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Old 30-10-2007, 08:59   #1
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October 30 - Aground again, Naturally (a riff on a 60's song)...

October 30 - Aground again, Naturally (a riff on a 60's song)...

Well, NOAA has done us in, again. Here we are, anchored just shy
of our goal, again. And, another lovely dinner before a cold bed,
as "seasonal weather" has revisited the Chesapeake, and it's
frost warnings, tonight (well, last night, from when you see
this).

When we left you, we were thinking of going to Cambridge, instead
of going for Solomons Island. We did, indeed make that choice,
and took a short ride to Cambridge. Before that, however, we had
to get up the anchors.

What a gooey mess the bottom was there in front of Schooner's in
Oxford. No wonder we dragged the first time. There must have been
a foot of black, fine, mud on the Delta, and, of course, with as
much as we had out, the chain had lain on the bottom for quite a
while as well, therefore carrying up its own load of goo.
However, our second anchor was much the same story, and the way
our windlass is set up, required semi-hand raising its extra-long
chain and the 75# of anchor on the other end.

That one had set very hard, and not only was difficult to break
free, it brought up its own load of junk. Despite very careful
and aggressive hosing, both chains would prove to retain lots of
the mud, flaking off as it was deployed the next time. In any
case, we set sail about 12:30 for Cambridge. Oops.

Another fan belt failure. That one lasted all of a couple of
days. Quick, throw out the anchor in deep water, so put out lots
of chain, and dive into the engine room, yet again. However, I'm
getting pretty adept at this by now, and we're under way again in
short order. Another lovely sail results, and we shortly pull up
to the entrance to Cambridge. Tom, another internet buddy, who
lives between Oxford and Cambridge, has filled me in on our means
of staying in town.

Cambridge is a lovely town, like all the rest we have been in
along the Chesapeake, and the seat of Dorchester County, MD.
Their municipal building fronts on the little bay off the
Choptank River, and alongside there are cleats, with signs saying
one should dock at their own risk, for up to 48 hours.

There were already a couple of trawlers and a sailboat there when
we arrived, but we had plenty of space to pull in ahead of the
sailboat. Lydia's lassooing move on the cleat was a perfect shot,
and she snubbed that connection. I stern-walked in to allow her
to tie off the rest of the way.

It was an unusually high tide; Tom had been concerned for how
much water we would have alongside. However, we found it to be
quite deep, at least according to our depth finder, and we were
comfortable with being there. Tom was kind enough to give a ride
to a quickie shopping trip for prescriptions, groceries, the
hardware store and NAPA, for yet more fan belts (about 8 or 10, I
think, since we left Charleston). I need to buy stock in Gates!

Anyway, the following day we went on a walking tour, enjoying the
city immensely. I'll let Lydia's log fill in all the touristy
bits, but we had a lovely time and met the usual assortment of
animals and people. One, however, was a real hoot, having taken
more than 30 (down from 50) cats to the vet to be neutered, and
they all go on walks with him and his two dogs, said parade
coming by the municipal system each day we were there.

The next day we expected to go to Solomons Island, but the
weather was forecast (see above comment on NOAA, and see below
for more) at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30, and straight behind
us, along with relatively large waves, which would have been very
uncomfortable. So, we decided to stay in Cambridge for another
day. Of course, given NOAA's track record so far (see below), it
might have been a fine day to sail south.

However, high tide in the morning was about 5AM, and not long
after I woke to find more than the usual list (we have a small
persistent port list). Hm. What's that about?? We apparently had
parked on the locally famous "three foot hump" - the only place
on the wall which was so short, and apparently the source of
Tom's concern - and we were - AGAIN - aground.

This time, though, I had no doubt that the rising tide later in
the day would get us off, as it was more than 1.5' higher than
the early tide, and since we weren't going to leave, anyway, if
was of little account. I went back to bed, and relaxed. However,
very quickly, we developed a notable list - eventually to reach
25 degrees. That made getting off the boat a bit challenging.
Fortunately, I have a great stride, and was able to make it off
and back on again after I slacked the lines so as to relieve the
pressure not only on our but the town's cleats.

