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post #1 of 22 Old 03-31-2019 Thread Starter
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Engine Oil too old?

Shiva, unfortunately was in the hard from Nov 17 until she was launch October 18, The oil and filter were changed before she was hauled in 11/17. Since that time the engine has only clocked 6+ hrs.

I was not going to do an oil change until I clock another 70 hrs or so... Is there any harm leaving the oil from 11/17 change until some time this summer?

Does oil degrade sitting in an unused engine?

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post #2 of 22 Old 03-31-2019
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Re: Engine Oil too old?

When I drove to Alaska from Fla to work on the Salmon boats, my vehicle sat around all summer with little or no use. When I was employed operating a yacht, sometimes the truck would spend 6+ months in a storage locker. Often I would change the oil after the run to AK or before putting the truck in storage, but every time I cranked them up to use them again, the first stop was a quick oil change place (in Ak I had to change it myself). I believe oil loses its integrity if allowed to sit someplace like an oil pan, with all the dirt, moisture and impurities that accumulate there.
I have no scientific basis for this, it's just one of those precautions I feel is necessary, and I've never had any engine ever fail me.
What're a few bucks when you are talking about an engine worth thousands?

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Re: Engine Oil too old?

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
I believe oil loses its integrity if allowed to sit someplace like an oil pan, with all the dirt, moisture and impurities that accumulate there.
I've never understood this logic... but if someone can enlighten me....

Sure, changing the oil, running the engine a short time and changing it again will remove more impurities from the lube system - irrespective of elapsed time between changes. But we don't do that on a regular basis as the amounts are small and impurities soon build up again. I don't see leaving the engine unused changes that.

Engine oil is very stable and I don't really see the difference if it is stored in a can or in the engine. No new acids, etc will form if there is no combustion and any condensation that forms while unused will quickly dissipate once the engine gets hot.

If you want to do more, it makes more sense to me to change the oil twice in quick succession before you park up. That way you are leaving it with less acids to do damage while unused.

Like you, I have no scientific evidence, just my own logic. Any real experts????
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Re: Engine Oil too old?

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I've never understood this logic... but if someone can enlighten me....

Sure, changing the oil, running the engine a short time and changing it again will remove more impurities from the lube system. But we don't do that on a regular basis as the amounts are small and impurities soon build up again. I don't see leaving the engine unused changes that.

Engine oil is very stable and I don't really see the difference if it is stored in a can or in the engine. No new acids, etc will form if there is no combustion and any condensation that forms while unused will quickly dissipate once the engine gets hot.

If you want to do more, it makes more sense to me to change the oil twice in quick succession before you park up. That way you are leaving it with less acids to do damage while unused.

Like you, I have no scientific evidence, just my own logic. Any real experts????
My logic is quite simple. Engine oil is sold in sealed plastic containers. An engine sump is neither.

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Re: Engine Oil too old?

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
My logic is quite simple. Engine oil is sold in sealed plastic containers. An engine sump is neither.
Sorry, I don't want to get into a stupid argument, but that is spurious logic. Because you buy oil in a particular container doesn't mean that it deteriorates in a different container. Oil is sold in sealed plastic contains because of cost and convenience. Plastic is lighter to ship, more durable and cheaper - used to come in metal cans.

In a previous lifetime my company maintained multiple engines. We purchased oil in 55 gallon metal drums that were lined up at the end of the workshop. We had 6 drums in different weights and qualities depending on intended use. Each drum had an open vent (just meshed) and a dispensing pump, so not sealed. Standard operating procedure, approved by the oil manufacturer. The least used drum would only get replaced every couple of years. Never any issues.

I'm not saying that you are wrong, only that your logic doesn't support that - maybe there is some other reaction that neither of us is aware of. Once again, any experts out there?

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Re: Engine Oil too old?

This is how I understand/see it. Oil serves two purposes. It lubricates and it protects.

I do not believe the lubrication suffers much, if any, degradation, until the engine is run.

The protectants are all sorts of added chemicals that I do believe degrade with just the passage of time, when expose to air, moisture or the by-products of combustion in the pan. They are added in order to attach to and/or deal with these contaminants.

The real advantage of modern oil is the protectants.


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Re: Engine Oil too old?

Oil has to be the absolute cheapest thing on the boat. Why guess. Just change it.
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Re: Engine Oil too old?

Thanks guys... It's not an issue of cost. I simply want to know if an engine which has run 6hs and then sits a year needs to have the oil changed for a specific reason and what would that be?

And... If you engine is going to sit unused for 6 months (or longer) does it even need to have the oil replaced? Is there enough residual oil to prevent rusting inside... or would it even rust?

I've always winter stored with a fresh oil change and it hardly matters whether I do the change in November or the following April... But does it matter? Or is new oil in the engine degrading in a significant way over 6 months???

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Re: Engine Oil too old?

This got me thinking and so I've been reading but only from reliable sources such as oil companies (no internet subjective stuff). Oil company recommendations vary a little and, obviously, they have a vested interest in being conservation to ovoid issues and also, sell more oil.

A quick synopsis is that, in a sealed container and not subject to excessive heat, oil is safe for 5 years, after which it should be examined before use. Basically, if it looks alright and smells alright, it's still safe to use even beyond the recommended shelf life.

The major time related issues seem to be separation and oxidization. Separation is from just sitting, so the container doesn't seem to make a huge difference. Oxidization is from air exposure, which is obviously less in a sealed container - the question is degree. Oxidization accelerates significantly as the hot oil is churned around a running engine. One quote I found, "Oil does not degrade significantly just sitting in a cold engine". Draw your own conclusions.

Personally, I wouldn't be concerned but, if I was, I'd use a tube down the dipstick hole to take a sample. If the oil hasn't clumped, doesn't look cloudy and smells normal, I wouldn't worry. However, I do concur that an oil change is cheap insurance.

I'd be interested in any expert opinions, otherwise, I'm out.

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Re: Engine Oil too old?

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Is there enough residual oil to prevent rusting inside... or would it even rust?
No simple answer. Better oils have better film retention and so remain on surfaces longer and, the more moisture, the greater the chance of rust forming. All obvious but how to quantify that for any particular circumstance...?????

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