When we purchased the Northern Lights genset for Wind Horse it was only available at the time with a sound shield. Since we were paying for it we decided to give it a try. However, a hidden salt water leak and less than robust latches convinced us to leave off the side panels. We were not comfortable with having to remove the side panels for routine inspection.
If you think think this a bit paranoid we offer the photo above and below as evidence. This is the salt water injection elbow on the exhaust where it exits the manifold. That crack – apparently typical with smaller Northern Lights units – is directly over the generator forward end cooling vents. This makes it easy for the rusty salt water to mess with the generator windings.
Because our side panels were off, the leak showed up right away, and we were able to protect the vent openings until we could get a replacement injection elbow.