Boat engines require clean lubrication oil in order to perform well over long periods of time. Oil filters remove dirt, debris, metal fragments, and harmful particles from the oil, and help prevent damages to boat engines. There are plenty of different oil filters on the market, and on the outside, most of them look very similar. However, performance and reliability matter. Making an informed decision when choosing an oil filter is an easy and affordable way of ensuring that your boat engine will run better, longer, and more reliably.
The purpose of boat engine oil filtration
There are several contaminants that can easily end up in the lubrication oil, such as wear debris, resulting in abrasive particles as well as soot particles from the combustion. If they end up inside the engine system, they can clog it or cause abrasion or corrosion. By filtering out harmful particles, the engine can operate better and with less wear. This increases the boat engine’s lifespan, and reduces its maintenance needs – which in turn lowers the total cost of ownership.
How full flow oil filters and bypass oil filters operate in a boat engine
A synchronized filtration process decontaminates the oil properly before lubricating the boat engine. There are two types of oil filters, which handle different volumes and provide two different kinds of filtration. Take our Volvo Penta D4 engine lubrication system, for example. The full flow oil filter – also known as the primary filter – is able to process approximately 90 liters per hour, removing almost all of the big and midsize harmful particles. The oil becomes significantly cleaner, but a portion of it needs to get cleaner still.
Approximately one tenth of the oil is then bypassed through the bypass oil filter, also known as the secondary filter (which, accordingly, is able to process about nine litres per hour). This filter removes all particles that may be harmful to your engine. Then, the oil flows to some of the most critical and sensitive components. These include the turbo compressor, the transmission drives, the balance shafts, the cylinder head, the piston cooling jets, etcetera.
The full flow oil filter and the bypass oil filter are coordinated to ensure a correct distribution of oil. This maintains an ideal flow, and the bypass oil filter can operate as intended.
Filter media that capture particles and maintain a balanced filtration process
Most oil filter media are made from cellulose, with lots of pleats that increase the filter media’s surface area. These pleats should be evenly distributed to capture as many particles as possible as the oil flows through the filter. Moreover, evenly distributed pleats will result in the oil flowing more evenly through the filter.
Not only does the oil filter media material need to meet certain requirements; it must maintain a delicate balance between them as well. A high degree of filtration, ensuring a steady oil flow, and having a long filter life, are some key characteristics of high-quality filter media. It is essential that these characteristics work in combination with one another. Using a media material with the highest degree of filtration possible may prevent proper oil flow, for example. Or maybe the oil filter media material with the longest lifespan will not capture particles efficiently enough. Skewing the balance of this process may ultimately end up disrupting it.
High-quality oil filters for healthy boat engines and smooth boating
The investments you make in your boat matter. As such, you should protect it and equip it in the best way possible, with reliable high-quality components. Make sure to follow your boat engine’s service protocol, change your oil filters at recommended intervals, and use the right oil for your engine.
As for our Volvo Penta boat engine oil filters, they are made to meet tough filtration standards, and to perform with excellence for a long period of time. The oil flows neatly through the filter, where evenly distributed cellulose media pleats ensure a high degree of particle absorption. The oil filters’ steel casing – along with the gaskets, springs, check valves and other components – are robust, durable, and able to withstand strong vibrations, heat, and high pressure.
It is impossible to estimate the quality of an oil filter merely by looking at its exterior. Therefore, choose a reliable manufacturer; one you trust, and one who does not take any shortcuts when developing and manufacturing their products and components. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to choose filters from the manufacturer that made your boat engine. An oil filter is usually a small expense, but nevertheless an important investment that makes your boat engine run more smoothly and reliably.
If you have any questions about our boat engine oil filters, you are welcome to contact me or my colleague Hans Elisson. Feel free to read my article about transmission oil for smoother drives and easy boating, Hans’ article on how oil analyses improve your engine’s performance, as well as other, related articles here on our informative Volvo Penta Professional Power Blog.