Oil - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Oil

I recently purchased a 99 powerstroke and of course, changed the oil with Rotella 15w40. I've driven a little over 1000 miles on the truck, and noticed a tapping/clicking sound, almost like a valve tap. So I checked the oil level - which was fine - but the oil was as black as tar.

I immediately asked my mechanic about the oil coloration and he laughed. He said that as soon as you put fresh oil in a diesel and run it for an hour, it comes out black. So he changed it for me, and sure enough the next day, it was jet black. Also, he drives a '06 6.0 powerstoke, and his ***'t mechanic drived a '02 7.3 - and their oil is black.

What causes this? Is it common across the universe of diesel owners, or is it specific to an as yet undetermined subset of diesel owners? Please help a novice... :shrug:

Oh, yeah - the noise I heard is common to diesels - mechanic said it's the sound of the injectors actuating when the oil is cold - and it's been quite cold in the Midatlantic lately.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 01:43 AM
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If the air filter or crankcase breather is stopped up, this will cause the oil to get black. also extended drain intervals will also cause the oil to turn black. to get rid of this u can flush your lubrication system with a cleaning agent. other than that its not a real big deal. if u pull the valve covers off u can see why your oil is turning black.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 11:14 PM
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Capt,

Your mechanic is correct. Every diesel will blacken fresh oil in a few hundred miles, if not sooner. This takes a little longer on newer engines as they run cleaner, but it is simply the "nature of the beast".

Cleaning the crank-case is a temporary thing, the soot from combustion is carried in the oil, so no matter how clean you make it, in a few hundred miles the oil has a fresh load of black soot.

This soot is no problem at normal levels, and the oil is engineered to handle it.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 04:26 AM
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How much can the soot hurt things, if at higher than normal levels. Levels of "Big Black Smoke at WOT"

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 02:04 PM
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Like John mentioned...diesel oil is forumulated and is expected to carry soot in suspension. Better to have it in suspension than plugging something up somewhere.

You can buy an aftermarket auxillary oil filtering system...that will filter out most of the soot particles. They can range anywhere from the el cheapo pieced together system (like my Baldwin setup) to a much much more expensive setup that will allow you to run extended oil drains (10k+ miles or more on the oil). It all depends on what you are wanting to do. For me...I still change my oil at 5k intervals with my bypass system. By the time I hit 3k miles...my oil is starting to turn darker, and by 5k miles I can't see the dipstick through it anymore.
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99StrokerDude
How much can the soot hurt things, if at higher than normal levels. Levels of "Big Black Smoke at WOT"
If you are making "Smoke Ropes" there is NO question that WILL reduce engine and oil life. Extremely short drain intervals would be needed for the engine to last to the design life.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 05:16 PM
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Just because the oil is black, doesn't mean it is really all that dirty.

There are guys that have sent in oil samples from BRAND NEW oil, along with their sample from the engine with even over 10k miles on the oil. The used oil was CLEANER than the new stuff.

Not all diesels turn the oil black right away. When my truck was bone stock, I could still read the dipstick after 2k miles.

In the pic below, I had 1900 miles on the oil.



As heavily fueled as I am now, it gets black pretty quick.

Don't know if it really makes a difference or not, but the Cummins crankcase vents directly to the atmosphere. At least the older ones do. Not sure on the new ones. The pickup truck V8 diesels generally don't. I know my 6.9L does not. It vents the vapors into the intake, and gets burnt. The 7.3L engines do as well.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Try DELO 400 or Rotella Synthetic 5-40
Both much better oils than Rotella 15-40 IMHO
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