Sunday, January 8, 2012

Touch One Thing, Something Else Breaks

You all know how this goes. Everything is working fine but you decide to just tweak this one little thing and then ...

I had a diesel mechanic come over to check my engine. It seemed to be vibrating more than it used to and also needed a 500 hour valve adjustment. So he checks the alignment, no problem. Checks the valves, a little tweak here and there but essentially no problem. But, oh by the way, did you notice your fan belt is wearing. Should probably replace it.

So, ok, I go into town and buy a fan belt. Lovely no name Japanese version. I install it and within 10 minutes it blows up. Humm, could be defective so I went back and bought another belt. Installed it and within 10 minutes it blows up leaving pieces of fan belt all over the engine compartment and an overheating engine. Ok, so enough of that for the day. Close everything up and go to the marina for a fiesta. We are retired you know!

Saturday morning I get up and decide to find the root cause - my old Quality management days weren't wasted after all. I cleaned the three pulleys, polishing them until they shined. I inspected the alternator, hm, the alternator seems a little loose on the bottom. I checked the bottom bolt and there is some play in it. I pulled the bottom bolt, put a couple washers on it, and … wait a minute … shouldn't there be a spacer here to fill up the gap between the two horns sticking off the alternator? Oh. I wonder if that rusty piece of tubing I found in the bilge yesterday could be used. I'll be darned, it's exactly the right size. When did I replace the alternator and not put the spacer tube back in place? No wonder the alternator wobbles.

I put everything back together, put the old, slightly worn belt back on, and, viola, it's making electricity and not burning up belts. Am I good or what? The answer is "what!"

So Monday I am off to Santiago for fan belts. I'll buy about a 1/2 dozen just in case. Interesting place where you have to make an all day trip just to get fan belts. There must be something else I can buy while I am there.


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