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Engine alternator issues.....any suggestions?


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18 hours ago, nicknorman said:

Ed Shiers, four counties marine. Not far away.

 

once he’s worked out what the problem is, do tell us, it’s intriguing!

I spoke with Ed Shiers this morning and the 'suspect' from him seems to be the starter heater element which he suggests might be staying for the period that the drive belt is slipping. Two minutes seems like a long time for the element to be on to me, but then it does tally with the experience since the belt slippage occurs whenever the ignition is turned off and then back on again, and when you switch the ignition on the heater element always comes on as well (he tells me it is on a timer). Additional to that, the lamp that shows the heater element is working obviously comes on brightly when starting but once the engine is running it never goes out completely although you can only see the extremely faint glow in darkened conditions.

 

Ed has also suggested changing the pulley on the alternator and I'm expecting to be changing the drive belt as well since, after this period of slippage, it is probably knackered. Since I'm heading off up the Caldon canal I've arranged to re-contact Ed either at Park Lane services or at the Leek terminus and he says he'll come and look at it.

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Late to this topic - but, but, but. I suggest leaving the engine at tickover - first  time in the day will produce belt squeal for quite a few minites if the engine speed is low. My solution is to run the engine at 14 - 1500 rpm for a few minutes until the initial battery demand is satisfied.  I also turn my Adverc off for the 24v domestics as well.

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4 hours ago, OldGoat said:

Late to this topic - but, but, but. I suggest leaving the engine at tickover - first  time in the day will produce belt squeal for quite a few minites if the engine speed is low. My solution is to run the engine at 14 - 1500 rpm for a few minutes until the initial battery demand is satisfied.  I also turn my Adverc off for the 24v domestics as well.

I would have to check but I don't think the Adverc does anything to start with until the battery voltage comes up to a preset level

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8 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I would have to check but I don't think the Adverc does anything to start with until the battery voltage comes up to a preset level

 

Neither do I. with flat batteries the fact it's producing a high current flow depresses the voltage and there is nothing the internal regulator or external regulator can do about that. Even a Kestrel could do nothing until the bulk phase is over, and the internal regulator starts working.

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3 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I would have to check but I don't think the Adverc does anything to start with until the battery voltage comes up to a preset level

My Adverc does nothing for the first few minutes then kicks and raises voltage. I've got mine tweaked to 14.8v (agms) and occasionally when it kicks in the overvoltage light comes on indicating 15 v. Only stays on for maybe a minute before dropping down to work as per specs

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2 minutes ago, Slim said:

My Adverc does nothing for the first few minutes then kicks and raises voltage. I've got mine tweaked to 14.8v (agms) and occasionally when it kicks in the overvoltage light comes on indicating 15 v. Only stays on for maybe a minute before dropping down to work as per specs

 

That is probably because you keep your batteries are kept well charged so they don't stay in bulk for long.

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5 hours ago, OldGoat said:

Late to this topic - but, but, but. I suggest leaving the engine at tickover - first  time in the day will produce belt squeal for quite a few minites if the engine speed is low. My solution is to run the engine at 14 - 1500 rpm for a few minutes until the initial battery demand is satisfied.  I also turn my Adverc off for the 24v domestics as well.

That is pretty much what I do, although I have no true idea what rpm the engine is running at since the tacho has frozen until the slippage stops. By ear I would guess that I'm running it at about 1000 rpm since all increasing the engine speed does is increase the slippage. None of this would explain why, once the slippage has stopped, if I turn off the ignition off and then turn it back on again without stopping the engine, the slippage starts up again. As Ed Shiers seems to suggest, it seems more likely that the problem is connected to the the engine heater elements than anything else. Hoping to get to see him sometime next week so we'll see what his view is once he's looked at the problem.

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27 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

That is pretty much what I do, although I have no true idea what rpm the engine is running at since the tacho has frozen until the slippage stops. By ear I would guess that I'm running it at about 1000 rpm since all increasing the engine speed does is increase the slippage. None of this would explain why, once the slippage has stopped, if I turn off the ignition off and then turn it back on again without stopping the engine, the slippage starts up again. As Ed Shiers seems to suggest, it seems more likely that the problem is connected to the the engine heater elements than anything else. Hoping to get to see him sometime next week so we'll see what his view is once he's looked at the problem.

Seems that Ed is on the ball and that the automatic preheater control box would be better disconnected to prove the point. It should only put the heaters on for a few seconds anyway so may well be faulty as well.  Can you unplug it and see if the problem goes away? Your engine will start without it in the present climate.

