I can change the oil in a car, though admittedly the only time I ever did it unsupervised I created an Exxon Valdez-style oil slick in my mom's driveway and a tad bit of black smoke billowed up from under the hood when I drove down the highway. Still, I get the general gist.
Changing the oil in a marine engine is much the same principle, except, as with all things on a boat, it's a bigger pain in the butt.
Step 1: Turn on the engine. The oil has to be warm in order to extract it, so running the engine for a several minutes is essential.
Step 2: Get the old oil out of the engine. With a car this is a rather simple prospect. You just drain the oil pan, letting gravity work its, oh, so efficient magic. On a boat, however, you generally have to pump the oil out of an impossible to reach location down in the bowels of the engine. This is the oil pan access point where the dipstick resides, so get used to cramming your hand into this less than hospitable area. On some boats, you could conceivably drain the oil, but because most boat engines are shoved into a space slightly larger than the size of an Easy Bake Oven, it can be difficult. So you pump. And you pump. And you pump some more.
|See the black tube? That's transporting our old oil.|
Step 4: Put on the new filter. Write the date and engine hours on the new filter, and put fresh oil around the gasket with your finger. Then screw on the new filter until it just touches the engine. From here you want to mark the filter with a Sharpie so that you don't lose your place, and using a filter wrench give the filter 2/3 of a turn to a full turn. Vlad recommends a full turn on a marine engine because a dislodged oil filter is pretty much death to your engine.
|Put fresh oil on the black gasket.|
|Putting on the new oil filter.|
|Yay! New oil!|
We had some questions about what type of oil to put in the engine. Since we're heading off to exotic locales with equally exotic rules on sulfur content in diesel fuel, we needed an engine oil that can withstand a high sulfur content like CF instead of CJ-4 (sorry for the alphabet soup!). Evidently, some engine oil can be broken down by high sulfur fuel that is no longer allowed in the U.S., which is yet another thing I did not know and is definitely something to take into consideration when planning an out-of-country cruise.