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Old 01-04-2018, 09:28   #1
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Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

We had a great thread on engine spares, from which I learned quite a lot.

Now, for the generator.

My generator is a Kohler EFOZ 6.5, a heavy duty, continuous rated low speed device driven by a 1000cc three cylinder Yanmar running at 1500 RPM.

When I bought my boat, it was almost new -- 160 hours. I have run that up to almost 2000 hours in the intervening 9 years.

I have not had any trouble with it, which was not due to my own stupidity.

Lost a heat exchanger due to my oblivious ignorance about its having a zinc in it. Some fuel system problems due to my inability to find a tiny air leak. Replaced a fuel pump once which didn't need to be replaced -- because I failed to diagnose a bad connection.

That's it. All in all, it's a very good, very reliable device which produces up to 6.5kW of super clean power, is very quiet, causes almost no vibration, and altogether makes producing power a painless affair.

I want to be sure that it continues doing so in the Arctic this summer, so I'm now thinking about the spares kit.

What to bring?

I don't think there is any reason to bring anything for the electrical side of it. I couldn't repair the electrical section if my life depended on it. I hope that my opinion of the electrical section as bulletproof is justified. But by the same token I treat it well -- power from the generator runs through my Victron charger/inverter so I can control the amount of power I take from it. I derate it from 29.5 amps to 25 amps and never ever overload it. And it's derated anyway since it produces 8KW when run as a 115v/60hz generator.

The control box has a PCB and some relays. I'm not sure how troublesome these are, or whether it's worth bringing spares (or an entire spare unit).

The little Yanmar is derived from the small tractor engine, and I think is also pretty reliable. I always change oil and filter often, 100 hours or 6 months, whichever comes first. I guess I need to bring a starter for it, and a stop solenoid. Maybe I need to bring spare sensors -- water temp, exhaust temp, oil pressure. Obviously boxes of filters and impellers. Maybe a whole water pump">raw water pump?

Anything else I should be thinking about? What are the weak points of these generators? I don't know, since I haven't experienced any.
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:49   #2
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

I might bring a whole raw water pump. Belts filters etc. On the electrical side maybe a voltage regulator and a couple control relays.
https://www.atlantismarine.co.uk/Ima...ile/TP5616.PDF
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Old 04-04-2018, 16:11   #3
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

I think the AVR is one of the most common failure points.
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Old 04-04-2018, 16:25   #4
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

We don't have a generator aboard, but I do work on them on other boats. I can count at least three (from quick memory) where we've spent a fair amount of time running around in strange foreign ports to find a capacitor to repair the AVR. They're a pretty large capacitor and you can usually find a 'run' capacitor from a single-phase motor that will work, but they should only be $10 or $20 and easy to carry around as a spare. Really no need to buy them from the generator manufacturer if you want to open the AVR to get the specs off the capacitor itself, but maybe easier if you don't want to go to the trouble.

Judging by the number I've dealt with they'd be high up on my list. Heat seems to kill them (all of them I've replaced have been melted), and putting generators in sound enclosures with less than ideal ventilation seems to be the root cause.
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Old 04-04-2018, 16:44   #5
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

In a lot of smaller generators there is only a capacitor acting as an AVR. in other models there is actually an avr board good to have either one of them and the control pcb might also fail after some years. to replace an avr is really simple if you have the original one it is mostly just a matter of replacing the wires to the proper original positions.
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Old 07-04-2018, 14:29   #6
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Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

Befriend your local Kohler parts & service manager. They know better than most what breaks, how often and make suggestions.
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Old 07-04-2018, 14:53   #7
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

If the genny failed half way through the cruise what do you loose that the large frame alternator on the main engine couldn't supply power for and just how critical would that be? So perhaps give it a really good service and then don't worry about it.

I think you are sweating the small stuff now. Apart from the East coast of Greenland, there isn't anywhere on your voyage DHL couldn't get spares to you in 4 days.

