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Propane Onan with Water in Oil--Cause and Cure?

onan water

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#1 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:35 AM

I recently bought a small warehouse forklift for my new shop.  It has an Onan CCKB?? 2 cylinder engine and runs on Propane. The engine is Onan green, and I suspect it is a repower from a genset.

 

I wasn't able to get to the dipstick when I first looked at it, but the engine started and ran with no smoke and 20 psi oil pressure so I figured I was okay.

 

I finally was able to move the hydraulic line blocking the oil filler and pull the dipstick.  It was full of oil, but there was also a creamy deposit on the sides of the fill spout and the dipstick that is undoubtedly water.

 

It's an air-cooled engine, so I know it isn't a leaky head gasket, etc.

 

So, I'm wondering how the water got there, and how best to clean it out so I don't wipe out the engine.

 

Regards,

 

Smitty

 


Edited by Utah Smitty, November 23, 2019 - 10:49 AM.

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#2 greenb6901 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:41 AM

I have had car engines from years past do this. It can be condensation, especially if you live in a humid climate. Also check to make sure that the Reed valve on top of the engine for crankcase ventilation is working.

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#3 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:48 AM

I have had car engines from years past do this. It can be condensation, especially if you live in a humid climate. Also check to make sure that the Reed valve on top of the engine for crankcase ventilation is working.

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Thanks.

 

I'd like to clean it out of the engine without pulling it (a major task)... I can replace the oil easy enough, will it clean out as I run the engine?


Edited by Utah Smitty, November 23, 2019 - 10:48 AM.

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#4 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 11:35 AM

It should.     was it stored outside by past owners? 


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#5 tractorskipper OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 11:36 AM

Burning propane creates water vapor & some may get by the rings.  Just my opinion.  But as said above, in the end it is just condensation, no mater where it comes from.


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#6 8tyman8 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 12:49 PM

Yeah that’s normal from
What I remember about propane/natural gas engines and if memory serves me right propane and natural gas engines normally last longer then there gas Counterparts
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#7 oldironmm OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 12:50 PM

Change the oil and get it warmed up. It will eventually evaporate the water in the crankcase. It can also be caused up starting it up and shutting it down before it can evaporate the condensation. I see it in Iowa alot on tractors where they didn't get up to temperature especially in the winter.
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#8 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 02:21 PM

Burning propane creates water vapor & some may get by the rings.  Just my opinion.  But as said above, in the end it is just condensation, no mater where it comes from.

That's what I was thinking.  It wasn't stored outside, but I suspect between the condensation from the propane and the previous owners not running it very long that it didn't boil the condensation out of it.

 

Smitty


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#9 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 02:30 PM

Sounds like condensation to me! Could be it was ran just long enough at a time to let that build but not burn off!


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#10 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 03:15 PM

Propane is not the cause of the moisture, gasoline engines do the same, because the moisture comes from the air that mixes with what ever fuel that is used, that causes the moisture. Just my thought, could be wrong.
I would say short run times and not changing the oil often enough is the problem.

Noel
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#11 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2019 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for all the input.

 

I replaced the oil--3.5 quarts and the filter -- NAPA Gold, and then ran it for about an hour--raising and lowering the forks, etc. It holds a little over 20 psi oil pressure, so I'm hoping it'll just keep chugging.  We won't be using it every day, but it will be handy to use when lifting a platform up while we're putting insulation in our ceiling, etc.

 

We also plan to build a mezzanine over part of the shop, so the forklift will be handy when putting stuff up there.

 

I suspect that it wasn't used much, and wasn't serviced much either... the bushings on the chain pulleys on the mast were shot... fortunately I was able to press a new one in.

 

Regards,

 

Smitty


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#12 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted November 24, 2019 - 01:38 AM

Lot of cars in the cold country will have a little stream of water out the exhaust pipe after they first start them cold.  Short trips and not getting everything warmed up good causes a lot of exhaust system failure if not stainless steel.  My Polaris Ranger will have some white foal around the dip stick cap as it seldom get warmed up enough to get any heat out of the heater.  I really need to take to for a 5 mile drive and cook all that crap out of there.


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#13 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted November 24, 2019 - 09:12 AM

Sounds like the engine may not have seen as many oil changes as it should have - short run times where things don't get hot and poor maintenance habits will quickly lead to mositure developing in the crankcase.  My understanding is that oil in propane or natural gas engines doesn't change colour (darken) the way oil in a gas or diesel engine does and as a result some people figure it isn't dirty and does not need to be changed.  I would suggest that you put an hour meter on the unit (if not already equipped) and then keep a log of when the oil is changed and the run times ( 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, etc.) as the fork lift is used as well as other maintenance performed including adding oil, spark pugs, air filter etc.  It may be a hard habit to develop at first but once adopted it will serve you well in the long run to make sure the oil change intervals occur on a regular basis resulting in a cleaner engine internally.  If more than one person is operating a piece of equipment a log becomes more important as things like checking the fluid levels and oil changes are often neglected since one operator assumes that another operator did them. The log is also helpful (at least for me) in that it is a reference as to when something was done to the unit rather than relying on memory two or three years later. 

 

Just a suggestion. 


Edited by 29 Chev, November 24, 2019 - 09:13 AM.

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