Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant leak - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-29-2019 Thread Starter
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Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant leak

Hi all. Due to various circumstances, I have finally been able to get back to the boat work and the starting issue I had earlier this year. The non-start issue was traced to a faulty fuse holder in the start lead that goes to the starter solenoid. Once that was identified and temporarily bypassed, the engine started easily as always. Now the fun begins. To get to the wire connection at the starter solenoid, the alternator needed to be removed. Since the starter had been acting flakey, I decided to replace it. SInce I was replacing the alternator any, I figured it was time to do the alternator bracket upgrade. We have an early Universal M-18 Diesel with the original alternator bracket mounted to the front timing gear cover. Which of course is subject to breaking the ear off the cover. So A upgraded bracket was ordered. As I was preparing to install the bracket, I discovered the exhaust manifold studs, so the exhaust manifold had to be removed so the studs could be replaced. So the riser elbow had to be removed too. I was able to remove the elbow from the hose that goes to the water lift muffler without much issue, and get everything out without too much trouble. Getting it all put back together went mostly without incident. Re-filled the coolant and got all of the wires re-connected, opened the seacock and she started right up and runs as good as ever. So I am feeling pretty good at this point. So I run her for a while to get the air out of the cooling system. Checked the forward and reverse gears. Everything as it should be. Still feeling pretty good at this point. Figured I would give it one last visual inspection before I called it a day. Crawled back down the quarter birth with a flashlight and took a good look. That's when I saw the "new" problem. It appears the water lift muffler is not mounted solidly to the hull, and during the removal of the exhaust hose, the muffler moved a bit and appears to have cracked the fiberglass elbow that is between the muffler and the through hull. The current plan is to replace that fiberglass elbow with one made of stainless tubing. I found stainless tubing ones made out of 304 stainless that should work. Has anyone in the group had to replace this elbow? If so, how did you go about access it? Our N-28 still has two of the original plastic gate valves connected to the cockpit drain through hulls that need to be replaced too. So I may try and do them at the same time I do the elbow replacement. From the looks of it, it is going to be a very difficult job due to access. Hopefully I am wrong. Here is a couple of pictures with the leak area circled in red.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-29-2019
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

I hope you can find a very small helper.
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

I can't argue against replacing the elbow, but have you considered giving it a rough sanding, then adding a couple of layers of new fiberglass around it? Wrapping it in fiberglass tape and epoxy perhaps? That should give you "good as new" with a structural bond, could be much simpler than trying to replace it and probably cheaper. You could apply standard damage control (i.e. wrapping a bicycle inner tube or rubber tape) around the pipe in the meantime, or doing that over the new fiberglass to ensure it is squeezed up tight until it cures.
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

Paragraphs are your friends. Embrace them.

Good on you for FINALLY replacing the alternator bracket. That was a time bomb waiting to take out your engine at the worst possible time.

What function does that elbow serve? It looks to me as though you could cut the fiberglass elbow off the waterlift muffler and route your exhaust hose directly to the muffler without the two 90 bends. I don't know for sure, as I have never been aboard an N-28.
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-09-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

I agree with the comment in regards to the alternator bracket. We have owned the boat less than 2 years and have been working one issue after another. Replacing it was on a long list of things to repair/replace.

I will do better in regards to my writing composition.

After cleaning out the starboard lazerette so that I could access the leaking elbow, it actually came out fairly easily. Yes, access was limited, but the clamps were installed so that they were easy to loosen.
It appears the elbow was installed to provide clearance for the Edson helm assembly. As you can see from the pictures, someone had worked on this elbow before. There was a fair amount of some sort of sealant (black rubbery material) on each connection to the elbow. It's not silicon, and it is still flexible.

After I got it removed, I discovered the cause of the leak. The elbow had worked its way out about 1/8". This allowed water to leak at that connection.

The elbow is cracked, but I did not crack it. It appears it had cracked sometime in the past and a previous owner had used the sealant as a repair.

