Friday, July 10, 2015

Oil Change

If you don't change the oil, you know what happens to your engine!

Eximius' engine is the first diesel engine I have ever played with, and it needs to run right! So during the past few months, I have been studying diesel engine maintenance and servicing procedures. There's plenty of advice on the web, and hunting down what seems the most applicable info is the hard part.

I came across a site called Off Center Harbor, a great site for older boats and new, but they have a great series of videos on servicing diesel engines. Jon Bardo does a great job of covering the basics of diesel engines, that series of videos is worth the OCH membership.

Of course, the engine in the OCH videos looks new, Eximius' is much longer in the tooth, but it still has the basic engine components, I just have to find them.

The plan is to use a vacuum pump to extract the oil via the dip stick, and then put in new oil. Because I'm not sure when the last oil change was done, I plan on doing a 2nd oil change after allowing the engine to run for 10 minutes. If needed, I'll do a third oil change, right now the oil is pretty black and that's the only clue I have that I need to flush the old oil out by doing several oil changes in succession.

So, that's the plan! Let's see how it goes.

I purchased this: Air Power America 2000 LiquiVac Oil Changing System for Large Engine from Amazon.

To give an idea about it's size, it's about 20" long. I'll get to use it tomorrow when we do our first oil change before our weekend sail and anchor at Lake Sylvia.

How did it do?

Good news, it worked really well, at least until I tried to empty the pump kit, more on that later.
Following the instructions that came with the pump kit, I connected up the tubes and inserted the thin tube into the dipstick pipe. Then with the inlet valve on the pump closed, I quickly pumped a vacuum with 30 strokes on the pump handle. Was a little disconcerted by the collapse of the pump body, but understandable.

Then, with some paper towel around the dip stick pipe and under the pump kit, I opened the pumps inlet valve (the plastic connector that attaches the tube to the pump tank) and it quickly sucked the oil up the tubing and into the tank.

Left it doing that for a few minutes, and watched as the tank regained it's shape as the vacuum was replaced by oil.
Closed the inlet valve and applied another 20 strokes to the pump, then reopened the inlet valve. I did that 4 times in all and ended up with over 2 quarts of oil in the tank. A good start.

One last closure of the inlet valve and 20 strokes of the pump. Then I removed the tube from the dipstick pipe and opened the inlet valve to suck the oil out of the tubing.

So far so good, no mess. While waiting for the oil to be sucked out, I replaced the engine oil filter. Easy, just put paper towel below the oil filter and use a filter wrench to loosen it, replace the filter (applied a little oil to the filter gasket) and tightened it up with the wrench.

Now to empty the oil from the pump kit tank ... this is where I screwed up!
There was an empty oil bottle in the port side bench locker so I planned to pour the oil from the tank into that bottle. Using a funnel and plenty of paper towel covering the cabin sole, I started to pour the oil out of the tank into the bottle .... Arrggggg! There was a hole in the bottle, oil all over the cabin wood floor! 
Of course, both hand were full, one holding the funnel, the other the tank and Peggy stuck up in the cockpit with the cabin entry steps removed!

Lots of paper towel!!! Quickly found a plastic pale to put everything oily and a quick clean up of the floor with soapy paper towel.

Once clean up was complete, I put 2 quarts of oil into the engine. We flashed it up for a minute and let it sit for 10, then checking the dipstick, I added another pint of oil, ran it again for a minute, then waited 15 till checking the dipstick again. Perfect.

Phew. Now we have to do that a few more times to clean out the old oil.

And that oil bottle with the hole? Did you guess it? The bottle was stored in the port cabin bench locker at the side of the holding tank with half a dozen assorted oil bottles, but that empty one was resting on a stainless steel tube clamp. It had been there when we bought the boat, and was another thing we were going to get around to investigating/inventory. The clamp had worn a hole in the bottle, it was not empty. Now it is, and the oil is in the bottom of the locker under the holding tank. How the heck can I get that out without removing the holding tank.

Peggy came up with a solution... Use the Oil change pump! Duh! So guess what I'll be doing down at the boat this weekend.

Next oil change I'll have a container to drain the pump tank and should be able to get at least 2 oil changes done.

Another lesson learned.

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