Today was one of those horror stories that I'll be telling people about for a long time.
It started simply enough: a long-overdue (140 hours and, um, a couple years) first oil change
since I bought my boat. I wasn't expecting a karmic kick in the pants for waiting so long!
is a Yanmar
4JH-DTE, and the boat came with an oil-changing system with clean/dirty tanks
, a bidirectional pump, lines to main and genset, and a line to fill/empty jugs. After much reverse engineering and a few moments of confusion, we slurped the old oil
out of the main engine
and got it into jugs for proper disposal. So far so good.
I didn't have a spare filter on hand (oops) so I trotted off to the local NAPA with the part number... Fram PH2856. I had heard a few people around the marina say unkind things about Fram filters, so I was happy when the NAPA guy helpfully crossed it to a NAPAGold 1381 (made by Wix).
I returned to the boat, spun it on with a little oil
on the gasket
, snugged it down, and fired her up for a test. By the time I had made it to the stern to confirm water
in the exhaust
, my friend was shouting and the engine was shouting even louder... a wild sharp stacatto hissing/clattering sound that was rapidly growing in intensity. I dove for the shutoff, then when he pointed to the oil flooding toward the bilge
and hollered to kill the bilge pump
, I hit the switch before it could come on (phew).
We stared at the mess in shock, then pulled off the new filter and discovered that it is VERY different from the old... the photo
below shows the gaskets. The one on the left is the new NAPAGold 1381, and the one on the right is the FRAM PH 2856 that came with the boat. These are considered equivalents???
A dial caliper on the mating engine flange revealed 2.112" ID and 2.636" OD, with the new gasket
noticeably bigger around with a lot of overhang and considerably less mating rubber on the engine face (not to mention a whole different design). When we removed it after the blowout, there was a distinct distortion in one side (fortunately the bottom) where the pressure had pushed it aside... this gradually relaxed back to a circular shape over the next few minutes.
I had it tight (double checked by my more diesel-literate friend both before and after the failure), and can't see any potential here for operator error (other than going to NAPA, apparently). The gasket was well seated.
So this post is both a warning and a question. The warning: beware auto-store cross-reference guides (confirmed here
, not just just the clerk's error). The question: what just happened? Is this a lesson to stick with Yanmar-branded filters? We were both pretty stunned. Hopefully the engine is OK - it only ran about 30 seconds, and had been recently lubed by the pre-change warmup.
Incidentally, the boat's oil-changing system was a lifesaver during cleanup... we spliced a long hose onto the pump manifold and slurped the 2-3 quarts into a tank and thence to a jug... leaving the rest for absorbent pads and multiple washing/pumping cycles. A useful tool.
I knew I was putting this off for a reason. Next time I need an oil change
, I'm repowering!
Ah, the pleasures of boat life.