will be finishing the main alternator cables and then mounting the WS500 regulator and connecting its three wiring harnesses. However, I have to switch over to Project 3 tomorrow; see below.

Project 2, Standing Rigging Replacement/New Jib Furler

I paid a 50 percent deposit for the work which is scheduled to begin on March 24. Siting tight '

Project 3, Replace Starboard Diesel Tank

I had hoped to get a new plastic fuel tank fabricated to replace the failed aluminum one. Unfortunately the plastic tank fabricator is six to eight weeks out for delivering a tank.  That's too late for me.

So, I'm going to get a new aluminum tank fabricated locally. I found a welder that specializes in boat tanks that comes highly recommended and says he can get the new tank done in two weeks. That's tight, but workable. I'm bummed to replace a tank that failed with the same material. However, the existing tank lasted almost 9 years; hopefully I'll get the same out of the new one. Then I can replace with a plastic tank that will theoretically last forever.

I have to get the old tank out of the boat ASAP and to the welder so he can copy it. Tomorrow morning, I'm up early to pump the fuel out of the tank and then wrestle it out of the boat.


The new and the old alternators. Not much difference on the outside. Big difference inside.


Broken raw water pump impeller blades in the heat exchanger inlet

Lots of impeller pieces