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Crank Case oil Polymerization

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  • Crank Case oil Polymerization

    I have heard horror stories about this in the past but never seen it. This is a friends oil pan. He was running syn. Amsoil and had some injectors fail which causes vegi contamination into the crank case. He did't catch it before it turned to "play dough". I myself have had vegi oil contamination and this never occured but i was running regular Rotella oil, not a syn. Maybe that was the difference, not sure. Point is, keep an eye on the oil level and if you see it rise, you have a fuel/injector leak and you need to get it taken care of before this can happen.


  • #2
    no comments on this?

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    • #3
      Staring down the reaper

      Lots of interest just really scary.Glad I change my oil every 3000 miles for monitoring such things.Anyone new to diesel should learn for telltales of injector failure as there are greater issues with WVO....................greasy
      2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

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      • #4
        I am pretty nervous now... I changed my oil about 6,000 miles ago with the Amsoil synthetic, so yeah, pretty scared. I took a sample at 5,000 miles, and just haven't gotten around to sending it off to blackstone. Oil level has never risen, so I am good there, and the oil still has a little color to it. Are there any other signs to look for?

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        • #5
          Idle flutter(not just cold start all the time),not sure of our engines,but the older ones will "diesel "after they are shut off for a few seconds.With any injector failure smell of fuel (either diesel or WVO odor),oil always over full,and with HEUI injectors this could be an issue long term.......oh extra fuel consumption...did I miss anything clay............greasy
          2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

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          • #6
            Originally posted by greasyX View Post
            Lots of interest just really scary.Glad I change my oil every 3000 miles for monitoring such things.Anyone new to diesel should learn for telltales of injector failure as there are greater issues with WVO....................greasy
            Greasy, are you saying there are greater issues with WVO because veg getting into engine oil is more damaging that diesel fuel doing the same, or are there greater issues because the use of WVO is more likely to cause damage to the injectors than running exclusively on diesel? Thanks. - Patrick

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Clay Henry View Post
              no comments on this?
              Clay, saw your post on this subject one day and came back the next day to ask for more info but couldn't find it again. Anyway, what was it that caused this problem to occur in your vehicle and what alerted you early on (glad you caught it in time and it didn't get this nasty)? - Patrick

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              • #8
                WVO is a oil (thick),diesel is thin,repeated cold/ hot cycles in the engine can speed up polyermization because WVOs form (viscosity) is changed with heat,This is not a characteristic of diesel. I have seen injectors go real bad,but in extreme condition(running for two weeks straight when temps were -15 on a warm day,and then shutting down,without cool down,blowing injectors "gaskets".I have also heard of WVO POLY in POWERSTROKES,but only with long oil change intervals(6-12,000).I guess my point is if you monitor your injectors health,use injector cleaners,and use motor oil that has proper detergents you will never need too worry about Poly from injector failure.But when you get it with WVO,you won't notice a thinning of the oil like #2,or the diesel smell. WVO will harden in the oil pan,diesel will not,thus possible starvation of oil or hardening around moving parts is where the damage will occur.WVO is not the bad guy ,the injector gone bad is,wvo just requires you stay on your toes in monitoring for failure....hope that helps your question.................greasy
                2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hooter View Post
                  I am pretty nervous now... I changed my oil about 6,000 miles ago with the Amsoil synthetic, so yeah, pretty scared. I took a sample at 5,000 miles, and just haven't gotten around to sending it off to blackstone. Oil level has never risen, so I am good there, and the oil still has a little color to it. Are there any other signs to look for?
                  Don't be scared, just be aware of the possibility of this happening. Monitor your oil level everytime you fill your tank as reccomended by in the manual. If you see a rise in oil, you have a failed injector that is leaking fuel.

