Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-10-2008
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Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

Hello all
my first post on this new forum

Has anyone upgraded to a ~ 100 amp alternator ?
How many belts did you drive it with ?
How did you attach it to the engine so the pulleys lined up ?

Any help is appreciated

thanks
George
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Old 12-24-2009
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George,
I know I'm replying to an old post, but I bought a boat recently with a Westerbeke 27 and I'm facing the same quesitons you had last fall.
Did you upgrade to a 100 amp alternator, and if so how has it worked?
I have a 375 amp house bank, which would theoretically call for about a 95 amp alternator. I want to upgrade from the present automotive alternator and add external 3-stage regulation.
I know I'd need new pulleys to go to a larger alternator, and I don't know how the main bearings etc will handle the increased side load.
Another option is a 70-amp alternator, keeping the smaller belts and lower strain on the engine, and hopng that the overall charging time won't be too much longer.
What did you end up doing, and how has it worked?
Thanks for any info.
John V.
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Old 12-24-2009
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Larger alternator

Hello John

I did upgrade to a 100 or 110 amy Balmar. Westerbeke can supply you with double pulleys for the crank , water pump, and alternator if you get the right one. ( only one )
It works well and with the 2 pulleys you don`t have to tighten it too much , thus minimizing side load.
Depending on where you are located , I might be able to help with some pricing on the pulleys and maybe the alternator too ( not sure ).
I look forward to hearing back

Merry Christmas
George
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Old 12-24-2009
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George--
Thanks for getting back to me.
I hadn't realized that double belts would reduce side loading--is it because you need less belt tension?
I emailed a W'beke supplier about pulleys but never heard back.
I'm in upstate New York. Where did you order your pulleys from?
I'm looking at a kit Balmar sells--a small-frame 100amp 6-series alternator plus one of their smart chargers and some ansillary stuff.
The prior owner sprung for a 375A Rolls battery bank but didn't really do much with the charging system other than a 105 amp Delco internally regulated automotive charger, which I don't really trust. So I'm more or less building the system around the batteries.
I'd be curious to know what W'beke gets for the engine and water pump pulleys.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.
John
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Old 12-24-2009
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alternator

Hello again
You guessed it . There is twice the surface area with 2 belts. It`s all about grip. More grip - less tension.

I am a yacht broker with an aaccount with a Westerbeke distributor &
I can help you with this.

I`ll contact you Monday if you like ( your phone number ? ) and we`ll go from there.


cheers
George
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Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

Sorry for dredging up a very old thread, but I am trying to do precisely the same thing with a Balmar 7 series 110A.

I'm not sure where to find the right part numbers for pulleys. How big a job is that to replace the pulleys? Is it as easy as it sounds? I could also just derate the alternator somewhat and keep the existing belt, but I'd obviously rather do it right.

Which Balmar fits? None have the 2" saddle of a mitsubishi alternator, so I assume you can use the saddle type 7 series and some shimming is required? Will I also need to replace the adjuster bar, as it looks like the bolt to bolt radius is different on the Balmar?

Any help is much appreciated. I'm going to try to do this in the middle of the cruising season, so I don't want to be down for weeks waiting for parts I didn't know I needed or discovering that it won't fit after all because I got the wrong Balmar.

Chris
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Sorry for dredging up a very old thread, but I am trying to do precisely the same thing with a Balmar 7 series 110A.

I'm not sure where to find the right part numbers for pulleys. How big a job is that to replace the pulleys? Is it as easy as it sounds? I could also just derate the alternator somewhat and keep the existing belt, but I'd obviously rather do it right.

Which Balmar fits? None have the 2" saddle of a mitsubishi alternator, so I assume you can use the saddle type 7 series and some shimming is required? Will I also need to replace the adjuster bar, as it looks like the bolt to bolt radius is different on the Balmar?

