Why have diesel oil tested? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-12-2010 Thread Starter
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Why have diesel oil tested?

I've asked for much guidance on Sailnet. You've all been very helpful.

One fellow asked me how many hours were on the engine. It's a 1985 Yanmar RWC 2GM and the tach shows only 80, which I find dubious. He also suggested I get the oil tested.

Seems, from what I've learned here, that salt water in the cooling passages will kill the engine before anything else. But, that said, do you know a place I can have the oil tested? Have an idea what I should pay for that service? What will test results tell me?

Finally, right now there is only an engine overheat light (Yanmar Panel type B (for Basic!). Could I fit a sensor to the 2GM (max water temp 100 F) to power a water temperature gauge? Or if you had one gauge to tell you if the engine was running happily, what gauge would you want?

Thanks for any guidance you can offer...

One other little question. I posted a boat pic, and my User CP page shows that pic, but it doesn't show up when I ask or answer a question. It's 61 KB, maybe too close to the 64 KB maximum?
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-12-2010
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Check out my article on oil analysis ...

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post #3 of 9 Old 12-12-2010
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You test the lube oil, not the diesel oil the engine burns. It shows metal content resulting from wear. Lube Oil Analysis
I think it would be more useful when buying to help determine engine condition than after the purchase.

Yes you can fit a temp sensor and water temp gauge. Any good auto parts store should be able to help.

The picture is way too big for an avatar. An avatar is limited to 150 x 100 pixels or 19.5 kb, whichever is smaller. Click on user CP then click on EDIT AVATAR on the left side.

If it is a current pic of your boat a water temp gauge is probably the least of your problems.

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post #4 of 9 Old 12-12-2010
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Lube oil for diesel engs should be checked from time to time simply for washdown ,that is the diesel going by the rings and diluting yor lube oil , let alone for really bad stuff like metal shaveings ( failure of bearings like timkens & balls uasually) ,bronze powder giveing the oil a bronze color ( uasually from bushing cam & crank berings wear) ect.. all of which accelerates with washdown condition.

Yes the eng hours are low but piston rings loose thier springeness over time & if one doesn't turn the eng over for years then the rings can leave a bad corroded ring around the clynder wall ( like sitting on the hard for years)

Just some things to look for hope this helps...

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post #5 of 9 Old 12-12-2010
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you can have the lube oil tested by any reputable diesel semi truck repair facility check with local international or kenworth dealer.

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post #6 of 9 Old 12-12-2010
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I would put audible alarms on the oil and temperature gauges. If you loose oil pressure on a diesel the bearings go out very quickly because of the high compression so get an oil pressure switch that triggers a horn or loud buzzer at a rather high pressure but below normal operating pressure. It will give an alarm when trying to start the engine, but shut up a few seconds after startup. Also get a voltmeter that reads about 8 to 16 volts, I am not exactly sure of the range as it depends on the manufacturer. The voltmeter should also be fitted because a dead battery means no engine and you would have to dock using sails only. It would be a good idea to practice engine out procedures anyway as several other problems could also leave a dead engine. Get an accurate voltmeter with marks for each volt. A digital voltmeter is best as they can be very accurate. Wire it into the on/off key for the engine, but also have a momentary button that will read voltage with everything off. If a battery sits for about six hours or longer with no charge or discharge, this is the resting voltage and it tells how much the battery is charged. At 11.9 volts it is dead, at 12.06 it is 25% capacity, at 12.25 volts it is 50%, at 12.45 volts it is 75% and at 12.65 volts, it is fully charged. These voltages will be higher when the temperature is really cold and of course lower when temperatures are high. The voltages above are at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. With the engine running for 15 minutes or so after startup the charging voltage should have reached the stable voltage necessary to charge the battery to capacity, which is 13.8 to 14.7 volts with 14.4 volts a good compromise. The lower voltage results in less erosion of the battery plates, but takes longer to charge. A voltmeter is also a good idea if you have solar panels.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-13-2010
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these people will test your oil to the extent you ask(pay) for: look up "blackstone labs" my post count is too low for me to post a direct link. i'm a stupid newbie i guess....
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-13-2010
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Blackstone Labs

Blackstone Labs

I use them for my boat and cars.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-13-2010
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Blackstone is probably the big name in mail-order test labs. Some of the auto chains sell the test kit mailers for $25 or so, but some diesel shops or dealers may test for well less than that.

Blackstone and others explain what the test results mean. Basically, the metal content will tell you if there is bearing metal (bearing wear) indicating a failure to come. Fuel or condensate or antifreeze contamination. Silicon indicating the engine was easting a lot of dust (no air filter). There's a lot you can tell by the percents of "that's not oil" that are in your oil. And, they'll tell you the actual viscosity of the oil, which does break down over time. Or if they show your engine is full of 50-weight when it is supposed to run on 30...you can figure someone has been trying to hide oil leaks or consumption.

Well worth the $25 to get a baseline of what's really going on in your engine. On bigger engines that use (literally) barrels of lube oil, it also tells you whether you can still run your oil, or need to change it. Big cost saving.
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