rock like debris in generac generator 17kw

Joined
Feb 22, 2020
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6
Location
canada
hello, I recently took the job as a maintenance supervisor for a nursing home. the home has an outdoor generator, a generac 17kw.. I was checking the lcd displays history, and I seen that it had several "low oil pressure fault codes" I seen that it was setup to exercise itself once a week for 12 minutes, and has been failing with a "low oil pressure" fault I pulled the dipstick and seen the oil was murky, full of moisture. I checked the intake and air filter housing, both had condensation forming.. I noticed there was no winter kit on the genset, the winter temps range from -20 to -35 so I installed a winter kit on the genset, so now the battery, oil filter and intake all have warmers on them. I figured the condensation must of been caused from it starting cold then warming up during the exercising then cooling down and causing condensation. I drained the oil and chased it with good oil until the oil was clear.. and changed the the oil filter.. the genset started 1st try and ran good with no problems, i let it rest and did another start and it worked fine. my question is, when i was draining the murky oil from the bucket into the disposal barrel, i noticed what looked like bits of rock in the murky oil. the bucket was spotless before I drained the oil. i pulled the air filter again and looked and it was fine no debris. I can not see how anything could be in the engine, since it would have to get by the air filter. almost seems impossible. I have a picture of the debris.. just makes no sense how this could of got into the oil.. any help would be appreciated.

20200222_105836.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2003
Messages
1,076
Location
Hedgesville, WV
That must be some kind of gasket maker, I cant figure out how you got it out the oil drain. And you must increase the run time long enough for the oil to get up to operating temp and hold there for 1/2 hr to get the moisture out. 17kw is fairly large, is this a diesel or propane genset. Propane is horrible about generating condensation so you might want to let that run a bit longer but change to once a month, if its diesel you might go every 2 weeks in that cold weather.
 

jb5150

Thread starter
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
6
Location
canada
yeah my friend works on heavy equipment and he figured it was sabatoge.. angry x employee? he said it is impossible for anything like that to get into the motor..
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
6,638
Location
South Florida
I agree that its likely sabotage if its rocks and not plastic. If its plastic, something in the engine like a camshaft gear or something is worn out. Id run it for an hour and change the oil again. I would think that a working generator at an old folks home in a Canadian winter would be a life or death item that MUST be in good working order. I might even convince the owners to sell the current unit and buy a new one since that one might be damaged or sabotaged.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
13,378
Location
Jupiter, Florida
I had an oil additive that would create little rocks that looked like that. The stuff was supposed to be Teflon based, but was in fact some form of ceramic engine restore. I tried it in an old Bronco and the stuff that drained out of the pan looked much like what you show. I could break them with pliers. Are they flat on one side? Maybe some debris or additive settled and you drained it out. I'd be curious to look inside the engine and see what's in there. Maybe a borescope during the next oil change?
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
1
hello, I recently took the job as a maintenance supervisor for a nursing home. the home has an outdoor generator, a generac 17kw.. I was checking the lcd displays history, and I seen that it had several "low oil pressure fault codes" I seen that it was setup to exercise itself once a week for 12 minutes, and has been failing with a "low oil pressure" fault I pulled the dipstick and seen the oil was murky, full of moisture. I checked the intake and air filter housing, both had condensation forming.. I noticed there was no winter kit on the genset, the winter temps range from -20 to -35 so I installed a winter kit on the genset, so now the battery, oil filter and intake all have warmers on them. I figured the condensation must of been caused from it starting cold then warming up during the exercising then cooling down and causing condensation. I drained the oil and chased it with good oil until the oil was clear.. and changed the the oil filter.. the genset started 1st try and ran good with no problems, i let it rest and did another start and it worked fine. my question is, when i was draining the murky oil from the bucket into the disposal barrel, i noticed what looked like bits of rock in the murky oil. the bucket was spotless before I drained the oil. i pulled the air filter again and looked and it was fine no debris. I can not see how anything could be in the engine, since it would have to get by the air filter. almost seems impossible. I have a picture of the debris.. just makes no sense how this could of got into the oil.. any help would be appreciated.

View attachment 21000
This material comes from the oil pump drive gear which is made of plastic. I had a unit replaced because of this and have attached a picture of the oil pump destroyed in that unit. The motor will have to be replaced.
 

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