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Old 24-05-2016, 13:05   #16
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

You can damage an engine with too much oil but it takes a while.

The oil foams up and doesn't lubricate the engine properly.

You didn't hurt your engine.

I have a Jeep GC that holds 6 quarts. I overfilled it by about 3/4 of a quart but since it didn't foam up (I only noticed one tiny bubble on the dipstick) I left it in
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Old 24-05-2016, 13:52   #17
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
Wrong, Diesel engines hate too much oil. The surplus oil can cause runaway where the engine fires the oil rather than diesel as its fuel. Once that starts the engine just revs faster and faster until something internally breaks. It occurs very quickly, within a minute or so. You can't stop the motor.
Try googling 'Diesel engine runaway' as there are numerous videos of the phenomena.
The best thing to do with a runaway diesel is choke off the air. I don't believe he has that problem, that is general an old diesel with shot rings or sleeves.
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Old 24-05-2016, 14:13   #18
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

If the engine turns freely through several turns, and the oil level is now right, you press the starter and NOTHING happens, the problem is electrical. If the starter is completely burned up, you'd still hear the solenoid clicking. If the ring gear was damaged, the starter would spin but the engine would not. If you really are getting nothing, the posts above that point you to a blown fuse have nailed it. How to check? Use jumper cables directly to the starter - it may make a scary spark, but if the problem is farther back in the primary wiring, the starter will spin. If the starter is truly shorted out, you'll get a grounding spark and nothing more. Alternatively, use a lighter jumper wire to supply 12v+ to the starter solenoid. If it all works then, then the failure is in your secondary starting wiring - the supply from the ignition key to the starter solenoid.
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Old 24-05-2016, 15:00   #19
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

Your story doesn't flow very well. I'm guessing that you didn't know which engine you were putting oil into. the plumbed in drain system is understandable. so did you drain the genet and fill the ford? Or did you drain the genset and think you were filling the ford, when in fact you were filling the genset, with the amount of oil the ford takes? You said you couldn't or your mechanic couldn't turn the crank by hand but then later after he gave up you were able to turn it. that is possible as the oil could have drained from the cylinder.

when you said you hit the start a second time and nothing happened, does that mean the engine didn't turn over or nothing at all happened...no clicking, no humming, no engagement of the bendex?

as mentioned you could have tripped a breaker when you tried to start it a second time with a hydro-locked engine. also it could have been something coincidental. the metal noise you heard could have ben the bendix stuck in the ring gera and is now seized up, hence the starter won't turn. try jumping the starter as was mentioned earlier.
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Old 24-05-2016, 15:19   #20
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

There is a 20 A Circuit Breaker on the engine that has tripped due to overload. Find it and reset it.

There is also an Emergency Stop switch on the back of the instrument box on the engine .... you may have inadvertently switched it.

Try reset first, then start button, then emergency switch then start button.
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Old 24-05-2016, 16:40   #21
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

As others have said remove the injectors and then give it a good spin with the starter. Be ready with rags over the injector ports to catch any oil that blows out.
I used to build motors and had a customer put 5 gallons of oil into a engine instead of 5 quarts. Drained it cleared the cylinders and it ran fine.
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Old 24-05-2016, 17:09   #22
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

10 points to LooseGoose!!
I have a Westerbeke & spent quite a while finding the reset button which was not far from the belts on the rt side. OK, mine is the Diahatsu petrol one but I'm sure it would be the same.
Lucky it was there because I reverse poled the battery. (idiot!)
Little block about 1.5" by half " .

PS. Hope you tighten that belt before you leave the engine room!!
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Old 24-05-2016, 17:18   #23
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

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Originally Posted by Markhunter1097 View Post
This is embarrassing to post as it highlights my own stupidity.
I have a ford Lehman 120 hp and a Westerbeke 15KW BTDC genset.
To change the oil I use a sump pump and select either gen or eng, for what ever reason I mixed them up, I thought I was changing the engine oil yet was actually changing the gen set.
Yes all the signs were there, not much oil came out and I thought 'wow that was not much', the engine dip stick wasn't moving, 'don't remember it this slow before' all the time I was convinced that I was changing the engine while I was actually changing the gen set.
So what happened, well after I shoved 15 liters of oil into the Westerbeke which should take 6 liters, I started the gen set to heat the 'old oil' to change that.
It started perfectly, but then there was a metallic clicking noise straight away that caused me to stop the generator as it didn't sound right, it ran for maybe 2-3 secs before I hit the stop button.
Minutes passed as I looked at the generator to see what had caused the noise, I noted oil coming out of the oil dipstick hole (still didnt click what I had done). I hit the start button again and nothing.
Only then did I realize that I had been filling the gen and not the engine.
You can imagine the language!
So what damage have I done?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news... hear me out! When adding too much oil in the crankcase can lead to damage to the rod bearings. Oil is liquid but is very heavy. Under pressure are the bearings, rods and mains, cams and lifters and rocker arms. Splash lube the cylinders and rings. Any excess is not wanted. When the rods and crank turns, they turn freely and in the process the rods splash away the oil that is returning to the crankcase from the top of the engine. Splashing oil around is part of the job the rods do. However this oil is small volume and no resistance. When there is high volume as filling too much the rods hit this oil at high speed and the oil creates extreme pressure on the rods and the rods squeezes the oil out and away from between the bearing and the crank journal and creates sloppiness (the noise you heard)... When the pounding of this bearing happens the bearing (the babbit) will decrease in thickness, heat up and lose the form and will overlap the opposite side of the bearing and the noise might go away for a little time and will eventually heat up and spin on the crank and toast the rod and crank and the bearing... major repair job...
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Old 24-05-2016, 17:24   #24
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