Any help is much appreciated. I'm going to try to do this in the middle of the cruising season, so I don't want to be down for weeks waiting for parts I didn't know I needed or discovering that it won't fit after all because I got the wrong Balmar.

Chris
The alts on the W27 are a saddle mount Mitsubishi. The Balmar 6 or 7 series as well as the Electromaax saddle mount alts will usually fit though may require a shim or two. It is a tight fit on those motors due to the manifold so the small case alts like the 6 or 7 series or the Electromaax units seem to fit a little better than an older Delco 10DN style etc..

The W-27 engines have a 3/8" belt which means with a perfect alignment you can squeak about 80A or possibly 90A but the higher you go the more belt dust.

Of course the size of your battery bank and its state of charge will determine if the alt can even put out 80 or 90A. A 110A Balmar will often work fine of a well aligned 3/8" belt because when hot it won't be pumping out 110A for very long.

I am not a big fan of "dual belts" systems and find them only marginally better than a single belt. They often stretch at differing rates and it has become quite hard to get a well matched pair these days.

For the price of a custom "dual belt" pulley set up you can have a true 10 cog serpentine belt that will handle as much as 200A on a single belt. Electromaax has serpentine kits but I don't know if they have one for the W27 yet. They do show a kit for the Westerbeke 27 but I am not sure if this is the W-27 or not. Call Rob or Darren at Electomaax and they could help.

The serpentine kits are worth every penny if you are trying to drive high loads. A dual belt system is a band-aid approach, in my's, GEL's or wets in excess of 400Ah.

You can always go with a larger alternator and de-tune a Balmar regulator in belt manager or small engine mode then upgrade the pulleys at a later date. I really prefer the Balmar MC-614 regulator and even when I buy Electromaax, Powermax or Leece-Neville alts I still use Balmar regulators when installing external regulation.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 06-21-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The alts on the W27 are a saddle mount Mitsubishi. The Balmar 6 or 7 series as well as the Electromaax saddle mount alts will usually fit though may require a shim or two. It is a tight fit on those motors due to the manifold so the small case alts like the 6 or 7 series or the Electromaax units seem to fit a little better than an older Delco 10DN style etc..

The W-27 engines have a 3/8" belt which means with a perfect alignment you can squeak about 80A or possibly 90A but the higher you go the more belt dust.

Of course the size of your battery bank and its state of charge will determine if the alt can even put out 80 or 90A. A 110A Balmar will often work fine of a well aligned 3/8" belt because when hot it won't be pumping out 110A for very long.

I am not a big fan of "dual belts" systems and find them only marginally better than a single belt. They often stretch at differing rates and it has become quite hard to get a well matched pair these days.

For the price of a custom "dual belt" pulley set up you can have a true 10 cog serpentine belt that will handle as much as 200A on a single belt. Electromaax has serpentine kits but I don't know if they have one for the W27 yet. They do show a kit for the Westerbeke 27 but I am not sure if this is the W-27 or not. Call Rob or Darren at Electomaax and they could help.

The serpentine kits are worth every penny if you are trying to drive high loads. A dual belt system is a band-aid approach, in my's, GEL's or wets in excess of 400Ah.

You can always go with a larger alternator and de-tune a Balmar regulator in belt manager or small engine mode then upgrade the pulleys at a later date. I really prefer the Balmar MC-614 regulator and even when I buy Electromaax, Powermax or Leece-Neville alts I still use Balmar regulators when installing external regulation.
Thanks for your very detailed reply. Here's my thinking so far:


I strongly considered getting a Delco (cheap, easy to find parts anywhere), but the mounting options weren't great. A Leece-Neville is much cheaper than a Balmar as well, but getting up near $300 and more once you get the regulator bypass kit. I'm not sure about amping up the current alternator as the cooling would stay the same, but agree that spares are cheap, so not a bad idea.


A few things finally made the choice for me (or at least the current plan unless I stumble across a problem). One, I have AGM batteries and like them. They can really suck up the amps, so I worry about alternator overheating. An external regulator has the temperature connector to the alternator, and I think that's a good idea for AGM.