                  Originally posted by greasyX View Post
                  Idle flutter(not just cold start all the time),not sure of our engines,but the older ones will "diesel "after they are shut off for a few seconds.With any injector failure smell of fuel (either diesel or WVO odor),oil always over full,and with HEUI injectors this could be an issue long term.......oh extra fuel consumption...did I miss anything clay............greasy
                  When i had failed injectors the first time, there was ALOT of fuel leaking and the truck ran like crap, fuel mileage fell sharply also. But the second time this happened to me, it was a very minor fuel leak and i noticed nothing other than a slight drop in milage. So don't count on seeing any performance changes.
                  Originally posted by lancaster,pa View Post
                  Clay, saw your post on this subject one day and came back the next day to ask for more info but couldn't find it again. Anyway, what was it that caused this problem to occur in your vehicle and what alerted you early on (glad you caught it in time and it didn't get this nasty)? - Patrick
                  I had contaminated vegi oil that i had collected from unknown sources. I was tainted with "boil out" which is a cleaning agent the cooks used to clean the fryers and when they were done cleaning, they dumped the cleaner into the oil dumpster. I no longer dumpster dive.
                  Originally posted by greasyX View Post
                  WVO is a oil (thick),diesel is thin,repeated cold/ hot cycles in the engine can speed up polyermization because WVOs form (viscosity) is changed with heat,This is not a characteristic of diesel. I have seen injectors go real bad,but in extreme condition(running for two weeks straight when temps were -15 on a warm day,and then shutting down,without cool down,blowing injectors "gaskets".I have also heard of WVO POLY in POWERSTROKES,but only with long oil change intervals(6-12,000).I guess my point is if you monitor your injectors health,use injector cleaners,and use motor oil that has proper detergents you will never need too worry about Poly from injector failure.But when you get it with WVO,you won't notice a thinning of the oil like #2,or the diesel smell. WVO will harden in the oil pan,diesel will not,thus possible starvation of oil or hardening around moving parts is where the damage will occur.WVO is not the bad guy ,the injector gone bad is,wvo just requires you stay on your toes in monitoring for failure....hope that helps your question.................greasy
                  Not always. I never saw any poly of my oil either time. And the second time this happend to me, the leak was very slow. When i changed my oil at the 5k mile mark, i noticed the drain pan was a little full compared to normal so i measured the oil that i had just drained and i had 17 quarts rather than 15. So over 5k miles only 2 quarts of fuel had made it into the crank case. I say only because the first time it happened to me, i had an exra 10 quarts in my pan So basically when i saw the 17 quarts, i wondered if i had overfilled on the previous oil change because i could not see or smell any fuel contamination. So i put 15 quarts of new oil in the truck and ran another 5k miles and monitored it. Same thing...17 quarts of oil when i changed it. Still no noticable poly of the oil or smell. So i went to the ford dealer and had them test for leaking injectors and the test showed nothing. At that point i was really confused because the ONLY thing it could be is fuel from leaking injectors to raise my crank case oil level. So the Tech told me to run another 5k miles and monitor...i did and the same thing happened and I went back to Ford and had them test again but this time i asked the tech to extend his test time from 10 minutes to maybe 20-30. The way they test is, they drain the oil, remove the fuel bowl lid and pour a die into the fuel. Then block off one bank (to test one side at a time) and they pressure up the fuel system and wait ten minutes while standing under the truck with a black light monitoring the oil that is still dripping from the drain plug hole. If you have a leak, you will see die come from the drain hole. So the first time he tested it, there was nothing that showed up in that 10 minutes...the next time he tested it he saw die in 17 minutes. A very slight leak but still a leak and it was all 8 injectors again. Once they see die at the pan, they lower the truck, remove the valve cover and look at each injector with the black light. Any die will be puddled next to the leaking injector on top of the head.
                  Keep in mind guys, that this issues is bad with vegi oil or with diesel. If this happens with diesel and its not caught, the crank oil gets extremely diluted and huge amounts of wear will occure and cause total engine failure. Just so happens when the fuel happens to be vegi oil, no real lubrication properties are lost UNLESS of couse it turns to playdough.
                  Why my oil did not polymerize is still a question. The guy who took this pic was using Amsoil syn. and i was using regular rotella. Thats the only difference i could see. So if your using a syn oil, this would be a reason to watch it closely. Maybe someone using syn oil could do some tests with there old oil and mix some vegi with it, heat it and stir it up good and see if it turns to a solid?
                  Last edited by Clay; 02-26-2009, 11:45 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Great info here. Knowing what to look for should help in avoiding a major pitfall and possibly save some of us from costly engine repairs. Thanks. - Patrick