The leaking end of the elbow is also tapered and deformed. At first I thought it was from heat, but after a closer look, it was just a poorly made part that cracked when the hose clamp was tightened. A new elbow and piece of wet exhaust hose has been ordered, and should be here late next week. The pictures do a better job of explaining what I found.
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Last edited by MitchK; 06-09-2019 at 01:41 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 06-16-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

The new elbow and replacement hose arrived this past Wed. Took the parts out to the boat this past Fri to install. Cleared everything out of the aft locker again, climbed into locker with parts and tools, and installed the new elbow/hose. Everything went as planned. Crawled back out of the locker, turned on the battery, and started the engine. Engine started right up, and I checked for leaks. No leaks.
Stuffed everything back into the locker, and decided to go sailing. Needless to say, once I got out of the marina. the wind completely died. Just my luck. Motored around for a while, then returned to the marina. There is always next weekend.
Here are a couple of pictures of the new elbow. It is a bit shorter overall than the original, but there was plenty of hose to make the connections.
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

Here is a couple of pictures of the new alternator and upgraded mount.

During and after installation of the alternator bracket, I verified the new bracket was aligned properly, and that the belt was running true. No misalignment was noted.

One thing of note. The new alternator bracket when installed on a M18 is not adjustable. There is one set of slots for the front studs, but the second set of holes in the bracket are not slotted. Without removing and modifying the bracket, it is fixed in position. With that said, I had to add three flat washers between the cover and bracket on the front of the engine. I also had to back out the one stud on the front of the engine a turn or two so the nut could be installed.

I also did not have to use the rubber elbow or the copper elbow that come with the kit for the upgrade. As you can see from the pictures, they was not needed.
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

Note that the bolts that were included with the new bracket are SAE and your alternator MAY be metric.

I documented this in an ancient post:
Quote:
October 2011: Last November (2010) I installed the upgraded Alternator mounting bracket, with the kit available through Torrensen Marine, and while I was at it I installed a new Leece-Nevile / Prestolite 90 amp alternator on my Universal M25. If you are reading this far, you probably know that the new alternator uses EXACTLY the same housing as the old 55 amp Motorola. BTW the kit is now ~$180.00 When I opened the box containing the kit, I was happy to see that it included all the parts, including the Alternator mounting bolts. I did the installation using the new bolts, but noticed that they did not seem to fit perfectly. The SAE Grade 5 pivot bolt allowed "a little" play of the alternator, and the tension bolt never seemed to fit "right." At the time I assumed that the alternator was machined so that the bolt would jam, thus preventing the bolt from loosening. The real reason is embarrassing....

I thought it strange that both of these bolts, and the nut were SAE. 031555 - 5/16NC x 1 031615 - 3/8NC x 3-1/2 031762 - Nut 3/8-16 Hex Steel Zinc

However, EVERY other fastener is Metric. I assumed that Torrensen would know and include the correct bolts, however the extra play was because the bolts did not fit... you know what happens when you ass-u-me... The Pivot bolt SHOULD BE a Metric M10 fastener. The tension bolt (connects the tension arm and the alternator) SHOULD BE a Metric M8 coarse thread. I realized this because I was getting a little belt dust on the engine. After only 50 hours this summer, I thought that was unusual, or I would need to buy a lot of belts. In October of this year (2011), I checked the alternator tension, and the "little" play seemed a "little" worse than it should have...

Because by now I had stripped some of the threads with the bolt that was included with the kit, I purchased a slightly longer bolt, a nut, and lock washer to use as a tension bolt. I also replaced the pivot bolt with a slightly longer M10 Fine thread bolt. It fit perfectly (no play at all). I used 2 nuts and a spring washer to jam the pivot bolt, so that it will not vibrate loose. I can't speak to the kit available through Catalina Direct, but the Torrensen kit has the wrong bolts!

Lesson 1: If the components in the "kit" don't seem right to you, they are not.
Lesson 2: DO NOT USE THE ALTERNATOR MOUNTING BOLTS INCLUDED IN THE TORRENSEN KIT if they are SAE, and you have a Leece-Neville or Motorola Alternator.


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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

I bought mine from Catalina Direct. They had the same problem.

Lucky where I work, has a large area of bolts and nuts.
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Re: Electrical problem, alternator replacement, bracket upgrade, now exhaust coolant

I was aware of the bolt issue in earlier kits. I checked everything and all fit well. They must have corrected the issue in later kits. One thing I did notice in regards to the new bracket. The kit comes with two belts. A 39" and 40" I used the 39" belt. Now that the belt has settled in, I had to adjust it to maintain proper tension. I now have very little adjustment left. It would appear a 37.5" belt may be a better fit. I'll probably pick one up in the near future and give it a try.

I did get in a short sail in yesterday evening, then the wind died, so I had to motor back to the marina in the dark. All in all a most excellent day
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