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Old 07-10-2021, 14:52   #1
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Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

I had a baby this year and didn't use my boat nearly as much as usual. I put less than 20 engine hours on it and the oil is in "like new" condition, light amber with no darkening at all. (It's a Yanmar 4JH5E with 900 hours total and I use Delo Heavy Duty Diesel oil).

I'm in the habit of changing it annually or sometimes twice annually if it's dirty. It just seems unnecessary this year and I'd love to skip a step. It seems like the conventional wisdom is to change it every 250 hours or every year, whichever comes first. But if the engine oil is truly pristine is there any harm in skipping a year or is time really a factor?
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Old 07-10-2021, 15:12   #2
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

Assuming there's no moisture condensing in the oil pan, it should be fine; I've never heard of oil "going bad" over the course of a year. If it gets really hot in the engine room or it's humid, then it's worth checking regularly.
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Old 07-10-2021, 15:54   #3
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

With really low hours, provided the engine didn't have a lot of short runs that will build up fuel and condensation in the oil, I see no issue with letting it go 2 seasons before changing.
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Old 07-10-2021, 17:46   #4
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

I dont believe time is a factor. I asked valvoline about this & they said oil does not deteriorate in it's container. Ok the engine is not a container but I've seen old engines that have sat in a shed for over 10 years & the parts in the oil are pristine.
Always done hour changes with no problems.

But some people love to dispose of perfectly good oil thinking they are helping their engine.
Not looking for an argument though as I wont change my habits anyway.
YMMV
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Old 07-10-2021, 18:18   #5
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

i know its overkill...but it makes me feel good. i do it every 75hrs or yearly. my concern about yearly is that we are in a moist environment and moisture is not good. it also gives me something to do. i do think 250hrs iis too long.
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Old 07-10-2021, 18:24   #6
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

I have heard (from that guy in the pub who knows everything ) that use makes it more acidic (not sitting in container, but in the engine). No idea if that's true, but if you've used the engine a bit, even if nowhere near the oil change interval from the manufacturer, it's worth changing the oil annually... I'd be happy to hear from oil and/or engine manufacturer about the truth or otherwise of that
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Old 07-10-2021, 18:59   #7
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

My father consulted for Shell and the general consensus was oil breaks down over time. Iím sure the CEOís liked that.
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Old 07-10-2021, 19:07   #8
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
I had a baby this year and didn't use my boat nearly as much as usual. I put less than 20 engine hours on it and the oil is in "like new" condition, light amber with no darkening at all. (It's a Yanmar 4JH5E with 900 hours total and I use Delo Heavy Duty Diesel oil).

I'm in the habit of changing it annually or sometimes twice annually if it's dirty. It just seems unnecessary this year and I'd love to skip a step. It seems like the conventional wisdom is to change it every 250 hours or every year, whichever comes first. But if the engine oil is truly pristine is there any harm in skipping a year or is time really a factor?
With only twenty hours this season Iíd be inclined to leave it be. Then again I change the oil in my Corvette annually regardless of the mileage.
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Old 07-10-2021, 22:02   #9
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

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My father consulted for Shell and the general consensus was oil breaks down over time. I’m sure the CEO’s liked that.
Over what, a million years? (-;

Some boats and equipment have bypass filters and centrifuges and haven't changed oil in ten years or more.
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Old 07-10-2021, 23:29   #10
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

we have a pair of 4JH's and do oil change every 150hrs without fail. cheapest insurance you can buy...

how much will it cost - $50-100 ? plus an hour of your time ? once a year ? why are you even thinking about not doing it !

maybe it doesn't need doing - but so what...what's the harm to do an unnecessary oil change ?

but maybe it does...downside could be significant. do you really want to take the risk ?

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Old 08-10-2021, 04:15   #11
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

People overdo the oil changes.

Really, have you every heard of an engine failing because the oil was not changed at some short interval? It does sell a lot of oil and create a disposal problem.

