From The Forums

Excerpts from recent <em>Houseboat</em> Forum exchanges at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Published in the September 2012 Issue September 2012 Feature

Oil Changes

The forums are a great place for fellow houseboaters to receive advice and answers to all of their houseboating questions, as well as keep in touch with houseboaters all around. Head on over to the forums to get your questions answered and see what's going on in the world of houseboating.

Is your houseboat in dire need of an oil change but don't know if you should do it yourself or hire someone from your marina to come do it? Well Kartracer from our forum proposed the exact question.

Kartracer: What is the best system or way to change oil in my engine and generator?

Oldhouseboater replied: A marina mechanic is definitely the way to go. For one it's a once-a-year thing and two, the mechanic knows what he's doing, plus you don't have to own or maintain equipment or tools.

Endurance had some great advice: The marina and money approach works well for some, but not for me. The mechanics at my marina charge $100 an hour from the time they leave their dock to the time they get back. My boat is all the way in a buoy field and it takes the mechanic about a half hour to get out to my boat, tie up, and get his tools out. Then it's another half hour for him to do the reverse. I'm into my oil change $100 before he can even pick up a wrench.
I can pay him for a half hour of actual work if I'm willing to have him do the oil changes cold. I'd rather have the engine warm, which takes a bit more of the $100 per hour time. That gets expensive for what I'm getting for my money. So I use a product called Marina Pro, which costs about $50. My friend uses a product called Suck Up which works a little better and is about $60. Either way I can buy a filter wrench and still be below the trip charge my mechanic charges me to get to and from my boat for just one oil change.

ShoreBound responded: I have a MerCruiser which has a threaded dipstick rod, to which I screw on a little hand pump. I put the end into a gallon jug, and pump a few times. Changing the oil filter takes me about a minute. All you do is add a few quarts of new oil, and you're done. I change my oil yearly, even though I only put about 20 hours or so on my boat each year. If I wanted to I could use synthetic oil, but the regular oil is just as good. Most of my friends change their oil once every other summer.

EastTNBoater commented: I do my own oil changes, mostly for the reasons that Endurance listed, plus I like to do it. I have one of the Jabsco five-gallon pails with a 12-volt pump and it works great.

FranticallyRelaxing shared: I bought a Jabsco a few months ago and it works great. Just make sure the oil is good and warm; that is the trick. Idling it for a half hour won't be enough.

42Gibson added: I also do my own with the Jabsco. After I get all the excess oil out with the pump, I use a cheap aluminum pan from the Dollar Store and fold it to get it under the oil pan. I then remove the plug and let what little is left in the oil pan run into the Dollar Tree pan. It takes me all of 30 minutes to do the main and the generator.

To view this thread in its entirety, visit the forums at and search for "Oil Change" under the Maintenance thread.

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