Eventually, as the boat continued to heel, enough of the bottom
was exposed to show that there was a small area that had
accumulated barnacles. That was irritating, in that it was all
very newly applied bottom paint, and there should have been no
barnacles whatsoever - and not much slime, either. The slime
wasn't there - but there were certainly barnacles.

So, at low tide, I took a deck brush and crushed them, and then
scraped them and finally scrubbed them off. Thanks, Cambridge,
for making that possible! In the meantime, though, we'd attracted
quite a crowd, what with the very unusual attitude (they don't
often see a mast at that angle!), and every time one dispersed,
another gathered. It's how we learned of the "three foot hump" -
and all were very anxious to help in any way possible. It
probably sounded very brave for us to keep declining help, but
since we already had our shopping done, and our touring done, and
weren't going to leave until the next day, there really wasn't
much anyone could do!

So, instead we enjoyed the brilliantly sunny day and read our
books and scrubbed the bottom and otherwise behaved like
full-time cruisers. No agenda, no schedule, no itinerary!
Eventually, the tide did, in fact, come up, and we were off. The
trawler which had pulled in to tie up in front of us was
similarly aground, but they had about 8" less draft. They had
settled directly next to the seawall, and were adequately well
cushioned against abrasion - but I can tell you for sure I'm glad
we didn't lean the other way! Standing up relatively vertically
is nicer, but it would have been a great deal of abrasion until
it stabilized. Anyway, our plan was to anchor out for the night,
as the next day would present much the same issue, but even lower
water as we migrated from the full moon.

However, our anchoring misadventures continued. After trying and
failing 4 or 5 times to get a secure set in the area in front of
where we had been, we opted to go for the now-open slip at the
other end of the wall, where we were assured it was much deeper.
However, when we were tied up, it looked much the same on our
depth finders as where we'd just left. The falling tide would
treat us just the same as last night, and as we did, now, want to
leave in the morning, that would be a distinct inconvenience!

However, nearby was a waterfront restaurant with a couple of
slips. Hm. Wonder what they do with them? A quickie ask got a
lovely offer of free space if we came to dinner. So, we quickly
put our almost-on-the-table dinner aside and berthed at the
restaurant. A lovely dinner followed, and it was the least
expensive meal out we've enjoyed since Lydia's mom (our
benefactor) joined us. We were cautioned not to tie into the
shorepower, that being reserved for paying guests, but as to do
so would have required much digging in the lazarette to get to
the shorepower cord, and we were "full", it was of no issue
whatever. We did, though, take advantage of the water connection
to fill our leak-emptied tanks, in the gathering cold.

A late-night check of the most current forecast showed nearly
ideal conditions for our run down to Solomons Island. North to NE
10-15, moving to W in the evening/night hours, and diminishing.
We'd be either running or broad reaching, and enough wind that we
might use a poled-out genny and prevented main, or maybe even the
spinnaker, if it proved a bit lighter (on the 10 side). I
calculated that our trip should take about 5 hours, tops. Early
the next morning, the reports were the same. And, in fact,
throughout the day, as we listened in disbelief, they continued,
all the way to our anchorage.

What happened was that our way out, a very tight pinch, started
about 10:30, and was pretty much as advertised, other than the
wind being a bit light and also fluky. I attributed that to being
behind the land mass during our transit of the Choptank, and
expected it to pick up and solidify once we reached the bay.

Fat chance. It slowly died, to the point where, by the time we
reached the bay, there was nearly none. As the day wore on, the
waters flattened, and we were motoring at a pace which created a
slight headwind. Once again, NOAA comes through! If the forecast
had been similarly off (way low, in both sea state and wind) the
day before, it would have been a wonderful trip down in brilliant
sunlight. So, aside from the fact that we had to motor most of
it, and that we didn't make the speed we'd anticipated, it was a
brilliant day, and toasty in the enclosure around the cockpit.

