Today was the annual "change the oil in the outboard" day. We only run the boat for about 50 hours a year, but should probably change the oil more often based on the calendar. The oil sets all winter relatively clean, and is then used in three months during the summer. For now though, we only get this job done once a year.
I am an accountant, not a marine mechanic, so please do not feel that this is a tutorial on Honda maintenance. This is just what I do to change my engines oil. Right or wrong. This will be kind of a guy blog, so for the gals in the audience please bear with me.
About 5 years ago I purchased an Oil Boy fluid extractor from West Marine. The tire pump like handle pumps a vacuum in the plastic chamber, the oil is extracted from the engine. The fellow at the store said he liked this one best. If he likes it, so do I. And I do recommend it as well.
The pontoon boat sets on a floating lift, in a floating dock. Opening the drain plug, is not a good option, as you would loose some, if not a lot of oil into the water. This is where the extraction pump is required. I drove the boat around for enough time to bring the oil up to temperature first. This is important, as it causes the oil to be thinner, and it suspends the dirt that has accumulated on the bottom of the crankcase in the oil. Thus when the oil is extracted, more of the nasty stuff comes out as well.
There is not a lot of room in the engine area of the pontoon. The boat dealer used a piece of rope to tie up the lid over the engine, when he changed the oil. I watched carefully and use a rope in the same manner.
The pump is placed on the flat part of the floor in front of the engine. The plastic line then reaches back onto the dip stick hole.
The smaller hose goes down the dipstick hole to the bottom of the crank case. It takes 2 times to extract the 8 quarts of oil that the engine holds. The pump only holds one gallon. So you must empty the pump and do it again. I have an old gas can that I dump the used oil into, which allows me to measure how much oil I extract. I got all eight quarts out.
Now for the nasty part. That little blue filter has to come off. Last year I had an official Honda filter that I had purchased from the dealer. This year I am using a Fram. Honda wouldn't recommend it but then that's life. LOL
I had two different filter wrenches, but the plastic cap type didn't work too well. It was tighter on the Fram filter, but did not want to stay engaged on the blue Honda filter no matter how hard I pressed on it. The three eared compression wrench on the end of the 3/8 ths breaker bar bit right into the tin filter and smashed three flat spots in the canister. It was relatively easy to back it free of the threads then.
I put several layers of paper toweling under the filter to catch the oil, but as soon as it was free of the gasket, I had oil everywhere. I was too busy mopping up oil to take pictures. Some did make it to the lake, but I was using the toweling freely, so I didn't loose much.
I used the plastic cap wrench to seat the new Fram against the gasket. I know you are only supposed to hand tighten these filters, but that assumes you could get your hands in around the filter. The cap wrench works nicely, as it does not crush the canister.
I was ready to pour in the 8 new quarts of oil, and enough to fill the filter beyond. I put in about 1/3 quart extra, and that seemed to check out ok. Starting the engine, revealed no leaks.
I have a green oil pressure light and no red lights. Red lights, would be bad.
I was out putting around the cove, when Loyce yelled that she was ready for me to take her for a boat ride. I slammed on the engine lid and off we went. We were gone for about an hour, you know, checking out the oil change, to make sure it was OK.
She helped carry all the tools and used oil buckets, up the long stair back to the garage, and we went in and had some lunch.
Later in the day we went back to the dock and washed the boat inside and out. Pontoons have a lot of surface area that gets dirty, so this is a really big job. With both of us, it still took about two hours to get things clean. Hurricane Ike went thru East of us last week, and caused a bunch of wind. It blew dirt up under the cover of the boat. I have never seen the seats and drivers console so covered in crusty dust. It was a mess.
Tomorrow we need to call our insurance guy to come over and do his underwriting job for our homeowners policy. He has called us twice to see when he can get into the house to take some pictures. He went to his ranch in Texas for the weekend, but claims he will be back Monday morning. We will know more when we contact him tomorrow.
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