Your oil does 2 things.
It lubricates the parts.
It prevents the formation of bad chemicals.

The lubrication part is not so hard these days. Back in the 30's they did not know how to refine the oil well and with heat the oils would break down so 500 miles was the recommendation. Now they know how to refine the oil and break down is negligible over time for ordinary engines. Now a tight running performance engine with turbos and high tension valve springs, they see a lot of heat. That is why we have synthetics that can handle the heat and the lubrication lasts much longer. So your little diesel crusing along at a few thou rpm is no big deal for the oils of today.

Then there are the additives. The by-products of combustion mix with water and form acids and a few other compounds. The additives chemically mix and get used up over time.

My brother has been a mechanic for 45 years and he has never seen an engine fail because the oil stopped working. Yes, he has seen his share of engines where the oil was not checked and kept up and turned to gel. He works on Mercedes and has had more then one car where the owner changed the oil every 100,000 miles. Now they kept the oil level up so new oil got put in regularly. But over 500,000 miles later the cars were still running. The problem eventually is the body rusting out.

Like 5 years ago now I bought a new lawn mower. Scrapper made it hard to find a good mower in the trash. It starts fine on the 3rd pull. I have only added like 4 tablespoons of oil since I bought it and cleaned the air filter. I have found that gas from a top teir gas station makes a difference.

Changing oil is a psychological thing. You want to do engine things to feel good. If the oil looks clean and does not look like it has brown in it then you are fine for a while longer. A couple of years is no big deal.
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Old 08-10-2021, 06:03   #12
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

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Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
Over what, a million years? (-;

Some boats and equipment have bypass filters and centrifuges and haven't changed oil in ten years or more.


That was the conclusion the chemical engineers came to though that was 30+ years ago and Iím sure the additives have been improved.
It makes absolutely no sense to me to not change it. Small costs and not a lot of time for peace of mind on a low hour diesel, a no brainer.
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Old 08-10-2021, 09:34   #13
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

Some manufacturers put a 5 year shelf life on their oils. Like Mobil 1 and I believe Catrol also.

If it's synthetic I wouldn't worry about it at all. If coneventional dino juice I would not worry either. I would try and get the motor out for a long run under full load, like 30 minutes. Oil takes a long time to heat up and it's the heating it up that gets rid of the moisture you accumulate from combustion and rings not sealing 100%. Worry about other stuff. You're fine leaving it. Oil is supposed to get dirty just FYI. Good oil and a good filter can easily go 250 hours between changes these days.
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Old 08-10-2021, 10:16   #14
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

I do it every 100 hours, or once a year. I consider it cheap insurance. It mostly costs me my time, as the oil is a relatively inexpensive item as far as boat stuff goes. My marina also has a Ďused oilí drop off, which is handy.
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Old 08-10-2021, 10:28   #15
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Re: Change engine oil annually even if it's pristine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
I had a baby this year and didn't use my boat nearly as much as usual. I put less than 20 engine hours on it and the oil is in "like new" condition, light amber with no darkening at all. (It's a Yanmar 4JH5E with 900 hours total and I use Delo Heavy Duty Diesel oil).

I'm in the habit of changing it annually or sometimes twice annually if it's dirty. It just seems unnecessary this year and I'd love to skip a step. It seems like the conventional wisdom is to change it every 250 hours or every year, whichever comes first. But if the engine oil is truly pristine is there any harm in skipping a year or is time really a factor?
Do you start the engine periodically?
It's a good idea.
Most engine Damage occurs upon start up, microscopic debris ends up in the pan.
I start up to complete warm up, monthly.
Why?
Rotating parts internally wick off protective oil while sitting.
After long periods of non use, oil galleys, con rods, valves, seals, can lose protection. Even get some rust on them especially in the valve cover area.
Ambient air contains moisture, at least in the PNW.

So, it's okay to change it annually.
You should run that engine throughly to a complete warm up.
It'll thank you with a longer service life that way.
Don't forget the filter too.
SV Cloud Duster
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