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Routine oil changes


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Just like a car, you can change it whenever you want or never, but to keep you happiest and out on the water 50 is actually a pretty good rule of thumb - think of it in terms of a car - a car driven 3000 miles at 60mph would put 50 hours on the engine, and people regularly change theirs every 3k.  A boat is different than a car, in that you are constantly stopping turning around and then going again, rarely are you driving for hour at a time (maybe not even 30 minutes).

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I pull my impeller every season when I winterize, and put it in a bag on the dash.  Extends the life and ensures you are inspecting it regularly.  My boat's super quick to do... not quite as accessible on a v-drive boat I'd assume

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Boats don't roll/coast like cars.  Keeping them on a plane is like constantly driving up a hill in a car.   I start thinking about an oil change at 30 hours and always get it done sometime before 50.  Impellers, I don't buy the need to change every 50 hours though.  I change them once a year and keep a spare in the boat.  

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When I first got this boat I also thought 50 hour oil changes were excessive.  Until I saw what a surf boat's oil looks like at 50 hours.  I do it religiously.  Buy the oil  and filter from Walmart, and it is a quick maintenance item (and I admittedly dread doing it).

Impeller I think really depends on what boat and what type of water you are running.  I am almost to 800 total hours, average about 100 hours/year, and I think I have changed the impeller 3 times.  But I do keep a spare in my boat just in case.

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15 hours ago, REHinH20 said:

 think of it in terms of a car - a car driven 3000 miles at 60mph would put 50 hours on the engine, and people regularly change theirs every 3k.  A boat is different than a car, 

yeah, i would caution against the car analogy too strongly.  unless driving a long trip, most around-town cars are probably 30mph average and even my 2015 accord has sensors to indicate when oil needs changing which happens usually closer to 6kmiles...which would be like 200 hours and that would be a really bad rule of thumb on a wakeboat. 

my analogy might be closer to towing a wakeboat around town-- hang at idle at a lot of lights (i.e. no wake zone idling or picking up riders), then accelerating away from a stop towing a heavy load (surfing). Repeat over and over.  

as a related datapoint if anyone cares, i'm coming up on 300 hrs and i track everything like a nerd.  i'm averaging 4.4 gallons per hour.  In a hypothetical world where idling is ~1gph and surfing or pulling tubers at 20mph is like ~12gph (which seems reasonable given @Slurpee prop data posted elsewhere), that would indicate i'm spending 2/3 of my time at idle and only 1/3 at surf/cruise speed.  Mentally this makes sense as most of our trips are <2.5 hrs on engine, and include a 10min no wake cruise each way and then there's pumping tubes or changing riders (often kids or newbies where there's lots of instructions/short trials). when me and the guys go out early AM on surf-only trips, i've seen 6gph in a morning, but never more.  

I defer to an engine expert (aka not me) on how much use-cases could affects the oil-change recommendation (if at all).  I'm thinking next year i'll try tracking how the oil looks more regularly (per @RyanB ) - maybe snap pictures? - as looking at your own oil over time given your use/engine etc may be a better method than a universal rule of thumb.

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Don't skimp on the oil changes, especially if you're doing a lot of surfing.  Impeller has so many variables it's impossible to say, but if you are in clean water with a raw water intake strainer then every 2-3 years isn't a big deal (I once saw someone brag about year 8 on their impeller), but you definitely should have a spare on board in case it lets go.  At a minimum, pull and inspect at winterization.

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Looking at the engine data in diagnostics presuming the % load is accurate we never drop below 270 HP output surfing in a 23 MXZ with a M6.  Growing up I went lots of miles in a friends 65 bug, it had 40 hp stock, we might have gotten a little more with changes made and it would get to the 70s in MPH.  There is from what I can see no analogy between car and surf boat unless you go racing cars.

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I run M1, 10W-40 and change every other season. Analysis says that is way too often. If you are unsure, get your oil analyzed by a lab. I use Blackstone Labs. I don't surf? behind a boat.

Edited by electricjohn
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