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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 06-17-2013
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excessive oil loss

Hi All,

I think I am in big trouble. Looking for advice and theories. Yesterday I went sailing, which involves motoring for about an hour, sailing for three or four and then motoring home for another hour.

Noticed a lot of smoke out the exhaust, bluish grey, and when idling to approach the dock the engine stalled.

Next morning I check the oil before starting and it is totally low, like nothing on the dipstick, was just about empty. The day before it was full.

I have no obvious leak in the engine compartment and the smoke leads me to think I am burning the oil.

My question is what now? The engine is a Volvo MD2040C. It was intstalled about 12 years ago. Looked thru Nigel Calder's book, it was not too specific.

Do I need to pull the head? Redo the piston rings? Any other obvious things to check out before major surgery?

Any advice will be welcome.

Thanks,

Ron
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: excessive oil loss

Hi Ron,

Well, you may have a serious problem. Or you may not.

Have you checked the dipstick again? On my boat, if the engine has been running, and then shut down, the next time I pull the dipstick it will be bone dry. I still remember the first time I did that. I felt an electric shock as I thought "Oh crap, my engine is dead." I put the dipstick back in, pulled it again, and like magic, the oil level was right on. Happens every time too. First I pull the stick, then re-insert, and then I get an accurate oil measurement.

This happens on both my Universal M-25 and also on the M-21 in my previous boat.

GOOD LUCK!!!

Barry
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Re: excessive oil loss

Barry,

Wish you were right in this case. Kept checking the oil, and it took almost 5 qts, almost the whole capacity.

Ron
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: excessive oil loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdlives View Post
Barry,

Wish you were right in this case. Kept checking the oil, and it took almost 5 qts, almost the whole capacity.

Ron
You lost 5 qts. in two hours of running time?!
If it is still running and this is a new a sudden problem I would suspect a broken ring or a cracked head.
Thats a lot of oil to loose in two hours.
A compression and leak down test will determine the need to pull the head.
Good luck.
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: excessive oil loss

what color is your diesel fuel--if it is black, donot run engine--repair/rebuild and check injectors. do not start engine if fuel is black, unless you have an instant way to shut her down sans shut off , as shut off willnot work...you will have a runaway diesel....ask me how i know this...
if fuel is black, you have engine lube oil mixed in and need to repair. merely checking oil level is not adequate. you will need to find the leak. ASAP

my engine ran out of oil many times--you NEED to find leak and repair then inspect valves and rings for any problems and check compression. be safe. we were most lucky.

btw--my leakage ddnt come from within engine---there are hoses to oil filter, if it is remote, as is mine, and there are all kinds of places lube oil will transfer into fuel and vice versa, and out of the engine without compression being down--make sure you have them all checked out so you dont learn how to shut off your engine the hard way
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Last edited by zeehag; 06-17-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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Re: excessive oil loss

Sorry but it sounds like a pretty drastic, sudden oil ring(s) failure on the face of it.
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Re: excessive oil loss

Hey,

As mentioned, that's A LOT of oil to lose in only an hour or two of running. In fact, I would be really surprised if the engine could BURN that much oil in a few hours. Most small auxiliary engines burn less than 1 gallon / hour of diesel. If you can your engine for 2 hours I would expect you to burn around 1 gallon of diesel and you burned more than a gallon of OIL!

I assume that you checked the engine and you are not leaking the oil? I would expect to find a broken oil line and a gallon of oil in the bilge. If you can't find any massive oil leaks then I would suggest filling the engine with oil (to the full mark on the dipstick) and then running the engine at cruise RPM for 15 minutes. Shut it down and see how much oil you lost.

If you are really burning a quart every 15 minutes then, as others have suggested, I would expect a big engine problem like cracked block, broken rings, or cracked piston.

Sorry,
Barry

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdlives View Post
Barry,

Wish you were right in this case. Kept checking the oil, and it took almost 5 qts, almost the whole capacity.

Ron
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Re: excessive oil loss

there is a lot more that will fail on a diesel to disappear oil than in a gas powered car. you may find something you donot expect.
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excessive oil loss

silly question but you are using a grade of oil specifically for Diesels of the recommended viscousity? ie shell Rotella 15w-40.if you put the thin ie 5w-20 non diesel stuff used in modern close tolerance automotive gasoline engines your diesel will consume at an alarming rate.
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excessive oil loss

as mentioned above by others if checking oil with a hot engine wait a good 5-10 mins for it all to drain back into the sump especially in an older engine which might have slightly clogged oil galleries etc
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