Tuesday, 8 January 2013

First Service

Nick has now instructed me on how to conduct a service on the engine.  Whilst I understand the need to run the engine and get the oil hot, it also creates the potential to burn the loins.  Moreover I rediscovered I’m no longer as supple as I was 40 years ago.  The “garden shed” is empty of everything except essential engine bay components, so I can’t discard anything to give me more manoeuvring room. 

The first task was to drain the engine oil.  This was achieved by standing astride the engine facing the stern.  There’s a definite shortage of locations to place ones feet.  I found myself with the right foot on the baseplate and the left foot on top of the swim with the tendon up the inside of the groin at full stretch.  The right leg then had to be curved away from the engine at the knee to avoid touching the hot manifold and exhaust pipe. Then I had to bend at the waist and reach out with my right hand to place and hold the waste oil container in the bilge.  With my left hand I operated the engine oil extraction pump.  Simultaneously I used my third hand to hold the end of the temporary plastic hose pipe on the end of the oil pump.  The objective was to pump all the oil from the engine into the waste oil containers without spilling any into the bilge.

“Stretch for it Tom…..!”

Once the old oil had been extracted it was time to remove the oil filter.  Nick explained I needed to make an oil containment vessel by cutting down an old empty plastic container of oil.  This has to be positioned beneath the oil filter to catch any dripping oil when the filter is removed.  “Who decided to locate the oil filter in such an awkward position?”  To get at the filter I needed to stand astride the hot engine facing the bow.  The oil filter is located horizontally just above the engine mounts and to the rear.  After a series of useful loud grunts I managed to remove the filter and capture the spilt oil in a container underneath.  The surface of the oil filter mounting plate was then wiped clean and a smear of new oil applied to the rubber seal on the new filter.  This was then threaded onto the engine and hand tightened.  The engine was then filled with new oil with the level being regularly checked during the process.  Next the engine was run for a minute and then the oil topped up. 

“Where’s that bloody oil filter and something hot & hard is getting too familiar with my nether regions!”

To get the oil out of the gearbox an oil extraction pump is required (more bloody shopping!).

I’ll never find space to store “THAT” in the garden shed!  We’ll have to shop for a smaller version.  At least the gearbox oil is changed through the same hole.

On to the fuel system.  The first thing to do is drain some of the diesel from the base of the ‘Wasp’ separator.  Nick explained the plug at the base shouldn’t be fully removed as “it’s a bastard to get back in!”“We’re looking for water, impurities and sludge.  The Wasp separator must be drained until the diesel is a clean red colour”.  In our case there were no impurities (a good sign).  The plug was retightened and the fuel isolation valves then turned off.  Next the engine fuel filter has to be replaced.  It’s in a more accessible location but removing it isn’t easy because of the close proximity of the fuel lines.  However by wrapping some of Jan’s bed linen around it (I ripped up one of her sheets to use as rags) I was able to remove it without spilling any fuel into the bilge.  The rubber seal on the new filter was given a smear of oil and then screwed onto the engine mounting. The fuel isolation cocks were turned back on and the bleed valve on the filter mounting was removed.  I then manually primed the fuel system until diesel came out of bleed valve.  The valve was then tightened and a second priming of the system took place using the priming pump on the top of the filter mounting.  Nick then ran the engine at 1500rpm for a minute to confirm fuel was getting through and there was no air in the system.  We moved on to the coolant system with the first check being a test of the level of anti-freeze using a tester.  I topped up the coolant with another litre of anti-freeze.

Checking the air intake proved to be quite simple.  Just remove the paper cartridge filter and check it wasn’t clogged!  I’d previously checked the tension on the alternator belts yesterday so there was no requirement to do that today.  The last task was to get out the rags and give the entire area a thorough clean. 

The major cost was the price of the oil.  However as it’s critical to keeping the engine clean and working efficiently I don’t begrudge spending money on good quality oil.  I suspect we will be able to complete an engine service for £70-90.  The more expensive part of the service may be the time it takes my poor old body to recover from the contortions required to reach all those difficult locations.

So what do we now need to acquire or purchase to do the next service.

