After a 1,200-mile-plus cruise, engine maintenance is not a to do, it is rather a must do. We did take the opportunity to change oil and filters at the halfway mark, but a thorough change of all filters, as well as an oil change, was high on our list. So I thought I would share the experience with you and give you some insight on how we approach this sometimes messy chore.
An attempt to clean the gunk out of the bowl in the Racor 500 filter housing resulted in a stripped thread on one of the bolts that attaches the bowl to the housing. Of course, that resulted in the filter housing leaking diesel into the bilge, aft of the engine, so a replacement was required. As luck would have it, we purchased all of the parts to install a fuel-polishing system for the engine and have been carrying all of the parts with us for several months now. A new Racor filter housing was sitting in a box waiting to be installed, including all of the needed fittings and replacement 5/16 fuel lines. With the housing replaced, a section of the copper fuel line, from where it was attached at the old filter to the tee that connects both of our fuel tanks, was also replaced. I had not planned to start this yet, but at least all of the material was on hand. Once the housing and lines were installed, the filter was filled with clean diesel fuel. I prefer to fill the filter from a small container rather than try and fill it using the engine's fuel pump. Before securing the lid, all of the new gaskets in the lid are wetted down with some diesel fuel. I use a generous number of oil absorbent pads under all of the areas I am working on to keep the fuel and oil out of the bilge and from getting all over everything.
X-change-r oil changing pump. Our oil changes have gone from a messy, time-consuming chore to a quick and easy maintenance item. The reversible pump on the Model 912 allows the oil to be drawn out of the bottom of the sump via an attached line in the bottom drain in a matter of a couple of minutes. Remember to warm the engine up to temperature before extracting the oil.
X-change-r in an empty oil container, a flip of the switch draws the old oil into it, and in a matter of a couple of minutes total, all three gallons of the 30-weight oil is extracted from the crankcase. No mess, no fuss and no spilled oil to clean up. We do keep oil absorbent pads on hand just in case there is an accident. This is a boat so stuff happens.
Bob Smith at American Diesel, and our engine manual, this oil should be changed every 50 hours. I have to admit, we have not stuck to the 50-hour schedule, and it get changed about every 100 hours. We have been told that if the engine begins to idle rough, it might be an indicator that the oil needs changing.