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RandyA

Diesel Fuel in Engine Oil - Injector Issue?

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My last report from a lab oil analysis noted that I had more than the "normal" amount of diesel fuel in my engine oil - enough to lower the viscosity from 10W-40 to 10W-30. Oil was 12K old and this is the first such report. (yes, I change more frequently than the manual says I need to.) I carried a sample with me when we left in December and just recently sent it off for analysis. Lab just said to keep an eye on my oil level and watch for it to rise rather than fall. But, this was not an answer I like. Fuel dilution screws up additives and lowers viscosity, which IMHO is not good at any level.

 

I have not physically started looking for the source since I am away from my home shop and tools. With 1,500 miles on the current crankcase oil I believe I am safe for the 1,100 mile run back home early next month.

 

After talking to some local non-Volvo mechanics (no Volvo shops here) and poking around for info on the Internet the most likely culprit could be a cracked fuel injector. Following that line of reasoning, I'm thinking of adding fluorescent dye to a tank that is low on diesel fuel, removing the valve cover and carefully looking for dye traces around injectors with a LED black light with the engine running.

 

Another possibility suggested was an injector leaking down allowing diesel to run into the cylinder when shut off and running down the cylinder walls. Still another is a faulty fuel pump - but I have not quite figured out how a fuel pump could be the issue.

 

The engine runs beautifully. There is no smoke, abnormal noise, starts immediately hot or cold - even after a long rest, shuts down without run-on, gets decent mileage and there is no noticeable decline in power. I did note that the oil level on the dipstick appeared "higher" before I did the December oil change but wrote that off to maybe being off level. I checked oil here (in Florida) on a flat spot with the engine cold a few days ago and the level is a tad above the full mark - It is hard to tell if it is rising since the truck has been sitting several weeks and everything would have drained back into the oil pan over that interval. When I did my last oil change I refilled by volume - not the dipstick mark, so again I cannot say anything that is definitive about the accuracy of the dipstick levels other than it is not going down. BTW - I now do my own oil changes because I don't like the add-on charges from the shop like a $35 disposal fee and a $15 charge for shop supplies (a rag?). I have a friend that has a used motor oil furnace and is always glad to get my oil oil.

 

The search is on - and, as always, I am turning to the experience of the folks on this thread to see if anyone has some solid ideas for possible causes. I do know that whatever it is will most likely not be good ($$$$) - shucks, the price of a single D12 injector is pretty scary. Oh, BTW, 800K on the clock and a history of proper engine maintenance since it was new. I really don't think I could be into piston/ring/cylinder wear to a point of causing problems (yet).

Edited by RandyA

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It could be a solenoid issue not allowing the injector to close all the way. Or you could have a cracked injector tip. In the small diesel world of 5.9 Cummins, it's usually the solenoid that goes bad.

Either way, diluting the oil is not good. It will eventually allow the cylinder walls to be washed and scoured.

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Does that model of Volvo engine have injector cups?

If so something else to ponder. On some models of the Volvo brand I believe the copper cups can crack. Volvo has updated some of these to stainless steel to help eliminate some of the issues. Not sure if you need a different injector to use the new cups.

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Another possibility suggested was an injector leaking down allowing diesel to run into the cylinder when shut off and running down the cylinder walls. Still another is a faulty fuel pump - but I have not quite figured out how a fuel pump could be the issue.

I concur with this. The pump can leak internally and dump into the sump from the gear drive. I'm gonna bet on a leaking injector though. I would find a diesel injector service that rebuild pumps and injectors to check it out.

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Injector cups gets a lot of discussion on truckers forum,local dealer has it on their 800,000 km 'check list'.

Maintenance or P.M. item? MrSeas is correct, I have been told about the 'upgrade' as well.

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I've had the same issue with my Mack work truck for three years now. In the course of an average year (~2,000 miles), it will gain two quarts. I changed the low pressure fuel pump with no improvement.

 

My solution is to change the oil annually rather than the semi-annual I used to follow. An additional oil change is way cheaper than chasing something so hard to find.

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A complete overhead was run on the engine in 2013 that included new cups and seals. Unless something was botched when that was done......... well, it could be possible. At the time the overhead was done I was leaking antifreeze into the fuel and fuel into the antifreeze. That issue was cured with the new injector cups and seals.

