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Old 04-02-2018, 12:31 AM   #1
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Oil centrifuges for main engines

The purpose of this post is to start a separate thread on oil centrifuges for main engines, from those who have them and know about them, please.

In a separate TF thread others have recently mentioned this subject.

I once read a thread from a trawler charter company in the USA, NW Explorations, where the Director said he installed oil centrifuges on most of the charter fleet and subsequently saw significantly prolonged engine life. I have been intrigued about these ever since.

My CAT C7s turn the oil black very quickly after a full service (and that service happens every 200 hours or 12 months, whichever comes first). I NEVER want to have to replace those engines if I can help it, hence my interest in this topic.

Over here in Australia, my enquiries about oil centrifuges for engines of the C7 size (7 litre, in line 6, turbocharged) have met with a blank wall, so grateful for any thoughts about where to get them, cost, usefulness etc.

Thanks,

H.
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Old 04-02-2018, 12:34 AM   #2
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I seen them used on navy ships but they are fairly large units.
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:40 AM   #3
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Suggest you contact NW Explorations owner Brian Pemberton directly. Also, many vessels in this size range use a separate oil filter called bypass filtration.

Black or sooty oil is, as you've seen, being discussed in a separate thread. Cat runs a good oil analysis program, you may want to consider using that program to determine oil health whether for soot, heavy metals or other compounds.

Lastly, follow the Cat book for oil, filters and change intervals. The C7 series is far more sensitive to issues on the seawater side (after coolers) than any perils from black oil.
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:53 AM   #4
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Hi,

Thanks both Senagsakali and Suchaser for your responses.

Yes, so far I have only found oil centrifuges for much larger displacement engines. I need to find something for 7 litres....

Sunchaser, re CAT oil program I do that and yes I agree, C7 Achilles heel was the aftercoolers. I have the subsequent modified coolers installed 6 years ago, and have just paid the dreaded fee to replace both (perfectly performing) aftercooler cores at 6 years as per CAT requirements! I am very alive to this real issue, which you correctly describe. Beyond the sensitive aftercoolers though, the C7s are actually great engines. Powerful, lightweight, and American after parts service. So I like them.

My question around centrifuges is about protecting them longer (assuming, of course, that I keep the aftercoolers good). I will drop Brian Pemberton an email as you suggest, and see how that goes.

Thanks both,

Hamish.
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:20 AM   #5
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What type of centrifuges do you mean, Alfa Laval MIB303 - is that too big?

It can be used for both engine oil and diesel fuel subject to the density of the oil...
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:35 AM   #6
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BTW I drain from the sump plug .If you drain from the dipstick there is a good chance all the crud is left with the last 1 to 2 liters of oil .
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:39 AM   #7
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BTW I drain from the sump plug .If you drain from the dipstick there is a good chance all the crud is left with the last 1 to 2 liters of oil .
Gaston
You raise a good point. I do drain from the bottom but there's always that last liter or two. What I do to partially mitigate is to dump in another two liters of fresh and re- empty..
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:08 AM   #8
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These are common on OTR (18wheel) trucks.

About $700 each plus install.

Only hassle is they are slow , so driving 5-10 hours a day is fine , stop and go , an hour at a time, not so good.

Centriguard™ Centrifuge Lube Filters | Cummins Filtration

https://www.cumminsfiltration.com/so...e-lube-filters

To meet today's increasingly stringent environmental requirements, engine designs are changing to reduce harmful exhaust emissions. These design changes can result in increased contaminant levels of lube oil – particularly soot, which can cause valve bridge and fuel injection wear, filter plugging, bearing failures and ...

Engine Oil Cleaning Centrifuge for ANY engine. | Dieselcraft

https://www.dieselcraft.com/engine-oil-cleaning/

Let us understand, you have an engine in a vehicle or driving a vessel or generator in an application that is mission critical worth $20,000 or maybe $200,000 and you are protecting it with a $12 paper filter? Bypass Oil Cleaning Centrifuge – 10x more cleaning power than a filter. The pressure from your engine spins the ...

Fleet Trucking - Spinner IIŽ Products : High-efficiency lube oil filtration ...

www.spinnerii.com/index.cfm/div/61/Fleet.Trucking
Reduced oil, filter and labor costs; Higher productivity from extended service intervals; Decreased maintenance costs from Improved engine protection; Longer life for engines and turbochargers; Increased truck resale value. Spinner II oil-cleaning centrifuges may be specified on new trucks or easily installed on existing ...