Oh, ya. So, also as has become our custom, around 4:30, Lydia
alerts me to nasty noise coming from the engine room. This time
we caught it before it fully disintegrated, but, once again, we
were in alternator belt failure mode. The belt had shed a section
of the top, and was inverted in the tracks. It would shortly fly
off if left alone, but we stopped the engine, and as you've seen
above, I had the new belt on in short order this time, too. This
one is a different type; with any luck it will hold up better
than our previous supposedly best-of-breed we've been using.
Nothing could be worse; if I don't get satisfaction on these,
I'll prolly just start using the cheapest I can find. But, I
digress. Our slight delay, combined with the insult of a weather
forecast as compared to reality, has caused us to miss our window
into Solomons' Back Creek before dark.

So, as has become our custom (finding someplace to throw out the
hook, short of our objective), we anchored out off Drum Point, in
an area which was pretty broad and relatively shallow without
being dangerous to shoaling. However, I use the term "anchored" a
bit generically. I don't know what kind of bottom there is, here,
but we could not get a set. Each time, I could feel the chain
bounce as the anchor slid and bounced over whatever hard stuff
there was down there, feeling like stones against my hand.
However, the good news was that the winds were still very light,
and forecast (HAH!) for being even lighter, and better, from the
area of the land mass, protecting us, but should we slide, taking
us away from shore. So, as it involves a lengthy retrieval, I
reluctantly double-anchored, again. My expectation is that our
130# of anchors, as well as the-about-300# of chain are all that
are holding us from moving - but, it's doing that, at least.

We stayed put, comfortably, with our anchor chains hanging
straight down in the very light wind, and, while it was getting
very chilly (55 in the cabin at 7AM), even our accommodation was
entirely comfortable. As usual, the ladies slept in, but as we
had only about 4 miles to go (so near, yet so far!), I let them,
and finished this :{)) As I write at 10, the wind has piped all
the way up to 4 knots - it's mostly been between 0-2.

We'll be anchored in Back Creek later today in what is described
as conditions similar to Spa Creek in Annapolis. That is to say,
crowded, but very do-able, and as the controlling depth there is
about 8 feet, won't require a great deal of scope, thus limiting
the swing. We'll do more shopping, particularly at NAPA, and
enjoy the area. From here we'll again head south, in a few days,
likely calling at Deltaville and perhaps another one or two
locations before heading to Norfolk, thence down the ICW to
Beaufort.

Stay tuned for further adventures.


L8R

Skip

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Old 30-10-2007, 09:35   #2
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Sounds like a good time, Skip.

A helpful thing to do with NOAA (if you have internet access from the boat) is to use their data, rather than their forecasts. Learn to read the weather data yourself and rely less on the NOAA forecasters, who are underfunded and each have a large LARGE swath of the country to forecast for.

In time, your own forecasts will become more accurate than any you can get via radio or TV since you will be able to forecast for the exact pinpoint area your boat and anticipated route are in.
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Old 30-10-2007, 14:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
Sounds like a good time, Skip.

A helpful thing to do with NOAA (if you have internet access from the boat) is to use their data, rather than their forecasts. Learn to read the weather data yourself and rely less on the NOAA forecasters, who are underfunded and each have a large LARGE swath of the country to forecast for.

In time, your own forecasts will become more accurate than any you can get via radio or TV since you will be able to forecast for the exact pinpoint area your boat and anticipated route are in.
Hi, Sean, and List,

I do, indeed have internet access from the boat, nearly everywhere I've been. However, I get my NOAA stuff from the radio and weather underground's marine forecasts.

Where do I get the raw data?

Thanks...

