Author Topic: Low oil temperature  (Read 1337 times)

tubes_rock

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Low oil temperature
« on: November 25, 2020, 06:44:49 PM »
I have a recently-running 1999 Metro 6/1. It's hooked up to an ST-5 generator head. I'm using a thermo-siphon and 20 feet of baseboard heating cores as a cooling system. I have machined an adapter for an automotive thermostat (195 degrees) be be placed in the head to regulate temperature. The cylinder head heats to about 190 before the glycol starts flowing and holds a temperature between 193 and 205 for the entire time of the engine's running.

Here's the question: no matter what load I put on the engine, everything from idle to a continuous 3,500 watts being pushed by the generator, hours at a time, the water remains nearly constant in temperature, and heats quickly at initial startup because of the thermostat. I'm running just under a gallon of Rotella SAE30 oil in the sump. No matter the load, no matter the time the engine runs (often 8 hours or more at a time), the base of the crankcase never exceeds 130 degrees, which tells me that the oil never exceeds 130 degrees. It takes quite a wile (well over an hour of hard running) to attain this temperature.

I've always done well by the rule of never starting an internal combustion engine unless I plan on getting the oil good and hot to drive out the moisture byproducts of combustion, and in my mind, that means getting the oil above 212 degrees for a reasonable length of time. In this engine, however, that does not seem possible, and concerns me about the oil life and the buildup of acids and other unwanted chemistry.

A secondary question with this is that if the sump always stays relatively cool, should I consider putting a 15 weight oil, or a multi-viscosity oil (15W-40?) for winter? It's not uncommon for me to want to run this engine at temperatures well below freezing, and since the sump never gets hot, I'm seriously wondering about the effective splashing action of honey-thick oil in there.

What has experience taught all of you who have had their engines run far more hours than I have yet to put on mine?

I made a (crummy) video of the engine to show the guy that I bought it from that I got it running, and it shows the cooling system, mounting, generator, etc, in case you're curious about the layout or perhaps I've made some fundamentally poor design choices that I need to address. Feedback and your own experience welcomed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPBrGu09J9U

Thanks!

--Justin

38ac

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 10:41:30 PM »
In these engines you are stuck with cool oil temps and the problems that creates. You will need to run either a lighter grade of oil or multi grade in cold weather. It's easier on your arm when starting and better for the engine also as cold tbick oil doesn't splash. Every engine that leaves my shop has 15W 40 in it.
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tubes_rock

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2020, 11:53:48 PM »
Now *that* is the answer I was looking for!

I always thought that all-season multi-vis would be the answer to a number of problems, but "everyone" always says "non-detergent, straight-weight 30," and that doesn't make sense to me. Not looking to spark an oil debate (we all know how those go), but I'm switching to 15W-40 for the winter.

Now, that actually brings up another question: Multi-viscosity oil, 15W-40 for example, is SAE15 viscosity at cold temperatures, but has polymers that thicken it with temperature so that it behaves like a 40 weight oil when hot. If the oil doesn't actually get hot, it will be 15 weight oil all the time. Is that too thin to lube the heavy and sloppy tolerances in these engines under warmer weather conditions? I just get to thinking that they specified 30 weight oil, and unless 15W-40 gets hot enough, it will always be 15 weight oil...

--Justin

AdeV

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2020, 03:09:32 PM »

I just get to thinking that they specified 30 weight oil, and unless 15W-40 gets hot enough, it will always be 15 weight oil...


The original CS engine was designed, IIRC, in the 1930s, and even then the crank case was based on the even older Lister L, which was designed in the early 1900s. 110ish years ago, there was no such thing as a multi-grade (and definitely no such thing as synthetic) oil... but the advice to use "straight 30W non-detergent" oil has somehow stuck. As other posters have said elsewhere, pretty much any modern automotive oil will be leaps and bounds better than the oil these engines were designed to use...

Now, admittedly, I wouldn't put 0W-5 anywhere near a Lister (way too thin), but anything "about as gloopy" as 15W-40 will be just fine.