  • 20” of ½” plastic hose (link between the engine oil pump and the collection container)
  • Small bowl (to collect the diesel from the Wasp drain valve)
  • Sponge (dry the bilge before placing the waste oil collection container)
  • Cat litter tray and ‘kitty litter’ (go under the engine to collect oil and diesel spills)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Waste oil collection containers (use the previous new oil containers)
  • Anti-freeze Tester
  • Oil pump extractor (drain gearbox)
  • Set of funnels
  • Containment containers for the old diesel and oil filters
  • Filter removal tool
  • Hydrometer (check the batteries)

How long will it be before we receive an email from the bank manager asking us to contact him. Smile


Paul - from Waterway Routes Maps and DVDs said...

Instead of the Litter Tray and Kitty Litter you could consider what is rather like a disposable baby’s nappy, but specifically designed for absorbing oil etc.

You will also need a stopwatch ;-) So you can time exactly how long to run the engine so the oil flows nicely but things aren’t too hot to touch. Our engine handbook says 10 minutes but I find 4½ minutes makes everything hot to touch, but not so hot as to be painful, and the oil flows reasonably well.

Paul and Elaine said...

Hi Tom
The oil extractor on your pic is a Pela 650 6.5 litre, you can buy a Pela 2000 2.00 litre, which is enough for the gearbox and is also very compact as the pump/handle assy comes off. Its about the size of a football (Soccer ball to the Aussies)

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Paul,
The boatyard use a special type of absorbent mat but I'm not sure where to purchase them. Maybe a trip to Halfords is in order. As for the running of the engine; I'm sure you're right and I'll learn by trial & error! However it was the awkward position and stretching more than the heat which gave me the most grief :-)

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Paul2,
Yes.... I've been doing some Googling and found a number of smaller options. However the garden shed is still filling rapidly!

Clive said...

Service? You've hardly been anywhere yet! Morris Oil, one of, if not THE best for diesel engines - keep it up. But look after your engine and it will look after you - words of wisdom from the old days.
Just wasted two half days trying to get my sister's old Peugeot diesel started without success: black treacle in the sump, no coolant and no electrolyte. Servicing is not in their vocabulary.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Clive,
I don't know why you believe we haven't been anywhere? Waiouru has cruised 100 yards to the pound and back! LOL
I treat the oil as one of the most important engine components. It lubricates the engine and collects all the created impurities. My policy has always been to replace engine oil at twice the recommended frequency. Moreover I always try to purchase the best quality oil. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! :-)

Anonymous said...

Have always found empty icecream containers ideal for old oil filters!Mark Sunrise

Tom and Jan said...

I mentioned that idea to Jan yesterday but you've beaten me to the publication! :-) Unfortunately it's not the weather for eating ice cream!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom
I find that 4 pint plastic milk bottles fit nicely under the oil pump outlet and you just screw the cap on as you fill them. It is then easy to take the waste oil to the disposal point.
A tip I got off the engine maintenance course I did was to wrap a plastic bag around the filter before you unscrew it. This catches most of the oil in the filter and your tray underneath will catch the little that spills. It is also easier dispose of the filter wrapped up.( make sure there are no holes in the bag first)
NB Autumn Myst

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Bob,
The milk container is a good idea. However I've kept the original new oil containers and will use them for the old oil at the next change.
I like the plastic bag idea and must remember to use one during the next change!

Adam said...

What gear box have you got that needs the oil pumped out? On ours, you put a container underneath (when James from Chance showed us how to do it he used a plastic milk bottle with a hole cut in it), remove a screw at the bottom, and all the oil flows out.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Adam, We've got a green gearbox! :-)
Ok.... just being smart! It's a PRM150 and takes the same oil as the engine.

Adam said...

On a PRM150, who not use the drain plug, and save yourself the cost of a pump?

Tom and Jan said...

That's a good question. I didn't realise there was a drain plug! However the engineer informs me it's underneath the gearbox at the lowest point (obviously). He said it's awkward to reach and the seal on the plug should be replaced each time the plug is removed. He uses the vacuum pump because it's an easier process (not because there is no other way)
I guess I need to decide whether I am sufficiently flexible to reach the drain plug.