Don't know if I should show this YT to you but its quite interesting seeing what broke and what they did about it. Nothing seemed to faze them and I think you will be the same. So keep folk on board and the water out, the rest don't worry about it just go and enjoy

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Old 07-04-2018, 19:35   #8
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

With those hours, i would replace the raw water pump and get the old one rebuilt with a kit.

I imagine in colder climes the gen will be running more for a variety of reasons so jellyfish, kelp can quickly plug the intake in bays.
Good advice to talk to local service on common part failures. Often the AVR can gets a small cold circuit failure and a resistor blows... In desperation you can troubleshoot and fix but maybe your service guy has a repaired one as backup.
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Old 07-04-2018, 21:53   #9
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

Going remote is expensive. I figure I've spent 20-30k more on the boat than I would if I was staying coastal (Australia). Ive replaced things before I had to and if a doubt enters my mind I replace or pull down and replace seals bearings etc.

Eg. My windlass has abit of a oil weap at the bottom seal, I'm replacing seals and bearings today while I'm safely on a mooring in a place I can access stuff. I had a windlass fail on my last boat while of the west coast of Sumatra, two mths of pulling the chain up by hand gets old quickly. Peace of mind costs!
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Old 08-04-2018, 00:51   #10
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Going remote is expensive. I figure I've spent 20-30k more on the boat than I would if I was staying coastal (Australia). Ive replaced things before I had to and if a doubt enters my mind I replace or pull down and replace seals bearings etc.

Eg. My windlass has abit of a oil weap at the bottom seal, I'm replacing seals and bearings today while I'm safely on a mooring in a place I can access stuff. I had a windlass fail on my last boat while of the west coast of Sumatra, two mths of pulling the chain up by hand gets old quickly. Peace of mind costs!
Cost of living and labour would be where the savings are at.
$25/day or less in parts of Asia vs $100+/ hour in Australia

But I get what you are saying about preventative maintenance.
Our skills, tool kit and spares kit is growing.(glad to have the carrying capacity)
Record keeping and service schedules have become an actual thing that I never had with 40 years on land.

Last year we had two issues rear their head, both could have been spectacular fail if in another location.

12 mth new to us boat and doing our first several hundred mile and overnight passages runs to see what we could break.

400 miles out and nearing our destination, during an hourly walk around I spot belt dust, the pulley wobbling and bearing leaking on the engine raw water pump.
Thankfully only 25 miles from dropping anchor so we got in OK but did have the "what ifs" running through our heads.
60 ft and 70 tonne is not a dinghy pull.

We also had a stud on the anchor windlass fail on the motor a few days later so no up.
Thankfully for both repairs we were in a secure, albeit rolly anchorage and a repair to motor and pump was a fast dinghy, ferry, courier ride and a couple of days away.
But what if we were out the reef or another 100 miles up the road out of vhf and mobile range?

What did become apparent to us very fast was pulling 150lb of anchor plus 250ft of chain with 20+knots on the nose was not working for us using the manual override on the windlass.

Spares, spares and then some more spares, especially for mission critical stuff or at least a tested secondary method is essential.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:14   #11
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

I have almost the same genset Kohler 8CCFOZ also driven by a yanmar. She ran at 1500 rpm for 16 years and 1800 for the last 5 or so. Almost 6000 hours and I have to agree with most about the raw water pump. I would also have a 12 volt fuel pump along. Super nice piece of kit.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:26   #12
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Re: Generator Spares for Remote Cruising

We are investigating alternative pump methods.
I know of people using electric motors for genset cooling.
I am thinking for our primary engine, a 240v spa pump (as we have one doing nothing) or similar, while not ideal, could get us out of the immediate sh@t at reduced or increased rpm depending on flow.
Added bonus is it will make a great deck wash pump for blasting that mud off the anchor.

We have a selection of pumps, maybe a selection of PVC and or metal ends and reducers, clamps, brackets for Mcgyvering a temporary fix.
Dummy run it in safety as proof of concept before stepping off.
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