How to Change an Oil Filter on Your Boat

outboard oilPart of making your boat run well is to regularly change your oil filter. Ideally, you’ll want to change your outboard oil filter every 100 hours, or at the top of the season. Here’s a guide on how to do it yourself:

• Because you’ll have to drain and then refill the oil, you’ll need to pull the boat out of the water onto dry land.

• Remove the engine cover, which is usually held in place with the use of one or two latches. Simply pull down on it and lift it straight up. Let it set off to the side — being careful not to scratch its surface.

• Here are some key parts and elements on the engine:

• Dip Stick — Simply pull it out to examine the condition of the oil inside the crank case.

• Fill — The fill for the engine oil screws on and off.

• Drain Plug — The manufacturer installed the drain plug for the crank case oil in what’s called the “mid-section” of the outboard engine. You simply loosen it to drain the oil.

• Before getting into the oil change, bring in a table and turn the steering wheel so that the drain plug on the motor is facing inward. Then trim the engine all the way up and place an oil pan on the table and under the drain plug.

• Back the drain plug out with the socket wrench, and be sure to have the oil pan right under the plug because the oil will flow freely.

• Once all of the oil has drained, wipe up any excess oil with a rag or absorbent pad.

• Replace the drain plug and tighten it securely.

• To change the oil filter, which needs to be changed every time to change the oil, you won’t be able to use a traditional oil-filter wrench because they’re too large. What you’ll need is a strap wrench that slips right over the filter cap. Pull it tight and then try to loosen the cap. If the strap slips, you may have to clean the filter cap with an absorbent pad. If this doesn’t work, get a screwdriver and hammer and simply drive (by tapping) the screwdriver tip down into the cap, and then rotate the filter until it becomes loose enough to take off.

• Before you replace the old oil filter with the new one, dip your finger into the old oil and rub a bead of the oil around the edge of the new filter’s gasket o-ring. This will make the job of removing this filter that much easier when it’s time to replace it.

• Screw the new oil filter into position.

• Now that the oil filter is in place and the drain plug is secured tightly, it’s time to remove the plug for the fill and add the three quarts of oil using a funnel.
• Warning: Every engine is different so be sure to check with the manufacturer’s manual for how much oil to use.

• The last thing you need to complete the oil and filter change is to pull out the dip stick in order to make sure you have enough oil.

• Please always dispose of discarded engine oil at an approved collection center.

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The Benefits of Oil Recycling

The Benefits of Oil RecyclingClean Water: By recycling your used outboard motor oil, you keep it out of rivers, lakes, streams and even your ground water. In many cases, that means keeping it out of your drinking water, off our beaches and away from wildlife.

Recycling the motor oil from one oil change protects a million gallons of drinking water – or a year’s supply for 50 people.

Save Energy and a Resource: Motor oil doesn’t wear out – it just gets dirty. As it circulates through your engine it picks up a variety of contaminants and becomes dirty or used and needs to be replaced. If you are one of the millions of do-it-yourselfers who drops off your oil at a collections center or uses curbside pickup you are conserving energy for future generations.

If one gallon of used motor oil is reprocessed and burned as fuel, it will generate enough electricity to power everything in your home for a day.

Recycling Used Oil: Used motor oil can be reprocessed into fuel that warms your home in the winter and cools it in the summer. It can be burned in furnaces for heat, or in power plants to generate electricity for homes, schools and businesses. Processed motor oil can also be used in industrial burners, mixed with asphalts for paving, or blended for marine fuels.

Used motor oil can be re-refined into lubricating oils that meets the same certification and specifications as new or virgin motor oil thus conserving energy resources for the future.

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Preventing Spills

Preventing SpillsPart of being a responsible boater is to ensure that your boat isn’t leaking outboard motor oil. Not only will leaks and spills be a detriment to the environment, but some states will fine you for leaving a trail of oil. Spills and leaks can be prevented by checking your motor before taking your boat out on the water. Also make sure that your motor is tuned and bilges have been checked for oil leaks.

Additionally, you should also check weather reports, as overturned and submerged boats can leak fuel and oil into the water, killing fish and other wildlife.

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U.S. Finally Hits $4 a Gallon for Gas

bulk oil Bulk oil once again hit a mood swing as it surged towards $140 a barrel, only to fall by day’s end. However, the average gas price has hit $4 a gallon, though some areas have been paying up to $4.45 a gallon for regular unleaded gas.

Oil also continues to decline based on the lack of consumption based on the current record break gas prices.

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Checklist for the Summer

Checklist for the SummerThe summer vacation season began two weeks ago and the official start date for summer is another week away. The prime time for boating is now and if you’ve already cleaned your boat and changed your marine engine oil, you should go over a checklist of some of the safety precautions you need to know about:

Required by Law:
• Approved wearable flotation device for each person readily accessible
• Additional throwable flotation device on boats over 16 feet
• Persons 12 and under must wear a personal flotation device while underway
• Fire extinguisher if fuel tank or engine is enclosed
• Running lights after sunset or during restricted visibility
• State registration card on board
• Registration number and validation sticker displayed
• Do not operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Observe navigation rules
• Do not overload boat
• Sound signaling device

Other Items:
• Do not occupy ramp until boat is ready to launch
• Notify others of your schedule
• Obtain weather forecasts
• Navigation charts
• Bail bucket
• Anchor and line
• Paddle
• Secure boat to trailer after loading
• Trailer lights
• Reduce speed at night
• Check for gasoline fumes
• Motor kill switch
• 170 degree wide-angle rear view mirror

Wear Your Personal Flotation Device
• 80% of drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing a personal flotation device.

