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Old 02-11-2016, 09:42 AM   #1
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Generator engine oil

I read the reccommendation on changing the oil in the main engine and understand the timing of oil change because of use and contaminants. But the question I have and cannot find why does generator oil changed as often as the main engine oil. I exercise my generator about an hour every month, I think that is the suggested times from the manufacturer. In 12 months that would be 12 hours, the oil change time for motor oil is 150 hours but some of the companies ask that it be changed every 12 months and do not mention the time. In the newer service manuals, Cummings (Kubota recommends first change 25 then every 150 hours thereafter) that 12 month oil change has been dropped. My question is how long is oil useful and not being used. In 6 years I have run my generator for 190 hours and changed the oil 4 times. Does oil deteriorate from limited use.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:06 AM   #2
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The oil doesn't lose its lubrication properties, but the additives evaporate and break down over time. That affects the cleaning properties of the oil more than anything else.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:08 AM   #3
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Biggest problem is picking up moisture that does not cook off. I change mine at time of engine oil change.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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Agree with the others. The genset engineers don't know what environment your genset is subject to, so recommend changing oil on a fixed time basis as well as hours of use. It's a fact that moderate use is usually more beneficial than light or no use. Rather than get into a complex discussion of a maintenance programs based on several tech factors, they just take the easy and relatively inexpensive path of changing the oil (and filter).

You could have the engine oil analyzed by a professional shop such as Blackstone Labs, but a DIY oil change costs about the same. However, after a couple years of oil analysis you could determine how long your oil really lasts and adjust the schedule accordingly. I do my transmission fluid that way and am in my 10th year without a change. I can show that my tranny fluid still meets specs and am comfortable with it. The genset oil & filter, however, I just go ahead and change every year. My genset gets used, though. It has 1900+ hours on it, though not so much in the last two years.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:21 PM   #5
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The reason for changing oil on an annual basis has nothing to do with the condition or lubricating properties of the oil.

Acids and condensation are formed in the crankcase during the normal combustion process. On Highway trucks and stationary equipment, the condensation is burned off and the additives are left to deal with the combustion contaminants that are left.
Oil changes on these engines is done on hours or miles based on industry standards. Lube oil analysis testing for Base Number and Acid Number can assist in extending oil drains. That's another story.

Now, your motorhome/generator is a whole different world. You drive for a few hours, shut down and sit for hours, days, weeks or months. The contaminants in the lube oil lay there along with the condensation and form carbonic acid. If left in the crankcase, over time, it will result in corrosion of internal engine parts. The oil has not changed in structure, it's merely contaminated.

So, to be on the safe side, it is recommended the oil on Any Engine in Intermittent Service be changed on an annual basis particularly prior to storage.

As a side note, I take annual lube oil samples prior to changing oil but I'm looking for contaminants such as coolant rather than trying to determine oil drain intervals. Based on the above, I change oil annually.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:36 PM   #6
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Thanks for reply, the reason I have got interested in this subject I had a fuel problem which required the diesel pump to be replaced. I have a GS extended warranty and made a claim. They approved the claim the denied payment because I did not have the the oil changed in 2014. That year we did not use the MH much and the generator -0-. I did exercise it a couple of times but did not put over 4-5 hours on the clock. Total hours is about 200, when we had the problem there was only 182. The warranty company turned down the work because I did not change the oil in the engine claiming the pump was lubricated by the engine oil, it is an electronic pump. The only maintenance for the pump is change the filter and check the pressures. The pump is suppose to be changed in 500 hours in the new maintenance manual. Cummings said they were wrong about the oil lubrication the fuel pump but I still do not have the money.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:41 PM   #7
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you are to smart for me on oil anyway. I see you are from BC, this problem started at the Columbia Icefields, it started missing and would stop or go dead. We need the generator that night at 10000 + ft.and cold. As to the oil would missing one year make any difference and less than 10000 miles
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montiem View Post
The pump is supposed to be changed in 500 hours in the new maintenance manual. Cummings said they were wrong about the oil lubrication the fuel pump but I still do not have the money.
And therein lies the problem with service policies. If they can find a way to deny a bill they will.
One person had a transmission repair denied because he went 750 miles over on an engine oil change.
They are a service contract and both you and the company have to abide by the contract, no matter how silly they are.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:06 PM   #9
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You are right, I will never buy another one
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montiem View Post
you are to smart for me on oil anyway. I see you are from BC, this problem started at the Columbia Icefields, it started missing and would stop or go dead. We need the generator that night at 10000 + ft.and cold. As to the oil would missing one year make any difference and less than 10000 miles

I assume you are referring to the fuel pump on the generator that failed.
Sounds to me like GS is blowing smoke. As you stated, the fuel pump on the generator engine is a electric pump. It has NO relationship to the engine oil what so ever. The ONLY thing that might have a bearing on the pump failure would be limited to fuel issues such as bad fuel or not servicing the fuel filter. If they are refusing payment because the engine oil was not changed I would talk to a lawyer or go directly to the big guy himself, Lois Lemoins. This is just wrong. Good luck with your claim.
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