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7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How often do you change your oil?

How often do you change the oil on your 7.3 IDI? Regular or synthetic? I'm fairly new to a diesel truck, and have owned mine for about two years now. I've always used regular Castrol oil with a quart of Lucas and changed it every 3000 miles. I understand that diesels are generally "dirtier" than gas engines, but the oil in my truck turns black after just 2000-3000 miles. I see guys putting 10,000 miles on between oil changes, is this normal? Does the dark oil matter? My truck only has 80k on it, and I'd like it to go 300k. How often should I change the oil if I'm using regular? Thinking of switching over to synthetic. How often then?

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pretty sure the manual states that you should change about 3000, less if you really abuse it. If you want to go longer, you could always get a viscosity test done on your oil to determine if its still maintaining the right thickness (somebody back me up on this).

Im sure some people on this website have some good advice on whether to go to synthetic. The extra miles you get out of synthetic might be a wash though considering how much money you spend up front to buy it in the first place. These rigs take lots of oil, its not like you are putting in 4 quarts.

Some people even filter their used oil and dump it back in the tank, there was a very long thread on that just recently.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use rotella 15w 40 and change it every 5000 miles weather it needs it or not. I have put over 350K on 2 7.3 powerstrokes and over 200K on a couple of 7.3 IDIs before that and never have had any major engine failures, oil consumption or injector trouble other than with the 99.5 and up with split shot injectors. New alliant injectors will fix that problem. I have pulled oil samples and after 5K the metals get high in the oil sample.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've heard before about oil samples, where do you guys get oil tested?

I was changing mine every 3000 but got busy and ran it past 6000. What a mistake, I knew it was using a little oil but it had used up 7 of the total 10 quarts. I really dodged a bullet since my oil pressure is right back where it should be. I'm checking the level weekly now. I've run 600 miles in the last two weeks with no sign of consumption yet but who knows how accurate the dipstick really is. For years and years on many vehicles I've planned to but never have done what I did with my old drag car. What I did with it was drained all the oil then added one quart at a time (7 quart pan) I scribed lines on the dipstick for each quart. The car ran better ET's with only 5 quarts and the pressure was fine, this was due to less oil drag on the crank.

As a rule I no longer switch a vehicle to synthetic that has had dino oil all it's life. Porsche now recommends Mobil 1 for all their cars, past and present. My 911 is a 1966 with a 1983 motor. I switched it to synthetic based on Porsche's recommendation and within 100 miles it had developed leaks, particularily the rear main seal. I switched it back to 20w50 regular oil and it took several oil changes and about 6-7000 miles for the leaks to stop. Expensive lesson, the car takes 13 quarts per oil change. I later learned that the rubber seals are slightly swollen from dino oil and that they shrink back a little with synthetic which causes leaks. There is also some evidence that synthetics will leak due to just being thinner. I've never found synthetics to be all that great anyway. My drag car (410" stroker 351w) got it's oil changed 3 times a season and torn down for inspection every winter. I kept records of bearing thickness, journal diameters, and bore size, all measured with proper digital micrometers an a bore gauge. Comparing a season on synthetics to one with dino showed really no difference. When I sold the engine to my brother it still had the cross hatching in the cylinders. I'm getting my Rotella from a local trucking company that I do computer work for at 5 bucks a gallon compared to the $12 that Azone charges, perhaps I may start changing it sooner than 3000 miles.

My only comment on the oil "blackness" is that the diesel seems about the same as a carburated car but worse than a modern EFI car.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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DELO 400 15W-40 here, and I run the FL 1995 (powerstroke) filter. I change mine at 3500-5000 miles without fail. The sticker on my IP gear cover says 5000 miles for normal use and 3500 for severe use.

rsr911: Blackstone Labs is the business of choice here on TDS for oil samples.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm going by the 5K recommendation for a few cycles to clean out whatever the PO used and to get a feel for consumption & leakage, then will be sending a sample off to Blackstone and going by what they recommend. The oil of today is so much better than what was available when my F350 was new that following FoMoCo recommendations to the letter is tantamount to throwing money out the window as you drive around.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Rotella 15w40 "regular", going to start using the PSD filter due to availibility and capacity. The last 4.5 years mine had to resume the duty of daily driver and gets "short tripped" daily. About 6 miles to work (at most), over 3/4 of it "in town". I change the oil at least every 3,000 miles, which is still only 2-3 times a year. An oil change is one of the cheapest things you'll do to it (or any vehicle).
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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5000 miles
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well I suppose it's how you look at it. I'm getting my oil real cheap as I mentioned plus I recycle it as fuel so it the net cost per gallon of fresh oil is less than $2.50. That means an oil change for me is about $6.25 plus filter.

Thanks for the advice on Blackstone. I wanna get my oil tested after my little mishap with low oil level. Plus I'm curious about the oil I collect, I've got about 4 full drums right now. Most of my fuel oil comes from good sources who are sure to only put oil and ATF into my barrel but I've been know to pickup free oil off craigslist. One would imagine that a lab report on motor oil would give a pretty good indication as to the overall condition of an engine internally as well as give me a good indication of my collected oils properties. I was just on their website, some of those non standard tests I can do at work. I hadn't thought about it before but now it makes sense to run a standard viscosity profile on my fresh oil that I could compare to my crankcase oil. I'll have to look up the evaporation rates of diesel vs. motor oil to see if I can run a percent diesel test on the oil as well via heated evaporation. I'm awful tempted to have a particle size and distribution analysis run on my fuel oil since it may indicate a different size starting filter. Thanks for the info guys.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
I've always used regular Castrol oil
That's the wrong oil, it's not diesel engine rated. If you want to use Castrol (I do) you want the R/X Super 15-40, it's for our type diesel engines that don't have the HEUI injection systems. No reason why you can't change it every 5000 miles like the owners manual and shop manual recommends.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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5k ps filter, Delo or delvac, although I changed it last with wallyworld super tech and gained 5 lbs pressure.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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ok now what about a secondary oil bypass..

thing is the size of a big coffee can wide and two tall

surpose to filter better than stock
i dont know numbers

have been told change every 10,000 and 20,000

but the sticker on the window says i got 20,000 miles more to go and have already put 5,000 on it

p/o has told me is good for 20 20,000 before you change it.

has 326,000 on the od runs like a champ i jsut got to replace the orgin ip

i havent been able to find much info on the setup
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMJD View Post
That's the wrong oil, it's not diesel engine rated. If you want to use Castrol (I do) you want the R/X Super 15-40, it's for our type diesel engines that don't have the HEUI injection systems. No reason why you can't change it every 5000 miles like the owners manual and shop manual recommends.
This is what I use.

http://www.walmart.ca/servletimagedo...&imageid=69505
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The GTX is for gasoline engines and doesn't have the correct additive package for diesels.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rsr911 View Post
I've heard before about oil samples, where do you guys get oil tested?
I use a local Caterpillar dealer. They will do the testing for anyone on anything. It is just easier for me since we have the sample bottles anyway. Most oil distributors can get it done also. A series of sampling is of more use than just one sample because you can see any changes in wear patterns.

That 5.00 a gal is a deal for Rotella. We give more than that and buy it in bulk 1500 gal at time.
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