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MAN 1550 CR oil sample...high iron and copper

Discussion in 'Engines' started by Punisherzx12r, Apr 5, 2021.

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  1. Punisherzx12r

    Punisherzx12r Member

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    Screenshot_20210405-224832_Gallery.jpg 1550 mans...4300 hours. Engine survey flagged iron and copper on one motor and iron on the other for more frequent sampling....is this anything to be concerned with? Screenshot_20210405-224832_Gallery.jpg
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Too low to worry about IMO. Indicative of a boat that's been sitting more than it's been running. However, if I saw over 150 ppm of iron or 60 ppm of copper, then I'd be worried. Sodium is extremely low, so motors haven't been run in rough conditions (sea) since the last oil change. You posted the same sample twice. What does the MAN dealer think of the samples?
  3. Punisherzx12r

    Punisherzx12r Member

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    i was having trouble attaching the pic....port motor was lower on the numbers so i didn't post that.

    Last line on the report that was a separate document from the oil sample ,,,,run motor every week, problems happen when they sit. I guess that was in reference to the oil sample
  4. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Not sure of the exact age, but since the 1550 was introduced a dozen of years ago or so, even if the engines would be among the earlier ones, at 4300 hours I would rather think the opposite.
    I agree that it's nothing to be concerned about, anyway.
    Oil analysis is overrated.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    What I learned about oil samples is that their value is in comparing multiple samples over time. Sort of like blood pressure. High blood pressure could be because you just had a fight with your wife. If it's off the chart bad that's one thing, but generally your doctor is looking for if it's steadily rising. Same with oil samples.
    RER likes this.
  6. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    I fully agree that one occasional oil analysis - typically upon purchase - is hardly meaningful unless off the chart.
    But also regular oil analysis, which might make more sense theoretically, are in my opinion overrated.
    And I'm putting my money where my mouth is, because I never, ever made it on any of my own boats.
    My reasoning being, even if some wear indicators would constantly get worse, what would you do in practice?
    Did you ever hear of anyone who rebuilt an engine that is working just fine, due to oil analysis alone?
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The idea is that if you see trouble coming maybe you can avoid the rebuild or worse. It's cheap insurance. Would you tell your doctor to not check your BP or cholesterol as part of your physical ? Would you rather replace a bent rod or a grenaded motor?
  8. Punisherzx12r

    Punisherzx12r Member

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    Thanks for all the replies...a friend sent me a oil sample report from a brand new boat that sat for several months while a tower was being installed and it's second ever oil sample with around 60 hours showed numbers just like this.
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    During break in, the first 2 or 3 oil changes, showing higher levels of some metals is normal. Also after laying up. That's why you want a series of samples. Is it about the same after this summer's running as it was after last summer's. If not you ask yourself if the difference was caused by running harder and longer or putting more strain on the motors through things like towing or just the motors getting older. If the numbers are getting higher with no use cause you've got something to check into. If the numbers are radically different you've definitely got something to check. But there's lots of causes for minor changes. It's just one diagnosis tool in the tool box and a good one. But one report generally tells you very little unless the numbers are real bad..
  10. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    I struggle to follow your logic, because there are scientifically recognised ways to tackle BP or cholesterol problems before you get a heart attack.
    But aside from the fact that you can also get it out of the blue, with neither BP nor any other symptoms, I'm not aware of anything you could/should do if those levels of iron and copper would not go down, or possibly even increase over time.

    Let me rephrase my previous question which you didn't answer, splitting it in two alternative scenarios for (hopefully) better clarity:

    If a rod is bent enough to create perceivable problems like excess vibrations, or if you have any other serious fault reflected in a perceivable engine malfunctioning, you don't need any oil samples to understand that something should be done.

    Other than that, let's assume that the oil analysis is somewhat concerning, but the engine is working just fine, all temperatures are OK, it reaches the rated RPM and so forth.
    Are you aware of anyone actually pulling such engine out and rebuilding it based on oil analysis alone?
    Simple question, where yes or no are the only possible answers.
    Me, not only I never heard of that actually happening in 30+ years, but I also never heard any pro engine shop suggesting that.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The idea is to avoid the rebuild same as you monitor your BP so you can take some meds rather than wait for a heart attack. Could be something as simple as a bad valve spring or metals left from break in causing wear.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What if there's high sodium. Then you know there's an issue and can check your heat exchangers/coolers and change the bad one, before you ARE rebuilding the motor. And yes, both MTU and CAT have intervals for top end rebuilds and rebuilds and many people do rebuild them at that time before they grenade.
  13. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Folks, I made a simple question, and then I tried rephrasing it because I was in doubt to have been unclear the first time.
    I won't make it again, but which part of...
    "Did you ever hear of anyone who rebuilt an engine that is working just fine, due to oil analysis alone?"
    ...is so hard to understand, exactly?

    I don't care one iota if you agree with me or not when I said that oil analysis is overrated.
    That was clearly just my opinion, and it's as good or bad as any others.
    But I can only assume from your replies that not only mine, but also your answer to the question above is NO.
    And I don't understand why is it so hard to admit it.

    BTW, rebuilds at scheduled intervals have absolutely nothing to see with my previous assumption.
    Not until anyone will post a maintenance echelon based also on oil analysis, rather than either hours clocked or fuel burnt.
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The answer to your question is no, because that's not what it's for. The whole point of the oil analysis is to prevent or forestall rebuilds. It's a tool to tell you something not good is going on and you might want to look closer so really bad things don't happen.
  15. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Happy to hear that our experience is aligned, eventually.
    Ref. prevention, I already said upfront in my post #6 that regular oil analysis can make more sense than occasional ones.
    The reason why I added "theoretically" (and I called such practice "overrated") is that not only I never heard of any engines rebuilt because of oil analysis, but I'm also not aware of any other major maintenance jobs done, or even just recommended, on that basis alone.

    I accept that for instance high sodium, possibly increasing over time, might be a good enough reason to strip coolers and check them, as Capt J mentioned. I just never came across that in real life, and neither heard that happening from any boatyard.
    I suspect the reason is that a defective/leaking cooler is more likely to be found upon periodic cleaning and pressure check, rather than because oil samples point in that direction.
    That's just a guess though, 'cause as I just said, I never heard of coolers stripped for no other reason than oil samples.
  16. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    In response to your first statement: Yes, I have had an engine rebuilt due to oil analysis alone. We had an engine that was showing high copper. The manufacturer did not want to investigate. We had the technicians investigate. We drained the oil sump and dropped the pan, to find copper "powder" (for lack of a better word) in the sump. Further investigation revealed that one of the main bearings had the babbit material worn away, and was into the copper underneath. I have pictures somewhere, but cannot quickly locate them. If I find the pics I will scan them and upload them.

    In response to your second statement: I have seen coolers replaced due to oil samples.
  17. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Fair enough, that counts for one occurrence of hearing that in 30+ years.
    Every day is a school day, as the old saying goes.

    Just curious, didn't you ever open the drain plug and find any of that copper powder attached to it, before dropping the pan?

    And for coolers, were they stripped ONLY because of oil analysis, or were they due for cleaning anyhow?
  18. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    Replaced a ZF gear cooler due to oil analysis.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, I had one with a similar situation captpkilbride. Same/similar scenario, all of a sudden really high copper, and engine was almost out of extended warranty.
  20. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    Oil analysis is a just tool to monitor engine , gear , and gen condition. Possible early warning if there is a problem. Not arguing, but see how important oil samples become when buying a boat. I just went thru this, engine surveyor forgot to take generator oil samples! o_O