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Old 02-08-2009, 23:20   #1
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Engine Oil in Air Filter! What's the Deal?

I've search around a little and couldn't seem to find too much info on this.

I have a 1979 Volvo MD11C and I've noticed 1 of my air filters is saturated in engine oil. I thought initially maybe the filter was loose, but after changing the oil and filter the problem was still there, now just with new oil eveywhere. After removing both air filters I noticed 1 was so full of oil it was spraying throughout the engine compartment.

The funny thing is, I don't notice a loss of oil in the engine. I check before every start, which is around 5 times a week but the level doesn't noticeably change. However; if oil is being sprayed it must be losing some oil, just not enough to notice I guess

Does anyone know what would be causing this? Would to much oil cause this perhaps? I filled it VERY VERY slightly above the line the previous 2 times.

It also smokes while under way (white), I placed my hand over the exhaust to check for diesel smell but there wasn't any. I suspect the white smoke could actually be steam; not sure though. Any insight on the white 'smoke' would be great also.

Thanks!!
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Old 03-08-2009, 00:45   #2
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My first guess would be a stuck intake valve or at least one that is not seating. You may have more wrong but that, would be a start.

Joe S
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Old 03-08-2009, 04:49   #3
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Is this an old engine, lots of time? My Volvo 2003 crankcase is vented to the air intake. As my rings wore, some pressure blew by and into the crankcase. The oily mix then vented into the air intake. Could something similar be happening to you?

George
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:32   #4
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My previous boat had a Volvo engine, as Sunspot mentioned above the crankcase vent had a tube to the intake and the air filter would get oily, that was not an old engine about 1200 hours.
On my present boat with a Cummins, 1600 hrs, the crankcase tube vents to the engine room air, although no oil is evident on the nearby surfaces a very small amount collects on the alternator and the air cleaner as there is more air flow at these points.
There are oil separator kits available from Walkers and others they are kind of complicated and expensive. On the Cummins I loosely attached a plastic jug filled oil absorbent rags to the end of the tube and that has pretty much solved the problem when the rags get oily I change the jug.
Boatdiesel.com is a forum on marine engines they have information on this but $25.00 per year membership is required.
Good luck,
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:02   #5
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This sounds like my problem.

Steve - It sounds like this problem isn't that uncommon. Do you know what kind of serious problems this may cause in the future, if any?

I assume if its due to ring wear, then I will have a loss of power because of that, along with more oil spatter due to the increased wear. Does this sound right?
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Old 03-08-2009, 18:08   #6
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As well as the above suggestions, check the condition of your valve springs. The rocker area of these engines was not that well vented, and sometimes the springs rusted and broke. Regards, Richard.
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Old 03-08-2009, 18:38   #7
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Quote:
so full of oil it was spraying throughout the engine compartment.
You have something pretty wrong. I would agree that you might have some excessive crankcase ventilation (CCV) going on. That is if your engine is plumbed that way, most have a way of scavenging the crankcase fumes and running them back into the engine. If your rings are becoming worn you will get increased blowby which increases your CCV pressure.

Is it sudden or did you just notice it after awhile and think it was sudden?

In extreme cases the engine can begin to burn this oil and cause a runaway resulting in a very stressful destruction of your engine. If it is really spraying around and into your intake you are a candidate.

White smoke means you are burning water/coolant. Steam could mean you are overheating.

PS. Is this a turbo? (prolly not)
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Old 03-08-2009, 20:12   #8
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That probably wasn't the correct way to describe it. Its only splatter on the lower section of the engine, about where the air filter is.

I cleaned the engine of oil then ran it for 10mins and couldn't find any new splatter. Not sure what this means, I'll have to wait until I take her out again to see if it continues.

In the manual it says to clean the air filters with diesel fuel, blow with air hose,then soak in engine oil, and then finally let oil drip out.

Has anybody tried this? How good is diesel fuel at cleaning used engine oil? As i said my 1 filter is saturated in oil. Maybe it would be best just to replace.
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Old 03-08-2009, 20:58   #9
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I was told it is not uncommon, Volvo has a website also an office in the US you could ask there or contact the nearest Volvo marine dealer to be sure.
Good luck
Steve
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