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Old 11-26-2021, 02:54 PM   #1
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Engine and gear oil change cycle

Oil change frequency ? fact or fiction ? My frequency of oil and filter change has boiled down to "fall and end of season" We all know that used oil contains metal particles ,soot, depleted additives, acids, a whole host of contaminants.
My estimate is that the average boater, slow boats in particular, probaebly put one hundred hours or less which at trawler speeds averaging six to seven knots amounts to 600 to 700 miles per season, this is in my estimation generous.
Should we take a closer look at the habit and frequency of changing oil so often, i.e. at the end of each season? especially considering the actual operating cycle of our gears.
I'm not looking to be pummeled by accusations of stupidity, I'm only interested in starting an intelligent and sincere conversation.
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Old 11-26-2021, 02:59 PM   #2
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The title should read " Engine and Gear Oil Change Cycle"
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Old 11-26-2021, 03:18 PM   #3
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I do mine every 500 engine hours (3,000 to 3,500 miles) or annually. Mine holds 1 gallon and is hooked to the oil change pump. Gear oil is too easy and cheap not to change regularly. I do oil analysis every time I change it. Nice to know how everything is wearing and if the gear cooler is starting to fail (water or sodium [salt from brackish or salt water]).

Ted
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Old 11-26-2021, 03:53 PM   #4
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I edited the title for you.

On our last boat we had Lehmans and the recommended oil change was 250 hours so that is what I did. I also did the transmission oil at the same time. Our current boat had the oil changed the day before we bought it so I have not done it yet.
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Old 11-26-2021, 04:31 PM   #5
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I do mine every 500 engine hours (3,000 to 3,500 miles) or annually. Mine holds 1 gallon and is hooked to the oil change pump. Gear oil is too easy and cheap not to change regularly. I do oil analysis every time I change it. Nice to know how everything is wearing and if the gear cooler is starting to fail (water or sodium [salt from brackish or salt water]).

Ted
I misread the question. Engine oil is changed every 100 hours. Gear oil is changed every 500 hours. Oil analysis with all changes.

Ted
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Old 11-26-2021, 05:47 PM   #6
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Ted, i was surprised that you went 500 hours on the main engine before an oil change, glad for the clarification.
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Old 11-26-2021, 06:18 PM   #7
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Mine holds 1 gallon and is hooked to the oil change pump. Ted

So I want to ask - what size/type engine do you have? I have a 500hp Cummins and it takes 6 gallons.

I assumed most took more oil - my cars and trucks take between 5 and 6 quarts and I was surprised to see 1 gallon.


Thanks
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Old 11-26-2021, 06:34 PM   #8
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I also changed my oil and gear oil either at fall layup or at 200 hours (for the engine only, gear waited until fall) whichever came first. Oil testing done annually as well for the reasons Ted talked about. Usually the hours between changes was below the 200 mark.
My thoughts are for the small costs (I do it myself) it is cheap insurance and I do not leave the engine sitting with "contaminated" oil in it over the winter. For me the saving I could have by only following the recommended hours would be very minimal, so not worth it to me.
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Old 11-26-2021, 07:06 PM   #9
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I misread the question. Engine oil is changed every 100 hours. Gear oil is changed every 500 hours. Oil analysis with all changes.



Ted
100 hrs, the next owner will get a gift. I thought JDs we're 250 hrs and 300 hrs if you use their +50 oil.
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Old 11-26-2021, 07:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovetoBoat View Post
So I want to ask - what size/type engine do you have? I have a 500hp Cummins and it takes 6 gallons.

I assumed most took more oil - my cars and trucks take between 5 and 6 quarts and I was surprised to see 1 gallon.


Thanks
I think he was referring to the transmission.
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Old 11-26-2021, 10:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovetoBoat View Post
So I want to ask - what size/type engine do you have? I have a 500hp Cummins and it takes 6 gallons.

I assumed most took more oil - my cars and trucks take between 5 and 6 quarts and I was surprised to see 1 gallon.


Thanks
Ok, so I have a John Deere 4045 135 HP and typically run it between 1.5 and 2.0 GPH (30 to 40 HP). It holds 3.4 gallons of oil. I experimented with extended oil changes and started developing significant (IMO) wear metals.

I have another diesel engine. My 2002 Dodge pickup has a Cummins 6BT 220 HP. It has 512,000 miles (over 10,000 hours) on it. Other than adjusting valves the block hasn't been entered / repaired. The manual transmission gets regular oil changes and is on its fourth clutch. Clearly regular oil changes work. The owners manual recommends oil changes every 5,000 miles. That equals about 100 hours of my average driving. It holds 3 gallons of oil. My average fuel consumption is about 2.4 GPH.

Based on the engines being fairly comparable, I decided 100 hours made sense. Wear metals are really low.

