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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

Dude, don't be a Dipstick

We did it.  

We overcame our performance anxiety and changed the oil in the boat this weekend.

I’m sure this may not seem like a monumental task to most, but to us it was HUGE.  Why the angst for a seemingly simple project?  First of all, we have never changed the oil for anything. Ever. It’s not like we’ve been changing the oil in our cars for the past decade.  Oh, no… that’s what we rely on the good ol’ boys (and gals) at Jiffy Lube for every 3,000 miles or so.

Second, have you ever looked closely at a diesel engine before?  For the first timer, it’s pretty intimating.  Especially for those with no previous history of getting all up close and personal with engines (see first statement above). I have no doubt that we’ll form a very intimate relationship with our engines over time – especially as we prepare to go cruising – but right now we’re basically on the first date.  There’s still a lot of getting to know each other to do.

Third, we’ve been getting advice from everyone, and everyone has their own method and opinion that they like to share.  You know the saying about opinions, right? Everyone has one?  Yeah, all these little variations have taken a simple task and turned it into what seemed like a ridiculously complicated process that involves multiple steps and a huge margin for error.

It’s been a beautiful holiday weekend, and we’ve grown a little jealous of watching all of the other boats go out for a sail while we sat at the dock.  However, we didn’t feel comfortable taking her out again until we changed the oil because we basically motored for four straight days coming up the ICW from NC.  It probably would have been fine, but we didn’t want to chance it. We harnessed this and used it as our motivation to just do it already. So, armed with a huge container of oil, absorbent pads to soak up any spills, our filters, and the laptop (incase we needed to YouTube anything), we set off to do the deed.

Guess what happened?  Nothing. Matt took his time and read the instructions before getting started.  He ran the engines for a few minutes to loosen up the oil to make it easier to pump out and afterwards to check the levels once the new oil had a chance to run thru the engine.  We both walked away completely unscathed and not covered in oil.  The engine compartment remained clean a thankfully didn’t resemble the BP Gulf oil spill.  Seriously, he did an absolutely amazing job.

Crisis averted.  Mission accomplished.  Confidence restored!

Oh, and we flushed and cleaned our water tanks too, but it was definitely overshadowed by the oil.  Next week: change the fuel filters and the head hoses to finally eliminate the slight head smell.

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