Filters, etc

The “big” task this weekend (aside from continuing to clean up the boat before Mom and Dad fly in this week) was giving the engine some much-needed attention and changing the oil, the oil filter, and the fuel filters.  Somehow that’d seemed like a daunting task, but of course it only ended up taking about an hour or two altogether.

Some notes:

  • I have two primary fuel filters, one a backup.  For some reason the valves to both had been opened and I’d only recently noticed this.  So, I replaced both filters (I had no idea anyway when they were last replaced), primed both new filters, and then closed one of the valves.
  • The filters include a water separator, and in the bottom you screw in a little plug with a float sensor, wired to the instrument panel, that’s supposed to tell you when the water needs to be drained.  There wasn’t even a little water in either filter, and both filters seemed fairly clean.  Possibly they didn’t need to be replaced yet.  Oh well, I replaced them anyway.
  • The primary filter assembly appears to be a custom job.  It’s a bit complicated and I don’t really understand the whole thing.  It even appears to include an electric priming pump, which seems like overkill.  I am considering just ripping it out and replacing it with a Racor 75/500, which would be nice and simple.  But it’s not very urgent, as the existing assembly does appear to work quite well, despite all its complications.
  • I didn’t replace the final fuel filter (on the engine) yet.
  • I ran the engine for about 10 mins before changing the oil.  That might have been 3 mins too many as the oil was pretty hot.
  • I pumped the old oil out through the dipstick shaft with an oil pump.  I later noticed a hose with a barbed fitting poking up a bit farther aft, which I bet is attached at the other end to the sump drain, but I can’t easily get down below the engine to see.
  • Replacing the oil filter was a huge mess.  Luckily I thought to wrap the whole thing in a plastic bag and drape a bunch of absorbent pads around before I removed the old filter.  Next time I’ll use two bags.  Maybe three.
  • Latex gloves are great.
  • I ran the engine at a variety of RPMs (all the way up to 2.5k) for an hour and a half after I finished.  I may be imagining things but it seemed like it felt a heck of a lot smoother than usual.  No knocking whatsoever.  Also noted that (mild) vibration was happening only at low RPMs and not higher ones, although I didn’t think to induce any lateral swing, which is where we noticed the most vibration before.  I think we’ll go ahead and take the boat out for a cruise sometime in the next couple weeks and see how it does.
  • Didn’t take any photos: oil and cameras don’t play well together.

I also noticed a few more issues with the main freshwater pump yesterday: it is struggling to keep up the required pressure.  Took some notes — it’s a Shurflo Aqua King 2095-423-343 diaphragm pump, 30 psi.  Found a company that sells Shurflo pumps here, so maybe I’ll try to get a new diaphragm assembly.  This lends more credence to the “I better hook up my (currently unused) foot pump as backup” philosophy.

Lastly, I dug out the manual for my outboard, which is in need of some service.  Most importantly, it leaks gas; also some occasional starting difficulty.  It’s a Mercury Quicksilver 3.3HP.  I considered trying to take it apart and service it myself but it looks like there is a service center here; they’ll probably do a better job than me, be way faster, and for not all that much.

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