Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alternator spacer - really, 3 months to get one?

As you know I bought a barely used Yanmar 40 hp diesel motor to put in the boat. One of the things it was missing was the bolts to bolt on the alternator. I being one who likes to research the death out of something before I buy downloaded a parts catalog for my engine. I see that I need a spacer for the alternator lower bolt. This is similar to a car for all you gearheads out there. I called my local and great Yanmar dealer, Boatswain's Locker. By the way I have to give a big thank you to Jerry the parts manager who works there. He stays late to help me because I can't always get there before they close due to traffic.(Welcome to SoCal!) Any way I call and ask for the spacer...not in stock and it will take 3 months to get here. Hahaha, good one , now really when can I pick it up?  3 months. Really! I am so used to just walking in and getting something or at the most wait 3 week, much less 3 MONTHS!

OK I can't wait that long. The spacer is actually a long threaded nut that has two bolts that thread into it on either end to hold up the alternator and make the "swing" portion or hinge so the alternator can be moved so the belt can be tightened. OK enough with the mechanical lessons. Lets move on to fixing the problem of not having this 3 month item that I need NOW.

I take a few pictures of the area where the alternator mounts, get a few measurements, grab the alternator and head to the hardware store, Cannings Ace Hardware in La Habra. I love this store the guys there are the ones who will help you figure out how get something done as opposed to the big orange store that has guys in it that keep telling me "You can't do that".  By the way if you have to go to the big box store make sure you know what you need before you get there. If you try and figure out how to fix (read: jury rig) while you are there it is very distracting to have some one keep telling you "you can't do that". (Opps that was a rant I think...) Any way I grab a bolt that will be as long and big as the spacer and two bolts that originally were used, then a rod coupling that will allow the bolt to pass through it. Plus some the nuts, washers etc that I need.
Here is the "spacer" a rod coupling.
I head home and start the "build". Sounds impressive the build...don't worry you will be disappointed when all I did way cut a rod coupling down. So I take the coupling to the engine and hold the alternator up in the correct position to see how much of the rod coupling I have to cut off.
How do I cut off?

Now the action pictures of me cutting it down and grinding the end to the final length. I don't have a picture but I did take a file to it and smooth off and round the edges so my soft little hands won't get cut.

Wooo...look at the sparks fly I should be an action photographer!  Yes big brother (Not you Bubba, the government.) (FYI Bubba IS my brother...I was raised in the south!) I had all the required personal safety gear on.
And the final fit.
It fits! The bolt will go through the coupling when assembled..

Now my engine is starting to actually look like an engine!
Now tell me, was all the reading and pictures really required to say I cut a coupling down?
I didn't think so.....

Oh I have to paint the part so it matches the rest of the engine....yea I'm anal that way.