Spinner II vs other extended oil systems? | Page 2 ...

https://www.thetruckersreport.com › ... › The Garage › Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]

Dec 13, 2014 - 10 posts - ‎8 authors
It has larger soot particulates that are interfering with the oil ring effectively sealing the oil from getting in the combustion chamber on a piston stroke. By getting the larger soot particles out of the oil via a bypass filter or centrifuge like the Spinner II, oil consumption follows a fairly predictable and consistent ...
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:40 PM   #9
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I use one of these: https://usfiltermaxx.com/en/

I have been running clean oil since the 1960s. Originally I used bypass filters. Probably at least 7-8 brands. Some are better than others. None deal with the smaller soot particles. Going to a centrifuge made all the difference.
The real life killer for engines is sleeve or cylinder wear. Bearings with proper oil changes way outlast sleeves and rings. I've rebuild many engines - in the hundreds. So I've seen the wear in old engines and new ones that failed for some other reason.
I've found clean oil can more than double expected engine life. Along with keeping your exhaust gas temperatures under control.
In tugs and commercial fishing vessels I would get about twice the life out of Detroits, Cats and Cummings engines as other people did with the same model. Maybe 4 times more than hotrod operators. This is with engines of 200 to 3000 hp.
In my current boat I added a oil drain plumbing system. The mains and generators all can be pumped to a central tank and from there to the centrifuge. The centrifuge either drains to a sump, then to a clean tank or to an oil pitcher and hand dispersed to the engines. I originally kept each engines oil separate, but after a couple years testing oil decided to run it all together.
The faster the rpm of the centrifuge and the slower the oil is flowed, the more debris and water is removed. If I want, I can make my oil look brand new. After about 25 hours, and as much as 50, I open all the drains of engines with hot oil, turn on the pump and send all the used oil to the dirty tank. The tank has a heating element to keep the tank at 180°F. Hot oil cleans much better. I close all the tank openings and apply about 3psi air pressure to push the oil to the centrifuge. A gear pump can cause cavitation in the oil and makes cleaning harder. I set the flow and either let it go to the sump or use the pitcher to redistribute the oil. It takes me about 30 minutes from start to finish. If I have other things to do I let the centrifuge run and drain to the clean tank. I shut off the tank heater start the flow and run the centrifuge on a timer. The centrifuge can run indefinitely so if it runs 20 minutes after the flow stops, no harm. When the centrifuge stops, the sludge drains to a plastic milk jug I turn in at an used oil collector.
The other savings is buying new oil and filters. I haven't discarded oil since 2011. I just add to maintain oil levels and replenish additives. I get my oil samples at the dirty oil tank that is a mix of 4 engines and sometimes my pickup. I originally sent centrifuged oil, but found it was pointless to test. I change the filters at about double the normal interval. I always cut the filters open because It's the only time I can see debris from a single engine. They're very clean for the run time. I mostly change for the water they collect.
Sleeves/cylinders wear quickly when the crosshatching is mostly worn away. New sleeves are honed at very slow speed with a rapid up and down movement to put in surface scratches at about 45°. This allows the rings to carry small amounts of lube oil to the upper parts of the sleeve. When the crosshatching is worn away, no more lube oil, no more tight rings. Many years ago I used to tear down engines and re-crosshatched the sleeves and generally doubled the engine life. Even with the same rings if done early enough. By the clean oil is easier. Pic is Detroit sleeves with crosshatching.
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Old 04-02-2018, 02:57 PM   #10
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I too am a big fan of bypass filtration and oil centrifuges.

I especially love fine micron filters with synthetic oil on my gensets.

But then on the boats I run we might be on genset for a week or more at a time.

You need to weight the cost of the equipment and installation agains how you actually use and how much you use your gensets and main engines.
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:40 PM   #11
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Lepke: what would it cost to install a system like that ?
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:25 PM   #12
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Lepke: what would it cost to install a system like that ?
And what's the space requirement?

