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Old 02-14-2015, 10:11 AM   #21
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I have an Entec West 4.1 kW genny. It was a near new unit (40 hours) when we bought the boat. The water pump is a March 115 V AC, powered by the genny so it take a few seconds to come on. The pump sometimes loses prime and on starting so you have to keep an eye on the exhaust on startup to ensure the pump is working and get the pump primed if it isn't. Otherwise the unit works fine. I've got about 200 hours on it.


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Old 02-14-2015, 10:36 AM   #22
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I have an Entec West 4.1 kW genny. It was a near new unit (40 hours) when we bought the boat. The water pump is a March 115 V AC, powered by the genny so it take a few seconds to come on. The pump sometimes loses prime and on starting so you have to keep an eye on the exhaust on startup to ensure the pump is working and get the pump primed if it isn't. Otherwise the unit works fine...
I believe your AC water pump is a modification, not factory. This mod is fairly common on marine generators. The factory pump is removed and then an endplate is installed in its place. An AC pump is then plumped in and wired to the AC on the generator. When the generator starts, it powers the pump. Placement of the AC pump should be below the water line since they are not self priming. I've seen checks valves installed so the generators don't loose their prime. Some generators have a 3 way valve installed right after the pump to bleed the air/prime if it gets air locked.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:16 AM   #23
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I believe your AC water pump is a modification, not factory. This mod is fairly common on marine generators. The factory pump is removed and then an endplate is installed in its place. An AC pump is then plumped in and wired to the AC on the generator. When the generator starts, it powers the pump. Placement of the AC pump should be below the water line since they are not self priming. I've seen checks valves installed so the generators don't loose their prime. Some generators have a 3 way valve installed right after the pump to bleed the air/prime if it gets air locked.

Chuckle! Yup! Managed to break the check valve last summer! Managed to put another one on without too much trouble but I spent 4 days in Pender Harbour resolving the problem.

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Old 02-14-2015, 11:32 AM   #24
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We have a 12kw NL, a little small for our needs but we make it work. It's amazing how quiet it is, you'd think it was an air conditioner running if you didn't know. We have the Gen Sep.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:49 AM   #25
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Regarding smallish older gennies, 4-15kw:

Onan MDJ series- actually an Onan engine. Very old, noisy, durable
Onan MDKC, MDKD, Kubota, very good machines, control system tough to troubleshoot
Westerbeke BTD, Mitsubishi, simple controls, weak electrical ends
Northern Lights, Shibaura engine, simple controls, good machines.
Kohler, Yanmar engine, pcb controls can be trouble, but otherwise very good
Panda- Avoid.

Nextgen, phasor, norpro etc, use various Japanese engines, smaller market share brands, tend to use simple controls and industrial gens- don't overlook these as they have proven to be very good.

Avoid ANY that spin at 3600rpm.

Three cylinder 1800rpm units the best in this kW range.

Not a Northern Lights fanboy here. I have a 5kW in my rig, but I inherited from a repair job. It has been good, but has required a valve job. The quality is good, but it is really no better than Onan and the smaller brand packagers, see below. I don't think the price premium is worth it.

Newer units with computer controls tend to be trouble. No need for a computer to run your gennie, and if it screws up it is not field fixable without parts. And can be a devil to troubleshoot.

While the newer Onans do have computer controls, they seem to have done a better job than most. Most of the failures I have seen on their system have been due to lightning or getting wet. Lots of them out there with lots of use and no trouble. Some Onans are 3600, avoid those. But the late model MDK series, even with computer are good machines.

Extremely rare to see an electrical end failure on an Onan MDK or MDL series that run at 1800. The 3600 MDK's have had many failures.

I have a 20yr old Onan MDKD 8kw in my shop as a hurricane gennie. I took it out of a Bertram where it was salted under the cockpit deck. Rusty mess. Fixed it so it would run. Stator is so rusted you can stick you hand through a hole in the bottom!!! Dang thing still makes good power. That is a good electrical end.

If I was buying a new gen in the 6-10kW range, I would be shopping seriously at Phasor, Nextgen, Norpro and the like. Onan or NL if you can get a good price.

Dead gennies paid for the construction of my boat, so have some experience with these.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:50 PM   #26
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Have a new-ish NL 8kw and its really nice. Extremely quiet, no vibration and pretty easy to get at the maintenance points. Haven't had a bit of trouble with it, but it only has 250hrs.

