Boat: 2006/2007 Bayliner 217SD with 190HP 4.3L Mercruiser V6
Task: Change oil and filter
Problem: No oil pressure after draining oil, replacing oil filter, adding new oil and running the engine
Long story: I've changed oil in my personal cars for over 30 years. I've had cars from Lexus to Mazda to Honda to Saab. All of these cars had oil filters attached to the engine. My 2006 Bayliner 217 deckboat has the Mercruiser V6 with a remote mounted oil filter. While this factory design looks like a good idea for easy access to the filter, it makes for a mess when you change it. But that's another story.
As luck would have it, a rain storm came and put the project on hold. I put the new filter on to just keep dust form getting in the lines, but didn't add any oil. I postponed finishing the project for another week. When I returned the following week, i expected a simple series of steps would be needed to finish. I put the new oil filter on, 1/2 turn after making contact with the mount. I filled the engine with 4 quarts of motor oil and checked the dipstick to make sure the oil level was correct. Done, right?
I thought it would be good to run the engine for a few minutes to make sure the level was still correct after the oil circulates in the filter and throughout the engine. I put the engine muffs on and turned on the water hose to supply water to the Inboard/Outboard motor. After cranking the engine, the engine started as normal. After about 10-15 seconds, a loud blaring alarm horn sounded. I immediately looked at all the gauges. The oil pressure looked very low. I assumed it was the oil pressure and turned off the motor. I went back to the motor and looked for loose wires, hoses, and anything that might look out of normal. I also checked the oil level again using the dipstick. Everything looked good. I wanted to see if oil was circulating, so i removed the oil filter. It was bone dry. Also, i found that the oil filter was on so tight that I had to use a wrench to remove. I installed the filter again, tried to run the engine again and had hoped the problem was just an anomaly. Same result. the alarm sounded, no oil pressure, and i quickly turned it off. I'm totally confused...
The solution: I decided to drain about 1/2 quart of oil out of the oil pan and use a small funnel to add this oil back to the engine through the tube that feeds oil to the oil filter. I slowly poured most of that 1/2 quart of oil into the threaded line (shown as #2 on the diagram). After it stopped filling, i removed the funnel and quickly screwed the oil filter back on hand tight. The water was turned on to feed the motor with clean fresh water and i proceeded to start the engine. Within 2 seconds, the oil pressure jumped up to normal. I let the engine run for 7-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the oil pressure gauge. It held constant. I shut off the engine, let it sit for about 1 minute and then started it again. The oil pressure was just as before, perfect. I turned off the engine, checked the dipstick again and celebrated the success.
Closing Remarks: If you have a remote mounted oil filter on your boat, it's good practice to fill the supply line with oil after you replace the oil. Running an engine without oil/pressure is very damaging to the motor. I'm thankful this trick worked for me and hope you also find it useful. Now, back to boating!