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Hi All,

I have a 35 year old Universal 5424 with 3450 or so hours on it. Like most, it gets more use during the summer season. I'm looking for suggestions on oil change frequency. Last 2 oil lab results were very clean. Always run at "cruise power" (2300 RPM) under load (of course), never for idle battery charging etc..

Dave
 

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Old as Dirt!
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Hi All,

I have a 35 year old Universal 5424 with 3450 or so hours on it. Like most, it gets more use during the summer season. I'm looking for suggestions on oil change frequency. Last 2 oil lab results were very clean. Always run at "cruise power" (2300 RPM) under load (of course), never for idle battery charging etc..

Dave
One year or 100 hours, whichever comes first.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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One year or 100 hours, whichever comes first.
+1

But should have read "One year, BEFORE layup or 100 hours, whichever comes first."
 

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What does the book say?

If you can't find a book for it ask the company. Mine is 150 hours, so its no use doing it at 100 if its managed 35 years at 150.

:)
 

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About 100 hours is about right.
Change the oil at the end of season before lay-up too.
Diesels like the long hours of motoring. The oil is kept hot.
Stop-start running is what the oil dislikes most of all.
 

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You'll never do harm by changing your oil more frequently than minimally required. Of course, your operators manual will have a standard. However, keep in mind that it can't take all variable into account. The standard is proposed for an engine that is run frequently, under normal loads in normal environments. Stress any of these and you need to change more frequently. The books often note this.

Given the relatively light use of a sailboat diesel and the fact that we go up on the hard and it just sits for 5 months, I practice the following. The book says 100 hrs.

I change the oil and filter at the beginning of the season during spring commissioning. I then change just the oil mid-season, usually around 50 hrs of use. My book also says that the turbo charger is very sensitive to requiring clean oil. I then change just the oil at the end of the season, before she is laid up. This puts fresh anti-corrosion chemicals in the sump before she goes to sleep. It's these additives that expire with both time and use.
 

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Its probably quite different for boats laid up for 6 months per year and it would seem before and after layup is normal.

For actively cruising boats 100 hours can slip by in 2 weeks. Certainly on passage where the engine is generating 3 or 4 hours per day. Or just 2 hours per day at anchor.

At $28.49 per 4 litres, and mine takes just over 5 plus oil filter at $9.95 its coming out at $500 per year oil and filters alone... If you want to add fuel filters as well...?

Do whats good for the donk but without going overboard for the inboard.


Mark
 

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Its probably quite different for boats laid up for 6 months per year and it would seem before and after layup is normal.

For actively cruising boats 100 hours can slip by in 2 weeks. Certainly on passage where the engine is generating 3 or 4 hours per day. Or just 2 hours per day at anchor.

At $28.49 per 4 litres, and mine takes just over 5 plus oil filter at $9.95 its coming out at $500 per year oil and filters alone... If you want to add fuel filters as well...?

Do whats good for the donk but without going overboard for the inboard.


Mark
Hmmm, you might want to think about a hydro generator, that seems like an awful lot of engine running time while on passage. My little towed generator is BY FAR the most productive and dependable independent source of making amps while underway that I've got... All day, all night, as long as the boatspeed is up to 4 knots or so...

For anyone racking up those sorts of engine hours, I think an oil bypass filtration setup makes a lot of sense over the long haul... Most regular oil filters operate within the range of 50-80 microns, whereas a bypass filter can filter impurities as small as 1-2 microns... That's a HUGE difference that is bound to pay dividends over the long haul. This summer has been my first longer trip since installing mine, I'm now somewhere between 150-200 hours since my last oil change, and I'm very impressed by how clean my oil still is...

Virtually all the folks out there on Nordhavns and the like are running with oil bypass filter setups... Steve D'Antonio had an excellent article in the Nov-Dec 2012 issue of PASSAGEMAKER if one can find it, unfortunately it doesn't appear to be available online at the moment...
 

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I try to compare my usage to over-the-road trucks. Multiply the number of hours run by some reasonable average over-the-road speed like 50 mph - 100 engine hours is analogous to 5000 miles; 200 engine hours is analogous to 10000 miles. The truck guys, especially owner-operators, are pretty good at maintenance. They add things like the improved filtering Jon described.

I do maintenance on a schedule based on holidays (it helps me remember). Smoke detector batteries at Christmas for example. I change the oil in everything at Thanksgiving regardless of hours run unless I've very recently changed it.

The Thanksgiving oil change also has a sample sent out for analysis so I can maintain a baseline. It isn't very expensive (about $25 each) and could save some money down the line by identifying a problem early before it gets expensive.
 

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Most marine engines are installed at an angle to the horizontal plane.
Most boaters use a pump or vacuum means to remove the crankcase oil (through the dipstick tube), thus there is used dirty oil always left in the crankcase.

Example for modified oil change interval:
If your engine spec. oil change interval is 150 hours, and if the oil capacity is (say) 6 quarts .... and you can only remove 5 quarts, then ....
Your oil change interval should then be = 5/6 X 150 = 125 hours.
 

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If anything, err on the side of more frequent oil changes. A marine engine works constantly, unlike automotive/truck engines where much of the time the engine is coasting with little load. Marine engines are akin to industrial use. That's why the lifespan of automotive V8 conversions is pretty low. I change mine (3GM30F)at 50 hours. That's a full week's running 100% of the time, 8 hours a day, which does not happen too often if you put the sails up at all:) I believe changing oil often is the one most important thing you can do to avoid very expensive repairs. My cars get 300+ k miles, I believe, largely because the oil is changed religiously.
 
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