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Old 09-06-2014, 21:19   #1
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Foamy Gear Oil

I have Yanmar 3ym20s coupled with the Kanzaki ZD 20s sail drives.Checking the drive oil today one is perfect but the other has about 1mm of foam on top.You can remove the foam with paper towel and the oil is clear and smells normal also the level appears correct.No abnormal traits while motoring forward or in reverse.
Does the presence of foam always indicate water or possibly something else?
Chris
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Old 09-06-2014, 21:37   #2
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Re: Foamy Gear Oil

Water doesn't usually foam, just emulsifies (mixes w oil and turns a creamy/brown color). I would change as much oil as you can (vaccum pump out thru fill), top up, and see if it happens again.

You do mean foam, like dish soap foamy, right?
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Old 09-06-2014, 23:43   #3
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Re: Foamy Gear Oil

Yes describe it as foam but heavier than dish soap closer to the crema on a good short black coffee not really like an emulsion.I will see what I can rig up to change the oil.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:47   #4
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Re: Foamy Gear Oil

If the drive was sitting unused long enough for the water to start to come out of emulsion then it will form a cream like layer at the surface. Maybe something caused it to look a bit foamy (not sure what that would be).

Letting the water come out of emulsion and sit for an extended time is when damage gets done. I've seen boats in the charter fleet with shaft seal leaks which were in regular charter use, so the water was mostly kept in emulsion, oil changed (pumped out so not 100%) in between charters, and sent back out on charter with no immediate ill effect (not ideal long term of course). Seals changed when charter schedule permitted.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:06   #5
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Re: Foamy Gear Oil

Another couple of sources of oil in foam:

Oil level is too high

Anti-foaming additives in the oil are gone, usually as a result of age of the oil or the oil has been foaming for a while and used the anti-foaming additives up.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:30   #6
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Re: Foamy Gear Oil

Now that you mention it, I have seen them foam on overfill.
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