Need help with Antifreeze in Oil problem - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Need help with Antifreeze in Oil problem

Oil analysis a year ago showed Na (sodium) in the oil sample after 10,000 km (6250 miles) at 147 ppm. Fast forward one year after head machined, valve job, checked for cracks, OEM head gasket and ARP head studs installed, the recent oil analysis showed essentially the same Na level at 153 ppm. There was no water detected in the analysis. This level of contamination does not show up as "milkshake" coloured oil. Also there is also no oil in the antifreeze (at least that I can see). The truck traveled the same distance as before and the oil was changed about 500 miles after the head work then drove another 6000 miles on fresh oil and filter and retested.

I feel comfortable ruling out the head gasket as the problem, since the odds of the contamination staying the same after all the head work seems remote, so this is where I need your help to find a solution.

Some thoughts:
1. Oil cooler - can these leak coolant to the oil and not vice versa? Antifreeze is thinner than oil so can it force it's way through when it's hot. When you shut the engine off, the oil pressure drops to zero but the coolant maintains pressure for a while. There was 2 ppm copper in the sample which can come from the cooler.
2. Transmission cooler/heat exchanger - I deleted this when I went to Fleece Coolant By-Pass
3. I have a Garrett water cooled turbo and from looking at the engineering drawings can't see any path for the oil and water to mix.
4. A freeze plug in the head is a possible source but hoping machine shop would have noticed a problem when they checked everything.
5. An internal crack is always possible but seems rare from my research.

Any thoughts or similar experiences are appreciated.


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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 12:37 AM
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Did you have the head tested for cracks?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 01:50 AM
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I would pressurize the system with air and see if it shows itself. Seen it a few times where the freeze plugs will straight squirt coolant out when you put air to it. Wont hurt anything and just do 10 psi or so nothing crazy.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Yes...it was supposed to checked for cracks but I wasn't there to observe...it's a reputable shop that works on Cummins. They did comment that overall the head looked in really good shape.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhill0212 View Post
I would pressurize the system with air and see if it shows itself. Seen it a few times where the freeze plugs will straight squirt coolant out when you put air to it. Wont hurt anything and just do 10 psi or so nothing crazy.
I will do a pressure test on the cooling system as you suggest just to see if anything shows up. Can freeze plugs be replaced with screw in plugs with the head still attached if there is an issue?

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 03:07 AM
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[QUOTE=CumminsTNT;29189733]
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhill0212 View Post
I would pressurize the system with air and see if it shows itself. Seen it a few times where the freeze plugs will straight squirt coolant out when you put air to it. Wont hurt anything and just do 10 psi or so nothing crazy.
I will do a pressure test on the cooling system as you suggest just to see if anything shows up. Can freeze plugs be replaced with screw in plugs with the head still attached if there is an issue?[/QUOTE


Yeah you can do them head on, just run grease on the tap to catch the junk. And a shopvac never hurts.

Also there is a chance the oil cooler could have failed. Just not a great chance. Your obviously not making a milkshake so it's hard to say what's truly wrong. It's obviously super small.

Might sound dumb or crazy but wonder if there is some sort of UV dye you could use ?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 03:46 AM
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There sure is. This was just a quick search.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 01:07 PM
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There sure is. This was just a quick search.




I didnt look last night Haha but I guess that answers my question !

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhill0212 View Post
I didnt look last night Haha but I guess that answers my question !
That does sound like a good idea. It is obviously a small leak but want to catch it before it becomes worse. Problems like this drive me crazy as I take pride in having no leaks and an engine in good running order.

The dye would certainly help with finding expansion plug leaks...not so much with an oil cooler leak. If the pressure test and coolant dye don't show anything then I think I'll replace the oil cooler...there's not much left after that.

Thanks for the idea!

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric-07 View Post
There sure is. This was just a quick search.
https://www.amazon.com/FJC-4926-Univ...8210299&sr=8-4
Thanks for the research...I hadn't thought of using dye. I'm going to order some and the light.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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An Update: So I tried the UV dye in the coolant to see if I can find any antifreeze to oil leaks. I added the dye and brought the engine up to temperature then shut it off and started looking with the UV flashlight. No leaks! Once the engine cooled down I used a coolant pressure tester and built the pressure back to 19 psi. I looked for leaks again...none. The cooling system held a steady pressure for over 2 hours so no obvious problems.

I also took the valve cover off and looked for florescent dye, bubbles or anything unusual while the system was pressurized...there was nothing...nada...zip.

So...now I've ruled out the head gasket (a ton of head work did not change oil analysis's results and head was magnaflux'd), the freeze plugs in the head showed no sign of leaking (UV dye and pressure test), so that leaves the oil cooler.

It would be nice to find someone that can confirm that an oil cooler can leak one way but not the other (my coolant is free of oil). I don't think I have any choice put to take it off and replace it, just to take it out of the equation.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 10:36 AM
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If there was a breach of the metal in the oil cooler, the oil is under more pressure than the coolant is under driving conditions and cold idle at least. Coolant pressure should be under way under 20 PSI and oil pressure can hit 60+ no problem

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