Sludge in Ford 4610 diesel tractor engine

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Dec 10, 2014
My dad owns a Ford 4610 diesel engine (3 cyl.) powered tractor that he bought used approx. 20 yrs. ago. Condition at time of purchase was very good overall, in my estimation. It was mfg. approx. 1990 time frame. Yearly use since he has owned it is around 40 to 50 hours per year. Since he bought it almost 20 yrs. ago, the oil has only been changed 4 or 5 times by me. NAPA oil filter of the correct type/part number used each time, and Shell Rotella 15w-40 conventional oil used each change. The last time I changed the oil/filter, the filter was very heavy weight wise, and was full of very dark gray/black sludge. I had not really noticed this before, but as I said the oil has been changed very few times since my dad bought the tractor 20 yrs. or so ago. The oil that was drained from oil pan was very black, but flowed smoothly into the drain pan. Temperature that day was around 70 deg. F (engine had not been run prior to oil change). The engine uses very little oil and does not smoke excessively. Also, engine coolant leaks do not seem to be an issue, as far as coolant leaking into the engine oil system. Does anyone have any experience with the Ford 4610 series tractors concerning oil changes that could provide input on this matter ?
I don't have one of those but id say you need to do more oil changes. Maybe one a year with dino diesel rated oil. assuming all other factors are ruled out.
It probly does not get ran long enough to get the oil up to temp. You should be able to go 2 yrs but no longer without sending in a sample. I'd change it every 2 yrs regardless.
50 hours = 3000 miles at 60mph. If it's not getting fully warmed up on a regular basis, that to me indicates that abycat and Chris142 are right; the actual interval can only be decided with a UOA but for now a yearly change for some cleaning is in order.
That doesn't sound good with filter being full of stuff. For reference my 2.0L Kioti calls for 100hr oil changes which is about once a year for me, so perhaps the 4-5 year 200hr interval is just too much for the oil?
I'd take it out for a hard run on the road and change the oil and filter again and see what's going on. You need to run it hard before a change to get everything out anyways.
heavy black oil is just soot (unburned fuel) in a diesel. Probably running a little rich. Check your air filter and make sure something hasnt built a nest in there..also check your down tube (tube coming off your valve cover) for restriction.

Put some Howes meaner cleaner in the fuel and run some through those injectors to clean them up.
keep a Close look at the coolant, these fords had some problem with cylinder liner pitting. They must use a diesel coolant.
do an oil sample.
I have to ask since I see youre in Georgia and your name, did you have anything to do with the Z31 300 Electromotive car? I saw it run at Road Atlanta as a kid.
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