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Can I use off-brand oil filters?

2014 April 1

Dear Boat Doctor,

I have a Yanmar 4JH2 engine on my boat but I can't seem to find Yanmar oil filters locally. Is it OK to use another brand? Also, the installation of my engine makes getting at the filter difficult. I can't get a strap wrench around the filter nor my hands, I often resort to the old screwdriver puncture trick but that makes a huge mess. Tell me there is a better way.

Benjamin Steel
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Dear Benjamin,

I have a 4JH2 in my boat and it's a great engine. Yanmar filters are tried and true, but I use WIX filters too, the oil filter cross reference is WIX 51334.

To solve the wrench access problem, I use the over-the-end oil filter wrenches from Lisle (www.lislecorp.com, 712-542-5101). You can find these wrenches at any large automotive parts store for about $10.