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The Tale of a Generator Part 3

September 10, 2018

So with that bit of a teaser from part 2, and hopefully you read The Lost Voyage, you can tell we made it back to Alpine, and started getting the generator fixed.  First thing I had to do was get the stupid thing out of its hole.  Let me tell you it doesn't like to leave its hole, it wants to stay in the dark.  The generator is attached to a sliding tray powered by an electric actuator (like a hydraulic ram for those that don't know what a actuator is...stick pushy thing for the rest like Alex).  The actuator is attached to the tray with a pin, which of course is mounted under the generator, thanks Bluebird.  After trying for over an hour I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could reach the stupid pin to release the tray from the actuator.  Time for plan "B".

 

 

Plan "B" was pull the front of the generator tray appart and disconnect the generator from the tray, and lift it out the old school way with a engine hoist.  I'm not sure if you have experience with a heavy duty engine hoist attached to a 4 cylinder 12.5KW diesel generator being drug across dirt, but let me inform you that it isn't something you want to do regularly.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after some grunting and calling some friends I (we) finally got the beast out.  Now it was time to separate the generator end from the diesel engine.  After you take off the main housing bolts, you're supposed to be able to back out the main bolt a bit then hit it with a giant hammer and it will pop off.  Well as you can see from the pictures below I managed to completely bugger the end of the threads of the main bolt, so on to plan B, or is it continued so plan C maybe, I don't really know any more.

 

As you can see I got the two pieces separated, which wasn't simple either.  Plan C consisted of breaking the fan and housing so I could get to the flywheel bolts, even then there was only about 1.5 inches to reach in and access the bolts.  Needless to say I was a bit preoccupied so there aren't any pictures of that hateful process.  In the end I did get it apart, and the new one went on the same painstaking way through 1.5 by 3.5 inch vents that you had to reach into with the bolt and get them tight, not fun with mits like mine.  So the original generator was a Kohler/Yanmar unit.  Well it turns out that Kohler doesn't make the generator end anymore, so I had to go aftermarket.  I found a place in Georgia that has a 13 Kilowatt replacement that would basically bolt right up, it's a brushless unit, so it should last a very long time, plus it was a very reasonable price.

 

I also cleaned, repainted, and installed foil backed insulation/sound reducing material in the tray, and the "hole".  With the generator out of the tray I was able to reattach the tray to the actuator easily.  Then it was just a matter of shoe horning the beast back into its hole. Sadly time was running short and I didn't really take any pictures of the nice clean hole and the beast back home.  Needless to say after getting the wiring straightened out and beating the crap out of the exhaust pipe (it didn't quite line up with the new generator end in place), it all works beautifully.

 

So now we can travel down the road with AC when we need it, I'm pretty sure Jen's parents were very thankful of that when we drove from Alpine to Oklahoma in September since the outside temperature was still in the triple digits.

 

As a side note about the generator, I was at my parents place this last summer, and we were about to leave, so I wanted to check the generator.  The stupid thing wouldn't start, heck I couldn't even get the tray to slide out.  WTF!!!  After a bit of investigating I found two of the main "cannon" plugs were broken and only held together with bailing wire.  With no good way of fixing them, I just tightened the wire so the plugs would make contact, and all was good again.  That is something that is on the list of things to fix properly, but for now it works.  Hopefully this is the last post for the story of The Tale of a Generator, but you never really know what surprises are lurking around the corner.

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