Short, Cold Trips=Milky Crankcase.

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Mar 3, 2003
NW Tn.
Got a 1983 Chevy pickup with the 350 motor that I use as an "around the farm" kicker. Motor was completely rebuilt 1,500 miles ago but I only put a few hundred miles on this truck a year. Was using Pennzoil 10w-30 but switched to Mobil l 10w-30 for my last 2 oil changes. I change oil and filter every Spring which averages out to around 450 miles each oil change. This Winter was unusually cold and damp here in West Tn. I did a lot of cold starts and driving only 3 or 4 miles before I shut it down and let it set for a day or two before I restarted it. Did my annual oil change yesterday and was surprised to see the oil that I drained out was gray and milky colored. Had never done this before but as I said this Winter was colder than normal. My coolant level is fine and no excessive water vapor is coming out the exhaust so I don't think it's a head gasket problem. Is there a motor oil that I can use that is better about not sludging for these short, not long enough to warm up, trips? I know this type driving isn't good for any vehicle but that's just the way it is for this truck. Thanks, and I hope this msg. wasn't too long as this is my first post to this site as I just became a member today.

I would say do a good flush (Nuetra, LubeGuard, Amsoil) now and use a good "pharmer" oil like Chevron Delo 15W-40 for a short run. Then stick with this oil or Amsoil of the same grade...this should help remedy the current scum.

In the long run you should just drive the thing on some pharm roads a couple times a week for 30 minutes....get her hot!

[ March 04, 2003, 11:09 AM: Message edited by: Pablo ]
If you've got this much moisture getting into the oil, you've probably got a PCV problem. I'd flush the engine as has already been recommended, but I think you need to replace ALL your PCV components: PCV valve and hose, and the breather filter (probably in the air cleaner).

Short trips in cold weather will get moisture in the top end of an engine, but if the PCV system is working properly it can usually evacuate most of it. Getting this engine FULLY warmed up once a month would be a good idea.
I recently tried measuring viscosity of some oils that I had by heating them in an oven to 100*C. I heated the oils, set them outside to cool, then heated them again. I was amazed at how much moisture the oils had absorbed by just sitting outside for an hour. The oven completely steamed up.

For every gallon of gas that you burn approximely one gallon of water is produced. A lot of that water will get by the rings during warmup and contaminate the oil. The solution is to periodically run the truck on the road long enough to produce enough heat to drive this moisture out.
I agree with everything in the above posts- For what its worth.Under the circumstances I would consider a dino (get it on sale) and change more frequently. But check the PVC stuff.

[ March 04, 2003, 12:04 PM: Message edited by: Al ]
I agree with G-Man on the PCV issue. Make sure you have good airflow both in and out of the PCV system. Maybe install a new PCV intake filter; usually located inside the engine air filter housing.
My wife warms her car in the morning and then drives a short distance to work. I was running Mobil-1, but last change went to Amsoil because I have had good success with it in another car and the 5 qt bottles of M1 are not around any more so the cost is the same. Anyhow, we recently went on a trip just prior to my last oil change. I couldn't open the filler cap because it was froze. When I opened it, there was actually ice in the cap and the valve cover. After the trip, this was gone. Bottom line, she is just not getting the car hot enough on a daily basis. Like stated above, you need to increase the run times to get the oil hot for an extended period of time.
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