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oil turned gray

Posted by brian-l 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 6, 09 at 16:54

I have a 2002 Troy Built self propelled mower with a B&S 6.5HP engine. I change the oil every year and only cut the grass once every week or two. Early this spring (maybe on the first cut of the season?) the RPM's starting getting lower and it ran rough (engine speed would rhythmically cycle up and down), and so it would also die in high/dense grass that would normally be no problem. I also noticed the oil was gray. Just last year it was not at all gray from what I can remember (and ran fine). I've neglected changing the air filter and spark plug for some reason (though I do have several engines to maintain), so the filter was pretty dirty and almost looked a bit saturated with oil(?). I changed it and the spark plug and it runs fine now so far (with one mowing), but after changing the oil, it's still gray. Do I just need to change it again, or is there something else wrong?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: oil turned gray

So if the air filter was saturated, it was enrichening the mixture at the very least or possibly it was saturated because the carb was running over making raw fuel enter the crankcase. Sometimes just tipping the mower will contaminate the filter. To me, that is the place to start to know that whatever caused the rich condition is held at bay. Was the oil level reading overfull that you noticed (from fuel)? Oil doesn't lube the best w/ fuel in it, aluminum block engine= grey oil. Monitor the filter and oil level. If curious, warm it up good and change it again with SAE 30 and see what happens.


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RE: oil turned gray

I had stalling problem not too long ago, grass kept getting stuck and jam the blade. I finally adjust the governor?? to increase the idle and that cure the problem. Grass blown into the bag much better and not jamming the blade.

You need to change oil more often!!! Every half a year!!! Unless you switch to synthetic oil. Aluminum engine alway make the oil grey. The first oil change on mine look silvery black!!! Make sure don't over fill.


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RE: oil turned gray

  • Posted by baymee LehighValleyPA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 7, 09 at 7:31

If there is no oil filter, I wouldn't extend the oil change schedule if using synthetic oil.


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RE: oil turned gray

I don't thing it has oil filter. I have the top of the line TroyBilt. THey use the cheap Quantum engine. It is the L head kind!!

I change oil every 4 months max with Mobil I 10-30. I only use it once a week or other week. Oil decompose with time too, not just with running. Oil is the single most important thing for engine life. Change often.


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RE: oil turned gray

Grey oil could also come from water contamination if the mower was sprayed with water while the engine was running.


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RE: oil turned gray

I thought it's like cars, oil and water turn into coffee creamy color.


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RE: oil turned gray

Without actually seeing the oil we really don't know what color it is. Gasoline and water are the two most likely contaminants.


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RE: oil turned gray

There is an oil that solves the aluminum residue in engines. It's called 'Opti-4' and I recommend the SAE 30. Its expensive, but for 20 ounces once a year anybody can afford it. This oil has the property of smoothing sliding metal surfaces by 'Eutectic' action. All oils have this to some degree, but Opti-4 really works. I have been using it for twenty years. The oil in my Tecumseh-engined Lawn-Boy does not get gray. After a year it gets a slight transparent brown. I hate to change it but I do anyway. It comes in 20 oz. bottles in six-packs.
The first new mower I tried this oil in was a 1989 Homelite/Jacobsen with 3.5 HP B&S. The mower is still in service at a relative's house and has had no internal engine repairs. I finally changed the spark plug after they nearly ruined it with old gas they had stored since Y2K! Now this mower admittedly has had light use, but twenty years is twenty years. Attached is apicture of it after I cleaned it up and got it running again after the gas incident. It has not been repainted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homelite/Jacobsen


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