L
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:00 PM   #13
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Doesn't it make sense, why not just change the oil. We used D'laval purifiers on turbine oil in the navy but it wasn't in an combustion process. This looks like one of these neat ideas that you need to step back and say "what am I gaining here.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:24 PM   #14
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I don't doubt it works but question the cost and space requirements for the majority of us at ~ 200 hours yearly or with the typical 100 to 200 hp engine[s].
Use a good oil, change the filters , take an oil sample.

For a commercial operation, or a real roamer, maybe it makes sense especially if that operation takes you away from service areas for long time periods.

If you want to check cost just contact some of the vendors Fast Fred posted. At the same time get a brochure downloaded which should give some dimensions. Some of these things are quite large, both physically and $$ wise.

Lepke, I admire your system to be clear. Sounds like you have put a lot of thought and effort into it.

I haven't done anything that extensive but I have done a couple things just because I could and because I got the parts for next to nothing.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:24 PM   #15
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There are a few suppliers of oil centrifuges in India. I gather they use them on most all of their ag equipment, so would be sized right for most marine applications. I looked at one that ran at 7,000 rpm, self powered from oil pressure that would have handled my 3306, and from memory it was only a few hundred $. Unfortunately, I can't recall the manufacturer, sorry.

I did install a Purodyn bypass filter that is supposed to filter down to 1 micron. I change that filter and the OEM filter and oil each year or 250 hours. If you remove particles that are smaller than the tolerances of the main bearings (around 12 microns?) I'm not sure what additional benefit you might receive from oil that is cleaner than that attained with a bypass filter other than having cleaner appearing oil.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:48 PM   #16
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I admire what you want to do, but had the same thoughts as others as to the practicality for small boat engines so I was curious what feedback you would get. I did PMs on these years ago for oil systems, and they work well, but I just don’t see the payback for the $, hassle, and space required. IE, I would bet your engines will outlive you if you take care of them as you described and continual oil changes. Anyway, good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:08 PM   #17
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Centrifuges that run off oil pressure bleed off a good bit of flow from your engine's gallery. You don't want to draw that much flow off unless engine is designed for it. Especially if there are piston oil cooling jets which count on reserve flow capacity.
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Old 04-03-2018, 05:31 AM   #18
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Centrifuges that run off oil pressure bleed off a good bit of flow from your engine's gallery. You don't want to draw that much flow off unless engine is designed for it. Especially if there are piston oil cooling jets which count on reserve flow capacity.
No free lunch.

You might get away with this loss at higher RPM, not sure I would want to idle the engine this way.

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Old 04-03-2018, 05:52 AM   #19
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Changing oil is fine , and I am yet to hear of a worn out engine from "too clean oil".

After the first hour the clean oil, isn't clean ,so the concept of constantly having clean oil does have appeal.

The question then becomes 200 hours a year , a modest engine should go 6000+ hours , that's a lot of years!!!

Perhaps cutting in half the oil change interval might come as close to always cleanish oil might get to get 8,000 hours ?

If some of the new experimental engines actually pan out , after 30 or 40 years installing a 70 hp more efficient diesel that weighs 40 lbs might not be bad.
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Old 04-03-2018, 03:39 PM   #20
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Lepke: what would it cost to install a system like that ?
The centrifuge is about $2000. Each engine has a short length of flexible, oil resistant hose with a valve I can lock closed. Then the plumbing is copper water pipe connected to an Oberdorfer gear pump. I had the pump and air controls w/compressors so that part existed. I have a walk in engineroom, and more room than most boats. The dirty oil tank existed as a new oil tank with a deck fill. I just added valves to close it off. The clean oil tank I got used for free. So I had less than 2Gs for the centrifuge, maybe $300 in plumbing, valves, some extra air line and made up hoses for 2 generators & 2 mains. A couple days to run the plumbing. The engines together hold about 15+ gallons, so 2 20 gallon tanks. A tiny 12v compressor would supply more air than needed. I had a compact washer & dryer in the engineroom I moved and it all fits in a 5'x2' space. An old water heater will work for a tank and it comes with a element and controls (but element has to be below the oil level). Also an out of date propane tank works and sometimes come free at a gas supplier, but needs some fittings welded in. Ready made hydraulic tanks work best and any farm or industrial supply would have them.
The oil I use costs about $85/5 gallons but was $110 when I started. I save at least $255 a year on oil w/o filters so I broke even a year or 2 ago. Not counting reduced engine wear. Some years I do more than 500 hours on the mains. That would be at least 2 oil changes.
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