Sludge!

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this is the filter and canister from my long neglected Massey Harris 44Special. While it is almost impossible to tell from these pics ... this is sludge! the oil in the tractor only has about 16 hours or so on it, so the dark stuff is the sludge that resides in the bottom of the filter canister. i thought i'd try to get the sludge out of the bottom of the canister so i pulled the filter and finally got the canister drain plug broke loose (a first for me). when i got the plug out ... nothing came out. not a drop, not a dribble, not a glob. I knew there was sludge in the bottom from earlier this year when i did a filter change on it. i stuck my hand down in the canister and could feel the goop down in the bottom, but couldn't get the canister drain plug out at the time. So ... not sure what dissolves sludge on its own, but i poured about a half pint of K-1 clear kerosene into the filter housing to see what that will do. Hoping it will slowly dissolve into the sludge from the top. not sure though. nice thing about it is i have all winter to work on it, but the cold isn't going to speed things up any. any ideas on dissolving the sludge? we'll see what the kero does here over the next couple of days.
 
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What year is your tractor? I went through this about ten years back with "Mighty 'D'", my 1950 Case Model "D" tractor. The filter canister was filled with black stuff that looked like black cottage cheese. I cleaned mine out with paper towels and a final rinse of number two diesel fuel. The oil pan on my tractor has inspection plates, two on either side). I removed those plates and scraped out sludge by the handful. If you don't have the plates, I would strongly recommend dropping the pan and giving it a good cleaning. You'll also be able to get to the oil pump screen this way and with luck, remove it and give it a good cleaning. I took mine off and soaked it in a bucket of gasoline for several hours which dissolved the sludge and shot my oil pressure from 10psi to 30. Be sure to remove the pan slowly as you will be able to reuse the gasket as long as it doesn't break. Finally, as long as you're at it, you might as well check the gear oil in the rear end. A lot of these old tractors have water in the rear-end because the rubber boot on the gear shift has cracked or rotted over time, allowing water to enter the transmission via the gear shift lever. Good luck and keep us posted. Post some pics of the entire tractor smile But the way, does your tractor use the Zenith updraft carb?
 

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Originally Posted By: GreeCguy
What year is your tractor? I went through this about ten years back with "Mighty 'D'", my 1950 Case Model "D" tractor. The filter canister was filled with black stuff that looked like black cottage cheese. I cleaned mine out with paper towels and a final rinse of number two diesel fuel. The oil pan on my tractor has inspection plates, two on either side). I removed those plates and scraped out sludge by the handful. If you don't have the plates, I would strongly recommend dropping the pan and giving it a good cleaning. You'll also be able to get to the oil pump screen this way and with luck, remove it and give it a good cleaning. I took mine off and soaked it in a bucket of gasoline for several hours which dissolved the sludge and shot my oil pressure from 10psi to 30. Be sure to remove the pan slowly as you will be able to reuse the gasket as long as it doesn't break. Finally, as long as you're at it, you might as well check the gear oil in the rear end. A lot of these old tractors have water in the rear-end because the rubber boot on the gear shift has cracked or rotted over time, allowing water to enter the transmission via the gear shift lever. Good luck and keep us posted. Post some pics of the entire tractor smile But the way, does your tractor use the Zenith updraft carb?
I don't know what year for sure, but it is no newer than 1953. the carb is an updraft for sure.... zenith sounds right. I've got a rebuild kit for it, i'll have to look smile here's the best pic i have of the old dog i took the front tin off a number of years back to try and tighten up the steering gear, but never put the nose back on ... should prolly do that. Going to take the loader off too. got a newer Farmall 806 for loader duty now, so this one will just run the manure spreader once a year at most. Not so much cottage cheese in the filter canister, but definitely oil goop. I figure the filter might not be working very well, which is why i thought i'd start there. I'm a little leary of doing too much to it as it runs OK (uses quite a bit of oil and smokes like a chimney, but always starts), and oil pressure is a solid 20 PSI. i've thought about dropping the pan, but i'm a bit scared to mess with it. Also thought about just filling it up with diesel and letting it sit for a while (week ... month or two ... no hurry). really just want to keep it going until i can tear it down for a complete overhaul. your advice about the rear gear oil is spot on. earlier this year, here is what i found: after i drained it out i filled the gear case up with diesel and let it sit for a week or so. i drove it around the yard for a few minutes with the #2 in the gear case then drained it and it actually did a good job of getting the old yuck out. worst part was #1 finding GL-1 oil, and #2 pouring 13 gallons of it in the gear case (not to mention the cost). this thing was neglected for decades before i got it. the previous owner didn't even know where the oil bayonet was.
 
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Nice smile I ask about the Zenith Carb because I used one from a Massey Harris a number of years back to rebuild the one on my Case. I don't recall the numbers, but the innards were an exact match, (my float had imploded - never did figure out why except perhaps metal fatigue). The only difference between the two carbs was the flange hook-up. The Case carb bolts to the manifold while the Massey Harris appears to connect via a hose, (at least the one I had). Do you have a wet clutch? If so, be sure to remove the drain at the bottom of the bell housing when you drain the oil as it can hold up to a quart and sludge is not all that great on your clutch material. How about the valve cover on top of the motor? I've removed mine a number of times to adjust the valves. While the bottom end was pretty gunked up, the top end was amazingly clean. However, I have pulled valve covers before to discover globs of gunk blocking the oil passage ways. Once again, be gentle with removing the cover and you should be able to reuse the gasket. If you hesitate in removing the oil pan due to a potential damaged gasket, you can always put some silicone sealant on the pan when you reinstall. Let it sit for a day or two before you add oil. You can also check with "Steiner Tractor Parts" for a replacement gasket before you take the plunge to see if they have it and how much one would cost if it is damaged beyond repair. However, I have used the silicone sealant in the past with no gasket and had no leaks, (one of my inspection plates has been running that way for close to ten years now with no problems). What weight oil are you using in the ole gal? I run a straight 50 weight in mine which the tractor seems to enjoy. You might want to try a robust 15W40 for a couple of quick changes following your diesel fuel soak. How often do you have to clean/change the plugs? When mine was burning so much oil, it got to the point I was changing/cleaning the plugs every time I used it. I finally installed plug inserts on the front two cylinders which helped tremendously, (I can now go a couple of months between cleanings). One other thing, do you know if you have Babbitt bearings? On a lot of these old tractors, if they have Babbitt bearings, they can be adjusted by removing shims between the rod cap and the rod. Just be sure to check and make sure they are not too out of round. Good luck with the ole gal and keep us posted smile
 
