Frequency of lube changes

   #1  

citytransplant

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1. It's my understanding that engine oil breaks down over time, regardless of engine operation. That is to say oil should be changed at certain time intervals even if the engine itself hasn't been used much. If true, why does unused engine oil still in the container have an indefinite shelf life (or does it)?

2. Owner's manual for my Farmtrac 27 hp notes that hydro fluid should be changed every 400 hours. While I've owned this unit for 15 years, I only have 350 or so hours in the saddle. That's to say the hydraulic fluid in my tractor is 15 years old. I do plan to change it soon (as other maintenance items are due) but should hydraulic fluid also be changed at certain time intervals, regardless of engine usage?
 
   #2  

ljjhouser

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I don't know about oil breaking down over time and changing its properties. But I really would be concerned about moisture in the oil. I say that because a small amount of moisture could really effect the properties of oil, or maybe even create sludge. But even car manufacturers, on the new trucks have dash warning telling drivers when to change oil. Best Wishes, Larry
 
   #3  

crashz

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There are a lot of factors to oil changes. Engine oils are subject to combustion gases and can develop acidic components over time and operation. As Larry stated, moisture in a system can also create sludge, corrosion and is part of the acid build up. Engine oils have components that fight those properties, but eventually additives wear out over time, oversaturation or heat cycles. That's why its recommended to run an engine up to temp once in a while to burn off that moisture and also why short trips are so hard on an engine.

Oils that aren't subject to combustion have it easier, but moisture and contaminants are still a problem. Also extreme wear component that are often added to high-load components (axles and transmissions) do wear out over time as well.
 
   #4  

RalphVa

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Oil in original container will last indefinitely because it has not come in contact with anything to harm it.

Hydraulic oil, if you've never disconnected a coupling, should last the full 400 hours irregardless of time. Normal operation will likely warm it up enough to evaporate any water that is likely to condense in it.

Engine oil comes in contact with combustion blowby gases. They will degrade the oil over time, but I cannot believe enough in one year to require changing unless you do A LOT of short starts and stops (e.g. ones that will leave unevaporated moisture in the oil). I go multiple years on my Tacoma run only 1k/yr and now going multiple years on the tractor, generator and 2 cars. Will go by miles on cars and the 10 years on the generator and about 4 or 5 years on the Tacoma.
 
   #5  

arrow

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I did 4 engine oil changes in my JD 750 over the 28 yrs that I had it (Yanmar diesel) . I sold it in 2013 w 1650 hrs on it. Still running like a champ.
With roughly 60 hrs per year of use, I changed it around 400 hrs. Rotella 15/40.

Coinsides w what RalphVa is saying.
 
   #6  

Captain Dirty

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With all of the electronics in a modern vehicle there is a myriad of data available, time, engine RPM, ground speed, oil pressure and temperature, transmission oil temp, etc, etc, etc. The manufacturers have proprietary algorithms to use the data to tell the operator how much oil life is left and when to change the oil. While time spent at highway speeds is undoubtedly easier on the oil than stop and go and may be reflected by the algorithm, it is in the vehicle manufacturer's interest to change oil sooner rather than later. They would much rather point the finger at owner/operator error for failing to change oil than have the finger pointed at them for faulty bearings or other faults. No doubt time, be it engine hours or calendar date, trumps all else in the algorithm. To wit: Exactly a year to the day that I reset the maintenance clock, my pick-up sends messages "Engine oil life remaining 0%; Change engine oil soon".

What the electronics are unable to do, as yet, is chemically analyze the oil. Reputable oil laboratories will analyze a sample, compare the findings with prior samples from the same vehicles and compare them with averages for the same type of vehicle as well as make recommendations as to the remaining life. If results are unusual, their comments section will point to probable causes. To my way of thinking, the $30 or so per analysis for engine oil with low mileage for the year and for hydraulic oil that is not subject to the same stresses as engine oil is short money compared to the cost of an oil change and cheap peace of mind.
 
   #7  

Doughknob

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Didn't we just debate this a couple weeks ago?
 
   #8  

RalphVa

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I pose the question to those of you worried about water in your oil. Have you EVER changed it and it was milky, e.g. had water in it? Think not.
 
   #9  

Robin Veerman

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And I pose you a question. Have you ever noticed a white sludge on the inside of your oil cap? That is evidence of moisture in the engine internals, mostly during the colder seasons and especially with short trips on the vehicle...
However, Pretty common to see white milky oil in gear/trans oils though, as they hardly ever warm up like engine oil would, due to condensation or water egress due to worn shifter collars in tractors stored outside.
Dutchy
 
   #10  

RalphVa

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And I pose you a question. Have you ever noticed a white sludge on the inside of your oil cap? That is evidence of moisture in the engine internals, mostly during the colder seasons and especially with short trips on the vehicle...
However, Pretty common to see white milky oil in gear/trans oils though, as they hardly ever warm up like engine oil would, due to condensation or water egress due to worn shifter collars in tractors stored outside.
Dutchy
Yeah, there in cold weather. Doesn't mean it has gotten into the oil. I have never ever changed oil in anything: engine, trans, diff and found milky oil.
 

Sberry

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I did 4 engine oil changes in my JD 750 over the 28 yrs that I had it (Yanmar diesel)
We were changing in older engines a lot for season, some for hours but after the advent of new oil and pulling some samples I never shut anything down for an oil change and in our 4020 was changing 2 or 3x a year,,, our use has dropped but now its every 3 years. It needs make up oil so that is a factor but so much easier not to have to fuss with that messy black crap and barrels of oil, small packages also allow for tailoring to machines.
 

