Tearing into the engine as I have in the last month revealed several looming problems - corrosion in the fresh water cooling system, improper fluid in the wrong amount in the transmission, and last but not least, an elongated pivot hole for the alternator. I had noticed that my V-belts were wearing faster than they should, and here was the culprit. I never would have found it until, one fine day, the alternator simply tore loose.
A bushing is the usual fix for an elongated hole, but drilling a straight hole would have been challenging, and removing the entire fixture, even more so. I needed a field solution. After consulting with my friends in the Island Packet forum, I came up with a design of two steel plates to "sandwich" the casing. I would use an unused nearby bolt hole for stability, and to share the vibration.
I had a local metal shop fabricate the plates out of 1/4 stainless steel stock. I also had them cut 1/4" off the spacer, since the support would now be thicker, thanks to the extra plates. Meanwhile, Tom Leonard helped me grind down the quarter-inch nubs around each hole. These ensured that the alternator's wheel was in line with the V-belt. During the repair, the main ground wire came loose from its crimp, yet another looming problem that would have bit me eventually for sure. I was able to replace that wire, and complete the repair in a few hours. I added a photo essay **HERE**
While I waited for the plates to be made, I was able to flush the cooling system several times and drain, then refill the gearbox with motor oil (not transmission fluid!). I've added "survey engine" to my maintenance list. Nigel Caulder has a procedure, which looks like a good job for a rainy day.