I would drain oil to the proper level and try to restart the engine no load and observe the running and the noise level. You might have got away from heavy damage if it was short term running.. let me know what you find. Good luck. P.S, You are not the first one this happen to.
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Old 24-05-2016, 17:38   #25
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

If an engine is hydro-locked and you attempt to start it and it DOESN"T fire, you are usually OK. If it fires, (and yours did), you can bend things like connecting rods. (bad). I would seek the help of a good mechanic and drain the engine and then try to turn it over by hand. Putting that much oil in it could have filled it to a level you wouldn't think possible. I would remove the injectors, add a bit of oil to the pan, and try spinning it like that. If it seems to spin well, you can try hooking up the injectors again and see if it runs. The important thing is to make sure there is no oil in the combustion chambers. Good luck.
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Old 24-05-2016, 18:18   #26
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

remove the injectors to assure there is no oil in the cylinders and then turn the engine over by hand. If the cylinders are clear of oil, the engine should turn over easily.
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Old 25-05-2016, 01:18   #27
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

Wow, a lot of optimists and just the one pessimist 25 to 1! I have to admit that I am also a pessimist here, but I will try everything that has been suggested and report back.
Just to clarify, yes I did drain the Westerbeke Gen set and put a Ford amount of oil in it all the time thinking I was doing the Ford. I have now drained the oil in the gen set to its correct level.
I will find the circuit breaker and reset that, see if there are any other fuses I have blown, check voltage to the starter motor, turn engine by hand at least four times. That should take me most of Saturday, so I will report back on progress after that.

I actually did the oil change back in March, and have really just been thinking and asking various people about the issue since then, should have asked the Cruisers Forum earlier. What really got me thinking that the engine might be OK is that in talking the the Westerbeke agent at the recent boat show, he said that the engines are indestructible; it would have been a bigger sin to replace it when the issue could just be something simple.
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Old 25-05-2016, 04:54   #28
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

Re: Runaway Diesels.
If an engine is fueling from an uncontrolled source it CAN be stopped, not by the usual method of bringing the fuel rack to zero but by cutting off the air supply. It will stop very quickly.
You need to eyeball your combustion air inlet system to have a plan of how to do it.

You will not have much time and an overspeeding engine will fail disastrously with potential significant collateral damage
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:16   #29
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

We overfilled an old engine we once years ago on a small IOR half tonner. After we managed to get it started it ran away on the sump oil and wound itself up to 4000 odd rpm. Of course nobody knew about the air intake trick, So we all jumped ship onto the dock as the old diesel tried to shake the boat to bits.

The noise was something else, like a motorbike gunning its engine, and the mast was pumping fore and aft so much that we thought it was going to fall down.

Then partly burned oil started spewing out the exhaust into the water in big congealed lumps. Eventually the engine ran out of oil to burn after 15 minutes or so, Peace decended on the harbour and the waves coming from the boat bouncing up and down stopped so we got back aboard, checked the oil was at the right level, started her up on diesel and went out to race. It didn't seem to hurt the engine as I recall, but I think it was on its last legs anyway.

Maybe the oil escaping past the rings slowed its rpm down enough to avoid the worst of the damage?

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Old 25-05-2016, 17:30   #30
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Re: Overfilled engine with oil

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Originally Posted by Aqualibrium View Post
Re: Runaway Diesels.
If an engine is fueling from an uncontrolled source it CAN be stopped, not by the usual method of bringing the fuel rack to zero but by cutting off the air supply. It will stop very quickly.
You need to eyeball your combustion air inlet system to have a plan of how to do it.

You will not have much time and an overspeeding engine will fail disastrously with potential significant collateral damage
And don't use your hand to cover the air intake...
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