Saturday, 13 December 2014

It's the time of boat chores. (3)

Cold days are not good for working in the the boats engine bay. Well not unless you run the engine for a while to create a nice warm engine block to sit on. I like to do this in cold weather. especially when I change the various fluids and filters. Yes, its that time of the year - its engine maintenance time.
Changing the Gearbox Oil can be quite a challenge. We have a PRN-150 gearbox on the engine. This requires about 1 litre of the same oil grade as used in the engine. It is a once a year maintenance item.

The gearbox has a filler point on top of the gearbox and a very difficult to reach drain point on the bottom. If you are unable to perform contortionist movements. However, it is a much easier task to drain and refill via the filler point. 

To do this I use a small brass hand pump where the suction tube is placed inside the gearbox through the filler hole. A few strokes soon has the oil out. Which is collected into a plastic bottle for disposal. 

Refilling is achieved by using a small funnel with a flexible end. The gear box level is checked by using the dipstick built into the filler cap. Remember to screw all the way in when checking the level or there is a risk of over filling with oil.

At the end of the cruising year, I always fill the diesel tank to the top. This reduces the chance of condensation adding water into the diesel tank. Water which is heavier than diesel always sinks to the bottom.

Water in the diesel tank can create problems for the engine. The biggest problem being the infestation of diesel bug which needs water to bloom. There are anti diesel bug treatments available. My personal preference is for Marine 16.

Marine 16 diesel bug treatment, is a biocide formulated especially for preventing or eradicating organisms known collectively as diesel bug. A 100ml bottle is sufficient to prevent diesel bug growth in 2000 litres of fuel. Marine 16 disperses into both the fuel and the water in the diesel tank and will remain sufficiently active for over a year at both high and low temperatures. 

Marine 16's Diesel Bug Treatment is the fuel treatment of choice for the RNLI, The Royal Marines, Sea Start and River Canal Rescue as well as being number 1 in the Practical Boat Owner magazine review.

Water in your diesel tank is hard to spot before it is too late. The water trap filter can catch small amounts but will have to be drained off at regular periods. If you are getting significant amounts of water in the water trap. Then you will need to check for water contamination. I do this once a year using the diesel tank dip stick an a product called Kolor Kut.  I smear a small amount of Kolor Cut on the dipstick. 

Kolor Kut Water Finding Paste, otherwise known as Water Gauging Paste, is used to test for the presence of water in the bottom of oil, diesel and petrol tanks. 

The Kolor Kut paste is applied to a dipstick and dipped to the bottom of the tank. The section of the paste that touches water, will immediately turn a brilliant red upon contact. Then, when the dipstick is removed, you can determine the depth of the water in the tank by the amount of paste that has changed colour.

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