 

Back to the injector pump possibly leaking fuel into the sump. Having never been inside this part of the engine please explain how this would be possible? Is it the seal on the mechanical drive from the engine to the pump? How does this thing work? I know I will eventually need to take it to someone that really knows this stuff (most likely the Volvo dealership - which I DO NOT like to do) but if I could actually determine what is causing the contamination I believe I could eliminate a part of the labor expense of a mechanic poking around. It is not inconceivable that I might even be able to make the fix myself - I've manage to do a lot of things on this beast and when I am blocked it usually comes down to a specialized tool issue like the pulling and setting of injector cups.

 

I'm still thinking I will do the UV dye test when I get back to home base. That will tell me "something" but in the interim I am open to other ideas. This is a very resourceful and knowledgeable group gathered here.

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Randy, I helped a guy put cups in a Detroit in my shop. We pulled the head and I took it to Western Branch Diesel. They installed the cups. $500.Over 2k if they did all work. I asked if they hydro the head after they install the cups. No test preformed. The truck is still towing containers locally and no problems after a year. Do what you can yourself and save some some labor cost. I'm not really sure about a Volvo engine. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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Thanks Pat & Bob for your response. That really helps. Say, Pat, when you get home from the ECR would you like to see what is inside a Volvo head? I'm only a couple of hours up I-64. :) (just kidding......... or am I?)

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Randy, I"m sure we can work something out IRT a visit. We are doing a front brake job on Pats Pride and one of the Lugs just wouldn't break loose. We had 2 1" Impact guns ant neither one would break it loose. So Randy (real name!) went back to his house (8 houses down) and got his Snap On 1" impact. Bam No problem off it came! You get what you pay for. Are you going to pull the head at your place? I had to make a fixture that bolted to the head so we could pull the head on the Detroit. We"ve used it 3 times. Still works. Overhead assistance via mono rail or long boom engine hoist is handy. I know nothing about a Volvo. You want me to ask around @ ECR for any Info? When do you expect to be back in The Old Dominion? Hope you are doing OK I hope. Will see you soon. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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HI RANDY!

Glad to hear your plan to attend the ECR this year and look forward to seeing you then!

Now I'm no mechanic but from all my reading on forums the cracked injector cups really sounds spot on. It

definitely sounds like an injector issue.

I myself am wrestling with a Davco fuel issue. It's a wonder I have any hair left with all the head

scratchin going on, HA.

Good luck and HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AN NANCY!

 

roadfitter

 

ps: I'll start an other thread with my fuel issue.

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I asked this question over on the Truckers forum in the garage area. Most say its an injector issue. Either an o-ring or crush rig, or a cracked injector. If it was a cup, it would be making antifreeze. One suggestion was to pull the valve cover and run the engine. You might see the injector leaking or spraying all over the place....

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Randy, Are you going to be at the ECR? No the last time we talked about it. Changed? The brake job required new drums. Might have been able to get by with having them turned but the shop here couldn't do drums with a bore of 8 3/4". I called Volvo $370 and not in stock. I called Tidewater Fleet Supply $190 and I got 2. I got the front end clean ond painted so the drums go on tomorrow if it isn't raining. I have been doing some painting and some frame cleaning that I should have done long ago but a trip to the ECR has given me lots of reason to get er done. I have a brake lathe in the shop now but I don't have the right flanges to hold a drum but when I get my lathe running (I'm told the new gear is ready) so hopefully before we leave i'll be able to machine what I need. We'll see. When are you going to be at home? I will enjoy looking in a Volvo head! Take Care. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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No, will not be at the ECR this year. I really wanted to come but there are too many conflicts. We leave Florida April 1 and must head back to home base for doctors, dentist, new grandson/daughter, etc. I have yet another biopsy scheduled to examine a lesion in my troublesome prostate immediately upon our return.

 

I went through the injector replacement service bulletin from Volvo last night. Since the rocker arm needs to come off and and the valves adjusted when replaced as well as adjustments to an injector I am wondering if it is something I should try to tackle. I've adjusted many gas engine valves over the years and could possibly do it on the Volvo as well but I was more like 40 then, not 70. Of course, all of this is assuming I will find a leaking injector when I pull the valve cover for inspection. I need to get back home to my tools and shelter first. I have found both new and remanufactured D12D injectors ranging from $200 to $400 each (plus core). Not sure I want to drop $1,300 in one from Volvo. Again, this is all speculative since I do not know if I do indeed need to replace an injector.

