Hydraulic fluid may have been used as engine oil

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Dec 4, 2011
Bought a brand new log splitter and I think they may have put hydraulic fluid in the engine instead of motor oil. After the first 5 hours of run time,I drained the fluid out, like the manual said to, and it did NOT smell or look like motor oil to me. Is there a for sure way to tell the difference? The fluid has a black metalic (like fine metal particles)in an opaque (clear) fluid. Not much smell, if any, a light smell of gas is present. If that is the case, that it was hydraulic fluid instead of oil, is there any damage or long term damage that I need to worry about. I'm trying to decide if I need to take it back or not. Thanks
A UOA would probably help you to ID the fluid based upon the additive package elements found in it. If you used the wrong fluid in the engine, how can you return the unit? That sounds a little dishonest. It isn't unusual to see glitter in the first drain or two of any OPE engine. I'm thinking that not too much harm can have been done, or the thing would have died before it hit five hours. Those little OPE engines are tough and will run for quite some time on anything resembling oil. Is this a side valve or OHV engine? The side valves are more tolerant of abuse, IMHO.
He... didn't put the hyd oil in the manufacturer screwed up and did,or who ever at the store during assembly.
Is it one of those wonderful Chinese engines? It may have had the genuine oil scented ditch water that comes stock in some of them. If you spend some time on here, you'll learn that if it's not a Briggs, Kohler, Kawasaki or other known brand name, it's good idea to change oil as soon as you bring an engine powered product home. Some of the Chinese engines will give you relatively good service if you change oil and tighten loose bolts, etc before using.
i bought one of those chinese splitters with the diesel engine ,first thing i did was to drop the fluids and replace with reputable brand oil,just dont know what was in it before
My experience, and based on a ton of customer reviews, is that all Chinese engines are kind of a "BYO" engine. It comes with all the parts, but you have to BUILD YOUR OWN. Plugs, wires, fuel line, and making sure everything is tightened down and is tuned properly to run, it's all up to the person who purchases it. Fortunately there are online forums that you can go and find people who actually have successfully fixed, re-built, the thing you are trying to make work. I'd change it out with some name brand synthetic and let it run another 5 hours before another drain and fill. With people who only top off their oil, never really changing it, I am shocked at how well small engines hold up.
Engine oil should have a brownish/tan hue to it unless it's been used for a very long duration and is completely black. Being that yours is relatively short term, take a drop of it and put it on a white paper towel. Look to see what colour it displays. If it's clear with black specs, it's likely hydraulic oil. If it's light brown, it's probably oil. Take some pics of the oil on a paper towel and post them. Let us look at it.
Thanks for all the replys. Dont know how to put pics on..
[img]http://C:\Users\Lademan\Pictures\2011_12_04[/img] Did this work?
Its a Huskee 22 ton with a Briggs & Straton 6 3/4 hp motor. The first one I had, had to be returned because I couldnt start it even though they said they warmed it up before I got there. They could not start it when I brought it back either and said they will have to send it out to be repaired. The second one had a strange smell to it when they started it at the TS store, but they said they didnt smell it. Kinda smelled like a cross between an electric motor and plastic burning. I thought maybe it was just because it was a new motor and the TS store leaves them outside in the weather. Even though Ive changed the oil in it, I still smell it a little. I thought the same thing, boraticus, about the brown hue color. I think its clear with black in it. I compaired the smell of the drained engine fluid (which has a faint gasoline smell) and the hydraulic fluid thats in the splitter and they dont smell the same. Maybe due to the 5 hours that it was in the engine? I still would like to know if there could be any damage to it and if I maybe should try take it back. Thanks again for the help.
That doesn't look like engine oil. However, it does look like it did a great job cleaning the engine. I'd put some fresh engine oil 5W30 if working in cold temps or straight 30 or 15W40 if working above freezing temperatures and put it to work. Before doing that though, I'd take a compression reading just to see if there's a chance the oil didn't provide sufficient protection. If compression is good, I'd be willing to wager the rest of the engine will be fine. Nonetheless, I'd most definitely advise the vendor of their error, bring them a sample of the oil and have them agree to an oil analysis. If in fact it is hydraulic fluid, I'd look into the possibilities of potential negative effects it may have had on the engine. If there's a serious concern that damage may have occurred, I'd return the splitter and have them replace it with a new one, or, at the very least, cost out a new engine, and have them replace it. Here's some interesting reading: "Both hydraulic and engine oils are made from base oils with additives mixed in. The additives used change the characteristics of the oils so that they function differently. Generally, hydraulic oils (final product including additives) are expected to have very low compressibility and very predictable friction and viscosity stability under pressure. Engine oils (Engine Lubrication Oils anyway) are intended to have high resistance to heat (degradation including chemical and viscosity due to heat) resistance to burning and resistance to absorption of fuels and chemical compounds produced during combustion. Both classes of oils are likely to have additives intended to provide detergents and to reduce foaming. Base oils are most commonly petroleum oil bases due to cost, but other bases oil can be used including mineral oils (especially for hydraulic oils) and plant oils (especially for engine oils) and oils from animal sources." Considering that you smelled gasoline in the oil, it would further lead me to believe that it's hydraulic fluid. If there's hydraulic fluid in the engine you have to wonder if there's engine oil mixed with the hydraulic fluid in the reservoir?
Is there a chance this fluid is to clean motor just for break in period?
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