Blue Turtle Cruising

End of year (annual) engine maintenance

While I was busy wrapping Christmas presents, Randy was busy with the annual maintenance on our Perkins 185 and Onan generator engines.  Randy learned early on that it is worth every penny saved to do this type of work yourself.  Hiring someone to do oil changes is costly and it really makes sense to learn the ins and outs of your diesel engine if you plan on living aboard and cruising. The more self-sufficient you are at maintaining and fixing things on your boat, the better off in the long run. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll know how to fix things in a pinch if something breaks while anchored out in the Dry Tortugas, 75 miles from land (has happened—true story).

Randy drains the old oil from the Perkins engine

Once a year, he changes the oil and oil filters in both both the Perkins engine and generator engine.  He also replaces the impellers for the raw water intake on both engines as well.  While there is much debate on how often impellers need to be replaced (anywhere from ‘never had to’ to ‘every 2 years’ and so on) Randy changes ours yearly because it’s really worth replacing the $37 part to not have to worry about the engine overheating and having engine failure.  Good thing he checked it this year since after removing the impeller on the Perkins, we realized that one of the blades had broken and come off.

Raw water pump is removed and new impeller ready to be installed
The old impeller – lucky we replaced it
Raw water pump freshly painted and ready for the new impeller

We also bought and installed all new stainless chain on Blue Turtle prior to the Christmas holiday. This is something that we had been wanting to do for a while since our old chain was so rusted out. In recent trips anchoring out, we had some issues with the old chain getting hung up in the locker, so we decided it was time. We had purchased 100 feet of new chain from West Marine and they miss-measured giving us 113 feet. Being a little superstitious, Randy and Corey cut off 3 feet of the chain, giving us 110′ of new chain.  After Randy cleaned out all the rust and debris in the anchor locker, they installed the shiny new chain. Corey earned his keep by splicing the rode to the new chain. This was definitely a job for the wonder-kid since he is the best knot tier on Blur Turtle. All it took was a YouTube video and Corey was on his way attaching the rode to the chain. He did a great job! I’m happy now that I don’t get rained on by rusty chain water when pulling up the anchor and the bow of Blue Turtle has never looked cleaner.

Randy cleans out the chain locker in the v-berth
Randy feeds the new chain into the locker
Corey splices the rode onto the new chain
All done! Ready to go out and anchor!

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