June 18, 2014 Share

Overcoming Generator Issues

When we purchased our houseboat the generator wouldn't  run correctly.  The son of the previous owner said when he would start the generator and when it began to stall, he would bump the start button several times until it would start running smooth.

Come to find out,  he was overriding the safety features so the generator would not shut off due to over revving.  I researched and spoke to folks at the dock and everybody said to give the generator a good tune up, so after several hundred dollars and hours of work was completed I started the generator and the same thing happen again; it revved up and shut down several times before it would run correctly.

I decided to start calling up Westerbeke dealers and ask their opinion.  They were all over the board on their answers, until I spoke to John Dillion at Marysville Marine.  I told him what my issue was and he told me without hesitation, that it was the governor.  John told me at about 500 hours  if you do not change your oil in your governor to synthetic oil you are probably going to have issues.

 He suggested some quick things I could try to get the governor to free up and start working again, but unfortunately none of them worked out. So, it was time to purchase a new one; I was floored at the cost of a Westerbeke replacement, but again John worked with me and recommended a Marysville replacement part that was around half the cost.  I installed the replacement governor and it works perfect.  Below I will list the steps of installation and adjustments of the new governor on a 1999 15 BTG generator.

  1. Remove the negative battery cable.
  2. Loosen the drive belt by loosening the inlet water pump bolts.
  3. Remove the throttle control shaft then the old governor.
  4. Change the oil in the new governor with Synthetic 10 w 30 it only takes a few ounces.
  5. Replace the governor, drive belt, and throttle control shaft in reverse order (make sure the inlet water pump is square with the belt before tightening).
  6. Reattach the negative battery cable.

Now you are ready to start the generator and make the final adjustments. The generator should be adjusted so it is running at 61.5 to 62 cycles(HZ) at no load.

  1. After you start the generator if it is surging (engine revving up and down) you need to adjust the bumper screw which is located at the rear center of the governor, adjust it in until all the surging stops, do not raise the idle speed with this adjustment.
  2. Install a electric meter into a plug receptacle and turn it on HZ.
  3. Adjust the idle speed this bolt is located to the right hand side of the governor pointing up from the bottom of the unit.
  4. Slowly adjust the idle screw until your meter reads 61.5 to 62 HZ.
  5. If the generator is surging at this point adjust the bumper again and make sure you are maintaining the 61.5 to 62 HZ.
  6. Now turn on 1/4 load, 1/2 load then 3/4 load and make sure the 61.5 to 62 HZ stays consistence.

At this point you should be ready to go. make sure to change the oil in your governor, when you change your engine oil and you should get several hundred hours of flawless service.

By Stephanie Forest
Stephanie is a regular contributor to LakeCumberland.com
You can read all her previous posts at http://www.lakecumberland.com/category/lake-cumberland-life/