Saturday, August 27, 2016

Make it work.

 That's the new alternator tensioner. haha

Being a live aboard cruiser you definitely find yourself in situations where you are forced to fix things without the right parts or the right tools or both.  If you were sitting in the marina in San Diego it would not be a problem, just run to the marine store, pick up what you need and make it happen.  However, sailing the coastline of Mexico , and many other places in the world, if you don't have what you need on board you just have to make do with what you have. We become real, live MacGyvers at times.

I got to practice some of my MacGyver skills while delivering water a week or so ago.  We were about 45 miles out in the woods, at the top of the mountain and some 10 miles down a dirt road.  I think you call that "middle of nowhere". We had just delivered a load of water to one of our grower clients and were heading back when I noticed the temperature guage was about 20-30 higher than normal.  I pulled over and when I lifted the hood I immediately saw the problem.  The bolt that holds the alternator in place with tension on the water pump belt had sheared off.  What was left of it was still in the alternator which meant I couldn't just rob a similar bolt from somewhere else on the truck to get me home.

What I wound up doing seemed a little sketch but it got the job done.  I found a piece of 1/4" nylon line that I tied around the body of the alternator, passed it through a crack in the engine sidewall and then secured it to the blinker housing.  With some creative knots I was able to pull on the alternator enough to keep tension on the belt which turned the water pump and kept the engine cool.  It wasn't pretty but it took us all 45 miles back home where I was able to drill out the old bolt, tap the hole and put a new bolt in.  Problem solved!  My Mexican friends down south would have been proud of the ingenious fix.  Those guys can fix anything with almost nothing!

 From the alternator through the fender and secured to the blinker housing.

 The finished job with the new bolt.

Chalk up that fix to "fix it with what you got cruiser mentality".  And the summer wears on as we anxiously await our time to get back onboard in the fall.

Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

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