Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The One Hour Oil Change Pt.2

I retired from my "one hour" turned into entire afternoon, oil change a bit miffed at myself. How could I not complete the most elementary of tasks- the oil change. Yes I was holding my engine maintenance manhood cheap at that moment. All because I was too impatient.

On my way home I stopped into the local supermarket and picked up some tin foil baking trays. My thought was I could shape these to fit underneath the oil pan of Corleto's rather cramped diesel.
The idea then would be to remove the plug bolt and drain the over flowing engine oil in a more traditional way. Most marine engine spaces do not allow for a catch basin underneath, hence the many varieties of oil sucking devices out there on the market.

I carefully shaped my tin foil fix and carefully slid it underneath the oil pan. I did this a couple of times, practicing the removal technique as once the pan was full of oil,  I did not want to spill any and have a major mess to deal with. I double check to make sure that the 3 oil drop cloths are placed correctly so as to prevent any potential spillage from finding its way to the bilge.

My home made drain pan that I shaped into place to fit underneath the engine.

With everything in place, I take a deep breath, and begin to loosen the plug bolt. It puts up a stiff fight, but brawn overcomes the plug bolt's resistance. The flow of draining black engine oil begins to fill the makeshift catch basin. The level rising so fast that I decide to put the plug bolt back into place to stop the flow. The oil level dangerously close to overflowing in the basin. My right forearm now as black as coal, covered in old 15W40. I gingerly slide the near full tin foil pan, spilling a couple of drops onto the super absorbent cloths I had beneath the pan. Once out, I placed pan number 1 in the cockpit surrounded with more drop cloths. I then slid into place a second pan underneath to collect the remaining waste oil. It's been messy for my arm, but none found its way onto the floor or into the bilge. I smiled at that small victory.

It took several minutes for the engine to finish draining. The second pan had less than half of its available volume used. I removed pan #2 with little effort and no spillage, after replacing the plug bolt. I smiled and said under my breath, "That wasn't so bad."

New oil filter in place. 

I funnelled the oil oil in the pans into an old oil container and capped it tightly. This oil would go to the recyclers. Now I could begin to fill to the correct dipstick mark, new clean 15W40. I carefully measured out 3 litres and funnelled it into my little Universal 5411.
After a 15 minute engine run, I rechecked the level, down 1/2 litre. I made note of that on the log. Added another 1/2 and just like that my One Hour Oil Change had turned into a two day adventure.

I'll know better next time.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The One Hour Oil Change part 1.

My new Skipper has really impressed me. I was a little worried at first, but in April when he went to that diesel self help class, I knew then he was committed to me. -Corleto

The weather had cooled off from those balmy days of September and early October and I knew it was time to get my hands dirty and perform some engine maintenance. My first foray into this dark and mystical world of mechanics would be the OIL CHANGE with a replacement of the OIL FILTER. Keep in mind, until earlier this year, I had no idea what a diesel engine even looked like.

After my trip to NAPA to stock up on the right filters for my engine

After checking my notes from my April class, I made a list of supplies that had to be picked up. There was a fuel filter that the PO left for me. As it happens- its not the right one. So a trip to the local NAPA store fixed that. Confidence was high as my friend Aaron skipper of the Rosa Marie and all round boating and diesel engine Yoda was also scheduling his oil change on that same day. He had offered his electric oil pump to assist in this potentially messy task.

With Saturday upon us and the weather too messy for a sail, I confidently set out for the Marina to perform this vital operation. As I am driving along it suddenly occurred to me that I may not have enough oil aboard to effect a successful out come.

No matter, I would just stop off at the Canadian Tire and budda boom, oil shortage averted. But wait what the hell was the viscosity number?? A quick text to Yoda Aaron and boom- he sends me a photo of the oil he is using.

Now you would think that in a Canadian Tire superstore, one that has an entire wall from one end of the building to the other, dedicated to ENGINE OIL, I would find what I was looking for. Nope. It appears that they are not "More than just tires".
Yoda directs me to the closest Lordco which is just a couple of blocks away. There I find a 4 litre bottle of the very finest Alberta 15W40. By now I am over an hour behind.

