WOW the starboard engine is running a lot better now! Previously, it could take a minute or two to start when cold. Now, it starts fairly quickly (10 seconds) at half throttle. When warm, it starts by just tapping the start button without any throttle.
So what was the root cause? I’m totally not sure. It’s one of these root causes, from most likely to least likely:
- The new gear reduction starter spins the engine faster and with more torque using less energy
- The oil leak prevented the pressure from building up quickly making the engine work harder to spin
- There’s less friction with the new belt system
- Running it really hard (full throttle) for several minutes to check the alternator may have burned off some carbon buildup
- Adding fresh diesel perhaps raised the quality of the diesel up some
Believe it or not, there are still more things I can do to help this engine start better:
- The alternator’s regulator activates the field circuit immediately, rather than waiting for the engine to complete startup. This creates a huge load on the belt, almost like attempting to start it in gear. I have an open source regulator that has a configurable delay before slowly ramping up the field circuit.
- I’d like to attempt a seafoam engine soak to clean out the injectors and do some additional cleaning of the cylinders as well.
- I still need to replace the fuel filters. There’s NO vacuum gauge in the fuel lines so I can’t even tell when it’s time to change them. Yet another low priority project.
It’s also shockingly quieter. This is most likely due to the belt but could also be the alternator. When I disassembled and inspected the alternator, it was clear it was run very hot, which probably increased the shaft resistance and lowered the efficiency. There was no thermal protection on the alternator regulator.
The best part about this upgrade is that I’m getting a solid 25A even at idle, and at least 71A at 1200 RPM (I have AC power but I’m not using it for charging). I haven’t seen more than that yet, but I know this alternator should crank out 100A. I think I just need to discharge the batteries a bit more to see it.
Teak cleanup! On the left, old teak heavily oiled. On the right, brand new, without oil. What color is better? I am about to oil the new teak and I think it’s going to look dark like the one on the left.
I also got one of these DuroMax XP200EH 2000 Watt Dual Fuel Generators at the ridiculously low price of $325! This gives me about 1800W of power for up to 20 hours on one propane tank (I am unlikely to ever use gasoline, but it’s nice having options). However, the stupid Xantrex converts that into about 50A of charge before overloading the generator, or about 800W of charge power. I am guessing the remaining 800W is converted into heat in the engine room and in some cable somewhere. Yet another reason for the next upgrade.
Higher on the priority list is the transmission oil. It looked a little milky so I’m going to replace it next.