Super thick engine oil problem

Big 200kva Cummins generator at work here has an odd thing going on with it.
it’s been running around a year now, clocked up 9500 hours or so, been serviced usually to within 40-50 (It runs day and night so not long I’m going over) hours of its due times.
went to change the oil yesterday, I’ve been away for 3 month and boss has been doing it and noticed a bloody mess of oil under the drain plug. Dirty fecker I thought, leaving it like that. Fitted the drain hose and nothing came out, pulled it off and stuck a screwdriver in to the valve (it’s in a cabinet where you can’t get a pan underneath) and only a dribble came out.
Had to unscrew the valve out and just dump the oil into the cabinet.
it’s like tar a lot of it.
Took the filter off it and it looks like the cold oil out of a neglected old engine.

any ideas?
Mine was that dust could be getting in to it somehow, it is pretty dusty up here.

Also, any ideas of stuff to get the gunge out of the sump?
It’s a major job to get the pan out from underneath.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
Big 200kva Cummins generator at work here has an odd thing going on with it.
it’s been running around a year now, clocked up 9500 hours or so, been serviced usually to within 40-50 (It runs day and night so not

boss has been doing it and noticed a bloody mess of oil under the drain plug.

it’s like tar a lot of it.
Took the filter off it and it looks like the cold oil out of a neglected old engine.

any ideas?
Mine was that dust could be getting in to it somehow, it is pretty dusty up here.

Also, any ideas of stuff to get the gunge out of the sump?
It’s a major job to get the pan out from underneath.
I wonder whether the boss will fess up to neglecting it?

To clean it you could try a 50:50 mix of engine oil and diesel in the sump, run for half an hour at no-load fast idle for a short period until warm and change again. Watch the oil pressure just in case the tar blocks the oil pump intake screen, although I suppose it has automatic monitoring and emergency shut-down for situations like that.
 
Large deposits of soot, usually associated with not getting a clean burn, can prematurely thicken the oil.
Or......has it actually been changed whilst you’ve been away ?
Could be that, it is only really working at 40-50% load and he said the air filter was pretty dirty. was frozen most of the time I’ve been here, but was getting dusty when I left.
 

bitwrx

Member
I just had the engine oil of our Manitou sampled. £60 told me some stuff I did know (like it's well overdue a change), and some stuff I didn't (there's a bit of wear in the engine, but it's not the big ends/mains).

Might be worth a punt, to see if you can find anything out. I used https://www.theoillab.co.uk/, but I guess other people will be able to do the same job.
 
I just had the engine oil of our Manitou sampled. £60 told me some stuff I did know (like it's well overdue a change), and some stuff I didn't (there's a bit of wear in the engine, but it's not the big ends/mains).

Might be worth a punt, to see if you can find anything out. I used https://www.theoillab.co.uk/, but I guess other people will be able to do the same job.
124822E7-01E4-4150-B00A-4AC3D27DC252.jpeg

back of beyond up in Iceland, doubt there’s even a lab that would do that up here!

He says he’s done it 4 times since I’ve been away (3 months)
 
dusty conditions which blocked air filter which caused inefficient combustion as already been
Suggested also running at only 50%capacity could mean engine has not reached full running temperature
If oil is too thick to empty could mean internal oil ways are blocked which will cause oil starvation on startup
 
dusty conditions which blocked air filter which caused inefficient combustion as already been
Suggested also running at only 50%capacity could mean engine has not reached full running temperature
If oil is too thick to empty could mean internal oil ways are blocked which will cause oil starvation on startup
Aside from the shutdowns for oil changes, when I forgot to put the plug back in for the automatic fuel pump from the main outside tank and when the fuel freezes, the thing hasn’t been switched off for over a year. 24/7, never cools down!
It’s over powered for the job.
 
Nothing to add to the other suggestions other than to get a new one in place on your time schedule rather than an emergency. Doesn’t sound like you’d want to be without it for too long.
It just runs the camp for the power line erectors, our power comes from a hydro plant. Though that did have a few issues when the junction box taking 9000 volts up to his new cafe slipped into a hole of melt water when it thawed and the paler it was sitting on cobbled over... and when I nicked the cable with a shovel when I was burying it (not connected)
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
The engine must be, I'm guessing, derated to between 250 and 300hp at around 1400rpm? Probably the familiar [to agriculture] C8.3 litre engine variant. At a guess it'll use about 35 litres per hour maximum at ¾ load or so [worked out from what my smaller but harder working Massey uses at full chat]. Assuming 24 hour running, probably sometimes at a quarter to half load, will it use 750 litres of fuel daily?
What's the service interval? Does it use depth filtration and ultra long drain oil for 1000 to 1500+ hour service intervals? It certainly doesn't sound as if it is fitted with on-board oil condition monitoring equipment with variable service intervals.
 
Last edited:

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
Aside from the shutdowns for oil changes, when I forgot to put the plug back in for the automatic fuel pump from the main outside tank and when the fuel freezes, the thing hasn’t been switched off for over a year. 24/7, never cools down!
It’s over powered for the job.
It isn't running fast as if it were in a combine and is also probably downrated in both power as well as revs, for longevity. It certainly shouldn't be prone to throwing a rod at 5000 hours as with some applications unless it runs too long with that gunky stuff inside it.
It should do 100,000 hours or twelve years between major overhauls at a guess.
 

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