Arriving at the dock and dropping off my bag of engine goodies, I went to check on Aaron. He was just finishing up his Oil change and we chatted for a few minutes. He briefed me on the operation of the electric oil pump and told me to run the engine before I begin extracting the old engine oil.

The tiny engine compartment 

I went to Corleto, started her up and ran the engine for about 15 minutes.

I hooked up the oil pump to a battery and prepared to begin. The beauty of these little pumps is there is no spillage, something that is very important to a marine environment. I figure I should be about an hour and I would be done. I inserted the tube down the dipstick shaft and started the extractor.
A wave of unbelievable well being came upon me over the drone of the little pump.

The extractor hose down the dipstick well. 

Not so fast Murman-

There's a knock on the hull, Aaron has come to check on his apprentice Oil Changer.
"How you making out?" he asks
"Good, I have been going at this for about 45 minutes" I said.
He reached in and felt the tube.
"It's not very warm, how long did you run the engine?"
"15 minutes or so" I replied.

He explains that he ran his for 45 minutes and that cooler oil will take some time to extract. He is on his way for a bite and invites me to join him. I decline opting instead to wait for the pump to finish its task.

Another hour elapses and I figure most if not all of the oil is now out of the oil pan. It is beginning to get dark as the day wares on. I remove the tube, check the dipstick, and begin to add the new liquid gold into my engine. This is not an easy task as there is very little room. I use a flexible funnel and pour carefully. The PO's notes indicate I only need 3 quarts. I measure and pour.

This takes a bit of time, but after 3 litres, I check the dip stick.

Its almost to the top of the stick, well over the high oil mark on the stick.


I decide to retire for the evening, I will have to plan a different method for day 2.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October - ONN Weekend

This past 8 months have been a wonderful ride. Corleto has taught me more than I can possibly write down in this short post. And she still is teaching me little lessons each time I visit her at the dock. For the cash I laid down for her, she has been excellent value.

As some of you may remember, a fellow by the name David Kincaid (Kinc) helped me get her to Canadian waters back in Feb. Well Kinc extended an invitation to me to join a fall flotilla with 3 other boats set for the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving. This fall sail had become a tradition for those involved. Up until this season, I had only heard stories of this fabled gathering. This year the Commodore had made room for one more boat. Corleto had been invited to the dance.

Being a newbie Skipper to the big weekend, Kinc offered his advice and his services to join the crew aboard Corleto. An offer which I cheerfully and graciously accepted.

Kinc and Murman aboard Corleto during the ONN Weekend

The whole idea of this weekend came about some years ago, to leave the first mates ashore, recruit some crew and head out into the "off" seasonal winds and tear ass around the bays and waterways of southern BC, under sail, boat healing, waves crashing over the bow becoming salty sailors each and everyone.

Well that was the idea. The reality was FOG and light wind. It was still a blast and I met some new faces and got reacquainted with some others. It was just great to get out there and have some fun.

Corleto showed herself well on day 1. Light winds in the fog, the group decided to race to the Bell Buoy and then to Snug Cove. After about 45 minutes- the race was called due to light or no winds- Corleto with her drifter sail had been the closest to the mark. I figured the Commodore called it off to prevent the "new" girl showing up the veterans. No matter, Kinc and I claimed victory and we'll just leave it at that.

Andy and Gord of the Sonoran Sol as the sail by Corleto

As the "camera" ship for this event we had mounted a series of GoPro cameras on various parts of the boat. On day two we mounted one on the Sonoran Sol, the Commodore's boat. We came back with some nice pics. Like any gathering, the ONN (Ongoing Nautical Nightmare) group had a ton of fun swapping sea stories and other tall tales over a celebratory "pop" or two when we all arrived at our berths both on Snug Cove and in Gibsons. The food was good and the company was better.

Kinc making sure his credit is good at Corleto's Casino deck

The casino aboard Corleto featured the blood sport of Backgammon. Just ask Kinc who's blood was all over the table,  the Skipper prefers his dice- "Loaded".

Indeed it was great fun, even if the "winds of November" didn't come early. I look forward as does Corleto to doing it all over again next October. Here's the Video- Enjoy