but inside the engine it also protects the oil
pump and other components in the sump
not designed for air exposure, and it eliminates the “exposure” of forgetting that there
is no oil in the engine at recommissioning. If
you just do one oil change annually, do it at
decommissioning to remove the acids that
will otherwise attack bearing surfaces while
the engine is idle.
PHOTO: JET DOCK
Dual oil changes are a bigger imperative
for diesel engines, but all engines benefit
from clean oil. In the fall, I run the engine
before the oil change to put contaminants
in suspension in the oil so that most are
removed with draining. However, I also run
the engine for several minutes after the oil
change to displace old oil with fresh, on
all the interior surfaces of the engine. This
dilutes any acids the old oil was harboring,
reducing the potential for damage to precision surfaces. I tend to run the engine on
this oil change for a few hours when I recommission, viewing it as a kind of annual flush.
Then I do my new-season oil change, happy
in the knowledge that I am giving the interior
components of my expensive engine the best
My exhaust bellows has a hole in it. Can I get
the rest of the season out of it without harming
anything? The other two bellows look good. I
plan on changing all three at the end of the
year. This is on an Alpha One sterndrive.
Don CaSEy: Probably. The exhaust bellows doesn’t keep out the ocean. It just
corrals the exhaust. Unless the hole is badly
located where it heats or sprays something
sensitive, it should not hurt anything.
However, the exhaust bellows is a bit like
the canary in the coal mine. When it fails,
the drive bellows will not be far behind. Your
plan to change them all in the off-season is a
Boats stored out of the water benefit from being left on a charger, if it has a “float” stage that won’t overcharge batteries.
ToM nEalE: My preference would be to
leave the boat plugged in, if you can safely do
so, with the AC shore power to the charger
(but turned off everywhere else) so that your
batteries can be properly maintained, provided marina rules allow this.
ShorE Po WEr
I have a small cruiser on a lift at a marina.
Should I be leaving the shore power hooked
up at all times? There are two batteries, a
Perko switch (turned to the ‘Off’ position
while at the marina), and a charger.
You didn’t mention your type of charger.
To do this, you should have a marine-grade
charger typically referred to as a “smart”
charger. These chargers are configurable to
your type and size of batteries and will charge
according to the battery needs. Most have
three stages: a bulk stage for when you begin
to charge low batteries, an interim stage, and
a float or maintenance stage that will keep
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