The season is in full swing and we have been busy on the water. If you are like me you were hoping for some warmer weather to work on the boat. Now it’s finally perfect boating weather and all you want to do is cast off the bow lines and head for your favorite anchorage. Then again, you remember your diesel mechanic telling you that your should change the oil once a year. Arrrghh, I should have really done this in January.
Well, let’s get on with it anyway. To make things less painful, run your engine for at least half an hour to warm it up. This will make pumping out of the old oil so much easier. Diesel engines don’t like running in idle, so put the engine into reverse gear and crank the throttle to maybe 1500 RPM, or a little bit less, depending on how much you trust your mooring lines.
After maybe half an hour the oil should be flowing easily rather than be sticky like honey. You might be tempted to change the oil filter while you are at it, but you might want to wait a few ours with that until the most of the oil drained as much as possible back into the sump and is thick as honey again. This will allow you to change the oil filter without a drop of oil spilled. Changing the oil filter before the oil had a chance to flow back into the sump and while it’s still warm you will find yourself cleaning the engine bilge - it’s a messy job (yes, been there done that).
Oil and filter change: Check! Great.
Ahh, there are a few more filters on the engine. When is the last time you checked your Racor or secondary fuel filter? Just replace them. All a diesel engine needs is clean fuel and compression. So why not change the fuel filters once a year to keep things running smoothly.
While we are at it you may as well change the impeller on your raw water pump. “Oh, it should have a couple hundred more hours on it”, you say. That is what the manual says, yes. On the other hand, the last time I looked at the impeller on my Yanmar 3YM20, a paddle was missing and that just over half the life expectancy of the impeller. At $12 a pop, I make it a habit to change the impeller once a year. It will take less than 10 minutes of your time.
Since you are checking your cooling water level and the raw water strainer each time you take your boat out you are probably good on that front.
Have a look at both your belts (alternator & raw water pump). If they are approaching 500 hours since the last time your replaced them it’s probably a good time to get new ones.
So there you go - less than a hundred bucks out of pocket, maybe a days work on the boat and your marine diesel is ready for another season. No time like now to get this done.
Easy for me to preach. The work is done and I am sitting at anchorage sipping on a rum & coke watching a beautiful sunset.
Your Simply Sailing Team
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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