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post #11 of Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Watermaker Virgin

Without getting into too much engine talk, it's been awhile since my old mechanic days. Side loading is a simple way to explain far more intricate dynamics beyond what a particular engine is designed for. Stress concentration or raisers, fatigue propagation, shouldering shaft stresses, all come into play. Bearings are designed to perform certain tasks and take certain loads. Radial and axial movements are important to know as well. The effectual movement of pistons on their supported bearings is a different load than the axial effect which is a different bearing as well. Add axial movement to main engine bearings that are not designed for it and they will fail too. Again this is not to say all engines will suffer from this. In my experience smaller engines commonly found on sail boats, usually in the two to three cylinder range, have had many side loading issues. This is not speculation but experience. Also the cantilever effect on smaller engines can be quite spectacular. Even the best running small diesels have inherent vibration due to their design. Adding a twenty pound Cat type pump to the side of an engine has an interesting compounding effect. Look I know as a watermaker dealer that these things ain't cheap. But as easy as it seems to believe that the major watermaker companies are just part of the greedy 1%ers that are all about excessive profits at the expense of gullible boaters is no where near the reality. There's a reason they have sold thousands of their units and there are very few DIY units out there. If it were as simple as a common sidewalk cleaning pump strapped to your engine, the big boys would be out of business by the weekend because I would do it to them myself. That being said I don't discourage anyone trying to do it themselves. But make no mistake there are plenty of aggravations along the way to this what seems simple approach. Every boat is different, what will work on one has a good chance of being a failure on another. Your diesel is designed to propell your boat and run an adequate alternator while doing so. You should not be using it for a battery charger alone. I like to walk people through many questions before I suggest the right watermaker fit. But without even that discussion with an owner and through hard won experience alone, on a 27 foot Norsea, 12 volt units are the right direction.
Now I'll put on my helmet for protection.
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