Q & A — March 2003
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
| Servicing Walker Airseps and keeping Sunbrella material clean.
I just switched from gasoline power to a pair of diesel engines equipped with Airsep air/oil separators. How do they work, and what is the required maintenance? L.B., via e-mail
During engine operation, the Walker Airsep separates the oil from the fuel-rich blowby gases and returns the oil to the crankcase while sending the remaining combustible gases and water vapor into the air-intake system so they can be burned in the combustion chambers. This latter feature is particularly important on turbocharged and aftercooled engines as it helps prevent buildup on the turbine blades and the internal passages of the aftercooler. In addition, the water vapor reportedly reduces combustion temperatures, resulting in increased engine life. According to Walker, the Airsep also creates a slight vacuum in the crankcase, reducing or eliminating most seal leaks and reducing the amount of oil forced past the rings into the cylinders.
Maintenance is easy, although since Walker warns that failure to follow the required regimen can lead to engine damage, it recommends that you use only the company's Cleaning and Re-oiling Kit, available at any Walker dealer.
Clean the air filter element every 250 engine hours or once a year, whichever comes first. First pre-clean the filter by removing the element from the Airsep unit and tapping it to dislodge any large particles or dirt and cleaning the element with a soft-bristle brush. Next, spray the cleaning solution supplied in the kit onto the filter element and let it stand for about ten minutes. Rinse the element with low-pressure fresh water; Walker cautions against using gasoline, steam, caustic solutions, high-pressure water, air, or solvents. Shake off the excess water and let the filter air-dry. Again, do not use compressed air, an open flame, heat gun, or dryer.
Once dry, the filter is ready for oiling. Using the air filter oil also supplied in the kit, squeeze small amounts across the top of each pleat, allowing the oil to wick into the filter element. Allow about 20 minutes for the oil to saturate the element. If you notice any white spots, re-oil them until the entire element is soaked through. And remember, any time the Airsep's restriction gauge turns red, it is time to service the main element.
You can clean the vacuum regulator/limiter the same way, except that it will not be necessary to remove the filter element; remove and clean the entire unit. According to Walker, if you keep the main filter element clean, a yearly inspection of the smaller vacuum regulator/limiter will suffice. However, since the regulator operation is directly dependent on having a clean main-filter element, cleaning both at the same time is good preventive maintenance.
A new main air-filter element should be installed after three cleanings. For more information, visit www.walkerairsep.com or call (818) 252-7788.
This article originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.