Tech Net O


You can check petroleum integrity by placing a spare O ring into a jar of diesel. Look for any sign of deterioration.
Most O rings today are made of nitrile, which is oil compatible.

RECOMMENDED
A good source for metric O rings is All Electronics. (Salty Paws)

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Query: How to remove the oil from the dipstick tube while doing an oil change?
Comment:
Use a kit available from West Marine. Do a double oil change back to back and it will clean the tube. (Kabria)

Query: Would a synthetic oil work better on a generator?
Comments:
Moble 1 synthetic would work well considering the small amount you need.
Synthetics last longer.
It will keep debris in suspension better than regular oil. No sludge.
Synthetics are twice the price.

Issue: Oil sample shows sodium and potassium levels too high. There's also a little smoke at startup, but it stops immediately.
Comments:
Don't tear into engine without another check.
It's not that bad unless another test shows the same results.
Run engine another 100 hours.
Change your oil.

Query: What is the advantage of synthetic oils?
Comment:
It can help storage and disposal problems. It can double or triple your oil change intervals. Some brands allow for just filter changes and top-off. It lubricates and cleans.
Further Comments:
Once synthetic oil has been used in a diesel engine, you can never go back to regular oil.
Using a cross-over filter (i.e. Fram) will prove cost effective since changing them will be more frequent.

Query: How important is it to follow manufacturers time/engine hours recommendations for changing oil?
Comments:
There's no real answer. It depends on how you use your engine.
Manufacturers are usually quite conservative with recommendations.

Query: Does motor oil degrade? I found some very old still-sealed oil in original containers.
Comment:
It should be just fine.

FYI
Change oil right before a layup to reduce acid from sitting on the bearings. (Alcid)

Change oil when warm is it 'flows' better; if you are draining from the bottom, it's not so much of a problem.

RECOMMENDED
Amsoil Synthetic Gear Lube Oil for the sail drive. (Salty Paws)

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Solved a problem with oil pressure sender by using Marvel Mystery Oil. (Blown Away)

Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer works well to improve compression. Have also used it to loosen stuck rings. (Destiny)

FYI
Stop Leak additive expands gaskets, which is good, but will eat any nylon fittings. (Dyad)

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Query: I have a screen instead of an oil filter. How often does this need changing?
Comments:
It's recommended to change it every 100 hours. However, that's not practical or necessary.
Clean it with gasoline rather than change it.

Issue: Oil filter adapter is leaking.
Comments:
Check the gasket.
The adapter should be only as tight as the oil filter it replaces.

Issue: After a dry install, oil filter is leaking after a few hours of running.
Comments:
It may need tightening.
check for a defective gasket.

FYI
A stuck oil pressure relief valve can create a leaky oil filter. The first sign of a problem will be an erratic oil pressure gauge. Fix by cleaning the valve. (Moira)

THINGS THAT WORK
Replace the filter without changing the oil.
Use a ShopVac on the oil-fill location to create negative pressure; it depends on the engine configuration. It won't pull the oil into the ShopVac. Punch a hole in the old filter to drain for awhile before the swap. Use a milk carton or other container to catch the drips. (Salty Paws)

(also fuel filters)

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Query: Is it better to sample warm or cold oil?
Comments:
Use warm, agitated oil.
Take an oil sample at each oil change.

Query: Where to get an oil analysis performed?
Comments:
Truck repair places.
Sample through mail. You mail them a small sample of your oil. There are several companies that will do this. Blackstone Labs is one example.
Engine CheckUP; a DIY process. (see below)

My two engines had differing sample rates. It turned out that one engine had a cracked block; contaminating the oil. Oil testing was useful. (Cat Tales)

Portable DIY engine oil testing kit. With a single drop of oil, Engine CheckUP kit diagnoses the condition of the engine oil. Visible results reveal any water, grime, or fuel contamination. Six tests, diagrams and instructions. Use after 200 hours running. (Dyad)

Oil testing on paper (coffee filter stock) won't work with synthetics. They're designed not to separate out. (Salty Paws)

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Query: How can I dim the display?
Comment:
F6 will cycle through monitor dimming sessions.
However, not all charts have dimming palates.

Query: Does it show magnetic instead of true north?
Comment:
Version 3.4 and after provides a magnetic north option. Earlier versions use true north.

Issue: My saved tracks were lost.
Comment:
You should be able to recover them from the Nav objects file.

Query: Why do I see LLW or MLW on different charts?
Comment:
Each chart shows the sounding datum used for that chart.

Query: Does OpenCPN look at AIS COG or heading for collision detection calculations?
Comment: OpenCPN uses ownship and target COG for all AIS calculations.

Query: How to view grib files in OpenCPN?
a) Toolbox > check 'show grib files.'
b) Grib Icon, dialog. Point to the directory that holds your grib files.

Query: Can OpenCPN create route waypoints that will upload to my RayMarine C80 chart plotter?
Comment:
Yes. That feature was added.

FYI
Yellow moving AIS targets that have Name Unknown means they have not input that information into their vessel's AIS transmitter.

OpenCPN will allow you to ignore certain MMSI numbers, so it won't appear that you're running into yourself.

RECOMMENDED
sQuiddio plugin for OpenCPN. View thousands of cruising destinations on your charts.

(also AIS,  OpenCPN,  Cruisers Forum,  AOCPN Support)

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Query: How many times should I flush the engine after salt contamination?
Comment:
At least two at minimum.

Issue: The choke is mechanically jamming; either it's stuck open or closed. Have been using Superlube without success.
Comments:
Disconnect the linkage and check the butterfly valve and lube it. (Cat Tales)
Adjust the pin hole. (Salty Paws)
The choke plate may be loose or binding. (Cookie Monster)
Try a penetrating oil instead of Superlube for this.

