Wetserbeke alternator woes - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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  #1  
Old 10-02-2013
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Wetserbeke alternator woes

I have a Westerbeke 30b in my Pearson 323. A few weeks ago, screeching noise from the engine - no problem I thought, belt slipping. But as I adjusted the belt, I noticed sparks coming from the back of the alternator (the PO had upgraded to a BALMAR 60-70-SR-IG). O-oh. Turned out that clearance at the back of the alternator was so tight that the live cable, which comes out of the rear of the alternator, had rubbed through it's insulation and was grounding on the engine block. (Actually clearance all around is very tight!)

Okay, thinks I, move the alternator forwards a bit to provide clearance. The belt would still run true. Just a couple of washers....

Then I notice that the alternator has two feet, but the W30B only has one mounting lug cast on the block. And the alternator was installed with a solid tube - maybe 1" diameter - between the two feet; a single bolt going through the alternator foot, the engine mounting, through the steel tube, and through the second foot of the alternator and clamping it all together.

So I can't move the alternator forwards without changing something.

So as I see it my choices are:

- Cut/shorten the steel tube, allowing the alternator to move maybe 1/8" (3-4 washers) forwards. Big chunk of metal to cut by hand. But what benefit did this tube give? Spreading the load somewhat to the two feet?

- Ignore the steel tube. Rely on only one foot for the alternator. I wonder if that single foot would be strong enough?

- Spend $700 on the correct alternator!

Thoughts ideas would be very welcome.
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Old 10-02-2013
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

Pics would help... One option is often a longer belt or flipping the lug upside down.

Even if you change the foot mount of the alt the terminals are still in the same place. By moving the alt forward you will risk an alignment issue.

Is this a 30B Three (Mitsubishi block) or a W-30/4-91 Perkins (block) ?
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

Yeah, going down to the boat this afternoon, and will take photos. Duh. Though of it after I posted. Sorry about that :-(

It's the 30B Three.

I looked at the alignment, and it seems okay; in fact, I think it looks like it was misaligned before I played with it.

Mitsubishi block, eh? Useful fact. Of course, there seem to be so many different OEM parts on that engine...
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

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Originally Posted by paul323 View Post
Yeah, going down to the boat this afternoon, and will take photos. Duh. Though of it after I posted. Sorry about that :-(

It's the 30B Three.

I looked at the alignment, and it seems okay; in fact, I think it looks like it was misaligned before I played with it.

Mitsubishi block, eh? Useful fact. Of course, there seem to be so many different OEM parts on that engine...
The 30B Three ships with a dual foot alt. I have one sitting on my bench and a 30B Three sitting in mys shop.. It is a Mitsubishi alt and has a narrower dual foot than the standard Yanmar/Hitachi 3.15 dual foot mount.
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

Hi Paul,

You might want to give Balmar a call, directly, and ask them about the possibility of getting your alternator modified with a side output post. They do a special version of their 60-Series alternator for Beta Marine that's set up that way, I would guess it would cost an hour of shop time to get yours modified. They are good folks and I'm sure they would be willing to help you with this issue.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

First, thanks for your replies and willingness to help. MaineSail, I am as puzzled as you - I have the original Westerbeke alternator, and it is 2 dual foot. The feet look weird - one smaller bolt hole, the other much larger? (obviously I am talking feet, bit the adjusting bolt hole on the "top"). But there is only one lug on the engine!

3 attachments - one shows the belts.

The second shows the bolt and cylinder originally installed between the two legs of the Balmar. This cylinder was originally in the space between engine lug and unattached foot.

The third shows the alternator mounting. Notice one bracket on engine. alternator foot on left with spacing washers, foot on right unsupported.

Sorry for the photo size...
Attached Thumbnails
Wetserbeke alternator woes-belt.jpg   Wetserbeke alternator woes-cylinder.jpg   Wetserbeke alternator woes-mounting.jpg  
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: Wetserbeke alternator woes

Paul, that rear foot needs to be supported, as that front foot is going to be subjected to a huge amount of torque stress. Definitely contact Balmar and let them know that your alternator is being used on a 30B. They can put together a spacer package that will provide additional support for the alternator. The back foot on that alternator is designed to have a sliding rear bushing that takes up the space between the alternator foot and the engine mount. A spacer behind the mount, and a longer bolt that reaches through the rear foot of the alternator (with the rear bushing installed) should support the alternator better, as well as reducing alternator twist and the resulting wear to the bearings and the belt. You can see on your third photo that the alternator is already low in the back as a result of the lack of support. This will just about guarantee that the pulley/belt alignment will be compromised. Not a situation that can be put off.

Last edited by fidalgo; 10-05-2013 at 10:40 AM.
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