On one of my recent truck oil analysis from Blackstone they wrote:

TED: We're starting to think you're trying to pull a fast one on old Blackstone, and you're sending us the
same oil over and over again only pretending that it's different fills. But seriously, this is the steadiest wear
you could ask for, and there's no question about the internal health of this truck's engine. This report looks
just like the last, which looked just like the last, which looked just like the last one before that. You've got a
good thing going here, so just keep up the great work!


Ted
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Old 11-26-2021, 10:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
100 hrs, the next owner will get a gift. I thought JDs we're 250 hrs and 300 hrs if you use their +50 oil.
Depending on the oil, JD recommends out to 250 hours.

I'm guessing when I sell the boat, the buyer will smile when he sees oil analysis for every engine, transmission, and generator oil change. BTW, I now have 3,700 hours on the engine.

Ted
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Old 11-27-2021, 10:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Depending on the oil, JD recommends out to 250 hours.



I'm guessing when I sell the boat, the buyer will smile when he sees oil analysis for every engine, transmission, and generator oil change. BTW, I now have 3,700 hours on the engine.



Ted
Holy cow, it has taken me 11 years to get 3700 hrs. Your summer cruising will keep you ahead of me. I sit between June and Sept.
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Old 11-27-2021, 11:53 AM   #14
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I've always just followed the manufacturer's recommendations. If I recall right, my Jimmies and Allison gear were every 200 hours (roughly, it's been a few years) and my Mercury 4-stroke was 50 hours. The easiest one of all is my Merc 2-stroke!
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Old 11-27-2021, 12:16 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=O C Diver;1056084]Ok, so I have a John Deere 4045 135 HP and typically run it between 1.5 and 2.0 GPH (30 to 40 HP). It holds 3.4 gallons of oil. I experimented with extended oil changes and started developing significant (IMO) wear metals.


If wear metals are generated at the same rate per hour of run time, would not the wear metal analysis always be lower in 100 hour oil than in 250 hour oil? And, does that matter?
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Old 11-27-2021, 12:21 PM   #16
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Depending on the oil, JD recommends out to 250 hours.




Ted
I have the same motor as you and JD extends recommended oil change intervals to 375 hours with specified oil filter and oil. I've done the last couple of changes at around 350 hours.

But to the OP's point, if I'm hauling for the winter in eastern Canada I'll change the oil just before coming out to have clean fresh oil for the winter layup. On my sailboat that doesn't accumulate many engine hours it's once a year in the fall.
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Old 11-27-2021, 01:04 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=klee wyck;1056187]
Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Ok, so I have a John Deere 4045 135 HP and typically run it between 1.5 and 2.0 GPH (30 to 40 HP). It holds 3.4 gallons of oil. I experimented with extended oil changes and started developing significant (IMO) wear metals.


If wear metals are generated at the same rate per hour of run time, would not the wear metal analysis always be lower in 100 hour oil than in 250 hour oil? And, does that matter?
From my last oil analysis:
Aluminum is 1 PPM
Iron is 4 PPM and trending lower
No other measurable wear metals

As to whether it matters:
I've never heard anyone make the claim that engine oil and filtration were changed to often. Plenty of failures from the opposite. The rest is opinion. IMO, getting the wear metal particles and carbon out of the oil can only benefit the engine.

I considered other options.
Buying a centrifuge wasn't realistic compared to the cost of oil changes.
Adding a secondary oil filtration was strongly considered. https://www.kleenoilusa.com/

Currently an oil change costs me <$60, cheap insurance.

Ted
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:47 AM   #18
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"IMO, getting the wear metal particles and carbon out of the oil can only benefit the engine."

Getting the detergent package refreshed and the acid from combustion removed cant hurt!
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:04 AM   #19
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Same as the OP, I do Engine and generator oil and filters at the end of the season before winter layup. I also probably avg in the range of 100 hours, much less on the gen. I would not worry if I put on more hours in a given season but defintiely want fresh oil at the end. Generator could probably go every other year, but I do it each fall anyway. I have not done a gear oil change yet. I'll check my manuals but i don't think it's due yet and it looks very clean, like baby oil.
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:38 AM   #20
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I have not done a gear oil change yet. I'll check my manuals but i don't think it's due yet and it looks very clean, like baby oil.
Gear oil isn't supposed to change color like engine oil as there's no carbon from combustion being added.

Gear oil breaks down as a function of shearing the molecules. Simply, over time, lubricity (yes that's actually a word) is lost and the oil doesn't lubricate as well. Secondly, transmissions generate wear metals from clutch plates and other parts.

If you doubt me, after running the boat for a few hours, draw an oil sample while the transmission is still warm and send it off for oil analysis. You will be surprised at the amount of wear metals.

Changing my transmission oil is <$14, cheap insurance.

Ted
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