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New boat, first time maintenance

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We just got our VLX last fall and promptly put it into storage. Now that spring is here, I'm getting all the filters, fluids, etc. changed and I thought I'd post up my experience (thus far) so that hopefully it may help someone else down the road. I'm a few years removed from much hands on mechanical work, but used to routinely work on my 5.0 Mustang and a lot of friend's vehicles, but a few things with the boat had me scratching my head. Anyways, here is a summary of work so done so far:

  1. Installed 4 new bearing buddies on the trailer. The old "trailer buddies" that were on it cracked when I tried to grease them. Upon further inspection, they had plastic caps around the grease serts whereas the Bearing Buddy brand is all metal. Lesson learned - take the time to remove the trailer tires so you can properly use a 2x4 and hammer to "walk" the old "trailer buddies" out. With the tire on, I just couldn't quite get the proper angle and it was taking way too long.
  2. Greased the rudder. Lesson learned - make sure to buy a grease gun that has a hose end and not just the straight shaft. The hose end was necessary to get to the rudder serts. Spend a few bucks on a decent gun as well. The threads on the first gun I had were very inprecisely machined and it popped apart under the pressure of the grease, creating a nice sticky mess to clean up.
  3. Changed the spark plugs and wires. I used NGK plugs, part number 2238 and gapped them myself to 0.045". Very easy to change the plugs once the engine side panels are out of the way. The wires were a different story. I bought the wires a few weeks ago and didn't have much info on me at the time, so I just asked for wires for a 2000 era Chevy 350. Apparently the truck motors and boat motors changed at different years, so the first set of wires didn't work. I ended up with Omnispak wires, part number 9050. The only issue with these is the coil wire is too short, so I'm still running the old one. If anyone knows of a better part number that would have a longer coil wire, please chime in.
  4. Changed cap and rotor. No issues. Used Accel part number 8132.
  5. Changed tranny fluid. Bought a hand pump and extracted out 1 full quart and about 28 more ounces. No issues there, just make sure you snake the tube all the way to the bottom of the tranny.
  6. In process of changing Vdrive fluid. I have the Walter vdrive and the only spot I know of to pump the old fluid out is through the dipstick. That hole is very small and the standard tube on the hand pump I bought won't work. You need 1/4" tubing, and it has to be fairly thin walled at that. I bought some adapaters to swage down the tubing on the pump I bought and that should work. If anyone knows of a larger hole I should be accessing the fluid with, let me know.
  7. In process of changing engine oil (filter currentlly won't come off, so I'm off to get a better filter wrench tomorrow). The former owner plumbed in two fat sacks for the back of the boat, which is sweet. He plumbed the ballast pump suction to the bilge drain hole that is right under the oil pan, where I assume you'd normally route the oil drain hose out of. The ballast hoses were proving very difficult to get off and I figured once I did, I'd never get them back on. So, I bought some more tubing and ended up running the oil drain line out the drain hole below my swim deck. I may have just a little oil leftin the system doing it this way, but I'll try to drain that into a half milk jug at the same time I do the filter.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully tackle the fuel filters (thanks to Pete for info on the correct filters I need :clap: ) and lube the steering cable.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but hopefully it will save some other newbie a few trips back and forth to the parst store. If anyone sees any major maintenance items I've missed, let me know. I'm hoping I've hit most of it and will shortly be ready to drop it in the water :rockon:

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The V drive sounds like my old '06 Walter. If it is the same drive, if you look on the front of the V drive you will see what appears to be a mushroom shaped vent which is attached to the pick line which goes to the sump on the drive. Use the correct sized open end wrench and take off the vent and you can easily push the drain line all the way into the sump. It will stop when it hits the bottom or the sump screen. It was a yearly PITA and continued to be until my V drive started leaking at the sump gasket. I dropped the sump to replace the gasket and deck the sump plate (bad casting uneven face) and found my oversight. The Walter manual didn't talk about the vent, atleast not anywhere that I ever saw. Check the 4 bolts (9/16") on the sump if it is oily, mine were barely wrench tight.

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You should really buy the book that's in my sig. It will help you significantly. Plus, it got good reviews. :whistle:

Edited by Pistol Pete
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McBean - I forgot to mention I did change the impeller out also. The old one looked a little worn, but in pretty good shape. I stashed it in the boat as a spare.

WDR - I'll have to check that out, next year. I got the vdrive fluid changed and hope to not touch it again this season. I'll keep in mind the leaking issue you had.

Pete - I actually did buy the book in your signature :). Admittedly, I should still take some more time to read through it, but I never did see where it clearly addressed my fuel filter questions. Under the EFI section in chapter 7 (page 303), it refers to the fuel/water separator filter in chapter 3, and when you go there, it states it is used on most models covered in the manual. The manual makes some vague statements that "the engine can have multiple fuel filters", but it never seems to clearly narrow it down. It also states on page 158 to extract the vdrive fluid through the dipstick hole, which is what I did (although WDR may have a better way). I'm sure the manual will come in very handy through the years, but it didn't provide much guidance on these subjects. Of course, I thought most of the jobs I was performing now would be pretty straight forward and I'd figure them just with some hands on experience :crazy:.

In any case, fuel filters still need changed. I fought the oil filter all morning long, and after bloodying all my knuckles and trying all the tools I had, I gave up. I hauled my boat up to JiffyLube and those guys worked on it for a while before finally getting it off. I googled stuck oil filters on the boards and the internet and found all kinds of horror stories, so it sounds like I wasn't alone on this one. Good news is the new filter is on and the engine is full of fresh oil. Bad news is, it took most of the day.

Thanks to everyone for all the input thus far. :werule:

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I knew the book didn't give super-good details about replacement parts, that's why I'm here. It just so happens that I own the exact same boat as you. And, I know a guy that used to work on boats for a living and has quite an extensive source of maintenance parts on boats from your era.

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Your'e the man, Pete! Guys like you are probably why I didn't read the manual thoroughly either. I knew there were great resources here. Thanks again for the info thus far. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as the season goes on.

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Not to hijack the thread, but is the v-drive and transmission fluid as easy as the engine oil? I'm about to do mine for the first time. 07 VLX.

The only place I see to get to the vdrive (orange t-looking handle) is blocked by the gas tank. Do I just need to muscle it out and quit being a wheenie? And the transmission handle is buried right below the back seat - can't get to it easily from the back seat or from the engine area.

I'll say the one nice thing about my old X2 is that the engine and vdrive/tranny all took oil -- didn't have to mess with different fluids for each device.

Hopefully good Friday will be good to me on this little expedition.

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The v-drive and tranny are pretty straightforward, but you have to suck out the old oil rather than being able to drain them like the engine oil. I had just a simple hand pump, stuck the tube down the tranny dipstick tube, and had nearly 2 quarts sucked out in just a few minutes. The vdrive was more difficult just because the dipstick tube diameter on mine is tiny and it took longer bringing the fluid up through the smaller tube.

This thread may help you a bit.

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  • 1 year later...

Awesome thread, about to start this myself, going thru a full maintenance routine on my 99 VLX this week so I will know for sure when the last time everything was changed. Got the oil on sale at autozone, so for 2 gallons of Rotella 15-40 and filter only cost $37, also got 2' of 3/16" GFO shaft packing for $14 including shipping from nautiqueparts.com

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One thing I would recommend contrary to how the OP did his maintenance is just drain the V-drive using the drain plug at the bottom of the unit facing the transom and let the oil drain into a crappy tupperware dish or something. Much easier than using a pump.

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