Sunday, 21 April 2013

Oil Change

Friday, 19 April 2013
I woke quite early to a dull day but the wind had died down to a light breeze and it was, as predicted, coming from the north. Skylark was already bobbing about, free of the mud. No problem there then.

I spent the first hour changing the engine and gearbox oil. I had a traditional ‘Castrol’ type oil can to decant the old oil in and out of the engine/gearbox (it could just be a plastic bottle). I poured the old oil into an empty 5 litre oil can (you need two of these to complete the whole job). I then used the can to pour in the new 15W-40 mineral oil (Beta recommends this is used and not any synthetic oils but they don’t say why – members of the Canalworld Forum are happy to offer their views on this issue).
Without a ‘Castrol’ type oil can, the removal of the old oil and pouring in the new oil would have been very difficult and messy. Anything that avoids a mess and in particular oil going into the bilges, is well worth it. I suppose a plastic funnel from Halfords would do but a traditional oil can is much nicer to look at and use imo.

The use of the in-built sump pump on the Beta engine was a great help keeping the job simple and clean. For the gearbox oil, I used a hand-held pump – well worth the fiver I paid for it on Ebay.
Changing the oil filter is, as usual, a fiddly operation, it being located under the front, st’bd side of the engine (I don't need to be told why the filter can't be on top of the engine). Mine needed to be loosened with a filter wrench (you know, a metal thingy consisting of a handle and short length of bike chain) and then, with a plastic bag around it to catch any remaining oil (yes, it was needed!), I turned it by hand. The new filter must have a smear of oil on the rubber seal to help it settle in place and avoid it rucking up. It then turns by hand until it stops and is finally tightened gently with the wrench thingy.

I finally filled the engine and gearbox with the required amounts of oil and checked them with their dipsticks. When satisfied, I packed up the mess and went down to Ely. When I moored up, I checked the levels again and the filter seal for leaks – all good.
Btw, the fuel filter and air filter only need replacing every two years so these will be done next April.

Sunshine and showers today but not in that order and not in equal quantities. 

First sighting of a heron as I arrived in Ely. I'll have to find out where they all go in winter.
The BBC 6 o’clock news has just reported that Rolf Harris is the latest celeb to be arrested on charges of sexual abuse - no, not with two little boys - with a woman! Now who would have guessed that?

I dread to think what he was doing when he first asked, 'Can you tell what it is yet?'

I’ll have to open a bottle of Chardonnay  and a bag of roasted peanuts to help me cope.

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