seeker of wonder
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Where the oceans have no address.
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Charging the batteries by running the diesel...
I've got a Westerbeke 30 diesel engine (a 4 cylinder 25 hp engine based on the old 2.2 Leyman London taxi engine). Normally, while sailing offshore, the batteries get topped up just fine as I use my engine for motor-sailing at least a couple hours a day to charge batteries while in gear.
But at anchor during weeks of cloudy days, I need to run the engine to charge my banks of deep cycle batteries. I am wondering if the belts for the alternator and saltwater pump create enough of a "load" on the engine while running in neutral? I've heard, as most others have heard, that it is not good to run the engine for long periods in neutral, but I wonder why not...since 18 wheel tractor-trailors run their engines in neutral ALL night long while pulled over. There's no load on their engines, either.
How bad is it to run the engine in neutral? What specific damage does it do? It seems as long as your bottom end bolts are nice and tight, I can't perceive any obvious areas of wear due to lack of opposing force on the crank.
The only decent way I can think of putting load on the system without burning up the propshaft, would be to have some sort of adjustable shaft-brake on the outside portion of the shaft before the propellor, where it can be cooled by seawater...and you'd have to dive down and remove the prop every time!!!!
Or tie-up between two moorings or pilings and run the engine in drive.
Any thoughts on this conundrum?
"...and a star to steer her by."
Last edited by SoulVoyage; 10-25-2010 at 05:07 AM.