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Old 12-05-2018, 03:38 PM   #1
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Diesel Oil Change Frequency

I am driving my first diesel, a 6.7 Cummins. The recommended oil change is 6 months or 15,000 miles. The truck has an oil change indicator.

My question is why is it important to change the oil at the 6 month intervals? Especially if the oil change indicator says there is no need to change the oil and the 15,000 threshold has not been reached.

For those of you towing with a diesel do you change your oil every 6 months?

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:57 PM   #2
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It's 6 months because oil stabilizers break down over time once the oil has been used. This is especially true over summer, before winter.

I also suggest changing oil at 7500. Engine oil frequency has been extended to help manufacturers meet emissions requirements more than anything else. The longer an engine goes without changing oil, the more green it is and the little boxes get ticked.
Underneath all the emissions control is the same base engine that has existed for years. It has a little less carbon contamination, but not enough to justify doubling service intervals. Many dealerships even have enough sence to encourage their customers to change oil before the manufacturers recommendation. In fact. Every one I've ever worked for has done this.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:05 PM   #3
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We have had two Duramax Diesels over the past eight years. We have always changed the oil when the Driver Information System says to do it. In our experience, that happens around 7,500 miles.

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Old 12-05-2018, 04:42 PM   #4
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I change my oil in my 2017 super duty powerstroke when the oil change indicator tells me to. They put it on there why shouldn’t I use it? I like the Rotella T6 full synthetic
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shermy1987 View Post
It's 6 months because oil stabilizers break down over time once the oil has been used. This is especially true over summer, before winter.

I also suggest changing oil at 7500. Engine oil frequency has been extended to help manufacturers meet emissions requirements more than anything else. The longer an engine goes without changing oil, the more green it is and the little boxes get ticked.
Underneath all the emissions control is the same base engine that has existed for years. It has a little less carbon contamination, but not enough to justify doubling service intervals. Many dealerships even have enough sence to encourage their customers to change oil before the manufacturers recommendation. In fact. Every one I've ever worked for has done this.
Totally concur with changing the oil every 7500 miles; I do it every 6000 miles. The reason being is the turbo; the turbine shaft rides on a very thin coating of oil, not a bearing; if the oil filter gets plugged enough to force the oil to bypass the filter, the next stop is the turbo shaft. If metal particles come in contact with the turbo shaft, they will eventually eat through the hardened outer layer of the turbine shaft, eventually leading to turbine shaft failure. If that happens the turbine shaft will break, and parts that are spinning at 100,000+ rpms will come into contact with metal housings, causing said parts to self destruct. Metal particles and of course oil, (you can still drive without a turbo, and oil will still be pumping into the shaft orifiice) will travel down your exhaust pipe, taking out your catalytic converter, very expensive particulate filters and possibly damaging any DEF system downstream.

How do I know this will happen.......my ex-boss did oil changes to his wife's VW Jetta every 15,000 kms; at 185,000 kms the above took place; the parts total alone was $7,000.00 Canadian. VW eventually offered to give him what the car would have been worth , if it had been running, as long as he bought another VW. He did, but a gasoline Golf, no more diesels for my boss.

Fluids are cheap, engines, transmissions and differentials are not.

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PS maintenance minders are a marketing ploy for the sales people that tote how little in maintenance their respective vehicles cost over the first three years. Fine if you get a new vehicle every three years or so; not so good if you plan to keep your vehicle forever. Also as stated in a post above, it ticks the "green boxes".
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:06 AM   #6
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Oil Change

I change when the indicator says to.

the comment oil stabilizers break down, is false, do you think the oil you buy was just made yesterday. if it doesn't breakdown in the container why would it breakdown in the oil pan?????
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:31 AM   #7
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Why not get your oil tested - then you'll actually know - rather than idle speculation??