L8R

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Old 30-10-2007, 17:18   #4
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Skip, You might find the weatherfax charts a good place to start especially and including the 500MB charts. But it takes a bit of understanding and study as well as downloading them each day and looking for trends and the movement of the weather patterns. It is a lot of work but you will in the end be able to make more informed decisions. We kept track of the forecasts daily and recorded actual conditions for an entire trip down the ICW one year and our unscientific conclusion was the NWS was wrong by quite a bit a full 85% of the time. You can get lots of info from the NWS and NOAA sites but you have to dig for it.
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Old 30-10-2007, 18:29   #5
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to heck with the weather, why are you slinging fan belts off or apart or whatever. You need to check the pulley alignments and path. You shouldn't have that much trouble.
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Old 30-10-2007, 22:31   #6
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I went back and looked at a lot of the past post and it seems he has several extra alternators on board. I had the same thought about if there was a miss alignment or maybe even a tension problem. My 100 amp alternator (Bal mar) and the make it work support arm from the original owner has given me fits. I know it killed the bearings as I had to limp into ClearwaterFL a year and a half ago. Only thing that made it better is the water I had leak into where my Link 1000 was and upon hooking to shore power I had no battery charger either. Not just fun, it’s an adventure

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Old 31-10-2007, 08:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaKing View Post
to heck with the weather, why are you slinging fan belts off or apart or whatever. You need to check the pulley alignments and path. You shouldn't have that much trouble.
This from another forum, and my answer:

On Oct 30, 6:40 pm, "Garland Gray II" <gg...@nospam.com> wrote:
> I used to use Gates, but now I've been using Dayco Topcog belts
> that are
> sold at Advance. They were recommended as better, and certainly
> seem
> tougher.
> BTW, you aren't using the Gates belt with Kevlar are you ? I
> tried them once
> resulting in rapid, repeat failure. From a call to Gates I
> learned that if
> any sheave is below a certain diameter, kevlar reinforced belts
> will not
> last.
>

Hi, Garland,

I don't know - they are Napa's "heavy duty FHP" 4L490W.
Certainly that's a possibility. The last couple of failures
have involved top sections flaking off, so perhaps that's an
indicator?

I really think it's got to be the pulleys, which are demonstrably
smaller than 1/2 other than on the alternator. I also have a new
3/8 pulley, and the current belts I'm trying are 10mm, as
recommended by one in another list as lasting him more than
hundreds (plural) of hours, so I'll mount that after this one
fails. Currently, it just goes into both of the engine sheaves
(proper height inferred from being right at, not above, the top),
and sits low in the alternator, though well off the bottom. It's
also cogged on the bottom, cited as better for tight turns as
well as heat dissipation. Certainly, every time I have felt the
other belts after a long run, they were very hot. I've not had
the opportunity yet to do the touch test with the new belt, and
only one tightening, so I can't yet compare them.

I've felt the engine pulley, and I believe that it's potentially
at fault, too, in that the edges, while not rough (sandblasted
during our refit, and repainted, not rusting before
reinstallation), are slightly pitted. In any case, the speed of
wear on the new belt will tell us - and, for those better
connected than I to the world of belts, it's a 25 XL 7483, which
is a tiny bit longer than I need; I'm going to get the next
shorter one today, along with another of these as a spare, and if
the shorter one doesn't go on in the next change, exchange it for
a 7483. It's 39 7/8, where I've been using 49" and just getting
it over the water pump pulley.

I tried Top Cogs, but I'd been told I needed a 50" belt, and
while it went on easily, there wasn't enough stretch room, and
they quickly started slipping at the end of the travel. I've
been trying to find another source and haven't succeeded yet, but
will lay in some of those as well, if I can. And, of course, if
the 3/8-10mm route works, that will save me having to buy new
pulleys, a route I'm sure will be horribly expensive as they're
no longer made...

OTOH, has anyone turned their existing 4-154 pulley to match a
1/2" belt? That would seem to solve two problems at once (more
surface area to grab, clean up the edges), if there's enough
material to do so.

L8R

Skip

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Old 31-10-2007, 09:52   #8
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Geez, Skip, you're in one of the best places on the planet to SOLVE this problem.

Sail across the Bay to Rockhold Creek Marina (next to Herrington Harbour North) and see Aric Euler. Or stop in the Northern Neck on your way south and see Steve D'Antonio.

YOU SHOULD NOT BE HAVING THIS PROBLEM. THE FACT THAT IT HAS PERSISTED ALL THIS TIME IS EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO STOP PLAYING AROUND WITH IT AND CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL.

