White foam in oil filler tube

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White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Xperimental » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:44 pm

I have been attempting to loosen up the rings in my 1961 Cub. It had not run in over 7 years when I bought it several weeks ago. I changed the oil and filter before getting it running The engine has some blow by at times. I wanted to see if I could improve this and put about 1/2 can of sea foam in the oil and have also been running it in the gas. Yesterday I drained the transmission and it was very milky. It looked like hy-tran that had absorbed a bunch of water. I put kerosene in the transmission and ran it around the barnyard, drained and put in fresh hy-tran. The transmission is unusually quiet and the tractor does not show a lot of wear.

This evening I ran the Cub up and down the road in 3rd to exercise the engine. I noticed that when I took it back to the barn that it had stopped showing any blow-by. I had not pulled the dip stick since a few days ago when I put in the sea foam. When I pulled the dipstick this evening , I was surprised to see quite a bit of white foam inside the filler tube and some white foam sticking to the dip stick. The oil itself looks normal. I have not seen any water loss from the radiator and it was a warmer day today than it has been for several days. My first suspicion was that the sea foam was creating foam, but I had not heard of this occurring. I also cannot understand why condensation would suddenly occur today. I did power wash around the oil pan today but was careful not to spray water directly on the breather or the shifter area. Any ideas?
Last edited by Xperimental on Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby ricky racer » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:10 pm

Most likely it is caused from condensation in the engine block. You will see this when the engine is not run long enough to thoroughly warm up and dissipate the moisture through the crankcase breather (dip stick). Clean out the white sludge and run it again, long enough to thoroughly warm the engine and it will probably disappear. You will usually see this happen when you run the tractor only 10-20 minutes at a time.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby beaconlight » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:10 pm

Yep ricky, If you are not satisfied with that clean out all the white foam, drain and refill the oil and sea foam. Then run good immediately and check again.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Xperimental » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:44 am

I will check it out further today. I wonder why in all the years I have been around old Farmalls, I had not seen this in any other tractor, including my other Cub. Since it has sit for the best part of the last 10 years without running, I want to be as careful as possible in trying to resurrect this old tractor.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Xperimental » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:05 pm

I took another look at issue with white foam in the filler tube today. At first I was going to take the quickest route and cleaned the moisture and foam out of the tube. I then put a suction tube down into the oil to get a sample just to be sure there was no water there. There was no water in the oil, but the oil was black and the outside of suction tube had a lot of the same white foam/moisture on it. I decide to make sure there was no water in the oil pan and drained it. No water in the oil but the oil was very black. The oil probably had less than 5 hours running time. But a bunch of black stuff had been picked up in the oil. I think the sea foam probably loosened up lots of old crud and deposits.

I refilled it with fresh oil (30W diesel oil) and added 8 oz. of sea foam. I put a couple gallons of gas in the little temporary tank with a couple oz. of sea foam, and attached my 5' fast hitch disk to the tractor in order to really work it for an hour or more. It pulled the disk better than I expected. I did not see a lot of blow by when pulling the disk however I still see a little blow by when idling. But the tractor definitely is improving in the power department.

Thanks Bill and Ricky Racer for steering me in the right direction.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Jason_Coffey » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:36 am

I bought my cub after it had been sitting for an undisclosed amount of time. When I first got it running, it smoked like a train, and had blow by coming out of the crank case breather at idle and fast idle. During the past three weeks or so while I was working on it, I would occasionally start it and let it run for 15-20 minutes at a time. Now it doesn't smoke at all and there is no blow by coming from the crank case breather. I think if you just run it and burn up all the trash in there it will clear up.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby vttrailboss » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:45 pm

My '64 smoked some, and had the foam in the fill tube also. It wasn't used much in the last few years. After running her, and changing the oil no more smoke. The tube is clean as well.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Bus Driver » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:13 am

Gasoline is a blend of thousands of complex hydrocarbarbon compounds. Meaning hydrogen and carbon. When burned, all the hydrogen combined with oxygen makes water. Due to the heat involved, the water is vapor. But it condenses to liquid when it contacts cooler surfaces.
To simplify the illustration, one of the simplest hydrocarbons is methane, the primary component of natural gas. CH4.
CH4 combined with (2 parts) O2 yields CO2 plus (2 parts) H2O. So the byproducts of combustion of methane is 1/3 carbon dioxide and 2/3 water vapor. Gasoline, when burned, has somewhat lower percentages of water, but the percentage is still substantial.
Water in the crankcase from running a cool engine is just unavoidable.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Xperimental » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:48 pm

Bus driver you make a good point about the chemistry involved in gas powered engines. Besides the Cubs, I only have one other gas tractor, a Farmall 200. The reason I have not seen any white foam/ condensation with the 200 probably is because it's dipstick tube is not large enough to look into. All of my other tractors are diesels. I would guess that diesel produces much less water when it burns.
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Re: White foam in oil filler tube

Postby Eugene » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:10 pm

Xperimental wrote:The reason I have not seen any white foam/ condensation with the 200 probably is because it's dipstick tube is not large enough to look into.
The configuration of the C60 engine leaves quite a bit of space above the oil level and oil fuller tube to accumulate moisture. The only access or exit for moisture in the C60 engine is the oil filler tube.

Most relatively modern tractor engines are valve in head with a breather on top of the valve cover. Moisture, water vapor, accumulated in the engine has a much easier path to exit the engine.
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