Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Maintenance: Oil Changes

If it sucks, that's good.

It is necessary to warm the engine up before doing the oil change. This is because we use a vacuum can that sucks the oil thru a hose pushed down the dipstick hole. That means it is a small diameter hose... thick oil takes forever to come out, so having it warm helps a lot. Here, I have remembered that I was going to make a post about this, and took the picture. The engine has already been emptied of oil, and I am about to pour in the 2 gallons of Delo400 30wt (upper left) into the engine thru the white funnel.

Eolian originally came with an electric flexible vane pump plumbed directly into the oil drain on the Perkins 4-236 main engine. I didn't like this for two reasons:
  • I feared that something would go wrong with the plumbing, and dump the oil out of the engine, either all at once, or thru a slow leak. Then, when I needed the engine the most, it would be empty of oil, and I would have a Captain Ron moment and a seized engine when I could least afford it.
  • It didn't work.
The vacuum tank is just as easy, less messy, and is a low-tech solution that requires no modifications to the engine. It works great, if slowly (it takes just about a beer to empty the engine, but that's OK by me).

The same arrangement is used to get the oil out of the genset engine - it works great there too.

This is definitely one of those rare occasions when, the more it sucks, the better things are.

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