Engine lubricating oil vapour

Hi folks,
I've got a quick question. Today I started up my backhoe loader for the first time in a while. Worked it really hard for about 10 minutes.
Afterwards the engine was too hot to touch for more than a few seconds (though I'm not sure this means a great deal in itself). But then I took off the oil filler cap, and some oily mist wafted out. It was after dark, so I was observing this using a torch, which might have exaggerated the effect. But I've never seen it before and I was wondering if it's healthy? The engine is a Fordson Super Major diesel.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Best wishes,
Chris
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...
Condensate (water from the air) collects in the oil as the tractor sits. When it heats up as you finally use the thing after a while, the water boils out. If you had used it longer, it all would have boiled out, and you would not have seen much of anything. Meanwhile, you probably didn't even make a dent in the water collecting in the hydraulic oil reservoir or transmission in 10 minutes of operation.
A happy diesel is generally pretty hot.
You should change the oil and filter if it's been a while since you did that - the water collecting in the oil does not help things. Even with the price of oil up, oil is cheap compared to a diesel engine. If it has been changed recently, just make sure to use it longer and more regularly, or give it a nice dry place to live. If you use it more regularly, this is less of a problem. You can also slap an oil-pan heater on it and cook out the water with electricity, if that's cheaper or you simply don't have enough jobs to keep it busy.
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wrote:

Thanks, Ecnerwal. That's a really useful response and it makes good sense. I was going to top up the oil (it's near the bottom of the safe driving range, which might make the engine run a little hot), but now I think I'll change the oil completely. I'm not sure if the engine has a typical disposable oil filter, though I'd imagine it has a filter somewhere. I've certainly found a bit of moisture in the transmission before, but not in the hydraulic system. I think the hydraulic system is pretty well sealed.
Best wishes,
Chris
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wrote:

Yes, the hydraulic system is sealed, but the oil storage tank must have a vent to the outside. Possible part of the filler cap or may be a filter cap on a pipe close by to th filler. Should have a screen and a metal mesh which must be kept clean. As you use the hydraulic system, the oil from the cylinders must have somewhere to surge into and the tank is it. Air will go in and out and carry dirt trying to get in and moisture trying to get out as the oil level fluctuates.
Paul
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On May 11, 1:27 am, co snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You're right, but all the rams are double acting, so the change in volume is fairly small. Also, the vents aren't the kind which rainwater could fall into. Any water must get in as water vapour, but it is possible.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Normal temperature changes will move a surprising amount of outside air into and out of the tank. Over a winter I'd expect the equivilent of a full air change every few days. Hmmmmmmmmm think I need to run the calculations on that........
Christopher Tidy wrote:

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I think the Fordsons are not too distantly related to the Ford "thousand" series I have, which have a spin-on filter at the left side of the engine (or perhaps a filter shell with replaceable element as a older or optional arrangement). Looks like it's probably the shell with internal filter on yours, likely still same location. US supplier is looking for about $6 for the element.
A useful place online for elderly fordson tractor info: http://www.ytmag.com/fordson/wwwboard1.html

It's got a vent, and double-acting cylinders still move the complete volume of the rod around, which is pretty substantial for the average backhoe set of cylinders. Work it for a few hours, it gets hot, and clears the moisture out.
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I would think this is fumes from the crankcase, resulting from minor blowby.

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Which is perfectly normal, particularly on a 40 year old tractor engine.

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I wouldn't be too concerned by the oil fumes, pretty standard on an engine with a bit of ring blow by. Now, if you got it so hot that it blew out the water; you may have a serious problem.
Most of the fordson majors here in the states can be found in the salvage yard. Not one of Ford's better ideas.
Karl
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wrote:

I don't think this engine has much blow by. The oil never seems to get dirty; it stays golden. And the engine was a replacement, so it's much younger than the complete machine.

They were several versions of the Fordson Major, but the Super Major is a pretty damn good tractor.
Best wishes,
Chris
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On 10 May 2007 17:34:33 -0700, Christopher Tidy

All engines create crankcase pressure which is normally vented to the intake system, somewhere. Normally there will be a small positive pressure in the crankcase so it is quite possible to see some vapor when you remove the filler cap. If the engine does not burn oil I wouldn't worry about it. However --- how hot did you get the engine?
Bruce in Bangkok (brucepaigeatgmaildotcom)
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On Fri, 11 May 2007 00:18:42 GMT, "Karl Townsend"

Actually, for their age the major, super major and Dexta were pretty decent tractors. The big majors in particular. The little Dexta Major was a bit of a dissapointmrnt, but what do you expect when you send a boy to do a man's job. It was just too light.
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

NO water in the thing. Hole in the radiator. If it had water and overheated it would be blowing steam. there goes the compression. hope not but thats what happens.
John
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The radiator's full. I checked before starting it, and after running it too.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Perfectly normal. Take the cap of any engine of that era, and you'll get an oily mist wafting out. It's just a mix of oil mist, and crankcase gases.
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