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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 06-04-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

I just installed a new Balmar 80 amp alterantor on my new Yanmar 3GM30F. In about 15 minutes the alternator belt (about 20hrs on it) was in shreds. I checked and rechecked the alignment and it looks perfect. I put a new belt on (standard Yanmar part number) and after about 1/2 hr the alternator housing was covered with what looks like black powder from the belt wearing. I called Balmar and they said any belt between 3/8 & 1/2" should work fine while Yanmar says to only use their belt which is about the metric equivalnet of 1/2". I wouldn''t be too concerened except this belt also powers the fresh water side of my cooling system and I''m sure it will go at the most inconvenient time. Has anybody else experienced this? I would expect it to be a common problem with all the Yanmars using Balmar out there. I also took the Balmar to my local Napa store and they seem to think the pulley is a better fit to a fractional horse power belt, but I''m not sure of any implications with this option.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 06-04-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Did you check your pulleys to see if a burr or something was abrading the belt?
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Old 06-04-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Take a real hard look at the sheeve surfaces on the fresh water recirc. pump. This sheeve is made from pressed mild steel (ultimate cheap) and the surface becomes quickly pitted and corrosion erroded. Just look for pits and surface roughness and if so replace. Very common problem on Yanmars.

Any belt that has a similar rating and is dimensionally equivalent is fine. I consider that the *spectra* filled belts from a garden tractor supply are the longest lasting and stretch less than the standard ''balata'' vee belts.
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Thanks for the feedback. We just repowered, so my engine is brand new, 25hrs on it and the belt was fine with the stock alternator. I have 4 gel batteries, in 2 banks, on the boat and the internally regulated alternator that came with the new engine seemed too hot for the gels so I decided to go to an alternator with 3 stage regulation, i.e, the Balmar. No burrs are obvious on the Balmar''s pulley.

Rich, I''m not sure what you mean by spectra filled, but the NAPA store sold me an FHP belt that is solid green in color and they said it is long wearing and used in stop/start applications such as power mowers. So maybe this is what you are reffering to. I should also say that it seems to fit better in the V groove of the alternator pully but I haven''t tried it on the boat yet and I''m not sure how it will fit the Yanmar sheeves. The Yanmar belt sits a bit high on the Balmar sheeve. For some reason Mack Boring was adamant that I only use Yanmar belts. We''ll see how it goes.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 06-04-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Spectra is a very low stretch fiber (also used for boat ''rope''. The addition of spectra fibers to vee belting adds significant strength and lessens stretch. NAPA can get them but only by special order.
As regards the black powder/debris, another possible cause is the new sheeve has a different profile (more open or more closed vee angle) than the original and that is wearing the belt by chafe ... if so it will stop when the belt ''resizes'' itself to the new sheeve. But youre going to have to readjust belt tension occassionally until the belt ''settles-in''.

Mack Boring is adamant because Mack Boring sells "Yanmar" belts .... plain vanilla, rebranded (made by others), old style ''balata'' belts. They also sell genuine "Yanmar" filters (made by others and ''private labled'' for Yanmar). Think about ''mark-up'' and margins. ;-)
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Thanks Rich,

I was wondering about the belt "settling in", however because the first belt went so quickly I''m a bit worried about loosing a belt in a bad spot, i.e., narrow channel with rocks and currents getting in/out of my marina (<:. I''m toying with the idea of swapping pulleys from the stock Yanmar (Hitachi) alternator, which seems to be fine and has no trouble with belts, with the Balmar. If they are the same size, so there are no alignment issues, and if it fits the Balmar, I don''t see why that wouldn''t solve the problem.

Thanks,
Steve
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Another reason for the belt dust is that the load on the belt has been significantly increased. Try using a gates green stripe belt or another high quality belt. Use the 1/2 inch belt.

Lots of luck.
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Old 06-05-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

hi Steve

I did replace my old 45 A stock alternator in a MD22 volvo with a 110 A BAlmar. This is a common problem that everyone switching to heavier alternators will face, disregarding the engine brand.

First belt lasted 2 hours. Unfortunately very far away from anywhere were I can purchase any kind of belt. I replaced with the spare one, and stop using the motor during a complete week of holidays. Fortunately I had 4 solar panels, and a 3500W generator.

After arriving, I check the web before calling anybody, and found quite a bit of advice.

What I did, went up one size in the belt, and slightly reduced the usual tension (Perhaps I used to adjust it too much). I did not change any pulley yet. Most of my friends using Yanmar who also went to the Balmar 80, already changed pulleys.

You can also start checking the the following:

http://www.c34.org/faq-pages/faq-belt-alt.html

This discussion seems to be e never ending one, but raise good questions.



http://home.maine.rr.com/halekai/alternator.htm

Regards

Fernando


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Old 06-07-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Thanks Fernando,

I looked at the discussion you recommended and there sure are many opinions. In my case I went from an 80amp Hitachi alternator to an 80amp Balmar simply for the external regulation. The alignment seems perfect, no noticable burrs on the pully and the belt is the maximum size for both the Yanmar and the Balmar at 1/2 inch. I was going to swap pullys with the Hitachi but they don''t appear compatable. Last night I tried a fractional HP belt that seems to fit both the engine and the Balmar very well, didn''t tension too much and ran the engine for 30 min. Again same problem, belt debris all over the alternator and oil filter. I''m not sure if it will decrease as the belt wears in but I''m sure a bit concerned about this. Balmar also sent me a new pully but the fit is not as good as the original, for this I would need to go to a smaller belt. Right now I''m perplexed and not sure where to go. I''m actually considering going back to the original Hitachi 80a and replacing my gels with lead acid batteries. There may be something said for keeping things simple. I just want to go sailing (<:

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 06-08-2004
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Balmar Alternator Eating Belts

Hi Steve,

If you just simply want an external regulator, you can send your Hitachi to a workshop to make the changes to bypass the elemental internal regulator. This will allow you to use the external one. This is a quite simple job to. In any case, although you keep your balmar, is a goos thing to have a spare alternator. I did this with my 45 A alternator.

Regards

Fernando
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