why is my oil so clean? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-02-2015 Thread Starter
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why is my oil so clean?

Ive got a 38 yr old Yanmar 2qm20. I baby it. I change my oil and filter every 100 hrs or less, and check it before each start up. I use genuine Yanmar filters. I use Shell Rotella 10w40 conventional oil.

The engine is a little smoky but nothing outside of the norm. (unless you consider the norm for a 38 yr old diesel to be no smoke at all). It does not consume much oil either ... I might add a 1/2 quart in a season.

My oil is clean, damn clean. Cleaner than either of my cars (granted they are both 170k turbo saabs, but still).

The oil is the color of fresh, just out of the bottle, oil. Its been this way for at least a year, maybe more. In fact I cant remember the last time my oil turned the dark black color I would expect of "normal" used oil.

Is this OK? how can this be?

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post #2 of 13 Old 06-02-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

The oil on my 30 year old 3GM30F stays very clean for most of the season. By fall at haulout time it's slightly black. On some engines its just very difficult to get all the oil out though the dipstick tube during an oil change which how most of us do it (me included). If some dirty oil remains, the oil will immediately turn dark after the first run. All in all, if you are changing your oil per the engine manual, I wouldn't pay much attention to the color.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-02-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

Same here. 30 year old Yanmar. Oil stays very clean. Runs like a top.

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-02-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

You guys all did something right in a past life - every diesel I've ever had, including new on the pallet, turned the oil black after a few hours of running.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-02-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

I agree with Brian, all my diesels turn the oil black really quick. That is because it is collecting the soot residue. Which I suppose is a good thing frankly......My 85 2gm20 turns the oil black with in an hour or two. As does my 92 IDI 7.3 in my dumptruck, The kabota in bobcat, the now sold 96 6.5gm diesel, 05 Duramax and 1835 skid loader with a small cummins in it.

Must be doing something wrong........

Marty

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I drives me dinghy!
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-03-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

That's unusual, and sounds like a really tight engine for its age. Was it recently rebuilt?. Can you post a picture of the dipstick with oil on it? I wanna see! My Perkins turns new oil black just by looking at it. A buddy cruiser's Yanmar is newer and turns new oil black too.
I'm gonna try using the Shell oil brand you use.

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post #7 of 13 Old 06-03-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

I removed and painted my oil pan on my 28+ year old Universal M25 last fall. Here is a before shot;


The oil drain plug (where all the rust is) goes at the forward end of the motor.

Prior to the removal, the oil would turn black very quickly after a change. When I pulled the pan, I realized that because of the angle of the motor, more than half a quart of oil was trapped in the rear of the pan!

I have put about 5 hours on the engine since I refinished the pan, and the oil still looks cleaner than it ever has.


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post #8 of 13 Old 06-03-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

This means the oil isn't working. It's a problem and you need to get to a boatyard mechanic for a rebuild.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things y%^&*.....oh never mind. 90% of the people on sailing forums already use that as their signature! I'm not a conformist.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-04-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

It depends on how hard you run your motor! We have a 1994 fresh water cooled MD22L 50 hp, and the oil stays clean, after all summer! That being said all summer usually is about 15-20 hrs of use. If you only use the motor for short duration, and it does not get hot, then you will get some darkening. In the trucks I used to run, the Detriots always turned the oil black after about 1000-3000 miles. On the Cats, and Cummins the oil would stay clear for about 4k miles, then darken. On the new Cummins 06 and up the oil would stay clean till the next change. Soot is what turns the oil dark. If you have an engine that turns the oil black quickly it usually means you have a certain amount of blow by. If you are worried about the oil not changing color, take sample and have an analysis done of it.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-05-2015
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Re: why is my oil so clean?

Our lil yanmar currently has 92 hours on the oil and the analysis showed the delo 15-40 to be within tolerances for new in used oil. Its comforting to have the paper from the lab telling me there is nothing wrong. I second the analysis recommendation.

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