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7 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Seems that Ed is on the ball and that the automatic preheater control box would be better disconnected to prove the point. It should only put the heaters on for a few seconds anyway so may well be faulty as well.  Can you unplug it and see if the problem goes away? Your engine will start without it in the present climate.

I think I'll wait until Ed has a look at it, rather than poke around in an area outside of my expertise potentially creating more problems. I stick with advice I was once given which was,"Does the engine work?", "Yes", "Well don't b*gger with it then";)

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2 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

I think I'll wait until Ed has a look at it, rather than poke around in an area outside of my expertise potentially creating more problems. I stick with advice I was once given which was,"Does the engine work?", "Yes", "Well don't b*gger with it then";)

 

You could just disconnect the feed to the glow plugs and insulate it so it can't short out.

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33 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Seems that Ed is on the ball and that the automatic preheater control box would be better disconnected to prove the point. It should only put the heaters on for a few seconds anyway so may well be faulty as well.  Can you unplug it and see if the problem goes away? Your engine will start without it in the present climate.

I take we are talking about the engine starter battery, it shouldn't load the domestics

34 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Seems that Ed is on the ball and that the automatic preheater control box would be better disconnected to prove the point. It should only put the heaters on for a few seconds anyway so may well be faulty as well.  Can you unplug it and see if the problem goes away? Your engine will start without it in the present climate.

A few years ago I bought a second hand Citroen heater control unit to fit to a Rangerover that had been dieselised. It came on when energised and stayed on for a set time to allow the engine to warm. It still ays in the garage, never got round to fitting it as the engine started well without heaters

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37 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

You could just disconnect the feed to the glow plugs and insulate it so it can't short out.

As far as I'm aware there is only the one glow plug and its in the inlet manifold. With my level of knowledge on engine electrics, if I disconnect the heater element and that stops the belt slippage, then what? I still wouldn't have much of an idea what needs replacing, control box? heater element? ignition switch? along with the expected drive belt and possibly pulley. I can wait for Ed's assessment.;)

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9 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

As far as I'm aware there is only the one glow plug and its in the inlet manifold. With my level of knowledge on engine electrics, if I disconnect the heater element and that stops the belt slippage, then what? I still wouldn't have much of an idea what needs replacing, control box? heater element? ignition switch? along with the expected drive belt and possibly pulley. I can wait for Ed's assessment.;)

 

It would confirm that Ed is correct. If it does not, and like Brian, I suspect it won't unless you have a single alternator boat, then it proves it is something else.

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Have you got the correct glow plug relay fitted ? They come with a post preheat power to glow plug on function also. This powers the glow plugs after the preheat light turns off for at set amount of time to ensure combustion.  If you put a  multimeter or lamp between the glow plug and earth you can see when they are powered. An excess time will add a lot of power demand to the charging circuit immediately after startup.

The rev counter is driven by voltage from the alternator winding so a slipping belt will show as low speed

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3 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

It would confirm that Ed is correct. If it does not, and like Brian, I suspect it won't unless you have a single alternator boat, then it proves it is something else.

Which doesn't really take me any further forward. I'm not sure Brian was actually saying that he didn't think it was the heater element, he seemed to be saying that it shouldn't load the domestics, which is absolutely right, they are two separate circuits. When the domestic alternator failed last year I put a 'jump' across the domestic - engine battery (and disabled the domestic alternator) so that the engine alternator would keep the domestic batteries charged until I was in a position to replace the domestic alternator, that REALLY  made the drive belt squeal on start up, but once again it stopped after a few minutes.

3 minutes ago, adrianh said:

Have you got the correct glow plug relay fitted ? They come with a post preheat power to glow plug on function also. This powers the glow plugs after the preheat light turns off for at set amount of time to ensure combustion.  If you put a  multimeter or lamp between the glow plug and earth you can see when they are powered. An excess time will add a lot of power demand to the charging circuit immediately after startup.

The rev counter is driven by voltage from the alternator winding so a slipping belt will show as low speed

The single glow plug is in the inlet manifold, I have no idea what the relay is, or what it should be so whether it is the correct one is above my pay grade. The tachometer doesn't show low speed, it 'freezes' until the belt stops squealing and then goes online and everything is hunky dory. It shows the revs that I'm travelling at and varies according to throttle setting as I'd expect. As I say, once the belt stops squealing on start up everything is fine, no warning lights are lit, the tachometer operates perfectly and to all intents and purposes there is no problem until you turn the ignition off when the whole process starts again.

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WV - You keep adding information, now you confirm it's  a twin alternator engine and it's the engine alternator that is playing up. Typically, it's the domestic alternator that does this sort of thing So as Brian implied and I tried to confirm, in that case the glow plug circuit should have no effect. It might on the engine alternator.

