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Old 14-02-2020, 06:09   #1
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NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

I'm having a new Northern Lights 6kw generator installed. I'll be headed off on an open-ended 2+ year cruise from California to Florida later this year.

Sounds like the Achilles Heel of this generator is the exhaust elbow. I assume it's cast iron? Unit has not been installed yet so putting a higher quality exhaust elbow would be simple at this point. Something I should consider? Thoughts?

Thanks in advance - Peter
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Old 14-02-2020, 06:14   #2
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

No harm in doing that. They make higher quality stainless elbows for these that should last a lot longer.

The big issue is if an elbow does go, it dumps salt water on the generator head.
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Old 14-02-2020, 06:34   #3
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

Check HDI Marine for SS elbows, many positif comments on this forum.
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Old 14-02-2020, 06:52   #4
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

Thanks for the HDI referral. Looks like a replacement elbow is $150 (cast 316 SS - see link below) including the gasket. But it also looks like the original NL elbow may now be SS too. But at $150 for 316 SS elbow with maybe 30-mins to swap-out, might be a good peace-of-mind item prior to install.

Thanks - Peter

https://hdimarine.net/product/nl-1-5...-mixing-elbow/
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Old 14-02-2020, 09:25   #5
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

In my humble opinion the SS HDI elbow is superior to the NL replacement as the HDI elbow has a longer neck to attach the exhaust hose to. The NL neck only allows one compression hose clamp. The SS elbows are rated at 2K hrs. ve. cast iron at 1K hrs.
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Old 14-02-2020, 15:45   #6
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

No experience with these, but a word of caution. Do not consider 316 ss as good with hot exhaust or water. It will corrode quickly. For high temp, you need a duplex ss.
Roger
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Old 14-02-2020, 16:30   #7
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

I traded notes with "Lugger Bob" Senter at Northern Lights (we've been friends for over 20 years). He informs NL went from cast iron to SS elbows several years ago. Even the old cast iron ones did okay as long as installed with proper down angle. His thinking is I have a solution in search of a problem. Inclined to believe him.
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Old 14-02-2020, 16:41   #8
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Djarraluda View Post
No experience with these, but a word of caution. Do not consider 316 ss as good with hot exhaust or water. It will corrode quickly. For high temp, you need a duplex ss.
Roger
I concur with this, while 316 SS is good for many things, it’s not as good for exhaust as many want it to be.
Much better is bronze, duplex I assume but don’t know about.
The bronze elbow for the 4JHE reportedly lasts the life of the engine.

I don’t know why bronze elbows aren’t more common.

If its thick cast iron, it’s actually not a bad exhaust elbow material.
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Old 14-02-2020, 23:08   #9
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

Solè and Vetus both used bronze exhaust mixer elbows as well as Yanmar’s excellent elevated elbow that a64pilot mentioned. A boat here has the bronze elbow and it’s outlasted 2 engines......so far. The marinisers only sell one bronze elbow ..... but the crappy OEM cast iron, stainless steel and aluminum (Beta) elbows from VP, Perkins and sadly, Yanmar are literally flying of the parts warehouse shelves.
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Old 15-02-2020, 00:20   #10
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

I have had plenty trouble with that elbow but if it’s ss now then I would expect that to last for years. I replaced the 1.5” exhaust hose between elbow and water lift with a corrugated silicone one so that it’s easy to take off the elbow.

Other spares I can recommend: a couple of V-belts. I recommend to go to O’Reilly’s or Napa to get a Gates belt which is better.

Next is the raw water pump. Buy a complete one from NL, including the gear. Then buy the rebuild kit. I got a no-name kit from eBay for $85. I saw a rebuilt pump there as well.

Next is a couple of the relays used (standard automotive 30A)
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Old 17-02-2020, 08:18   #11
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Re: NL 6kw Gen - replace elbow before install?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I traded notes with "Lugger Bob" Senter at Northern Lights (we've been friends for over 20 years). He informs NL went from cast iron to SS elbows several years ago. Even the old cast iron ones did okay as long as installed with proper down angle. His thinking is I have a solution in search of a problem. Inclined to believe him.
Good decision. The temperatures experienced in a water cooled exhaust manifold and elbow on a non-turbo (and probably most turboed) engine(s) do not reach what is generally termed 'high' (over 500c) enough to be a problem, especially when coupled to the comparatively high heat retention properties of stainless (over 200% more than mild steel).

I've had very good success with 316, as long as there are no traps to hold sea water and cause crevice corrosion, though this seems to be an issue only if the engine is idle for long periods.
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