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Date: 12 April 2022. WD-40 versus Starting Fluid.

© janice142

One thing successful boaters seem to have in abundance an ability to adapt. Old timers such as myself realized long ago that change is inevitable. For instance, when I was a sweet young thing (that might have been decades ago) and diesel engines were being problematic the solution was to spray the air intake with WD-40. Back then it was deemed safer than ether. Both would turn over the engine and often the motor would start right up. Today however there are better alternatives.


I recently learned this from a dock neighbor, after he had seen me work the magic using WD-40. He investigated further and discovered the error of my ways.


According to Calder: Many older boaters still believe WD-40 spray lubricant is a safe and effective starting fluid for diesel engines. In reality, this has not been the case since the 1990s when the manufacturer quit using propane as the propellant. WD-40 doesn’t work anymore. Nowadays, modern diesel shops are using silicon spray lubricant instead. Silicone spray still uses propane as a propellant, like the old WD-40, but it also coats the upper cylinder for lubrication and and seals piston rings, improving compression. And it doesn’t explode.

Nigel Calder is renown for his knowledge of boats and their systems. He has written the definitive book on the subject, Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4the Edition.

This information about WD-40 was news to me. Thus, on a recent trip to Walmart I purchased a proper can of starting fluid for my diesel. The cost was $3.50.


Almost all photographs on my website can be enlarged by clicking on them. You have to back up (usually an arrow) to return to the original page after viewing the picture.


Although I have not yet utilized this particular brand of starting fluid, I did replace my WD-40 can with  a silicone based spray (Super Tech) due to the updated information *Calder provided.

*Calder: Nigel Calder has written books that are without question the best a boater can own. I have yet to be aboard a boat that did not have on hand a Calder book. My own copy of  Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4th Edition has been essential in  assisting me with a myriad of issues over the years.

Yes, I do have the newest 4th edition of Calder's. I keep forgetting to take a picture of it.

Should a 5th edition be published I will buy that "hot off the presses" because technology does change. I might not have the newest (thinking lithium batteries) however I am watching that field. Perhaps when my lead acid batts begin to age out, I will be able to upgrade.

Calder's is for folks that do not know everything, need guidance in troubleshooting systems, and more. His book shows how to dismantle and fix stuff that only experts understand. Plus, he explains boat gear in a way that a neophyte can understand.

I am not a shill for Calder as he absolutely does not require that. IF you choose to buy Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4the Edition though my Amazon affiliate links I am compensated by Amazon but still, you're a boater: pick the least expensive one.

Side Note: Is it just me who gets absolutely irate when I read or see on YouTube a "review" where the recipient gets it for free, then raves about how wonderful said free item is. Oh, and a link is provided so they can earn money too. UGH! I abhor tawdry stuff like that.

The reason I am able to wander around YouTube is because I was gifted a tablet by an exceptionally kind gent. That has made a huge different in my life. I had no idea how much easily obtainable information is available, and the larger format of a tablet makes a world of difference. Thank you again Cap'n.

I am beyond fortunate to be able to live this life. I know many fear inflation. Having a boat that can support me off-grid is essential to my happiness level. Knowing that I will continue to set my own destiny is important to me. Seaweed is more than just a boat... she is home.

John's Pass is in nearby Madeira Beach. This was taken on a
weekday. You can tell that by the dearth of boats on the water.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays the waterways are filled with weekend warriors.

I prefer to be tucked  in some place peaceful when the boat traffic is high.

As an update I still have not resolved my watermaker issue described in the
Watermaker Woes article however that is a next week item. It has to be fixed!!!

Life is good aboard Seaweed. Progress is being made incrementally on a multitude of items on The List. Lots of little things have been crossed off, while larger ones are added. The List can be a ruthless dictator!

Thank you for keeping me company as I plug away at life aboard a beautiful boat. Thank you for reading.

Were you familiar with using WD-40 or ether as a way to start a diesel?
Did you know about the silicone properties and their benefits for our engines? I did not!

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