It was time to once again call in that portly, grey haired elderly man to do a 750 hour service on Waiouru’s engine. Being a major service the engine, fuel and air filters would all need to be replaced. A very small portion of silicon grease also has to go into the dripless stern gear.
These filters were purchased directly from Beta Marine when we were in Gloucester last year. The small blue tube is the original tube of silicon grease. Only a tiny amount has to be inserted into the stern gear. This was the first job because it’s the most inaccessible. Do the difficult jobs first so the task gets progressively easier.
There is a small grubscrew with an Allen key head that needs to be removed to gain access to the stern gear. There are two circular carbon disks around the prop shaft and the silicon provides lubrication. I’m going to have to find the energy (and flexibility) to clean and repaint this area in the summer.
The next task was to change the gearbox oil. There is a drain plug underneath the gearbox but I’ve discovered I can’t use it because the area underneath is so restricted the full container of oil oil can’t be removed. My method is to use a cheap suction pump to remove the bulk of the oil through the top dipstick hole.
Our suction pump.
I can usually only get half the old oil out through the dipstick oil. I then remove the drain plug underneath and empty the last of the oil into a plastic 2 litre ice cream container. The container is then emptied using the suction pump.
The oil is easier to remove if it’s hot so I run the engine for an hour before starting the service. Working draped over a hot engine isn’t much fun and to protect myself (and the engine) I cover it with an old towel.
Whilst the last of the old oil drains from the gearbox I usually check the two fuel pre-filters. They are actually aggrometers <sp>. The fuel is made to spin in a cyclone action which forces any foreign object heavier than diesel to fall to the bottom whilst the diesel continues to the engine filter. We have two pre-filters because I became slightly paranoid about ‘diesel bug’. The first prefilter had a very small amount of watery jelly in the bottom.
The fuel filter spins off and a replacement then spins on. The new filter then has to be primed (filled with fuel). Repeated depressing of the black knob on the top of the fuel filter housing fills the filter. There is also a ‘bleed’ bolt on the side to remove any air.
The Beta 43 has a manually operated oil pump on the side. I have a short length of plastic hose which attaches to the pump outlet. The other end goes into a collection container.
Sometimes the pump won’t prime. If this occurs I raise the container end of the hose higher than the pump and pour a small amount of used oil down the hose. This seems to lubricate the pump glands. Once the engine oil is removed I spin off the oil filter catching any oil with a paper nappy (the cheapest we can buy).
I never thought I’d be using nappies at 66!
The replacement oil filter spins on, but not before I’ve placed a smear of oil on the rubber seal. It also pays to check the old filter has it’s seal otherwise you can have two rubber seals on the filter which will mean it will leak! (voice of experience).
Pour in the new oil. We use Mobil 15W-40 1000 Super Multigrade. The Beta manual states any 15W-40 oil will do but I consider the oil is a vital component in achieving engine longevity so we are prepared to pay slightly more for a quality oil.
The next task was to replace the air filter. It’s a relatively easy task.
Clean air is also healthy for the engine!
Whilst the oil is settling in the engine I check the two alternator belts and adjust if necessary. Once I’m satisfied there is oil on the end of the dipstick I start the engine and run it for a couple of minutes to allow the new oil to fill the new filter and reach every part of the engine.
The engine is then turned off and the oil allowed to settle. Whilst this is happening I usually check the electrolyte levels in the battery cells. It’s also a good time to check the engine mounting bolts and give the whole area a visual inspection. The engine oil is checked again and topped up. It usually takes another litre.
I then run the engine again checking for leaks around the oil and fuel filters. After watching and listening for several minutes I’m usually satisfied the service is complete and I can clean up.
No doubt any of our readers in the northern hemisphere would have read or heard about the heat waves in Australia and the forest fire in Christchurch, NZ. It’s actually very hot over there at the moment. A friend sent a photo which really portrays the dire situation.