 

I also note that you assume we all know what engine you have in your boat, a very common mistake people make, on the whole we do not.

 

Anyway, I am also very interested in the outcome.

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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

WV - You keep adding information, now you confirm it's  a twin alternator engine and it's the engine alternator that is playing up. Typically, it's the domestic alternator that does this sort of thing So as Brian implied and I tried to confirm, in that case the glow plug circuit should have no effect. It might on the engine alternator.

 

I also note that you assume we all know what engine you have in your boat, a very common mistake people make, on the whole we do not.

 

Anyway, I am also very interested in the outcome.

Not sure that I'm adding any information. On the first post I said it was a Lister LPW4 and on my 4th post I said,"... I had the domestic alternator fail coming through Peterborough last year and had to run on just the engine alternator to charge both banks of batteries....." which kind of suggests that there are two alternators;).

 

I too will be interested to see if/how Ed can fix it since it has gone of for far too long.

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Is it an lpsw4 or lpw4? The lpsw4 usually has a glow plug per cylinder rather than one of the manifold preheaters. Since you don't seem to want to follow any advice or help given here the  I suggest you wait for Ed. 

 

For the benefit of others the lpsw4 has a glowplug relay with timer in a little box  bolted to the side of the engine.

 

I still think that explains the issues you are having and it seems Ed agrees, if as you implied you have never actually changed the slipping belt then its almost certainly knacked and I bet (as I and others have suggested) all the pulley grooves are full of crud too

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3 hours ago, jonathanA said:

Is it an lpsw4 or lpw4? The lpsw4 usually has a glow plug per cylinder rather than one of the manifold preheaters. Since you don't seem to want to follow any advice or help given here the  I suggest you wait for Ed. 

 

For the benefit of others the lpsw4 has a glowplug relay with timer in a little box  bolted to the side of the engine.

 

I still think that explains the issues you are having and it seems Ed agrees, if as you implied you have never actually changed the slipping belt then its almost certainly knacked and I bet (as I and others have suggested) all the pulley grooves are full of crud too

It is an LPW4, not an LPSW4, and the heater element is in the inlet manifold. I haven't said that I have never changed the belt, I have said that since the latest increase in slippage I haven't changed the belt; since I've had the boat (8 years) I've changed the belt more than once and the alternator at least once. It was as a result of changing the belt and tightening it back in 2016 that I wrecked the water pump bearing, which is why I have the reluctance to go down that path again.

 

The last service I gave the boat (2 weeks ago) I looked at the pulleys and belt although I didn't take them off, and can say that the belt is in better shape than one I removed in the past, which had started to split, but still wasn't slipping to the degree that is currently occurring.

 

It isn't a case of '...not wanting to follow advice...' it is a case of changing the pulley or glowplug relay isn't just a case of popping into the nearest Halfords, so there isn't much point in me dismantling something that, even if it is the cause of the problem, I'm not going to be able to fix where I am. The place I've got replacement alternators from is Electrostart at Daventry and I know there is a guy at Sandbach who will repair them. The main dealer for Lister parts is either Sleeman and Hawken in Teignmouth, Devon or Marine Engine Supplies at Kenilworth, I'm on the outskirts of Stoke on Trent!!

 

If Ed can properly diagnose the problem and supply any necessary replacement parts it will be far easier than me trying to faff around on the internet sourcing them and then finding somewhere for them to be delivered to (and hoping that it is the cause of the problem). At the moment, once the start up squeal stops, everything is fine, whilst that remains the case I'll press on to see Ed, if something happens on the way (belt breaks, alternator fails,relay gives up, etc.) I'll have to deal with that when it happens.

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1 minute ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

It is an LPW4, not an LPSW4, and the heater element is in the inlet manifold. I haven't said that I have never changed the belt, I have said that since the latest increase in slippage I haven't changed the belt; since I've had the boat (8 years) I've changed the belt more than once and the alternator at least once. It was as a result of changing the belt and tightening it back in 2016 that I wrecked the water pump bearing, which is why I have the reluctance to go down that path again.

 

The last service I gave the boat (2 weeks ago) I looked at the pulleys and belt although I didn't take them off, and can say that the belt is in better shape than one I removed in the past, which had started to split, but still wasn't slipping to the degree that is currently occurring.

