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Old 06-03-2020, 07:36   #1
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Oil Analysis - good read

Have been following/contributing a CF thread about a sailor with 4-cylinder Yanmar who threw a connecting rod while underway motorsailing. Cause is undetermined at this point, but as a guy with a single-engine trawler, I'm very interested.

My big take-away? Do engine oil analysis at very regular intervals. Here is a motivational article by Steve d'Antonio on the topic - thought I would share with the group outside of the aforementioned thread. Chances are very high that would have caught the underlying cause of the failure long before the engine was more or less destroyed in the middle of a passage.

For those who do regular oil analysis, where do you send your samples?

Peter
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:14   #2
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

It's more common in general aviation cruising than boat cruising, if for no other reasons than 1. aircraft reciprocating engines are rather stressed, relative to cruising diesels, and 2. losing your engine during cruise in a boat doesn't have the consequences of losing it while cruising an airplane. Yes, you've got to do it regularly by engine hour and oil change in order to have a baseline and notice a change, sort of like a blood test series. It's expensive. So, I don't think you'll find a large percentage of boaters who do it. Other engine markers of imminent failure, such as compression loss, hard starting, and smoke likely get more attention.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:23   #3
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Have been following/contributing a CF thread about a sailor with 4-cylinder Yanmar who threw a connecting rod while underway motorsailing. Cause is undetermined at this point, but as a guy with a single-engine trawler, I'm very interested.

My big take-away? Do engine oil analysis at very regular intervals. Here is a motivational article by Steve d'Antonio on the topic - thought I would share with the group outside of the aforementioned thread. Chances are very high that would have caught the underlying cause of the failure long before the engine was more or less destroyed in the middle of a passage.

For those who do regular oil analysis, where do you send your samples?

Peter
Oil analysis only gives reliable results if you have a regular test log from new at scheduled intervals
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:24   #4
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

With the average price under $40 itís not a bad idea to do say every other year. I keep meaning to and will hopefully remember to do one at the end of this cruising season, but if I forget I wonít lose any sleep over it. I would much rather suspect a lower end rebuild and do it preemptively than have a catastrophic failure.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:30   #5
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

I use Foley equipment in Denver. The prepaid mailers come with the sample kit for less than $20. They post results online and mail also.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:50   #6
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

I've used Blackstone labs for a few years now on my 1981 Pathfinder engine in a C&C40 sailboat. This original engine is still in great shape judging by the oil analysis record. My opinion is Blackstone labs is a great place to send your oil for analysis.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:52   #7
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

Of course you have to know what the analysis means. I certainly would not know what it meant.
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:10   #8
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

Quote:
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I've used Blackstone labs for a few years now on my 1981 Pathfinder engine in a C&C40 sailboat. This original engine is still in great shape judging by the oil analysis record. My opinion is Blackstone labs is a great place to send your oil for analysis.
I second Blackstone labs. Iíve been using them for 13 years and find her oil sample results very detailed and informative.
I now see that their services have gone from $20.00 13 years ago to $30.00 now, but I still think it is well worth it.

Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:41   #9
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

When we bought our boat in 2016, we had a survey and included oil analysis. When we got the oil analysis, it was really really bad. I called the surveyor to ask his opinion, he said it was the worst he'd ever seen. I bought the boat anyway, because I figured the po had never changed the oil. Haven't had one lick of trouble from that engine, so far.
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Old 06-03-2020, 13:11   #10
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

Oil analysis by Blackstone Labs is $26 a pop with free mailing on the sample and an email response with the completed analysis.
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Old 06-03-2020, 13:15   #11
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

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Originally Posted by 19thol View Post
When we bought our boat in 2016, we had a survey and included oil analysis. When we got the oil analysis, it was really really bad. I called the surveyor to ask his opinion, he said it was the worst he'd ever seen. I bought the boat anyway, because I figured the po had never changed the oil. Haven't had one lick of trouble from that engine, so far.
Which proves (to me at least) that a baseline reading and a reading at each oil change thereafter is what makes the oil analysis valuable.

, S/V Finlandia
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Old 06-03-2020, 14:32   #12
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

So would you guys recommend an oil test any time you are considering buying a used boat? (Obviously that would not work if the oil had just been changed)

Like to know what you think

Cheers

Brian
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Old 06-03-2020, 15:00   #13
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

Can't see much good out of a single test
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Old 06-03-2020, 15:14   #14
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

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Originally Posted by b_rodwell View Post
So would you guys recommend an oil test any time you are considering buying a used boat? (Obviously that would not work if the oil had just been changed)

Like to know what you think

Cheers

Brian
As my above suggests, I would recommend an oil sample, if not at each oil change, at least every two hundred hours or so.
But thatís just me. Itís your engine, do as you wish.

Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 06-03-2020, 15:21   #15
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Re: Oil Analysis - good read

Oil analysis is good but you need a good baseline to start with and then a few samples at specific times for the analysis to be worth anything. The longer you take them the better information you will get.
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