Tops'l Sailcruise

Oil Change


This is a straightforward procedure. It needs to be undertaken in a methodical manner. To avoid any ambiguity, the terms Port & Starboard will be used. This article assumes that you have never carried out this procedure before. Make sure engine oils or other contaminated items are disposed of in the correct manner.



1. Ensure that you have the following at hand:

  • Oil filter cartridge – should be with other “spares”. If possible, leave the yacht with a “spare” for the next crew
  • Correct grade & sufficient quantity of engine oil. (Technical manual)
  • Some means of containing then disposing of old engine oil safely. The old engine oil can be retained for a short while within the oil change pump reservoir or transferred to an empty engine oil container if it needs storing prior to safe disposal
  • Oil change Vacuum pump
  • Oil filter removal tool. (A loop that wraps around the cartridge)
  • Plastic bag to receive the old filter.
  • Kitchen roll plus newspaper for floor
  • Screwdriver for engine bay access screws
  • Gloves to protect hands (stbd locker)


2. Ensure the engine is warm. It should be up to it’s normal operating temperature. This is to reduce the viscosity of the oil and to try to maximise the particles held in suspension. The cooler the oil, the more difficult it will be for the vacuum pump to suck it out. It could take 20 minutes for just a few litres of oil!


3. Remove the front end of the engine bay housing. Then remove the screws holding the starboard panel to reveal the oil filter and dipstick area. Ensure that you have a good working area. Remove the oil filler cap on top of the engine.


4. Assemble the oil pump vacuum device following the instructions on the associated card.






5. Either:
a) Remove black cap to short pipe below dipstick and insert the small suction tube from the vacuum pump.
b) Remove the dipstick and insert suction tube from the vacuum pump if not narrow enough for a)

When this is securely in place, operate the pump in accordance with its own instructions. Once the vacuum is formed, oil will be slowly sucked out - be patient. You should see the reservoir start to fill up.







6. Remove the oil filter by unscrewing it from the side of the engine. It should release by hand pressure. If this is not successful, apply the Oil filter removal tool. Note: On NO ACCOUNT, puncture the body of the cartridge with a screwdriver in an attempt to turn the cartridge. It is possible that the thin metal will come off the cartridge end plate, making it exceedingly difficult to remove! Place the old cartridge in a plastic bag and mop up any spilled oil. Ensure the area around the filter is clean & clear.



7. Smear some clean engine oil around the rubber seal of the new filter cartridge with your finger. This lubricates the seal to aid proper fitting. Screw on the new cartridge until it is finger tight, and then give it another 1/4 turn. It needs to be sufficiently tight to withstand the oil pressure, yet not so tight that it becomes impossible to remove next time.


8. Insert the dipstick & ensure that the working area is clean & clear of any tools or rags.


9. Refill the engine with clean oil. The technical manual gives approximate quantities. It takes time for the oil to reach the sump, so give it a minute or two before attempting to look at the dipstick. This time fill it up to near the full mark. At this point the filter will still be empty. It will fill when the engine is stated.


10. Replace the oil filler cap. Once again, check the engine bay is clear, and then start the engine. In addition to all the normal engine checks, ensure there is no sign of oil leakage around the oil filter.


11. Stop the engine. After a short while, recheck the oil level. This will have reduced, as the oil filter will have filled with some of the oil. As usual, do not overfill the engine.


12. When satisfied that all is OK, replace the engine bay covers.


13. Record the event in the technical log & ship’s log.


14. Recheck the oil level & filter area after the next use.

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