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Oil Prices Continue to Fluctuate

Oil Prices Continue to FluctuateLast week, bulk oil prices fell away from the $130 mark and ended the week at $122. Now, oil prices are rising again to $123 a barrel. This comes at the heels of the dollar weakening against the Euro, as well as beginning of hurricane season. The changing oil prices has failed to slow the prices of gas, however, as it inches closer to an average of $4 a gallon, though most states are paying beyond that now.

Analysts predict that the $4 mark will be the peak and begin to drop as the summer progresses.

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Prolonging the Life of Your Boat

marine engine oilYou should change your marine engine oil and filter every 100 hours or every season, which ever comes first. This simple piece of maintenance is often overlooked because it is not quite as easy as changing the oil in your automobile. Following is a step-by-step process which you can follow to make the chore more bearable.

Equipment Needed:
• An oil filter wrench to fit each size of spin-on filter you have
• A box of Zip-Lock baggies large enough to hold an oil filter
• A wrench the correct size for your crankcase drain plug, and a pan shallow enough to fit under your engine if possible or,
• A dipstick-tube oil drain pump and bucket big enough to hold all the oil or,
• An oil drain pump permanently fitted to your crankcase drain plug and bucket
• A roll of paper towels
• New oil filter(s)
• A supply of fresh oil as recommended by your engine manufacturer

Step-by-Step:
• Run the engine(s) until warmed to at least 130 degrees
• Drain the oil using the pump, or into the pan
• Replace the plug or close the valve
• Loosen the oil filter on the engine until it can be turned by hand
• Put a Zip Lock Baggie around the filter, and unscrew the rest of the way
• Use a paper towel to catch drips from the filter’s mounting
• Seal the zip lock baggie keeping the filter upright
• Put it into the new filter’s box
• Using your finger, wet the O-ring atop the new filter with fresh, clean oil
• Screw on the new filter until just finger-tip tight
• Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation as to tightening with the wrench
• Re-fill the crankcase with new oil (see your engine handbook)
• Be sure to add a quart for the filter
• Wipe up any drips
• Start the engine and let it run a few minutes
• Checking to be sure oil pressure comes up and there are no oil leaks around the filter or drain plugs
• Dispose of the oil properly at an approved disposal facility

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Choosing the Right Engine Oil

YamalubeDepending on your engine type, how fast it could potentially go and how quickly it will burn through oil, you have several brands to choose from. Some people align their engine brand with the oil (such as using Yamalube oil for Yamaha engines), and others shop around. When I bought my boat, I posted on a message board to find out what people recommended and that worked out pretty well since I was able to go with a brand, though not corporately related to my engine, my engine runs of a premium rate.

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Protecting Your Boat from the Elements

Protecting Your Boat from the ElementsThis week marks the beginning of hurricane season. Here are some basic tips to help you out in case you live in a region of the country that is afflicted by these storms:

  • You are responsible for taking precautionary measures to protect your boat because marine authorities such as the U.S. Coast Guard will not be in a position to offer assistance prior to the storm, and you may be held responsible for damages caused to other persons or property by your boat.
  • Purchase and stow line specifically for hurricane use. As a general rule, line should be twice the diameter of your normal line.
  • All boat hurricane preparations should be completed 48 hours before a hurricane arrives. This will allow you to concentrate on your family and home.
  • Secure all hatches and tape all windows from the inside. Seal all openings with duct tape to make the boat as watertight as possible.
  • Check the batteries for a full charge and make sure bilge pumps are working.
  • Shut off all fuel lines and close thru hull fittings.
  • Remove all electronics and outboard motors to prevent destruction or theft.
  • Remove any liquids, such as outboard motor oil, to prevent it from spilling out all over your boat.
  • If you have a boat with a trailer, remove the boat from the water and secure both boat and trailer to high land. If you prefer, remove the boat from the trailer and lash down each separately. Trailer should be firmly anchored to prevent or minimize damage.
  • Let the air out of tires before tying the trailer down. Place blocks between the frame members and the axle inside each wheel. Secure with heavy lines to fixed objects from four different directions, if possible.
  • Place your boat in a sheltered area next to a wall, etc. to provide added protection from falling tree limbs and debris.
  • If you will be anchoring out, do not stay on your boat. Have a designated “hurricane hole.” Avoid shoal areas and look for areas with high embankments. Consult responsible marine literature for best anchorage and anchoring methods.
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Protecting Your Engine from Saltwater Damage

Protecting Your Engine from Saltwater DamageOver time, saltwater can cause serious damage to any engine, even with the usage of the best outboard motor oil. But this can be avoided by regular servicing and maintenance.

Using a boat in saltwater isn’t the issue as much as where has your boat been in between trips. The problem with saltwater in engines is corrosion, mainly if the engine is sat doing nothing, but with saltwater in the cooling system. If the engine is regularly serviced, and is flushed with fresh water when removed from the water or when not used for long periods, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

Short term effects can be blocking of strainers or pipework with salt deposits; long term is rust within the engine, which can cause a whole host of problems if allowed to develop.

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Oil Supplies Drop, Gas Prices Rise Again

bulk oilOn Thursday, declines in bulk oil due to delays with tankers along the Gulf Coast have caused gas prices to rise towards a national average of $3.95 a gallon. Analysts predicted gas prices peaked over Memorial Day weekend, but with Indonesia pulling out of OPEC and the current tanker problems, they are now forecasting a $4 a gallon on a national level soon.

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Checking for Leaks

Checking for LeaksOne of the most overlooked problems that boat owners have is leakage. Whether your vessel is leaking outboard motor oil or water into the interior, this is a serious problem. Leakage can cause some severe problems if not detected quickly. If an issue like leaks is ignored, it can cost you thousands of dollars if your boat is assessed. Depending on where and what is leaking, repair can range from something that you can do yourself to calling a professional. The key is to catch it before it becomes an expensive problem.

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