The "non-detergent" comes about because these engines don't run an oil filter. Modern oils are designed to keep any bits in suspension, to be filtered out; non-detergent oils are designed to "drop" the particulate matter, thus theoretically leaving it in the sump. This is unlikely to be a big concern, though, and if it does worry you, it's a fairly simple job to add an external oil filter/pump which simply sucks oil from the sump, filters & returns it. You'll catch almost any suspended stuff that way, as nearly all of the oil will be filtered. TBH, I'd only do that if I was seeing noticeable particulates in the oil.
Cheers!
Ade.
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1x Lister CS Start-o-Matic (complete, runs)
0x Lister JP4 :( - Sold to go in a canal boat.

veggie

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 07:03:30 PM »
Yep, the cylinder and head are far away from the crank and very little heat is conducted.
Also, unlike modern engines, the CS style does not circulate oil up to the valve assembly in the cylinder head where it would normally pick up a lot of heat. So, depending on service duration the crankcase oil is also susceptible to condensation and water gain as it does not get hot enough to boil off the moisture.
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Hugh Conway

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2020, 10:01:07 PM »
As regular readers know, my Listeroid lives in a 3 sided shed. I'm in Canada.......yes, an island on the coast, but it still can get well below freezing sometimes, and freezing for in winter is fairly common. I started out with this engine using the old recommendation of 30wt non detergent oil It was hard to find in the first place, so I bought 10 gallons of it. After a few oil changes, I switched to 15W40, same as in my truck (also diesel). The multi grade does make cranking easier. I did find that using the multi grade for lubing the valve gear did not work out so well, the lighter oil got thrown out of the pushrod cups too easily. All that remaining straight 30wt goes in the oil can for the valve gear.
There's not really much that can be done about low oil temperature save adding a heater of sorts, though in practice, that seems unnecessary. I have about 2250 hours of running in the field now and things continue to operate well.. We change the oil every 250 hours. I like to keep things as simple as can be, so it's good enough for me.
Cheers
Hugh
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38ac

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2020, 11:39:11 AM »
Over the years there have been many posts from users fretting over oil temps, water temps, oil filters etc etc etc. It is important for a user to remember two things. One, the reputation these engines have was built upon them used as shipped and operated with cool water jacket temps, cool old temps, inferior oil quality etc. And 2, A CS is an entirely different operation than a modern diesel and one should not universally apply modern engine wants and needs to the old CS.

I know of one CS that has pumped domestic water for as long as anyone alive can remember, not 24/7 of course but runs every day. it has a flow through cooling system thus it never gets luke warm and knowing who owns it id guess oil change intervals are measured in decades,, if ever. Moral of story is there is no need to over think a CS engine installation.
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tubes_rock

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2020, 02:24:59 PM »
Overthinking things is a true skill of mine... Not saying that I'm good at it, just something that I do a lot!  ;D

Thanks for all the great replies! I will be switching to 15W-40 and next Summer's project might be to add some kind on periodically-running electric oil pump to run the oil through a filter. Maybe.

I live near the USA/Canada border, so Hugh's insights are very appreciated. Thank you for that!

As 38ac stated, these engines have come through thick and thin and in far worse conditions than mine will ever get, so I should not let "perfect" be the enemy of "good."

Great information here, and I thank you all for taking the time to jot your insights down for my education!

--Justin

dkmc

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2020, 08:13:05 PM »
I have a new zero hours 6/1, and 2/12 both with ST heads. I acquired them from separate owners in 2019. Also picked up a 'high hours' 6/1 W/ST head a couple months ago, none are in ready state yet, but being set up, so my interest in your setup is relevant. My thoughts are that, that muffler type is a good choice, because it has divergent passages that subject the gasses to direction changes. That affords heat transfer into the metal, so it can radiate into the room. And it's nice and quiet. 3-4KW of waste jacket water heat isn't much to shed. Your fin tube setup is interesting and I think very adequate, although I'm leaning toward a radiator with a fan to move the hear around the room a bit more. I'm posting this on the LEF also.....Thank You again.

tubes_rock

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2020, 12:30:34 PM »
The above message was posted on my youtube video, and I replied there, so I may as well post the same reply here and open the conversation if anyone wants to chime in:

