Alternator Upgrade

Feb 2013. The decision to refit with a new engine has given the opportunity to look at the engine charging regime. Yanmar do a standard 80 Amp alternator but with the amount of systems on the boat and size of the battery bank an alternator upgrade will be inevitable. Yanmar do a second alternator kit but it sticks out of the starboard side a long way so will not be practical. When faced with a problem, enquiries on the forums usually always turns up trumps and on this occasion it was true to form. I was put in contact with Elextromaax who have a very helpful website and are specialist in aftermarket charging systems. The problem with larger capacity alternators is two fold. Firstly they put undue strain on the pulleys and belts and secondly they tend to be inefficient at low revs. Electromaax have a total solution off the shelf which comprises a range of alternators from 80 to 180 amps, smart charging regulators and the Pièce de résistance, the Serpentine Pulley Kit. This kit replaces the existing pulleys to provide an industrial 10 grove segment belt. This has significant advantages over the normal V Belt as it does not wear the same, avoiding dust, grips better and distributes the load around the pulley putting less strain on the bearings. I was initially worried about replacing parts of the new engine and the result this might have on warranty but a quick telephone call to the local agent reassured me that firstly the system is kinder to the engine and secondly the system is designed in conjunction with Yanmar. The order has been placed and I will document the fitting when the engine arrives in two weeks.
March 2013. The packages arrived very quickly and were delivered to ABC Powermarine to fit with the engine. There was a moment of panic as we couldn't find the package for the automatic belt tensioner. It turns out it was smaller than we thought and was in the small pulley box. Ron the engineer was keen to install the engine with the original equipment and retro fit the Serpentine system. Although this might make the later fitting slightly more difficult it would a least prove the new engine with Original Equipment.
Apr 2013. The Install. The engine has been fitted and today was the start up day. Everything was prepared and it was decided to start her up with the original alternator fitted. Much to my surprise but not to Rons, the engine fired up first time and ran like a dream. After shutdown it was time to break out the Electromaax Serpentine system and larger alternator. The instructions were relatively simple and to be honest the install was fairly intuitive. There are detailed photographs and commentary here. The only thing we did get wrong was fitting the plate for the belt tensioner before the belt. Should have followed the instruction more closely! The most surprising thing was it only took 2 hours from start to finnish to do the install and that included a tea break. Over the next few weeks I will report on its use and the performance of the charging.

Goodbye 4.108, Goodbye Vetus, Hello Yanmar

It was never going to be simple. After nearly 12 weeks we have finally concluded that we cannot fit a Vetus 4.65 into the space available. The final decision was taken after Vetus confirmed that the engine gearbox combination shown in the manual was not actually available as it had been shown to cause undue vibration. At least we now know once and for all that it is not an option. The further options we considered today at ABC Powermarine were the Vetus 4.55 or the Yanmar 4JH5E 54HP. The Yanmar is more expensive but the Vetus is a smaller engine turbocharged to give the 55HP. Despite running a 3L Turbo Charged diesel engine in my car for 140,000 faultless miles I don't fancy the added complexity of fixing a turbocharger in remote places. So the decision is made and the order placed. I hope it doesn't take long to arrive as time is definately ticking away. It has been great to have the team at ABC helping me through this and I am now confident we have a workable solution. The alternator is too small so a 120A OEM replacement needs to be sourced. The spares list I will worry about later. Other progress is signalled by boat show order arrivals. Such heavy weight items such as spare and kedge anchors, an anchor chum, spare anchor rode, and the new cooker. All very exciting but I am definitely going to have to raise the water line. Another item in progress is the refurbishment of the saloon table. It has always annoyed me that it is the first thing you see as you go below and it has had its day with chipped varnish and dints and worn hinges. Nothing for it but to get Barry and the TLC team to work their magic. I have set them quite a task as I want it to be a show piece. I have seen the plans and the first view of the inlays! you will have to wait for further updates to see what I mean.

New Engine

After a great season sailing and with the added confidence that my wife and I can sail Sephina on our own we turn to preparing for the Winter. So far I have planned installation of the Satelite communication system, upgrading the battery charging system, fitting the inner forestay, adding the holding tank and forward electric toilet and finally putting in a new engine. Yes a new engine. It's the only thing left not renewed. I have started an article in the refit section and will try and post the progress. So Sephina will go over the ABC in Beaumaris for the engine later this month and then a couple of months later return to Conwy to be on the hard for the rest of the work to be done. So next season she truly will be a new boat!

Goodbye 4.108

November 2012. Friday the 16th dawned a beautiful day in North Wales. I was very lucky that on the chosen day to take Sephina over to Beaumaris my youngest and her boyfriend were staying with us. As they are both Yachtmasters it was a relief to have competent helpers. As the weather was calm and settled the exit from the Marina was as simple as it could be. We set off and pushed the tide to exit the Conwy River and were soon navigating the swatch way to Beaumaris. We were scheduled for a 11:30 arrival and we were bang on the money. The guys at ABC Power Marine were ready and we edged our way into the new lifting hoist and were soon captured and lifted. Firstly I was delighted by the professionalism of the ABC staff and secondly I was delighted that the coppercoat showed absolutely no barnacles what so ever. A good investment. The lift took Sephina into the yard and she was awarded pride of place outside the main shed. Inside the shed was the reason we travelled to Beaumaris, the beautiful Vetus 4.65 and Ron the marine engineer who has adopted Sephina's mechanicals. It was because of our trust in Ron and the team at ABC that influenced our decision to re-engine. Sephina is in good safe hands. We are off to Gran Canaria for a weeks R&R and in a sort of coincidence it is the week the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers departs for the Caribbean.  We hope to see some of the boat preparation to help inform the remaining work. I hope to be able to catalogue the engine replacement for other 406 owners who will be in the "new engine project" sooner or later. I will start a New Engine section so I can add articles and photos as the project progresses.