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Replacing Kiva's Generator

After 33 years of running generally well, it was time to upgrade our generator. We decided not to replace the unit before we left Houston in the hope that it would continue to work for us for a few more years, but the stress of day-to-day cruising made it clear that it was just a question of when we needed to bite the bullet. Parts were failing on an uncomfortable rate and I was fixing something almost every few days. It wasn't so much that we were concerned about the cost but we were looking at a real problem replacing it. This size generatos weighs over 500 pounds and there is no easy way to lift it directly out of the engine room.

The plan - have someone else do it. I decided to buy the new generator from Dockyard Electric in Chaguaramas and they were able to replace the old unit and install the new on. That would involve pulling the engine from under the main cabin floor, slide it to the companionway, raise it up to the cockpit and swing it across the boat to the dock and then do it in reverse with the new unit.

Dockyard's crew did a great job and nothing droped on the floor (or the water). Eventually despite the fact that both units were almost the same size, the Northern Lights unit required a 2 inch exhaust hose instead of the 1.5 inch hose that was used for the Westerbeke. Between the amount of time required to replace the hose and the muffler we had left Trinidad for the US. Eventually, I was able to commission the new generator in early October with little problems.

Chain hoist.
The guys from Dockyard Electric start to install the ropes and chains to pull the generator out of the engine room.

The coffee table.
Once it was out of bilge, the next step was to slide it to the companionway.


Out through the companionway.
Slowly and carefully the generator sees the light of day after 33 years.


The new and the old.
The new, clean Northern Lights 9KW waiting to be placed in Kiva's engine room.



The old generator ready to be taken out.
The old generator is ready to be taken out.


Out of the hole.
Slowly the old generator rises up from the bilge. Obviously it needed some cleaning,


That is a big step.
The guys think about the next step.

Swinging the boom.
Using the boom to swing the unit to the dock.

In she goes...

The new coffee table.
Looks like a nice coffee table if we can't get it in the bilge.


Copyright © 2009 Jan Buskop