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Old 10-20-2015, 02:11 PM   #1
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Northern Lights 5 KW Generator

Found out the hard way this weekend that my generator battery was dead. I changed out the group 27 deep cycle for a sealed add no water type starting battery that has a slightly higher rating than the group 27 battery. After an over nite charge I tried starting the generator but when I hit the start button I get a loud clunk and nothing else. Anyone had this happen ? I'm hoping it's a easy fix, the generator started and ran fine when we left the marina but two days later it won't turn over.
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:29 PM   #2
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Found out the hard way this weekend that my generator battery was dead. I changed out the group 27 deep cycle for a sealed add no water type starting battery that has a slightly higher rating than the group 27 battery. After an over nite charge I tried starting the generator but when I hit the start button I get a loud clunk and nothing else. Anyone had this happen ? I'm hoping it's a easy fix, the generator started and ran fine when we left the marina but two days later it won't turn over.
Start by checking the voltage of the battery and checking that all the connections are clean and tight. Even if the look good double check them.
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:31 PM   #3
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Put a socket wrench on the crank pulley nut and try to turn it. If it won't turn, could be full of water for some reason and you don't want it to sit in that condition.

Also, check oil level, if high, very likely water.
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:21 PM   #4
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Thanks Capt Bill and Ski in NC, the way it's acting water in the cylinder may be the problem. The oil level was normal. Haven't tried to turn it over by hand yet. It's in fresh water which is better than salt. It's never had a problem backing water thru the muffler BUT I have a full fuel tank and water tanks which might have lowered the trim and allowed syphoning.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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I had a single cylinder Volvo engine in a sailboat, it used to get water blocking the exhaust. If you try too hard to start it you can do major damage, I used to disconnect the exhaust where it went to the trap and muffler, it would start and clear the blockage.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:00 AM   #6
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:03 PM   #7
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All good advice, connections first and then turn over with wrench, is it a click like just the solenoid or a full engagement of starter and nothing, like a harder clunk.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:22 PM   #8
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All good advice, connections first and then turn over with wrench, is it a click like just the solenoid or a full engagement of starter and nothing, like a harder clunk.
If the engine turning over is prevented by the presence of water in the exhaust line the result will be the "harder clunk" Mike identifies. Don`t push it too hard, I broke the crankshaft doing that.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:15 AM   #9
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I repaired the generator yesterday, water in two of the three cylinders. Pulled the injectors, hand turned to force out the water, spray lube down injector holes, crank over with starter several times. Re-assemble injectors, strip water out of bottom of crankcase, about 1/2 pint, run generator till warm. Change oil, run again was the recommended fix.
Problem is the Manatee area under the galley is marginal for putting the required 1 foot loop in the exhaust hose out of the muffler to the thru hull. A full load of diesel, and water plus gustywindsand waves where we tied up cause water to enter the exhaust hose and back fill the muffler and exhaust manifold causing the hydro-lock of the engine.
Looking for ideas from other Manatee owners as to how there exhaust loop is configured also photos if possible.
For now I have the exhaust thru hull plugged as a precaution.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:42 AM   #10
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Can you put a flap on the exhaust outlet to perhaps reduce wave action pushing water up the exhaust?

Also a muffler inline can greatly reduce water surge up the exhaust it there is no muffler attached now.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:43 AM   #11
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HiDHo, glad to see you found the issue and got it back online, cannot answer the exhaust configuration issue, but I like the temp fix of putting a valve on the line.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:43 PM   #12
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I don't think a flap on the exhaust outlet would work because the exhaust is on the starboard side about 4" above the water line. I do think they are effect on stern exhaust where a following sea might flood the exhaust system.
Hoping for systems in use that work in the limited space amidship on Manatee's.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:44 PM   #13
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Bill: i've been doing varnishing for the last couple of days, sorry I missed this thread. As you know, I moved my generator to a new hatch below the veranda, so my exhaust is completely reconfigured to the stern with rubber flap fittings but my old set up included a loop that went up through the floor into the area at the extreme port forward corner of the galley in the back of the cabinet. I think I may have left the old loop there....I'll see if I can get a photo.
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Old 10-22-2015, 02:18 PM   #14
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Rolling and side wakes create the same conditions as a following sea, the flap on a low side exhaust might just help.

You DID get water in there somehow.
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Old 10-22-2015, 05:48 PM   #15
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Northern Lights 5 KW Generator

Might want to take a look at their website and this in particular
http://tinyurl.com/ntmztrl
before you reinvent the wheel.


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Old 10-22-2015, 06:06 PM   #16
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I have been told you should run the gen after each trip to get any water you may have picked up.
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:39 PM   #17
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The little Volvo I referred to in #8 above suffered its worst inhalation of water entering the exhaust, despite a Vetus trap, and a loop, during a long sailing leg when the heeling angle put the exhaust point underwater.
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Old 10-22-2015, 09:03 PM   #18
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Cafesport that brochure is included with the NL owners booklets, problem is the space designated for the generator has a vertical clearance at centerline of about 3'. the fix seems to indicate penetrating the deck above to get the " 1/2" per foot slope down and 1' min. exhaust outlet". Fig. 6 is the best depiction of the Manatee space with the exception of the the waterline being about 1' below the top of the generator.
Larry there is a lot of space under the port side counter top and that might work, seems a better alternative to running the loop under the head vanity given that I have a starboard side exhaust outlet. Photo of old loop would be good, is it a rubber exhaust hose or a metal or fiberglass loop ?
The GenSep may work I'll give it some thought, thanks everyone for the ideas and help.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:19 PM   #19
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A normal oil change does not drain the bottom of the oil pan, there may still be water there. Best to take dipstick holder out and suck actual bottom of pan. May need to do a few oil changes and give it a good several hour run to dry it out. Look in oil fill cap on rocker cover and if there is still milkiness on valve gear, not dry yet.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:55 PM   #20
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If there is water in there, oil will turn milky in short order.
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