 

It isn't a case of '...not wanting to follow advice...' it is a case of changing the pulley or glowplug relay isn't just a case of popping into the nearest Halfords, so there isn't much point in me dismantling something that, even if it is the cause of the problem, I'm not going to be able to fix where I am. The place I've got replacement alternators from is Electrostart at Daventry and I know there is a guy at Sandbach who will repair them. The main dealer for Lister parts is either Sleeman and Hawken in Teignmouth, Devon or Marine Engine Supplies at Kenilworth, I'm on the outskirts of Stoke on Trent!!

 

If Ed can properly diagnose the problem and supply any necessary replacement parts it will be far easier than me trying to faff around on the internet sourcing them and then finding somewhere for them to be delivered to (and hoping that it is the cause of the problem). At the moment, once the start up squeal stops, everything is fine, whilst that remains the case I'll press on to see Ed, if something happens on the way (belt breaks, alternator fails,relay gives up, etc.) I'll have to deal with that when it happens.

Prestolite /  Leece Neville  have their own mobile engineers, I have the contact name and number if you need it.

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5 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Prestolite /  Leece Neville  have their own mobile engineers, I have the contact name and number if you need it.

I've already told Ed that I'll be back in contact with him when I get to Park Lane Services (assuming that they don't shut the whole of the Caldon Canal!). If he can't fix it I'll have another think.

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Just now, ditchcrawler said:

This is a bad omen, one of my belts started squeaking today, I think its the domestic and a pig to tighten. Lets see what happens tomorrow. 

I think now that we are getting slightly damper mornings with condensation it might impact on it. Have to say that both of mine are pigs to tighten accurately. It is a case of levering the alternator to approximately the right tension and then re-tighten the holding bolts. By comparison an old Peugeot diesel car I had, all you had to do was loosen the holding bolts and then alter the separate adjuster nut to get exactly the right tension, worked a treat.

 

Returning to an earlier post, rather than the suggestion that I'm not taking advice, from the advice given so far, the most promising suggestion in my opinion was the suggestion of the larger pulley on the alternator. This would serve two purposes it would drive the alternator marginally slower and give a greater contact area for driving the belt. I haven't been in a position to act on the suggestion because I haven't yet found my local 'alternator pulley replacement' shop:unsure:. Hopefully Ed will know of one.

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On 14/09/2021 at 20:12, Wanderer Vagabond said:

This is a problem I've had with RUNE for quite a while, it just seems to be getting worse at the moment and I'm struggling to find the cause. To run through the sequence of events when starting up:-

1) Turn on ignition key, oil warning light, engine alternator light and domestic alternator light all come on,along with light indicating that the heater coil is operating.

2) Heater coil light goes out and then turn key further which engages starter motor.

3) Engine fires up and all lights go out.

now things get a bit more tricky

4) Tachometer needle goes to about 750 - 800 rpm and freezes at the same time the engine alternator drive belt can be heard slipping.

5) After 2 minutes the sound of the slipping belt stops, the tachometer comes back online and everything is hunky dory.

 

Once the engine has warmed up, if it is switched off the slipping drive belt happens again but only for about 30 seconds or so, similarly if the ignition switch is accidentally turned off whilst the engine is running, without tripping the stop solenoid, and then turned back on the slipping drive belt happens again for about 30 seconds then stops.

 

The drive belt itself is as tight as I would wish it to be having made the mistake in the past of tightening it which stopped the slipping belt for a while, then overloaded the water pump bearing which failed, a more difficult job to change than just changing a drive belt! I carry a spare alternator and several spare drive belts (the drive belt is a multi V)

 

Once the engine has fired up and the slipping belt stops, it doesn't happen again until the engine is stopped, no matter how the engine is revved, or otherwise, which is why I'm content with the belt tensioning. The engine concerned is a Lister LPW4, anyone got any idea what the problem is?

Are you using a bigger alternator than recommended for your engine ?? Assuming the belt has been adjusted correctly and it's not contaminated by oil, I would  check the alternator pulley bearing, or an idler pulley bearing is not causing the problem. If you fit a bigger alternator it might need a bigger belt, or a different basic type. I don't know the Listers layout in terms of other pulleys, but they all need checking for increased resistance etc. 

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14 hours ago, TNLI said:

Are you using a bigger alternator than recommended for your engine ?? Assuming the belt has been adjusted correctly and it's not contaminated by oil, I would  check the alternator pulley bearing, or an idler pulley bearing is not causing the problem. If you fit a bigger alternator it might need a bigger belt, or a different basic type. I don't know the Listers layout in terms of other pulleys, but they all need checking for increased resistance etc. 

No, there is no point since the engine alternator only charges the starter battery. I may have upped the domestic alternator to 90A last time I changed it, but that isn't the one with the belt squeal.

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