DMW

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Yeah, there in cold weather. Doesn't mean it has gotten into the oil. I have never ever changed oil in anything: engine, trans, diff and found milky oil.
Changed the THF in my GC's hydro, 90 hours after a dealer service. Consistency of chocolate milk. A LOT depends on weather conditions, and extreme temperatures. The quality of the oil does make a difference in my experience.
 

Texasmark

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1. It's my understanding that engine oil breaks down over time, regardless of engine operation. That is to say oil should be changed at certain time intervals even if the engine itself hasn't been used much. If true, why does unused engine oil still in the container have an indefinite shelf life (or does it)?

2. Owner's manual for my Farmtrac 27 hp notes that hydro fluid should be changed every 400 hours. While I've owned this unit for 15 years, I only have 350 or so hours in the saddle. That's to say the hydraulic fluid in my tractor is 15 years old. I do plan to change it soon (as other maintenance items are due) but should hydraulic fluid also be changed at certain time intervals, regardless of engine usage?
OEM equipment specs are written for the world to use, in the world's environment, by the world's operators, with the capabilities of such.

I saw a Branson tractor commercial once where a Japanese rice farmer was getting his tractor serviced while up to his step in goo...mud slush...rice paddy makings. No way does any of my equipment operate under those kinds of conditions, nor in the Saraha desert, Nor the North or South poles.........common sense isn't very common....not my origination but thoughtful.
 

RalphVa

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1. It's my understanding that engine oil breaks down over time, regardless of engine operation. That is to say oil should be changed at certain time intervals even if the engine itself hasn't been used much. If true, why does unused engine oil still in the container have an indefinite shelf life (or does it)?

2. Owner's manual for my Farmtrac 27 hp notes that hydro fluid should be changed every 400 hours. While I've owned this unit for 15 years, I only have 350 or so hours in the saddle. That's to say the hydraulic fluid in my tractor is 15 years old. I do plan to change it soon (as other maintenance items are due) but should hydraulic fluid also be changed at certain time intervals, regardless of engine usage?
Hydraulic fluid will not break down unless you get water in it.
 

Robin Veerman

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That’s not true at all!!! If you don’t know what you’re talking about put a question mark after a statement. That way you appear somewhat sensible… Sure there are no combustion contamination issues, but there are temperature levels and shearing forces to consider, besides moisture concerns and dirt contamination. Sheesh.
 

bdhsfz6

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If you're really concerned about it, have the oil tested to see if it needs changing. Yes, it can cost more for the test than to change the oil but you only need to do it once to get an idea of it's useful life.
 

Robin Veerman

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Various labs for $35 give or take… I sent my Amsoil THF away earlier this year with 400 hours on it. Came back “good for continued service” etc. Changed both filters and will try another 400…
 

MAX-24-Dean

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1. It's my understanding that engine oil breaks down over time, regardless of engine operation. That is to say oil should be changed at certain time intervals even if the engine itself hasn't been used much. If true, why does unused engine oil still in the container have an indefinite shelf life (or does it)?

2. Owner's manual for my Farmtrac 27 hp notes that hydro fluid should be changed every 400 hours. While I've owned this unit for 15 years, I only have 350 or so hours in the saddle. That's to say the hydraulic fluid in my tractor is 15 years old. I do plan to change it soon (as other maintenance items are due) but should hydraulic fluid also be changed at certain time intervals, regardless of engine usage?
I looked up your tractor for tranmission specs and see it is not a hydrostatic. TractorData.com Farmtrac 270DTC tractor transmission information

Ran a Farmall H over a 15 year period mostly moving baled hay. Had a 5 speed manual gearbox. Never changed the hydraulic oil in 15 years. Broke a hose and with this came new fluid. Changed the hydraulic filter every other year, approx. 400 hours of use per year.
On a side note the engine burned a half a quart of oil a day. So only changed the filter once a year. Never had any problems with the tractor with this maintenance schedule. Now sold.
 

RickB

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Never gets very hot. Not like an auto trans.
Not in your limited experience perhaps. Plugged oil coolers and poorly maintained equipment can easily lead to overheated, burnt smelling degraded oil and component failures.
Automatic transmissions in automotive applications generally run cooler than engine oil and most off-road hydraulic powered equipment that runs for more than brief intervals like most CUTs.
 

toyotadriver

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I change my tractor engine oil and filter yearly. Do it in the spring. I don't use my tractor as much as many here....probably 30-40 hrs per year max. I probably could wait longer between changes but some people I know who are very knowledgeable about oil recommend yearly regardless of how few hours one might put on a tractor. Oil is cheap....engines aren't.

My manual transmission tractor gets the transmission fluid pretty hot so I change that oil every 3 years.
 

North to Alaska

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Changed my oil and hydraulic fluid a year ago. Put on 70 hours but much of that was short runs. (Turn it off frequently to keep hours and fuel consumption down)
Depends on quality of fluid and what you are doing.
I plan to change it shortly from the 5w40 rotella t6 to a 0w40 John Deere plus-50 oil. ( plan to keep this for two years or 200 hours.)
The hydraulic fluid I used last year was a John Deere winter grade. (Not changing this for a long time. )
Axle grease was an emergency swap out of only half with synthetic 75w90. Want to swap out all of it to fill synthetic 75w90. That should last a very long time and I will replace as needed.
For me the engine oil takes a beating because it doesn’t get hot enough at times and idles a lot. It also sits outside.
It gets cold here and a winter grade hydraulic fluid is like night and day to work with. I’m not driving the tractor for 30 minutes before I can shift into 2nd range and not have it stall.
There was a big difference between the oem grade oil and the 5w40. I’m sure the 0w40 will be even better.
80w90 gear oil turns to gel at -10 to -20 …like cold honey.
 
 
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