The "final version" of this install will be in a shed adjacent to my house. I'll have it piped into my home heating system's dual 275-gallon fuel oil tanks for fuel, with a local tank (20 gallons) of winter diesel or K1 kerosene. Start/stop then engine on "cold weather" fuel, and then when it's warm and running, switch to cheap and plentiful heating oil. The cooling system will be a glycol loop run into a hot water storage tank. (Same type of tank as an indirect loop for domestic hot water.) From there, I'll have the "potable water" pipes hooked to standard Taco circulators that can send the heat to rooms in my house, to a separate domestic hot water tank, or just to a set of fins outdoors (like the setup in the garage) if the heat just needs to "go away" and can't be used for anything helpful. That gives me storage capacity for a lot of BTUs and the ability to send them wherever I want automatically. It also allows me to use tap water for the large quantites of water, and antifreeze only for the loop that goes from the engine to the coil in the storage tank. Just a few gallons. It puts some electrical load on the system to run the circulators, (200W, max) and does not have a safety in the event of electrical or circulator failure other than the T&P valve on the storage tank. The loop to the engine and the loop to the "we need to get rid of heat" fins will have two circulators in parallel to allow for maintenance and circulator failure. Electrical failure I'm not too worried about since if the power stops flowing, I'm not likely to continue running the engine. I may put a solenoid to hold up a weight on the injector pump shutoff in such a way that an electrical failure causes the weight to shut the engine down. I'm still working out the details...

BruceM

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2020, 05:07:54 PM »
Just a reminder; for a 6/1 you can only capture roughly 1500W of heating available in the coolant, and that's for a full load .  At a partial load, much less.  If I was planning on having it next to the house, I'd balance well, perhaps using the 8/1 aluminum piston. Otherwise the floor vibration could be an issue even for a well balanced engine. 38AC's balancing method is by far the best; he measures, corrects the angle and matches flywheel counterbalance first, then just adds or subtracts to the counterweights equally to get the best running.  I'd also use the "leach field" type muffler, as that eliminates exhaust noise, and cleans up the exhaust stink dramatically as well. 

dkmc

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2020, 05:15:56 PM »
I'd balance well, perhaps using the 8/1 aluminum piston. Otherwise the floor vibration could be an issue even for a well balanced engine. 38AC's balancing method is by far the best; he measures, corrects the angle and matches flywheel counterbalance first, then just adds or subtracts to the counterweights equally to get the best running. 

At this point Bruce, where would Justin have access to 38AC's procedures?

tubes_rock

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2020, 04:20:14 PM »
I have 38AC's balancing procedure. Looks to be a hassle, but I have an idea that I've seen in practice on a hit-or-miss engine, and on tire balancing. My setup is on a rigid-frame set of I-beams, and I will have (4) heavy-duty rubber engine mounts under it. This makes the whole engine a dynamic load, and subject to the sway of the vibration. I've seen 3/4" steel pipe (electrical conduit, I believe), fabricated into a closed loop, sized just to fit inside the rim of the each flywheel, and either welded or encased in epoxy for a secure bond. Each hoop is filled with a few pounds of loose lead shot.

Since the engine is free to vibrate on the rubber engine mounts, centripetal force distributes the shot around the hoop within seconds of starting, but not evenly. A vibration cycle to the left, forces the shot to the right, since the engine assembly moves to the left and the shot is free to move on its own. This actually forces the shot to distribute itself in exactly the opposite directions as the flywheel overweight, causing the flywheel to be self-balanced within a few dozen revolutions of the engine. They do the same thing to automatically balance tires. (Look up a product called Dynabeads. You put them in a car or motorcycle tire to do the same thing and they work very well.) I've seen this done on a hit-and-miss engine and the engine was as smooth as you could please.

This method of balancing will work its way into the final setup at some point.

Agree that there isn't much waste heat in the cooling system. It takes a good long run to get things warm, and a moderate cooling surface does a good job of dissipating it.

--Justin

dkmc

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2020, 04:24:57 PM »
I have 38AC's balancing procedure. Looks to be a hassle,

I may have seen it in a post at one time, but didn't save it. Could you share the text?

tubes_rock

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Re: Low oil temperature
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2020, 08:54:21 PM »
You can "search" for it the same way I would! I don't have it stored locally, if that's what you mean.

--Justin