I get the feeling you think it's kinda cute, and it sure gives you something to write about. But, aside from being a pain in the butt, it can be downright DANGEROUS.

Get some professional help.

Bill
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Old 31-10-2007, 10:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Geez, Skip, you're in one of the best places on the planet to SOLVE this problem.

Sail across the Bay to Rockhold Creek Marina (next to Herrington Harbour North) and see Aric Euler. Or stop in the Northern Neck on your way south and see Steve D'Antonio.

YOU SHOULD NOT BE HAVING THIS PROBLEM. THE FACT THAT IT HAS PERSISTED ALL THIS TIME IS EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO STOP PLAYING AROUND WITH IT AND CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL.

I get the feeling you think it's kinda cute, and it sure gives you something to write about. But, aside from being a pain in the butt, it can be downright DANGEROUS.

Get some professional help.

Bill
heh. I've needed professional help for some time...

No, it's not the least bit "cute" - and I'm more than fed up with it. And, I recognize the danger(s). The failing belts have done some havoc in the ER as well, about which I'm drunk (pissed). I was ready for this problem to go away a couple of months ago...

Meanwhile, I was already on the other side of the bay; now that I'm over here, I've had a referral to an old-time pro, which I'll dinghy over to see tomorrow. I'd love to be able to post a solution - but until I've had it on for several hundred hours, I won't conclude that I've won...

L8R

Skip
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Old 31-10-2007, 20:17   #10
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I'll look for the out come of this one. I'd much rather learn on some one else's dime and boat. Please share the out come

Gary
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Old 31-10-2007, 20:46   #11
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4-154 belt specifics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pa La O La View Post
I'll look for the out come of this one. I'd much rather learn on some one else's dime and boat. Please share the out come

Gary
Update and probably a conclusive answer to my earlier question...

I went and talked with the kind folks at Zahnheiser's in Solomons today. They dragged out the Perkins manual and specific belts information as well. They had different belts for "old" and "new" 4-154s. New was defined as post-1981, which makes mine the "old" model.

The specific Perkins belt for our engine is a 9.5-10mm (25/64") X 1260mm (49 5/8"), and equates to a Carquest XL 7490. It's skinnier than the ones I'd been using, so fits in the sheave correctly, rather than riding on top as the others I'd used did.

That Perkins part number equivalent in Carquest is a cogged belt (not that it drives via teeth, but that it isn't solid), and matches the one I have just bought from NAPA, their # 7480. The one I have on now is a 7483, which is 1/4" longer, at 48 7/8" and I returned the even longer one, a 7485, at 49 1/8".

So, apparently the original belt is almost 50" long. That, on my engine, anyway, would run out of adjustment almost immediately. However, the significant information is that it's a 25/64th belt, and cogged, presumably working to greatly reduce heat due to more surface area and better flex characteristics. I'll see how long the one I have lasts, and return the longer belt if I can get the shorter one on, as I presume I'll be able to do.

The "new" Perkins belt Perkins part number is 2614B040 and there was not a translation on any other belt, nor did they stock them, so I don't know the specs on it - but at least, there's the part number for those who may not have it.

Also, it's the opinion of the mechanic that the main pulley could likely be machined out to a 1/2" profile (sufficient material), but they didn't do that sort of work there, feeling it was too highly precision for them. If I had the luxury of doing it in a layover, I could make that happen, probably, by removing it and taking it to a machine shop. Using a similarly cogged belt in a 1/2 sheave would likely last longer - but I have the feeling that this will resolve most of my challenges. Between a heat problem killing similar belts to that which I was using, and the wrong sized belt for the drive pulley, I can see why I'd kill the belts I was using...

So, keep reading my logs for further analysis and reports - but for now, that's the skinny (pardon the expression).


However
L8R

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Old 02-11-2007, 18:13   #12
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Alternators and belts...

More on the subject from one of my mailing lists posts:

From: cherev
To: morgan
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2007 4:25 PM
Subject: Re: [morgan] Perkins 4-154 fan belt info, again

What would it cost, both in money and time, to simply replace
the sheaves with a matched set that uses a broader belt? A common
type, such as the kinds used on diesel trucks?

