Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 23-10-2011, 15:43   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Florida Keys
Boat: Corsair F31"Susan C" & Sea Pearl 21"Maggie"
Posts: 261
Compass Oil

The oil inside my steering compass, a Suunto, has leaked or evaporated away and I want to replace it. No help from the manufacturer so I'll ask here, what is a suitable liquid to replace the original fluid? Thanks all, David

DaveOnCudjoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2011, 15:49   #2
Registered User
Ziggy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: U.S., Northeast
Boat: Contessa 32
Posts: 1,430
Images: 2
Re: Compass Oil

You didn't say what brand of compass you have. From the FAQ on the Ritchie navigation web site:

What type of fluid is in my Ritchie Magnetic Compass?
Until 2001, all Ritchie compasses (see exception) were filled with odorless mineral spirits. Ritchie now uses a fluid called Isopar LŪ that has similar properties but some added benefits over odorless mineral spirits. These can be mixed together.

Exception: Some old style Flat Top Compasses used a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water. This process was stopped in the 1960s. If you have a Flat Top Compass, it is recommended that you test the fluid to see if it is odorless mineral spirits or isopropyl alcohol.

... He knows the chart is not the sea.
-- Philip Booth, Chart 1203
Ziggy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2011, 16:26   #3
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,791
Re: Compass Oil

As Ziggy quoted, most use a mineral oil but some older (very) used isopropyl alcohol (usually mixed with water). You can tell by the smell or feel of each.

While you can buy compass fluid (try aircraft instrument suppliers) you can get by using a clear kerosine at a pinch.
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2011, 16:29   #4
Registered User
SabreKai's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada on Lake Ontario
Boat: Roberts Offshore 38
Posts: 1,287
Images: 5
Re: Compass Oil

I refilled the compass on my old Grampian with mineral oil from a pharmacy. I believe it was a Ritchie but not sure. Anyway it was partly full of oil of some sort, the mineral oil didn't react adversely and it served for as long as I owned the boat.
SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
SabreKai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2011, 16:56   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2010
Boat: Far East Mariner 40
Posts: 303
Re: Compass Oil

I bought a quart of compass fluid for my Ritchie compass. It's called Isopar L and is compatable with the older fluid. Got it at West Marine. I think it was like $17.00.
I do all my own stunts.
vintageray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2011, 17:17   #6
Registered User
S/V Illusion's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FLORIDA
Boat: Alden 50, Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 1,731
Re: Compass Oil

I assume you have already determined why it leaked and replaced the part(s). Otherwise, replacing the fluid in an exercise in futility.
S/V Illusion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-10-2011, 04:46   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Newport News VA
Boat: Egg Harbor sedan cruiser 1970
Posts: 829
Re: Compass Oil

mineral oil is too thick to let the compass wheel move especially when cooler.
odorless mineral spirits is just right.
I replaced a Richie diaphram and was not too hard.
I also to get the dissolved air out of the fluid, you fill it and seal it and put it in the freezer. The fluid contracts and the air comes out
of the fluid. Then you have to purge the air bubble from the compass.
The goal is to not have an air bubble in the glass at the top.

sdowney717 is offline   Reply With Quote

compass, oil

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bad Oil Pressure Gauge cburger Construction, Maintenance & Refit 8 08-10-2011 05:17
Oil Leak in Nanni Kubota 2.45 Eco Asmodeane Engines and Propulsion Systems 4 20-09-2011 23:53
Why Two Oil Dipsticks on Perkins 4-108 ? dancamp009 Engines and Propulsion Systems 16 22-08-2011 06:45
How Do I Change My Oil ? flatlander Engines and Propulsion Systems 25 12-07-2011 16:05

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:58.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.