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                    • #11
                      The polymerization in motor oil is due to copious amounts of heat, oxygen, oxidants (mostly carbon steel in this case) and time - the four main 'ingredients' for polymerization of VO. (Unlike the 'fire triangle' - all 4 ingredients are not req'd for reaction, but the more of each and the faster it happens. Another 'ingredient' is UV light exposure...) All the cases of polymerized MO I've seen were due to serious engine/injector issues and/or early switchover and 'blending' or one-tanking VO. Some were from engines with excessive blow-by (poor compression, leaking valve guides, etc) and others from failed injectors. The GM diesel injectors tend to fail in the 'open' position, expediting big problems and PSD injectors can allow fuel and oil to mingle BEFORE the combustion chamber - maybe even worse!! The blenders and one-tankers add VO to the crankcase every cold start due to the fact that diesels don't make full compression until warm - so, some combustion gasses are getting past the rings during this time. (this is why diesel oil turns black so fast!) Also, VO 'kits' (term used loosely) that do not heat VO sufficiently can have such poor injector atomization that fuel 'washes' the cylinder walls increasing chances of ring failure, etc.

                      Extended oil changes greatly increase the chances of catasrophic failure simply due to the 'time' factor of the equation.

                      Worry? Nah, just be aware of things that cause PSD injectors to fail ('boil-out', starving for fuel, etc) and avoid extended oil changes! AND, don't switch over 'early', blend VO/diesel or one-tank 'conversion'.

                      Here's a great page about how the UNIQUE fuel injection system on PSD works:
                      http://www.blackclouddiesel.com/Tech/howinjectrswrk.htm

                      Oh, and AFAIK there is no definative 'test' to determine VO in MO - last I heard, even UOA's could not identify it yet. In a mild contamination scenario, UOA should indicate increased engine wear. The VO polymerizes LOOOONG before you can ever SEE it and the larger-sized molecules do not fit where the oil molecules are needed for adequate lubrication... I have read (won't mention the name, not generally considered a reputable source ) that it may be possible to 'see' VO in MO when you freeze it. The VO component may gel in the MO or even seperate. I have never tried this and therefore lend no credibility to the 'test' - but surely someone could attempt to verify if it works at all... Viscosity and specific gravity COULD be indicators as well???
                      2001 F350 XLT 4x4, dually flatbed. 6637 air filter, single-shot injectors, straight-piped, BTS tunes, 200 gal main VO tank - 180k greasy miles
                      2000 Excursion Limited 4x4. V3, AIS intake, BTS trans & tunes - 120k VO miles
                      veggiegarage.com authorized installer

                      RIP X & Toyhauler - you served us well.

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                      • #12
                        Darn...you guys make me wanna go out and check my oil...haha.

                        I usually stay on top of it and haven't had any issues...but, this does remind me how important it can be.

                        Good info too!
                        Greasin & Grinin
                        Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                        2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                        2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                        2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

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                        • #13
                          Finally remembered to go back and check out these pics...man, what a mess!!
                          Greasin & Grinin
                          Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                          2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                          2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                          2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Marv View Post
                            Finally remembered to go back and check out these pics...man, what a mess!!
                            But did you remember to check your oil?
                            Vegistrokin since 08/23/08

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jack_Toepfer View Post
                              But did you remember to check your oil?

                              LOL...yeah man, I think I checked it that evening when I got home actually.

                              All was well...no signs of the oil level rising!
                              Greasin & Grinin
                              Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                              2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                              2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                              2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

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