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Old 02-14-2015, 03:51 PM   #27
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We have the Gen Sep.
Having never owned a generator and just going by what I read and hear, I'll bite! What's a Gen Sep?
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #28
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Gen sep is a muffler like thing that separates the water from the wet exhaust flow. So the water is ducted to a below WL through hull, and moist exhaust, without much water is vented overboard. Gets rid of the whoosh whoosh noise of water being ejected out the tailpipe.
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:01 PM   #29
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I guess we have the smallest generator on this thread so far... NextGen 3.5kW. Starts/runs like a champ, low rpm, very compact, can only hear the gurgle of exhaust when running on the outside. Not too loud inside the boat, but we don't have a full sound enclosure. Just the sides and top. But I never worry about it running too hot in the ER. Meets 90% of our needs, but sometimes wish we had the 5kW NextGen.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:29 PM   #30
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Darren:

I too have the 3.5 KW NextGen which runs everything I need to on my boat, just not all at the same time ;-). But its noise is not a benign burble; more like an annoying (to boats anchored behind me) putt, putt. What kind of a muffler do you have?

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Old 02-14-2015, 07:43 PM   #31
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I just bought a boat that came with a 12KW NL generator. I've heard nothing but "good" about these sets......we shall see!
Congratulations, Walt. Proper yachting attire complete with ascot is in order for commanding that beautiful vessel.

By the way, if the 12KW NL doesn't have a stainless steel exhaust elbow, change it. That's the only problem I heard of with those gens. Mine had to be changed.
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:51 PM   #32
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Have an Onan 8 or 9 kw Mdak with 3 cyl. Kubota in sound shield. Sound shield is mounted on rails on Sound Down vibration mounts. Exhaust runs through a Gen sep. Salon floor is very well sound insulated, so the air conditioner is louder than the genset. There is no vibration. Love those vibration isolators. Normal maintenance so far for 13 year old generator with 700 hours. Did have to replace gaskets on heat exchanger and raw water pump. Also replaced end bearing in generator when we had it out for boat repower. My one complaint is that for the price of the sound shield you would think they could make the pan stainless or galvanized it. When the end gaskets and the raw water pump leaked, it made a hell of a mess. Sandblasted it, added a drain hole (sits over bildge), faired it, and painted it with Awlgrip (leftover from another job).

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Old 02-14-2015, 09:10 PM   #33
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Like Capt. Tom, our Onan MDJE is pretty loud inside the boat but very quiet outside. It has a Vetus wet exhaust muffler on it which isn't very large but seems to do the trick.

We took the generator's sound shield (a stock Onan unit) off awhile back when we had the starter removed and completely rebuilt. Haven't gotten around to putting it back on and it does make a significant difference to the generator noise inside the boat. But not the vibration.
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:21 PM   #34
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You guys with the MDJ series especially, and other gennies for that matter, can knock a heck of alot of noise down by putting a silencer on the air intake. Amazing how much noise actually comes out the intake. Donaldson makes filter/silencers like those used on bobcats, etc. Remote mount and tie in with pvc pipe and hose sleeves to connect.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:50 AM   #35
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Chuckle! Yup! Managed to break the check valve last summer! Managed to put another one on without too much trouble but I spent 4 days in Pender Harbour resolving the problem.

Broken check valve
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New check valve.
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Just an FYI but I don't believe the March pumps are designed torun upside down like that.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:18 AM   #36
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8Kw NL, no sound shield. Not original to the boat. Came with the boat. Sized great for running two 16k BTU AC units and hot water heater. Hope to add an electric stove soon- probably will need to switch something (s) off. Starts/ runs great. No issues except leaking oil seal on raw water pump drive and a failed alternator. About 2000 hours on it- but is 10 years, plus old.


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Old 02-15-2015, 09:23 AM   #37
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Just an FYI but I don't believe the March pumps are designed torun upside down like that.
Yup. March says the pump should be mounted horizontality.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:43 AM   #38
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By the way, if the 12KW NL doesn't have a stainless steel exhaust elbow, change it. That's the only problem I heard of with those gens. Mine had to be changed.
See, now that's the kind of info I need! At my age, there is not enough time left on the water to learn all these things by experiencing them. That's the reason I re-upped here at TF. Thanks, Don!
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:41 AM   #39
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Generators. The Good, Bad and The Ugly

Cap'n Bill, Larry, thanks, I'll look into that. The PO installed this. I'll check and see if it can be reoriented. For now it works most of the time, but I will see what can be done, because it is a PITA to deal with when it looses it's prime.


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Old 02-15-2015, 12:34 PM   #40
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So I just started the genny to run some heaters. As part of the process now I check the genny exhaust for water and it was running fine. I routinely close the seacock now after every use. The priming issue has become quite intermittent now and I can live with it. Hopefully can get onto it over the next couple of months.


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