Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a new forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 10-04-2013
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Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

I have a Yanmar 1 gm. I changed the oil and the oil and fuel filters before the start of the season, and put maybe 20 hours on the engine this season (really only motor on and off the mooring).

Should I go ahead and do this maintenance again? The manual suggests oil change every 100 hours and oil/fuel filter every 250 hours, so it does not seem necessary, but I'm unsure if there's a reason to do this at a minimum annually regardless of hours.
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Old 10-04-2013
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

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Originally Posted by caberg View Post
I have a Yanmar 1 gm. I changed the oil and the oil and fuel filters before the start of the season, and put maybe 20 hours on the engine this season (really only motor on and off the mooring).

Should I go ahead and do this maintenance again? The manual suggests oil change every 100 hours and oil/fuel filter every 250 hours, so it does not seem necessary, but I'm unsure if there's a reason to do this at a minimum annually regardless of hours.
Annually or 100 hours, whichever is sooner. Filter material and more importantly, impellers, deteriorate and can/do fail. BTDT
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

The reason for changing it in the fall is so the acids and contaminates don't sit in the engine all winter.
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

Oil, even with 20 hours on it, can have acids and such in it. The thought is to not leave that sitting around in your engine over the winter, and certainly not for years.

At 250hours at your annual rate the oil would be old enough to demand you name it and assign it a berth.
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

Or, as an option to continually worrying about your need to change it because it has been a year but you only put 20 hours on it, use a proper (not cheap) full synthetic and change it every two or three years if you want to. You will find that you can also double the intervals between filter changes as well. Synthetic costs more initially, but who cares? You spend at most $15 on oil as it stands, and you have a growing concern every season's end and beginning. Put in $25 of a high end synthetic, out a sticker in it to "replace in fall of 2015" and Bob's your uncle". Use the boat as you normally would, maintaining the oil level and running it to temperature when you use it, and sleep well at night, for a lot more nights.
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

I also have a 1GM and put similarly low hours on it. I change in the fall. As others have pointed out, this means it sits with fresh new oil all winter.

While on this subject, how often do people check their oil?

I've met a few people who check their oil every trip to the boat. This doesn't make sense to me for a few reasons. First, it's a difficult and slightly risky procedure. Dirt/grime can fall in through the dipstick hole and I've dropped the stick in the bilge once (which is 3' deep in my case. That mistake lead to the purchase of one of those lighted grabber things).

Second, the oil alarm sounds (and then shuts off) every time I turn the key (and I always wait to here the oil alarm buzz after killing the engine before turning the key off). So on my boat I consider it one of the most trusted devices.

In an ideal world I'd probably inspect all sorts of things - chainplates, rigging etc every time. But given that I like to go sailing and dislike contorting myself to align a hidden stick through a hidden hole in my engine, I think it's reasonable to skip this step. Am I missing anything?
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

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Originally Posted by Ahoyhoy View Post
Or, as an option to continually worrying about your need to change it because it has been a year but you only put 20 hours on it, use a proper (not cheap) full synthetic and change it every two or three years if you want to. You will find that you can also double the intervals between filter changes as well. Synthetic costs more initially, but who cares? You spend at most $15 on oil as it stands, and you have a growing concern every season's end and beginning. Put in $25 of a high end synthetic, out a sticker in it to "replace in fall of 2015" and Bob's your uncle". Use the boat as you normally would, maintaining the oil level and running it to temperature when you use it, and sleep well at night, for a lot more nights.

Not true with many diesels. Westerbeke Corporation for example specifically says that synthetics do not change the intervals at which you change the oils.


Westerbeke Corporation:
"10. Can I use synthetic oil in my engine?
Westerbeke does not approve or disapprove the use of synthetic oils. If synthetic oils are used, engine break-in must be performed using conventional oil. Oil change intervals must be as listed in the MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE section in the Operator's Manual and not be extended if synthetic oils are used. NOTE: The information above supersedes all previous statements regarding synthetic oil."

"Do not leave old engine lubricating oil in the sump over the winter lay-up period. Lubricating oil and combustion deposits combine to produce harmful chemicals which can reduce the life of internal engine parts."
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Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

I change oil and all fuel and oil filters annually. If nothing else, it forces me to take a close look at the engine at least once a year. I do the same with my cars and the list of other stuff that I've found that needed tending is long.
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

The reason that oil change recommendations have both time and hours, is because they degrade on both schedules, independently. Obviously, the more you use the oil, the more contaminants are introduced that can and will eat at your motor. However, fresh oil has chemicals that degrade or evaporate over time, whether you run the motor or not. Those chemicals are also there to prevent corrosion.

I change oil at the beginning of the season and end, and once more if I hit 100hr of use mid-season. I do add fresh oil just before hauling and change it again when I launch, even though it essentially has zero hours on it. Sitting there for five months is bad enough.
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Re: Frequency of Changing Oil & Fuel Filters

Good advice. Thanks. I'll change the oil as well as the oil and fuel filters. The manual did not list a time (i.e, annually) only hours. But, makes sense, as I suspected.
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