Sludge.....Gone!!

Thu May 15, 2014 10:20 am

I took the valve cover off my Dad's tractor to adjust the valves and this is what I found.

My question is should I leave it alone or try and clean it?

It has had the oil changed once a year since he has had it. My great uncle had it the 40 years before that and I am pretty sure he also had it changed when needed also. The mechanic across the street from his house would have done the work and he loved Quaker State oil. That what it looks like to me. Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?
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Last edited by Tezell on Sun May 18, 2014 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 10:28 am

If it were mine I would clean and flush the engine being careful to remove all of the now loose particles from the system. On the down side there may be leaks that appear , that aren't there now , due to removing the sludge from the seal areas. Good luck. :D

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 10:47 am

They have used non detergent oil, that is why its sludged, if you wash it out, pull the oil filter clean the cavity for it and drop the pan as it is probably the same way and clean the pickup screen, then you can use detergent oil

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 10:50 am

I pretty much agree with Redfin and TST. i would clean it, how you go about it is up to you. I suspect you will also find a lot of sludge in the crankcase when you pull the pan. My first step would be to put a half can or more of Seafoam in the oil, and work it hard a few hours, then see how it looks. You may find it has cleared up a lot. Of course at that point you will again need to change the oil and filter. If that does not help, it is time to decide whether to leave it or clean it. cleaning it properly will be a job. My personal preference for cleaning something like that is to use a siphon feed sand blast gun and put the pickup hose in a can of highway diesel or kerosene and spray it seriously. Note, not only does that make a mess, but while not as bad as gasoline, it is flammable and does make a fine mist, so extreme caution is advised.

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 5:29 pm

Quaker State is known to cause this kind of sludge

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 5:46 pm

I wouldn't put Quaker State oil on a dirt road to keep the dust down. Had a Honda Civic that was so sludged up the oil pressure dropped to nothing. The pickup screen looked like it had gray slobber on it. Seafoam is what I would use.
My two cents.

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 7:42 pm

i have a 1997 chevy pickup with 280,500 miles on it and my wife has a 2004 ford exp. 221,200 on it nothing but Quaker State oil used in them. so go figure.

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 8:02 pm

Yep, Quaker State sludge!!!!! Seen it WAY too many times. I agree with others, wouldn't put that crap in anything! Just wait till you take the oil pan off!!

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 8:05 pm

I would go ahead and desludge the valve train and oil filter housing pretty much as EJP stated.

Crankcase, drain the oil an let drain over night. Then over fill the crankcase with 3 gallons of kerosene or diesel fuel, which ever is cheapest. Shake the tractor good. Let set for several hours, shake again. Do this for a couple of days. Shake the tractor good for one last time then immediately drain crankcase. Save the kerosene or diesel fuel the solids will settle out and it can be reused to clean parts.

My logic is to clean up then engine as best you can as cheap as you can. Guessing engine is due for an overhaul or will be shortly.

Re: Sludge

Thu May 15, 2014 8:55 pm

I have heard the same statement made about Penzoil causing sludge, but have torn down a few engines that used Penzoil their entire lives and never seen it. My opinion is that a combination of non detergent oil, operating in dirty conditions, and not being worked very hard all contributed to it. Of course, my opinion and $1 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds, but don't go with out the dollar.

Re: Sludge

Fri May 16, 2014 7:47 am

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions fellows.

I have already had the oil pan off a few months back. It did have some sludge in it but not as bad as the valves. I did crawl under the tractor at that time and took a light and looked inside the bottom end of the motor. There was some crud but again it was not as bad as the top end. The oil pump screen was clear and the tractor has decent oil pressure. It does not use any oil and does not smoke believe it or not.I think I am going to pull the pan again and pressure wash the engine as several has suggested. It sure is going to make a mess!! Then I am going to do the desiel fuel soak. After I get it cleaned up and dried out I am changing the oil to 15W40 Rotella and hopefully that will solve the problem, at least until it's first required rebuild.

As Mr. John suggested it has had light use for at least the last 20 years. When he got it from our uncle it had the cultivators on it and until I removed them the other day they had not been taken off in that time. He probably has only ran it at 3/4's throttle 90% of the time.


I will let y'all know how it turns out.

Re: Sludge

Fri May 16, 2014 6:28 pm

Unconfirmed rumor, Pennsylvania oil is NG, especially Quaker State.

I think it may be a good idea to change the oil a few times in short order after running it a bit. The detergent oil will suspend whatever sludge it picks up. Seafoam in the oil will help too. I don't think there is much oil flowing to the valves, so it may remain a bit 'dirty' looking. As long as they work, you can't see em, so not much of problem :)

Re: Sludge

Fri May 16, 2014 7:19 pm

Tim,
Could you use an air siphon gun and something like Purple Power? Just curious.

Re: Sludge

Fri May 16, 2014 7:25 pm

Someone did suggest that Mr. Roy. I am sure that you could.

Re: Sludge

Fri May 16, 2014 7:39 pm

Well is it clean yet ? :D