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SteelCruiser 04-02-2016 15:23

Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
3 Attachment(s)
Attachment 118311Attachment 118312Attachment 118313Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?

I have checked the oil on many machines in my life...
Motor cycles, excavators, cars, trucks,
However on this yacht I struggle:
Yacht has a Lister STW3.

Seems easy enough at anchor.
Take out the dip stick, wipe off, poke back in, pull out
And read the amount of oil on the stick.
No problem.

However, on the first trip out in the ocean, no wind but some swell, motoring for 30 hours...
When checking the oil, very uncertain results;
Pull out and NONE on the stick, push in, pull out and reading "low"
Repeat and Pull out and FULL on the stick, push in, pull out and reading "low"
Repeat... Different results.

The stick is a little odd... It is two pieces, the actual measuring stick and a tube that seems to be non-original...meant to join the stick to the opening in the side of the motor. ( see pictures)

Doesn't seem to be burning oil, at least not enough to be 'black smokey'.

On the basis, better to be safer than sorrier, I would put oil in.
Meant I added 1 gallon ( 4 litres ) in 30 hours.
Then noticed LOTSOFTHICK BLACK OIL in the bilge.

Although there is a deep well beneath the engine, the swell would slop it up , out , over and down to the cabin where the sole in shallow and wide.


1.What is the correct method for checkin oil in a seaway?
2. Could "too much oil added" simply be 'ejected' somehow.?

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Lepke 04-02-2016 15:36

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Too much oil will be ejected. It could cause other problems. Pistons need air space and the crank needs to turn in air, not oil. Engines that are made to have their oil checked running usually have 2 sets of marks. Most small engines only are checked when stopped. If the boat is sloshing in the sea, the oil is sloshing in the pan. Also when running there can be a quart of oil in the engine oil passages.
The oil tube usually is a tight fit and not easily removable.
Buy oil absorption cloths or snakes at a marine store. When they have picked up all the oil you can clean the bilge.

rwidman 04-02-2016 15:58

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
I would agree - check the oil when the boat is not moving (and the engine is not running).

Too much oil is nearly as bad as too little oil. It should be between the "full" mark and the "add" mark.

Check the oil in the morning before getting underway. Check it again the next morning. Do this every morning before getting underway.

If you are losing significant amounts of oil from one day to the next, you need to find out why and get it fixed.

Reefmagnet 04-02-2016 16:14

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
As above. No need to check oil in a seaway because you shouldn't loose oil that fast. And better if the engine is cold (viscous oil sticks to dipstick better). If your engine is at an angle (as many are), you usually need to allow for this with respect to the dipstick marks unless the dipstick was modified after installation.

You can loose oil without burning it. Typical locations are front and rear crankshaft seals, rocker cover gasket, mechanically driven pumps e.g. fuel, injector. Maybe a problem with the oil filter. If you're losing vast amounts of oil, it won't be too hard to see the evidence (look for drips under the motor), although it can be very difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the leak due to migration of the oil.

Also, don't forget to check your gearbox although black oil indicates it's most likely from the engine.

atoll 04-02-2016 16:41

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
oil floats on top of water,so a little bit of oil may seem like a lot if there is water in the bilge

boatpoker 04-02-2016 17:28

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
some engines (some Perkins) are supposed to be checked with the engine running.

Your photos suggest that the dipstick tube may not be sealed (dipstick stored off engine) in that case excess oil would almost immediately be pushed up the tube to go where ever gravity led it. If your tube was sealed you could have done serious damage to various seals in the engine by over filling it.

Read your engine manual or at the very least tell us what engine and it's angle of installation.

Miniyot 04-02-2016 17:49

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
If your engine is cold you do not need to pull the dipstick and wipe it off then stick it back in and pull it out and read it....

Just pull it out and read it.

The only reason you would need to wipe it off is if you just turned the engine off to check the oil.

Get-away 04-02-2016 19:14

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
I reckon you put way too much in, it only takes 6.6 litres - found the workshop manual -

Your lucky it didn't get past the piston rings and start burning its own oil and run away.

Salty Mike 04-02-2016 20:26

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Had me wondering if the dipstick tube is loose and pulling up out of the block when you pull the dipstick. If so this would also cause a leak.

tdh1849 05-02-2016 08:19

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Rear seal on the engine or the oil pan gasket, check these things first. ( pan gasket was the source of my oily bilge).

Xthewater 05-02-2016 08:52

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Overfilling and crankcase pressure results it oil blowing out whatever orifice it can get out. Can also blow past rubber crank seals of pressure is great enough which also tends to damage them.

Best to check in calm conditions or in a heave to state.

Danger of runaway can occur if overfilled, by oil exiting pcv and sucked into intake. Runaways more commonly occurr when leakage through turbo charger seals and bearings not so much piston rings.
If you clean it all up, check oil level, add UV dye then run a short while then put a black light on you'll soon if and where there's a leak.

reed1v 05-02-2016 09:17

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Sounds like you overfilled the engine. Measuring oil needs to be done when the boat and engine are not moving. Best time is before starting the engine. Be sure to wipe the stick really dry. New oil will be almost invisible to the eye. Over filling is actually worse than underfilling. If all the fittings are tight and you are not blowing flue or black smoke out of the exhaust, then your probably doing ok.

Jorgen Moller 05-02-2016 09:52

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
This happend to me in 2009. A couple of hours after I filled with fresh oil it was down to minimum level. No black smoke the engine ran like a dream. I pulled the engine out and found the crankcase sump was corroded from the inside with a couple of pinholes letting the oil into the bilge. The flange to the block was also severely corroded, and beyond repair. So I replaced it during the winter with an electric motor, and have had no regrets.:smitten:

Jorgen Moller

The Garbone 05-02-2016 09:57

Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?
Atomic 4 motors have no forward oil seal, just a sling system, if overfilled or tipped forward in the shop or during transport ( say in the back of the minivan) the oil comes out of the forward bearing rather readily.

Fun fact.

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Triumphant 05-02-2016 11:15

Re: Oil in bilge...LOTS of oil in bilge. . .?

Originally Posted by Salty Mike (Post 2036317)
Had me wondering if the dipstick tube is loose and pulling up out of the block when you pull the dipstick. If so this would also cause a leak.

I had the same problem of oil in the bilges on Perkins 4236, I was using 1 pint an hour

Eventually we found that the bottom of the dip stick tube had a hole in it which only Blew out oil at cruising revs, new pipe welded on the nut, problem solved

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