Something else you really don't want to find
Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Thu 15 May 2014 23:03
A few days ago I noticed the starboard alternator was not charging the batteries. This is not really worrying because alternators frequently fail, either due to loose/broken belts or loose electrical connections. After a cursory glance to check there were no 24v power cables hanging loose (which can be dangerous if they fall on the engine block) I decided to leave it until we were in the calm waters of Luperon harbour.
It didn’t take long to see the alternator belts were indeed loose. And little more time to determine that the belt was loose because the alternator itself was loose. And then to discover that the alternator was tight on the engine mount, but the engine mount itself had broken in two.
We had just been through some of the roughest seas we have encountered to date, with the starboard engine secured by the three remaining mounting brackets. Fortunately they all held, but if the increased load had caused the engine mount on the other side to shear off then the front of the engine would have flopped down into the bilge. Anastasia has big heavy engines. Worst case the impact might have cracked the hull, more likely the transmission would pivot up into the air and cause some serious damage to the propeller shaft seal, allowing water to flood the engine compartment. Another lucky escape.
Given that the alternator was already completely loose, I knew that I could remove the two separate pieces of the engine mounting without anything nasty happening to the engine. That was just a couple of hours of grunt work. Having got the pieces off I discovered that this was not a new break, and that the old break had been ineffectively repaired by just tack welding a single small bar underneath the break. No attempt to re-weld the split itself. The repair had just ripped apart.
So I headed off to the welding shop in town. Luperon is not a pretty town, but it is just the place to get some welding done. In fact the welding shop is the first shop you come to when walking into town from the dock.
The guy there took the pieces from me and said no problem, come back in two hours. I went back and he had cleaned, welded and painted the engine bracket for me, all for the princely sum of $50.
The separated engine mount. You can see that no attempt has been made to weld along the original break.
But now there is a neat piece of welding along the original break point
And some serious reinforcement bars on the bottom