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You've just got to work them and work them hard during the summer when the temperatures get warm. That way, all the moisture gets boiled out of them and the oil gets up to temp. You've also got to change the oil more often. Most of the time the water in the rear ends of these tractors comes from letting them stand out in the rain and it gets past any rubber boots that are on top, like a shifter lever. BTW, I have a bunch of Olivers in my antique tractor fleet.
 
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Originally Posted By: Kruse
You've just got to work them and work them hard during the summer when the temperatures get warm. That way, all the moisture gets boiled out of them and the oil gets up to temp. You've also got to change the oil more often. Most of the time the water in the rear ends of these tractors comes from letting them stand out in the rain and it gets past any rubber boots that are on top, like a shifter lever. BTW, I have a bunch of Olivers in my antique tractor fleet.
Very good advice. What I do with my old Case is every now and then, I run it with a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator while pulling my disc harrow. I run it till steam begins to appear from the radiator cap, (it's not a pressure cap), then I remove the cardboard and run some more to return to normal operating temps. I do this several times and that really eliminates moisture build up in the motor. I've also found this to be an excellent thing to do right before I change the oil. The oil gets good and hot, drains well and brings with it all the accumulated "trash" from inside the motor. BTW - my father in law was an Oliver man. We were always Case.
 

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well, it is definitely sludge build up in the filter canister (which i already knew). i checked on it tonight while going about other tasks and the kerosene didn't touch the sludge on it's own, at least not noticeably. i got an old crusty screwdriver and poked it around down into the sludge and it was just a stiff gooey mess on the bottom. I stirred it around a bit and then the kero seemed like it was cutting the goo. i loosened the drain plug on the filter canister and nothing came out before i poked around in there with a screwdriver .... i'll try it again tomorrow and see if it drains out or not. this does not make me very hopeful about filling the crankcase with diesel. i think i'll just get the filter canister cleaned out so i know the filter is filtering and leave well enough alone. probably just start using a HDEO and keep it going until i can afford to rebuild it. Up until now i've just been using supertech 10w30, and it seems to work fine with good pressure so i might stick with the 10w30 HDEO, but a 15w40 wouldn't hurt anything either now that i only use it in the summer. this thing has been a loader tractor for many moons and i'm guessing the last couple owners never changed oil and rarely added any. i should just drop the pan and see what i got .... but i really don't want to smile
 
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I would run some HDEO semi-synthetic and change often to clean that engine. Rotella T5 10w30 should work.
 

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that's the plan. it will either be T5 or Mystic JT8. slightly frustrating though for everyone to say "just change it more often" even if i change it every 50 hours, i would only change it every 3 years.... and that assumes that i use it every year (which i might not). last year it got about 16 hours of use (and to answer an earlier question, it fouled out two sets of plugs i that time ... one set per day for two 8 hour days). other than consuming a quart or two, how much can happen in that amount of time. i'm beginning to think that the filter isn't getting any flow. i know oil flows in (because i didn't get the top sealed and it puked about a quart of oil before i got it shut off), but i'm thinking that it can't flow out of the canister, and thus not flowing through. looking at picture #3 in post #1, the top of the filter media looks "new" to me, with no signs of dark colored oil. i might see if i can pull the oil lines off the canister and see if the bottom line is plugged with sludge. if it is, hopefully the engine block isn't plugged as well. might play with it some more here tonight ... we'll see.
 
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check your down tube (breather tube) coming off the valve cover. Something may have made a home in there not allowing gases to come out and causing your sludge.
 

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I might have to check that out. I looked under the skin last night and saw it on top of the valve cover. it actually terminates on top of the valve cover instead of coming down like you'd normally see.... I'm really torn with this .... i worked on it last night and was able to turn my running tractor into a non-running tractor .... which isn't completely surprising. I did get all of the gunk out of the filter can last night though. got the can cleaned out but wanted to verify that the oil would flow through the can, through the oil line and back into the engine. So i took the oil return line off.... and broke it. (bottom rubber line in the pic) so I'm having a new one made, which isn't a real big deal, but that's how things go working on this kind of stuff. so the more i touch, the more i get to fix, so I'm not sure how deep I'm willing to go. but, the filter canister is clean and oil flows through the filter and will flow back into the engine with the new line on it. the old line wasn't clogged, or coked up, so i don't suspect that the return galley in the engine is going to be a problem, but I'm going to check it out. so once i get the return line reinstalled, I've at least accomplished this part of the project ... just a matter of deciding how far to go from here.
 
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Be sure and check your oil filler cap as well while you're at it. If it's the old wire mesh kind, you'll want to clean that out as it functions as a "breather" for the motor.
 
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