 

A guy here at the RV park I am in claims to be a retired diesel mechanic that worked on big rig motorhomes. His response was to just keep an eye on the oil viscosity by draining a quart out and checking with a viscosity cup and if needed take out some oil and pour in a gallon or two of Lucas oil treatment to bring the viscosity back up to spec. Sounds reasonable for a 800K engine but I am not buying into that band-aid approach at the moment.

 

Shucks, maybe JB Weld could fix a crack? :)

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Randy, Do you have a jake brake on the Volvo? That might have to come off of the engine in order to get to the injectors. I don't know. I'm going to start a thread IRT the air tanks and more work! Hope you get a chance to read it. I've got to get up at 0515 to go to Ubanks. Long day tomorrow. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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Randy, Do you have a jake brake on the Volvo? That might have to come off of the engine in order to get to the injectors. I don't know. I'm going to start a thread IRT the air tanks and more work! Hope you get a chance to read it. I've got to get up at 0515 to go to Ubanks. Long day tomorrow. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

I hope you find the needed air tanks at Eubanks. Last time I was there the Volvo pickin's were slim while the other big three were fairly complete. Larry told me he doesn't keep the Volvo's around for long - they get stripped out and sold quickly.

 

The brake on the Volvo is not a Jake as I know it. But, there is a cam lobe that closes the exhaust valves to create a compression brake. In any event, it appears that the rocker arm shaft must come off to pull an injector. From what I can tell, the tool to pull the injector is fairly simple, like a pry bar, and replacement is straight forward after cleaning the cup. O rings in the fuel lines and rail should be replaced as well after opening or bleeding out the fuel system. I was hoping to hear from someone that has actually done this (injector replacement) on the D12D themselves for insight. Now, I am thinking about this whole rocker arm and requisite valve clearance adjustment thing........ "back when" solid lifter spark ignition engines were common, routine adjustment was needed to compensate for component wear. You either did it when mileage reached a certain point or they got noisy. If you pulled the head you always did an adjustment, but just pulling a OHV rocker arm shaft (on engines that had a rocker arm shaft) did not really call for readjustment as long as no other items (rockers, tappets, lifters, valves) were disturbed - just put the darn thing back on and torque it back down. So I am wondering, sans the Volvo bible, if lifting a rocker arm shaft to get to an injector would really require all the time and precision of readjustment of the valves? Methinks probably not, unless you are a Volvo shop wanting the man hours and $$$ to insure your work. Just thinking, you know...... sometimes a dangerous practice, but part of the overall analysis. Sometimes the box doesn't have to have solid lines :).

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Randy, we got up there just as they were opening the door. Walked out to the yard and found a frame with the tanks bracket and step in great shape.No rust .We walked around for a while and got a few other things, some for a Pete, and we were out of there by 1030. My set of tanks were $156. I really had a smile on my face. When we got back to the house power washed everything. The tanks looked different. They are aluminum. Another surprise. Are the tanks now made from alum? Anyway they are wire brushed, painted, and install underway. Hope to light off Monday.

When we worked on the Detroit we marked the timing gears with whiteout and reinstalled the m with the timing marks in the same place. We never adjusted anything. Same on a Volvo I don't know. I had the valves adjusted at Cummins Atlantic. I didn't do it. Scared I guess. Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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Thanks! This is the service bulletin I have been studying. But, that does not diminish my appreciation for you giving me the link again. I appreciate it greatly.

 

Pat - Aluminum? Now, that is a plus and at a very good price. My tanks are steel and I have some long-term concerns about rust that had formed in the cracks or spaces between the 3 tanks. Those cracks fill with dirt easily and prevent exterior water drainage making rust inevitable. I cleaned out the cracks between tanks with an old carving knife and repainted when I bought the truck. I now clean trash out of the cracks on a regular basis but wonder if they just might now be thin enough to spring a leak. Aluminum would be well worth a preventive replacement.

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Pat; aluminum tanks bring their own set of concerns to the table with that dissimilar metals thingy of corrosion issues, so take special care when mounting them to make sure you isolate steel banding straps from those tanks with a rubber/neoprene strip.

 

I was cautioned to remove those straps and inspect beneath them occasionally as well.

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