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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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  #11  
Old 06-16-2009
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You need to use "C" rated oil in diesels. The first letter in the API rating needs to be C. The weight depends on the temperature. Unless you use your boat in the winter a single weight oil is fine. My Yanmar calls for 30 weight for the temps. I operate in.
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  #12  
Old 06-16-2009
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The Universal manual calls for 10W40 or 30. Just make use you use an oil rated for use in diesels.
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Old 06-16-2009
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Denise, the "SAE" ratings are only relevant to one thing: How quickly does that oil flow through an SAE funnel at a specified temperature? Literally. That's all they measure, one temperature cold, one temperature hot, which is why some of them have a "W"inter rating as well as the single hot rating.

SAE ratings don't mean much.

The API "C" ratings for diesels ("C"ompression engines), and the "S" ("S"park)ratings are more important. A grade CD oil meets later specifications than a "CC" rated oil, and is obsoleted by a "CE" rating, etc. Same thing for the "S" series, the later in the alphabet that the second letter is, the newer the specs are. Sometimes that's not very relevant, but usually the later letter is the better product.

All oils with the same ratings aren't the same, but it is hard to find meaningful ways to compare besides reputation or brand name. Synthetic oils generally are built to higher standards, with added ingredients for better lubrication like molybdium sulfide dust, and the ability to provide "thin film lubrication" which protects your engine bearings during starting. The SAE specs don't rate those qualities at all.

So...any brand name you have faith in, that meets or exceeds the specs for your engine and the operating temperature range you will be running it in. If you want some fun, spend $25 on sending out an oil sample for testing once a year. The tests will show you if there is fuel or water or dirt contamination in the oil, along with trace metals that can warn you of bearing failures, etc. way before they are going to happen. Water contamination can come from simply not running the engine long enough and hot enough to cook off the normal condensation that forms in the oil, most of the sampling companies will tell you how to interpret their results.
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Old 06-16-2009
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Old 07-12-2009
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Fascinating discussion, and one I'm very interested in right now. Especially MikeyMo's thoughts, since we own similar boats, but maybe not the same engines. I have just bought a Sabre 34-I (1979) with a Volvo MD11C, and the manual recommends 20W30. Can't find it anywhere (Pep Boys, Advance, WalMart, Sams, West). What do other users of Volvo's use?


Thanks,

Harry
1979 Sabre 34-I #063
Annapolis
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Old 07-13-2009
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Harry,

I use Rotella 15W40 which I get at Costco on our MD2030. The Operator's Manual specifies "SAE 15W/30, SAE 20W/50."
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Old 07-13-2009
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Harry, you have a 1979 boat with a 1979 engine operating manual?

Put it in perspective. In 1979 oils did not perform the way they do today, oil additives broke down way faster than they do today. If your manual calls for 20W30, think about what that means. Your engine needs 30 for normal operation, and Volvo is saying that's too thick for cold starting.

Today's 0W40 and 5W30 oils DID NOT EXIST IN 1979! But they would be fine for your engine (provided they are C-rated, not just S-) today. Volvo probbaly would have spec'd a 5W30, IF IT HAD EXISTED IN A QUALITY OIL PRODUCT BACK IN 1979.

If you do a web search on what the SAE and API numbers mean, the mystery goes away. Does a redhead or a blonde make a better spouse? (SAE numbers and hair color are both about equally relevant today.)
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Old 07-13-2009
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HelloSailor, you hit on exactly my question. Yes, it's a 1979 engine. And, while I downloaded the manual this month, it's original to the vintage. And, yes, oil has come a LONG way in 30 years. I'm tempted to go with Rotella-T 15-40 (universally available high quality oil). The 40 is a touch thicker, but I doubt anyone will ever notice. And the startup at 15 would be nothing but good.

Harry
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Old 07-13-2009
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Paul, I'm aware of the issue--or, the allegation that there might be an issue--but AFAIK the only problem is that a "slipperier" synthetic oil may get past aging parts faster than a thicker cheap dino crude. The W-weight shouldn't be much of an issue, as the engine heats up pretty quickly. If the engine is simply not leaking because it is so old and gunked up...Yeah, you've got a point. Then again, an old oilburner that blows smoke can run for a long time burning a quart every two weeks instead of getting a ring and valve job. that still doesn't mean it shouldn't GET one.

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Old 07-15-2009
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keep it clean!

Last I looked an atomic 4 was a gas engine but who cares? IMHO it is important to use C series oils in a diesel, Rotella being one of the better ones. 5 or 10 viscosity will leak thru a bad seal faster than 40, 40 will be harder to start, especially in cold weather. Within the same engine, temperature changes will determine the optimum viscosity, and as the engine ages and wears, a higher viscosity my become better because things don't fit as snug as they used to. Best place to start is from the owner's manual, but you will almost never hurt a diesel as long as you use a c series oil and change it regularly to keep it clean. Never go over 12 months on oil and filter, if you use it a lot change about 100 operating hours. Look at your dipstick daily, and don't panic if you just got your first diesel and see the oil is black! That's normal! Don't overfill, that is worse than running a pint low! Change it hot to get as much of that black gunk out as possible. An air leak or a clogged fuel filter will shut you down a lot sooner than oil. (I just spent the last two days cleaning a 30 year old diesel fuel tank)
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