Posts Tagged “Mechanical”

The Case of the Missing Oil Leak

The Case of the Missing Oil Leak

An engine seldom “just gets better”—close to never—but our generator was leaking vast amounts of oil from the rear main oil seal prior to the cylinder head replacement. If the generator sound attenuation shield front cover was removed during operation, it would spray the engine room floor and the neighboring wing engine, creating a real…

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Part III: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

Part III: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

  This installment of our maintenance series picks up from our previous video, where we replaced the defective cylinder head in our Northern Lights 12kW generator with a brand new one just shipped in from the US. In this video, we complete the job by adjusting the valves, replacing the coolant and bleeding the fuel…

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Stornoway Haulout

Stornoway Haulout

The Stornoway slipway is a big commercial railway that can lift boats up to 50m long and weighing up to 850 tons. The railway cradle uses three pairs of hydraulic support arms to hold boats in place, making for an efficient lift process. Once the vessel is in the correct position, the arms are simply…

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Part II: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

Part II: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

  This installment of our maintenance series picks up from our previous video, where we removed the defective cylinder head from our Northern Lights 12kW generator and ended with the engine in pieces on the floor. In this third part of the set covering the low power output issue with our generator, we install the…

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Replacing GenSet Cylinder Head Part I

Replacing GenSet Cylinder Head Part I

  In the previous installment of our maintenance series, we diagnosed lack of power output on a Northern Lights M843NW3.3 12KW generator with 6,700 hours of use over 10 years. We concluded the #3 cylinder exhaust valve seat had failed. In this second part of the series covering the low power output issue with our…

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Valve Seat Recession

Valve Seat Recession

About four weeks ago, our generator suddenly went from normal output to having far less power. Instead of the 10+ kW it normally produced, it could only generate 7 kW. We worked through the Northern Lights diagnostic procedure and concluded we had a valve or valve seat problem on #3 cylinder exhaust. The steps we…

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Diagnosing GenSet Low Power Output

Diagnosing GenSet Low Power Output

  In this installment of our maintenance series, we diagnose low engine power output on a Northern Lights 12kW generator. This engine is unable to produce more than 7kw of power, but can reliably deliver that, and otherwise is running fairly well. We walk through the diagnostic procedure checking for intake blockage, fuel system problems,…

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Changing Starter in 12kW Northern Lights

Changing Starter in 12kW Northern Lights

  Our Northern Lights 12kW generator is just a slight bit slower to start. In this video, we check the likely possibilities for slow to start, including air filters, fuel filters, voltage at battery, and voltage at starter during cranking and determine that the starter is at fault. We then show the process of changing…

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Gen Rear Main Oil Seal

Gen Rear Main Oil Seal

Our generator showed a light misting of oil around the generator cooling fan a month back. At just under 7,000 hours, it’s a bit early to be leaking, but it’s not a huge issue since rear main oil seals don’t fail catastrophically nor even quickly. It just means that in the next year or so,…

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Reduced Generator Output

Reduced Generator Output

Our Northern Lights 12kW generator ran for years without any hard-to-diagnose problems. It just ran, and that’s the way we like it. For its entire 6,600-hour life, it’s been able to reliably produce 42 amps. It’s nominally a 50-amp generator, but due to highly non-linear load on Dirona, the power factor often is less than…

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Generator Oil Change

Generator Oil Change

  In this video, we change the oil in our Northern Lights 12kW generator and discuss related aspects including oil storage, obtaining new oil and disposing of used oil as we travel the world.    

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Inspecting John Deere 6068 Accessory Drive Belt and Bearings

Inspecting John Deere 6068 Accessory Drive Belt and Bearings

  An important annual service check on a diesel engine is to check the drive belt and bearing condition on all engine-driven accessories including the alternator and coolant pump. The video below steps through this simple service check on our John Deere 6068AFM75. The engine is a 266 hp, M2-rated marine diesel that is just…

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Fuel Cooling

Fuel Cooling

On arriving into Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands in 2013, the fuel temperature in our supply tank had climbed to 180F (82C). What was happening is the engine circulates about 50 gallons per hour and yet only burns a tiny fraction of that.  Most of this fuel flows through the engine fuel system and…

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Kar-Tech Mini Guider Proportional Calibration

Kar-Tech Mini Guider Proportional Calibration

The Kar-Tech Mini Guider is a good wireless remote control for the Steelhead ES-series of cranes including the ES-1000 and ES-1500. It’s easy to use and works quite well. For install instructions, see Steelhead Wireless Remote. Part of the installation is configuring proportional control, and the Kar-Tech instructions are a bit opaque. But once calibrated,…

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Windlass Maintenance

Windlass Maintenance

Our Maxwell 3500 windlass has performed flawlessly for us in a decade of use across thousands of anchorages around the world. To keep it that way, we disassemble and grease the top end every twelve months and change the oil every two years. Both were due recently. In taking the windlass apart, we found far…

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Steering System Maintenance

Steering System Maintenance

Here we step through the steering system on the Nordhavn 52, showing some of the wear points and the changes we have made to minimize these issues. Finally, we show the removal and replacement of the hydraulic steering rod end. This is the part that transfers force between the hydraulic cylinder and the steering arm….

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Replacing Lugger/Northern Lights PTO Clutch

Replacing Lugger/Northern Lights PTO Clutch

Many small Lugger marine engines and Northern Lights generators are equipped with a power takeoff (PTO) unit that can be used to drive accessories. Hydraulic pumps are a common use case for this PTO. These PTOs are equipped with electric clutches to allow them to be powered or unpowered at will. This is convenient, but…

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Northern Lights 12kW Generator Overheating

Northern Lights 12kW Generator Overheating

Over the last few months the generator running temperature has been slowly increasing. We were still below the 205F cut-off level, and the generator continued to run fine, but something clearly wasn’t right. The generator normally runs in the 192F to 193F range at full load and I have a warning set at 195 that…

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