The test kits run about $30 -

That's what fleet operators do.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #8
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I have a 10 year old Duramax purchased new. I agree with moosetags. When the DIC indicates 10% oil life left I schedule an oil change. I have 186K on my Duramax with no major issues.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:08 AM   #9
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Hans627 - you should check out turbo diesel register or cummins forum for some of your specific truck questions. Both boards have knowledgeable people and some knuckleheads of course. Like any forum you have to sift through the stuff and get the good info. Maybe buy a subscription to the TDR magazine. TDR folks have set up a Cummins engine factory tour for June 2019 in Columbus, IN. Would be a fun trip for you, truck and trailer.

I change every 5k miles - usually 1x or 2x per year. I am a diy person and watch for sales on my favorite oil (valvoline 15w-40 conventional oil) at 11.99 or 12.99 a gallon. Mopar filters are available at Walmart or I use Hastings from my local auto parts store.
The synthetic oils (5w-40) will allow you to go the long miles in your oil interval change. Unless your in extreme cold conditions use the cheaper conventional oil.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:57 PM   #10
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I have owned several diesels over the years and put many miles on them. We change the oil every 7500 miles but if the filtration system on your truck allows for 15000 I would go that distance. The 6 month interval suggestion is due to moisture collection. Your truck is always collecting condensation from constant hot and cold temps. Your engine burns it off as you reach operating temperatures. If you are driving the truck regularly on the highway and get the engine temps up to operating temperature, don't worry about the six month interval. No, the oil chemicals do not break down just from sitting. That is a myth. You can contact SAE (society of automotive engineering) and API (american petroleum institute) and they will verify this. They are the experts.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarlM View Post
I change when the indicator says to.

the comment oil stabilizers break down, is false, do you think the oil you buy was just made yesterday. if it doesn't breakdown in the container why would it breakdown in the oil pan?????
It starts to breakdown after carbon and high temps have been applied to the oil. ths doesn't happen sitting in the container at the shop!!!
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:00 PM   #12
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Having been a foreman at a cummins dealership. I call 7500 or 6 months a good time to change.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:06 PM   #13
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F-250 6.7 Power Stroke Diesel

I've had a Ford Dealer Diesel Mechanic, whom I regarded as very smart, recommend change the oil every 5000 miles. I don't have a problem with that.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:21 PM   #14
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Maintenance is cheap. As Tony mentioned. Things like modern turbochargers are not. If you're driving a Ford with HUEI injection, you have fuel injectors and the high pressure oil pump to think about as well. And they're not cheap nor fun to replace.
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:22 PM   #15
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For HD regular oil: change when the computer tells you, that is the factory recommendation. For synthetic oil go two times longer or annually. This oil is designed for long life in a high heat environment. We used synthetics in our jet engines back in the 50-60s because of their ability to survive the high heat. I first use synthetic oil in gas engines when was really difficult to find in the 70-80s. The cost was pretty much offset by the longevity. I have never had an engine problem related to lubrication.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:25 PM   #16
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Every 5k Rotella T-6 5W-40


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Old 12-06-2018, 04:30 PM   #17
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Something to also consider, when your diesel goes into the particulate filter cleaning mode, because of the extra fuel forced in to the cylinders some of this fuel will get into your oil.
I use Amsoil and change it when the truck say to or every year. I also have it analyzed and the oil at this mileage is still in good condition. The most fuel found in the oil was 1.5%, last test was just a trace.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:40 PM   #18
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When I had a Cat diesel in a motorhome, the interval was 5000 mi.
That was one trip to Colorado and back. An oil change at the Cat dealer was $600. One of the reasons I got away from diesels.

I did read that if you weren't going to use the engine, it was better to leave it sit than to run it for 30 minutes as the oil didn't get hot enough to burn off the moisture, etc.
Diesel is a high sulfur fuel and so the oil gets black fast.
I let it sit 5 years and it started right up. (Not recommending that)

What do over the road truckers do?
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:00 PM   #19
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Every 4-5k miles. $100 bucks to change. Why not? Cheap insurance policy against internal wear and tear.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:14 PM   #20
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Actually, modern OTR diesel fuel has almost no sulfur in it. Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) is mandated by EPA to have 15-ppmw (parts per million weight) sulfur or less. Gasoline for comparison typically has 70-120 ppmw sulfur.

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Diesel is a high sulfur fuel and so the oil gets black fast.
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