Query: How often does an impeller on the outboard water pump need to be changed?
Comments:
Every three or five years is a good guideline. Change it more often if heavily used, or if running through sand often.
Change it out fairly soon on a new engine; about one year. Use Never Seez on it at that time.

Issue: Motor runs rough at mid speed. Have already run all standard tests.
Comments:
Accelerator pump may need physical exercising, and thorough cleaning.
Spray a bit of WD40 in the intake of the carburetor.

Issue: The motor is running on only two cylinders.
Comments:
This may be an ignition problem.
Move spark plugs around.
Coil/wire assembly may be faulty. Move them around to identify a bad one.

Query: The snap-on connector on the fuel line leaks. Can I repair this?
Comments:
There's an O ring you can replace.
Clean the connectors, there may be crud there.
You can buy replacement end seals.
The aluminum seal may be weak. You can temporarily fix it with cable tie.

Issue: No spark, plug is good.
Suggestions:
Check coil or pick-up sensor in flywheel.
Check for loose connections.
Check for dampness on plug.

Issue: Fuel consumption suddenly increased.
Comments:
Check for diaphragm leak.
Pull the plugs and check for carbon build-up.
Check the fuel pump.

Issue: Found gasoline contamination in the oil.
Comments:
There may be a pinhole in the fuel pump diaphragm.
Check jets or gasket in carburetor.
Check the vent on the fuel tank.

Issue: My outboard only runs good for a few hours for a day or two. I've cleaned the carburetor, etc.
Comments:
Replace all rubber hoses.
Change the gasket on the fuel tank. Ours was deteriorating, allowing small amounts of rain to get into the tank.
Swap your fuel filters.

Issue: The pilot hole is not producing much water.
Comments:
Look for mud daubers or blockage in the hole.
Check the whole length of the hose for blockage.
Back-feed the pilot hole.
Check the impeller.
Check the head gasket.
Update: Found an obstruction on the other side of the screen. It looked like a peppercorn.

Query: The motor seems to surge. What causes this on a clean system?
Comments:
Check the float valve in carburetor.
Plastic floats sometimes develop leaks.
Gain access to the idle screw on the carburetor to clean.
Could be a piece of very small debris in jets.
A new fuel filter fixed that problem for us.

Issue: Stuck flywheel. Have already tried all standard methods: heat, hit, lube.
Comments:
Load it using a screwdriver and a block and give it a good whack with a hammer.
Shock it. Get the shaft cold and the flywheel hot. Use C02 fire extinguisher for cold application.
dry ice will supply the cold.
Use a janitorial product to apply cold. (Its used to remove gum from desks.)
Use a freeze spray (used for electronics).

Query: How to get the spring tight enough when pre-winding a rope pull?
Suggestions:
Pre-load the coil, then attach the rope. When spring is in compressed position, wind the line against it.
Use a piece of wire as a helper tool.
Don't let the mechanism come apart. The spring will sproing and parts will be everywhere.

Issue: Motor starts okay, but stops at idle. (Johnson 2 stroke)
Suggestions:
Clean the carburetor.
Clean plug wires.
Clean the spark plugs.
Check for water in the gas.

HEADS UP
Honda 4 stroke is susceptible to engine oil level overfill. If overfilled, the oil gets into the carburetor via the vent. Do not fill further than 1/2 on the dip stick. The dipsticks are mis-marked by the manufacturer. The symptom is poor performance. (Windswept IV)

RECOMMENDED
Keypart Volvo parts are much less expensive here. (Amazing Grace)
NGK Spark Plugs for standard and non-standard spark plugs. (Puddle Jumper)
Outboard Exchange for parts.

THINGS THAT WORK
Add a Hydro Shield brand horizontal plate to the bottom of the outboard prop to protect it. (Barefootin)

Stainless steel tilt tubes for the dinghy motor. It costs more but lasts far longer than steel. Recommend replacing the tube with stainless even on a new purchase. SeaTemp carries them. (Dyad)

(also parts)

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Issue: Oven only heats to 300 degrees and burners are low too.  The hoses seem to be okay.
Comments:
Get a new regulator.
Tap the regulator gently to loosen up the valve.
Bypass remote solenoid.
The solenoid valve may be stuck.
Check the hose from the regulator to the shut-off valve. It's a weak link in the system and can become brittle.
Get a new tank of propane. What you have may be contaminated.

Query: How to get the oven igniter to work again on a Force 10?
Suggestions:
Turn on the top burner first, then light the oven. (Barefootin)
Pull the spring on the knob, just a little bit. That helps it make contact. Be very gentle with the spring. (Celebration)
Check the power source. (Isolde 2)
Use a volt meter to see if the juice is okay.
Check wiring harness.

Query: How to convert a natural gas stove to propane?
Comment:
Change orifice from standard gas to the propane. Parts are usually available to make the conversion.

Query: Where to purchase a thermostat for a Seaward Princess?
Suggestions:
Go to the manufacturer's website and buy direct from Seawardproducts.
Their ballpark price is around $80.
[Several thumbs up and positive reports about dealing with this company.]

Prevent Burner Grates from Sliding
If the 'nubbins' on the grates aren't deep enough to do the job, grind them off. Use a small drill bit and drill a pilot hole on the casing. Take small, self-tapping screws, and put them in place. The heads of the screws drop into the holes of the stove top and stay there. (C_Language)

FYI
A soft copper propane feed line can become compressed or crushed over time, especially where it goes through a joist or floor. Check them occasionally. (Shining Star)
Comments:
Replace the copper line with heavy-wall supply line.
Use cushion clamps.

(also galley tips,  propane)

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