Oil Change Frequency

Discussion in 'Diesel Engines/Drives/Transmissions/Props' started by Russ Calasant, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Russ Calasant

    Russ Calasant Active Member

    Dec 9, 2009
    East Greenwich, RI
    2001 480 DB
    CAT 3196
    Im sure it’s been discussed many times, what is the current consensus? Seems wasteful to change oil and filters with less than 40 hours run time - and they never see temps below 60 degrees. What say you?!
     
  2. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    Spec'd hours or annually which ever comes first.
     
    Russ Calasant likes this.
  3. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    I can only tell you what I do. My engines are old and tired but still run great. My slip neighbor is a massive gearhead. He has always said to change the oil at the end of each season due to the oils breaking down creating acids. I admit, I don't understand it, I just do it.
     
  4. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    Me too.
     
    Russ Calasant likes this.
  5. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    I have always changed the oil in all of my boats at the end of the season or 50hrs or annually - whichever comes first. For my 3-4 month layup I don't think it really matters much if I change it in the fall or spring. I just do it in the fall because that is what most hard core people that winterize for a 6 month layup say, plus the boat is ready to go in the spring. I would expect you guys with diesels that hold several gallons of oil are on a different schedule. I know we all talk, discuss, stress about engine oil - what kind, how much, how often etc, etc -- truth is there are many more things that kill a marine engine. But I still think my engine runs better just after I change the oil - at least it makes me feel good!
     
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  6. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Boats are always taking.... at least with an oil change every year your giving something back - recycling too.. at our Marina they use it to heat the workshop
     
    Russ Calasant likes this.
  7. WV 320 Dancer

    WV 320 Dancer Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    169
    Oct 28, 2018
    2003 Sea Ray Sundancer 320
    Twin 350 MAG - V Drive
    Just my two cents but I always let my engines winter over with fresh oil in the crank case. No use letting old oil with water and acid sit in your engine for 4 to 5 months.
     
    northshore, Craig and Russ Calasant like this.
  8. Maximus

    Maximus Member

    33
    Jul 28, 2014
    Ontario
    1998 400 sedan bridge
    3116's
    I get oil samples done. They tell me what to do. For me it’s every 2 years which is about 90 hrs. Been boating 30 years never had an oil related problem. And I never use synthetic oil only real oil for me
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Russ Calasant likes this.
  9. Russ Calasant

    Russ Calasant Active Member

    Dec 9, 2009
    East Greenwich, RI
    2001 480 DB
    CAT 3196
    This makes the most sense to me, I already changed this year but next fall I will test the oil to get the answer- thank you
     
  10. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 Express
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin GSD 22 Sounder
    Garm
    454 Crusaders
    If I ran diesels with 16-24 quarts per engine I'd have the oil analyzed and use it as a guide. I would expect it show 2-3 year intervals. Gas engines with 5-6 quarts per engine every is not a big deal but I'd be curious as to what an oil analysis would show. I'd be more prone to focusing on serious issues like hoses, pumps and heat exchangers that can kill an engine than insist on annual oil changes with 40-50 hours use.
     
    douglee25 likes this.
  11. Maximus

    Maximus Member

    33
    Jul 28, 2014
    Ontario
    1998 400 sedan bridge
    3116's
    Yes I agree with last post. My smaller boats with a gasser and 5 litres of oil gets new oil every fall even it it only runs 30 hrs per year
     
  12. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    Generator I change at the of the year. Probably have 30 to 70 hours on it. It holds 3 quarts. Main engines I change during the season at 100 to 120 hours as we are not always near a place to do it. At the end of the season if there are 60+ hours on the oil I change it. Each engine hold 7 quarts. Transmission I change every 200 to 300 hours but always in the fall. Generator has 1,600 hours and main engines have 3,100 hours. Neither require adding oil between changes.
     
    WV 320 Dancer likes this.
  13. scooper321

    scooper321 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    567
    Jul 4, 2015
    Baltimore, MD
    "Lollygagger" 2003 Sundancer 320, Simrad NSS2 Evo9
    Twin 5.7L Horizon Mercruiser (350 MAG MPI) V-drives
    This is true. Excessive heat of the engine DOES break down oil, even synthetic oil (although that lasts longer). Changing it annually keeps it fresh. But also, it keeps it clean! Ever put fresh oil in and take it back out? It’s not close to the same color. Changing the oil keeps the deposits and crud from accumulating in the oil ... and in our engine. Changing annually is far from excessive. I’m speaking of gas engines, by the way.


    That’s a long way of saying “I agree”.
     
    Russ Calasant and WV 320 Dancer like this.
  14. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    That’s what I do.
     
    Jaybeaux likes this.
  15. bmac

    bmac Active Member

    Jan 11, 2008
    Holbrook, NY
    2006 58 Sedan Bridge, Walker Bay Generation 390 RIB w/40hp Yamaha, 2014 Wellcraft 232 CC w/Yamaha
    MAN 900 CRM
    Russ, here’s my $.02 on this.....oil changes annually are cheap insurance. Each of my engines hold 9 gallons of oil and have 2 oil filters. MAN requires synthetic 5W40. For me to perform an oil and filter change on an engine takes about an hour and costs me about $450 per engine plus another half hour and $90 per transmission. The genny is another $50. I do oil analysis on each component at every change. One of my engines new today is $105,000 plus removal and installation. Like I said, cheap insurance.
     
  16. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    You just threw cold water on my move up dream......thank you.:D
     
  17. Maximus

    Maximus Member

    33
    Jul 28, 2014
    Ontario
    1998 400 sedan bridge
    3116's
    Cheap insurance? Maybe for you. I just think it’s a huge waste of my hard earned money to do it if it’s not needed and a waste of resources as well. Just my two cents
     
  18. douglee25

    douglee25 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    NJ
    Boatless
    Big ones!
    It's funny but honestly you're right. Commercial industry has been much more diligent in adopting oil analysis to actually EXTEND oil change intervals to save money. The everyday operator just samples oil to see if they can see trends in metal, coolant, or fuel levels over time. They only use oil analysis for 50% of its use.
     
  19. Maximus

    Maximus Member

    33
    Jul 28, 2014
    Ontario
    1998 400 sedan bridge
    3116's
    Most engine failures are not a result of oil type or lack of changes. They are the result of unforeseen circumstances. I’m much more concerned about a turbo failure or an aftercooler leak or a dropped valve any of which will completely destroy an engine in a heartbeat. A cat loader for example goes 500 or more hrs on an oil change in a very hostile environment and last 15,000 plus hrs. Just my opinion.
     
  20. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 Express
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin GSD 22 Sounder
    Garm
    454 Crusaders
    Maximus has it right. While annual oil changes may be cheap insurance they can give a novice a false sense of security. When the impeller, hose, belt, exhaust riser, heat exchanger or filter fail and they are faced with calling Sea Tow or Boat US they will wonder what happened after all I take care of my boat don't I. When was the last inboard boat engine you saw fail because of lack of oil change interval.
     

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