In the process, the alternator and pump shafts could be slotted
and keyed so that these would be easier to maintain, i.e., no
need for a 1.5-tonne press to press on a sheave, nor a special
tool to extract one.

Seems to be a mite of angst being spent on a simple mechanical
problem, unless the alternator(s) are also wonky.


I don't think it possible that I have 5 wonky alternators...

New pulleys is one of the remedies I've considered. The trick is
in getting all the offsets right, in addition to all the
different mounts.

The alternators have a shaft which is hex keyed to keep it from
turning - but I haven't the strength (and I routinely break stuff
because I'm too strong on a bolt, tool, etc.) to get my 3/8
pulley off the other alternator to swap it on to the one
remaining functional (of 5) alternator.

The driveshaft is splined and keyed - held on by a massive bolt -
and has some dishing and other shape potential issues, plus it
has to have the right face for the PTO end which drives the raw
water pump with its sheave (1/2" - go figure, it's bigger than
the alternator belt, and doesn't have nearly the required force),
which PTO bolts to it.

The freshwater pump is essentially a bowl of stamped steel, with
a ring pressed on to it, and a resultant offset of 3-4 (I've not
measured it) inches.

All these would have to be duplicated. If you've got a
comprehensive source for such pulleys, I'm all ears. Otherwise
the next best thing might be to have the main shaft pulley, solid
steel, machined to the same size/angles as the alternator's 1/2"
belt, and buy the appropriate cogged belt in 1/2 (giving me
whatever the resultant greater surface area [and strength]
resulted)...

For now, the 10mm belt is what was specified, and is much less
hot after running, so between the fact that it actually fits in
the drive pulley, and isn't as hot (better tight turns? more
surface area? I don't know why), I'm going to expect a better
life from it.

So, I'm going to see how this one lasts. If it's not an
improvement, then I'll bite the bullet and get the pulley off and
turned, and go to 1/2" belts. The freshwater pump shouldn't
matter, I don't think; it's just a stamped dish with a ring
pressed on; clearly it's not intended to carry any load, so I
expect the 1/2" would drive it just fine, and not negatively be
impacted by its smaller size.

I can say for sure that after some heavy charging last night, I
felt the belt after over an hour of running. It was hot, but
nothing like the prior belts I'd been using. I've also heard
from several, now, who say that the solid belts I'd been using
were disintegrating on them, too, and changing to the cogged -
whether topcog (Dayco) or internal) seemed to dissapate the heat
better, as well as, perhaps, give better close-radius
performance.

However, I have all of perhaps 5 hours on this belt. I've
tightened it once, and both that and the first were extremely
tight - a recommendation from an alternator vendor (Hotwire) and
others - to cope with the higher output. Given how many belts
I've been through, though, some experimentation is in order; I'll
not tighten again until I hear squeal or smell smoke. I check it
literally every time I stop the engine and again before I start
(other than panic modes, of course), so I'll have a good feel for
what the tension was before squeal and smoke occurs.

I'm triangulating on the failure modes as well as the solutions.
I know about the wallet mode; I could probably get a backyard
hobby guy to turn me a brand new set of pulleys cheaper than
buying something used, and get a 1/2" set in the bargain :{))
One of the guys I was working with in St. Pete (Erkki, from my
logs if you recall the first leg of this trip) was such a guy.
He'd enjoy doing it - but I don't have one of those to hand, nor
do I have the time, now, to do it. However, I might do some
downtime this winter, to address my atrocious electrical system;
if I did that in St. Pete, I'm sure he'd not only help with that
but enthusiastically participate in the other stuff. Best news
is he's a retired rocket scientist (used to design satellites for
Canada) and does it free for lunches - cuz he likes it...

And, finally, I got the proper Perkins "old" part number. It's
NA003439, and 25/64 x 49 5/8, or 9.5-10mm X whatever that works
out to. That would be long enough that I'd not get more than one
tightening on it, so I'm using one quite shorter.

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
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