Sunday, April 24, 2011

Engine Maintenance

Winter 2009-2010

In the past, I've had moderate success extracting the oil via the dipstick. I've never been able to extract it via the extraction tube. While winterizing this year, I had no success, period. I tried my electric oil change pump, a Jabsco hand pump, and a vacuum pump -- no luck. I started inquiring of other Cape Dory 28 owners, and learned that it should be much easier. In particular, I watched Mark extract the oil from Brandywine's Volvo engine (via the extraction tube), and I was astonished at how quickly and easily it was done! Clearly, there was something wrong with the extraction tube on ours. I soon concluded that it was clogged, but was not able to unclog it using a wire.

My next strategy was to worm my way underneath the engine and remove the drain plug, planning to replace it with a drain kit to make future oil changes easier. No go: I could get a large wrench on it, but the plug wouldn't move, at least not with the limited leverage I could get in the tight space. (And, sadly, I think I injured my back trying.)

We were planning some professional maintenance anyway, so I added the extraction tube to the list. During the winter, we had Dick Vosbury come down to do a few things:
  • Removed and clean the heat exchanger.
  • Remove and clean and oil cooler.
  • Replace the alarm unit on the bridge.
  • Clear the oil extraction tube.
Voila! Oil changes are a snap, now! I'm using the tall vacuum-style pump from West Marine in the picture above, basically the same as Mark's. Big enough to get all the oil in two trips, and it does it very quickly (10 minutes).

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