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  • Writer's pictureRichard Davis

What does white oil mean?




This is going to be a short post about an issue that we had on our Phasor 21Kw generator.

We meticulously maintain our Phasor 21Kw generator.

Check the oil every time before we start it. Keep the connections clean. Change the fuel filter and start it once a week and load it for at least 30 minutes.

We were preparing to leave a marina and spend a few weeks on a mooring ball or on the hook before making the crossing to the Bahamas.

During our regular check we noticed that the oil was white and the consistency of a very thick shake. Immediately called my diesel mechanic friend to discuss options. We had already started draining the oil. To thin the oil we put in about two quarts of clean diesel.

It took us a couple of hours to drain the oil when it would normally take us about 20 minutes. We finally got all of the contaminated oil out of the generator.

Changed the oil filter. Put in a quart of fresh oil and pumped that out.

Closed off the oil drain. Added the required 6 quarts of oil and attempted to start the generator. It would not start. Another call to my generator friend and he told me to remove the stop solenoid then try to start it.  The generator started.  Stopped the generator and used electrical cleaner to clean out the solenoid. Reinstalled the solenoid and cranked the generator.  Loaded the generator and monitored it for the next 4 hours.   Removed the oil cap every 30 to 40 minutes to let off any steam created from the residual water in the engine. 




Turned off the generator and waited until the next day.  Checked the oil in the generator and it was the correct color. 

Now the hard part.  Determining how water got into the oil to begin with.  Checked the shaft seal on the raw water pump. No issue.  Checked the coolant level in the engine.  No change. 

The only thing that we can think of is that the rough weather with 3 foot plus waves in the marina and jammed into a slip that didn’t let the boat move properly.  Was enough to overcome the high lift muffler and pushed water back into the exhaust and through an open valve into the engine block.

Any other suggestions as to how water got into the engine?   

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