Two, I feel that the W27 is a tad underpowered, especially with a feathering prop, so I like the idea of a "small engine mode" switch for when I need some more "giddy-up."


Three, I like the idea of a somewhat scale-able system with the possibility of going up to 100ish amps without too much more work. Getting a bit bigger alternator and then de-rating it gives me that ability.


These items really pushed me in the direction of an external reg, and the MC-614 in particular, no matter what actual regulator I buy.


Next was the fact that you can get some really great Balmar packages. In fact, Sailor's Solutions has a kit with a 7 series 110 Amp and and MC-614 for about $750 including the battery and alternator temperatures. If you add up the bits, the alternator itself is only about $330. Not too bad.


Next was a call to Balmar to talk pulleys and dimensions. Sounds like I can use the 70-110 with the dual foot arrangement. I'll need to likely fabricate some bushings and spacers, but that will be easy and not too expensive. You can choose which pulley you want for no extra charge. I plan to get the double pulley and only rig it with one belt. I can then play with the de-rating and if (when?) I decide to add another belt, I then need to source the Westerbeke parts for the crankshaft and water pump. Likely to cost me a few hundred for those two, I'd guess because they are OEM. I hadn't considered your excellent concerns about belt tension, but I think I may still go with the double pulley on one belt and then I can either go to two belts or replace all 3 pulleys and go to a serpentine.


The bolt to bolt distance is slightly different on the Balmar, but the adjustment arm is on a single bolt, so I'll need to loosen that bolt to tension the belt. Not the end of the world, and I can always buy or fab a new arm later if need be.


Last piece of the puzzle whether the larger alternator will foul on any other bits of the engine. I need to get to the boat to check on that, but I believe that I'm not the first to do this on a W27, so it should fit. After checking, I'll know if I need to go down to a series 6 or if the 7 will work.

Eventually, I want to upgrade and go almost totally solar, so the alternator will become the backup to the solar, but this system should hold me for a few years.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
After checking, I'll know if I need to go down to a series 6 or if the 7 will work.

Eventually, I want to upgrade and go almost totally solar, so the alternator will become the backup to the solar, but this system should hold me for a few years.
The series 6 and 7 share are very close in case size with the 7 being perhaps a tad smaller. The real difference is that the 6 series has a back up internal regulator built into it and is an isolated ground unit (nice feature) vs. case ground of the 7 series. The 6 is also available in larger output ranges.. I generally prefer the 6 series over the 7 series because I just feel you get a lot more for the money. With a simple switch you can just toggle to the internal regulator if the external goes kaput, and they can go kaput from time to time...
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Old 06-22-2012
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Re: Westerbeke W 27 Alternator upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The series 6 and 7 share are very close in case size with the 7 being perhaps a tad smaller. The real difference is that the 6 series has a back up internal regulator built into it and is an isolated ground unit (nice feature) vs. case ground of the 7 series. The 6 is also available in larger output ranges.. I generally prefer the 6 series over the 7 series because I just feel you get a lot more for the money. With a simple switch you can just toggle to the internal regulator if the external goes kaput, and they can go kaput from time to time...
Wow. For some stupid reason, I'd assumed that the 6 series wasn't as heavy duty as the 7 series as the number was lower. Seems a little silly now. For $50 more, I can get the same kit from Binnacle.ca, but they have free shipping which just about makes it free to upgrade to the 6 series.

The 6 series is also an inch shorter (though a bit fatter). The bolt to bolt dimension is a bit more, so my tensioning issues will be a bit worse. I can live with that and buy or make a tensioning arm if need be.

This is all really coming together. I still think I'll go for the double pulley just because it's free and might be useful. In the meantime, I'll de-rate as much as I need to to keep the belt happy. Now all I need to do is size up some new battery cables and I think I'm good to go.

Thanks for the great advice (as usual)
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