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Old 10-21-2013
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Where'd my oil go?

Changed my engine oil and filter at beginning of the summer (3gm30 Yanmar) only to find when I checked it yesterday that the level was almost at the bottom of the dipstick! Good I checked it...! I probably put on about 50 hours of running time over the summer. I have seen a small amount of blue smoke but nothing that seemed really significant. There are no leaks and actually the engine is quite clean. Ideas?

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Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

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Originally Posted by Dave Montgomery View Post
Changed my engine oil and filter at beginning of the summer (3gm30 Yanmar) only to find when I checked it yesterday that the level was almost at the bottom of the dipstick! Good I checked it...! I probably put on about 50 hours of running time over the summer. I have seen a small amount of blue smoke but nothing that seemed really significant. There are no leaks and actually the engine is quite clean. Ideas?
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

Three things to consider:

1. When you did the oil change did you run the engine for a while, then let it settle before dipping it?

2. Do you dip the oil when the engine is cold, or hot? If you dip when hot, you must allow 10 minutes after shut down to allow all the oil to drain back to the sump, otherwise you could be getting a low reading. I find it less messy to dip it cold before I start and also if the oil is very clean it is easier to see it when it's more viscous. Because I take the readings cold, I never fill it to the 'full' mark, but only to about a half inch below.

3. How much blue smoke? Any blue smoke indicates some oil is getting past the rings. It is quite possible that even if your engine does not have a lot of hours on it, you have glazed the bores - possibly from not loading it hard enough.

And 50 hours between dips is too long. I do mine about every 10 and never have to add oil between changes.
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

A little blue smoke, and the loss of say, 1 quart of oil over 50 hours running, are entirely consistent.
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

Not sure what quantity of oil is measured between full and the bottom of the dipstick. I also wondered if it was originally measured before a new oil filter may have taken up some capacity. After an oil/filter change, you should run it for a few mins, let it settle, then check level.

However, the blue smoke is a dead giveaway and I'm betting the drop on the stick is less than a full quart, since the motor probably only takes about 3 to fill. A compression check is probably in order.
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Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

A little blue smoke when you start it, or all the time? If the engine starts easily even in colder weather the compression is probably OK. If it doesn't you might have ring/compression problems. I'm guessing at the oil/filter change you didn't top it off after running for a few minutes to check that there wasn't a leak at the filter?
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

Did you prefill the filter? If not that will drag your level down once you start up after the change...

But in the future I reckon you'll check the oil a little more often than every 50 hours??
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

If your crankcase breather system shows pooling of oil in spots, it may be from excessive blow by? But, as mentioned above, if it starts well when cold, compression may be OK?

If you are using spec weight oil it may be just "normal" wear & tear? Total time on the engine may be helpful to know.

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Old 10-22-2013
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

As I recall, Yanmar specifies checking oil level every eight hours of operation. I do and while I'm at it I wipe down the entire engine with a clean dry cloth.
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Re: Where'd my oil go?

My oil is checked before I turn the key .... every time. Cheap insurance.
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