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Service Bulletin

RTA14.1

Technical Information to all Owners / Operators


of Sulzer RTA Engines

23.08.2002
(Supersedes Bulletin
RTA14 of 30.11.93)

System Oil Care and


Maintenance

28.31.07.40 Printed in Switzerland

SYSTEM OIL

Wrtsil Switzerland Ltd


Wrtsil Schweiz AG
Wrtsil Suisse SA

PO Box 414
CH-8401 Winterthur
Switzerland

Contents:

Page

1.

Introduction

2.

System Oil Care and Maintenance 1

3.

Increase of Viscosity and BN


in the System Oil

4.

Mechanical Damage due to


insufficient System Oil Care

5.

Service Bulletins Published for


Large Bore RTAType Engines

Tel. +41 52 262 49 22


Fax +41 52 212 49 17
Email: mailch@wartsila.com

1.

INTRODUCTION

The system oil serves to lubricate the moving parts of the running gear and also supplies the
hydraulic control system of an RTAtype engine with oil.
Following RTA-type engines have an oilcooled piston:
RTA38, RTA48
RTA52, RTA62 and RTA72
RTA52U, RTA62U and RTA72U
RTA52UB, RTA62UB and RTA72UB
RTA60C, RTA84C, RTA96C
RTA84CU and RTA96CB
RTA48T, RTA58T and RTA84T
RTA48TB, RTA58TB, RTA68TB and RTA84TB
RTA84TD
RTflex58TB
RTflex60C
The piston cooling is also taken care of with the same system oil and it therefore requires a
lightalkaline detergent type oil with a minimum base number (BN) of 5 and SAE 30 viscosity
grade.
This Service Bulletin should be kept in a separate file in the control room. The respective pages or
tables of the Service Bulletin with modifications to the Operating Manual, Maintenance Manual or
Code Book should be copied and filed in the respective Manual or Book.
2.

SYSTEM OIL CARE AND MAINTENANCE

In order to maintain the lubricating oil always in good condition over a long period of time,
effective oil treatment is necessary. This is best achieved by a selfcleaning, centrifugal
separator working as purifier in bypass by circulating the oil from the oil tank through the
separator.
The system oil volume should be centrifuged 3 times per day through the separator operating at
40% throughput of its rated capacity. The recommended oil temperature for this treatment is
90 to 95C unless otherwise advised by the oil supplier.
Alkaline system oils must not be water washed!
Solid contaminates (dirt) and water must be removed from the oil in use as completely as
possible.
Contaminates are removed from the system oil primarily by separation and filtration. Filters
are acting as an additional safeguard to prevent dirt entering the engine as well as an indicating
instrument to monitor the efficiency of the separator.
The content of insolubles in the system oil presents a possible risk of abrasive damage to
bearings and other engine parts, clogging up of oil passages and deposit formation e.g. in the
piston crown cooling spaces (engines with oilcooled pistons) can lead to local overheating and
as a consequence to piston crown burnoff.
Control of the insoluble content is very much dependent on the correct operation of the system
oil separator regarding throughput rate, oil temperature and the regular automatic and manual
cleaning intervals.
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Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

There is always the risk that water can enter the system and cause corrosive attack on engine
parts, particularly if sea water is involved.
Water contamination can also lead to bacterial infection of the oil resulting in loss of lubrication
capability and heavy corrosion of the system.
Taking good care of the crankcase oil is therefore the most effective precaution against any
contamination and one should make it his practice to keep water out of the oil.
The water content of the lubricating oil should not exceed 0.5% by mass over an extended
period of time. If higher water contamination is observed, the source of water contamination
must be eliminated as soon as possible and special measures as intensified treatment in the
separator or in a renovating tank must be considered.
It is advisable to consult also the oil supplier in such a case of water contamination of the oil.
For your information on "Attention Limits for Selected Oil Characteristics" please refer to
paragraph 3.5.
3.

INCREASE OF VISCOSITY AND BN IN THE SYSTEM OIL

The reason for an increase of viscosity and BN can be found at the points, where the possibility
exists that cylinder lubricating oil can enter into the system oil circuit.
The two sources from where cylinder lubricating oil can penetrate into the system oil are either
the exhaust valve lubrication or the piston rod gland.
On the RTA8 series the air spring is lubricated with cylinder lubricating oil and the drain oil was
led to the crankcase at first, but at a later stage the system was modified so, that the surplus
drain oil was no longer led into the crankcase but into the leakage oil drain tank, to avoid an
increase of viscosity and BN in the system oil from that source.
On the RTA2 series the lubrication of the air spring is done with normal system oil and only the
exhaust valve spindle is lubricated with cylinder lubrication oil. Since then it is no longer
possible to have an ingress of cylinder lubricating oil into the system oil from the exhaust valves.
As mentioned above an increase of viscosity and BN of the system oil can have its origin also
from the piston rod gland. Cylinder lubricating oil attached to the piston rod is scraped off,
however, the remaining oil necessary for the lubrication of the rod and scraper elements is
carried down to the crankcase, where it is washed off the rod by the splashing system oil.
The amount of contamination through the piston rod gland depends greatly on the condition of
the piston rod and gland box.
Concerning the piston rod glands we would therefore like to add, that the best of design can not
guarantee for absolute tightness although it is the designer's aim to obtain best possible
performance within economical limits. In this context please refer to the Service Bulletins
RTA-16.1 and RTA-35.1.
It thus follows, that over a certain time some slight contamination of the system oil cannot be
totally avoided.

2/6

Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

Maximum Limit Viscosity = 160 cST at 40 C


Maximum Limit BN = 30 mg KOH/g
BN in mg KOH/g

Viscosity at 40 in mm2/s (cSt)

As can be seen from the graph below, the viscosity as well as BN will stabilize after a certain
time. We would also like to mention that the degree of contamination depends also to a great
deal on the crankcase oil consumption (dilution due to makeup with fresh system oil).

Engine running hours

Fig. 1
3.1.

Viscosity

Interpretation of a viscosity increase depends on the source of this increase. An ingress of


relatively clean oil of higher viscosity (cylinder oil) brings the system oil possibly into the SAE 40
viscosity range which by itself is not detrimental.
If this increase is caused by thickening due to thermal or oxidative degradation of the oil in use,
the oil eventually becomes unserviceable. For such a assessment the grade of oxidation must be
determined. The major oil suppliers normally have an appropriate test for this property and
should be consulted accordingly. For limiting factors of the viscosity please consult the above
graph and also the table in paragraph 3.5. "Attention Limits for Selected Oil Characteristics".
3.2.

Base Number (BN)

An increase of BN in the system oil is brought about in most cases by an ingress of highalkaline
cylinder lubricating oil, primarily scraped or washed off the piston rod.
Lubricating oils with higher BN due to contamination with used system oil, can (but might not
necessarily) have less good water shedding properties than lowalkaline or straight mineral oils
without appreciable BN levels.
For your information please consult the above graph and also the table in paragraph 3.5.
"Attention Limits for Selected Oil Characteristics".
3.3.

Flash Point

In the table 1 the COC (Cleveland Open Cup) method is recommended for the flash point
determination. There are two general types of flash point method, open and closed cup. Neither
of these method can be used to simulate what actually takes place in an engine crankcase, but as
the risk in a large low speed engine is of a localised hot spot and not a high temperature of the
complete oil charge, the COC is considered the appropriate method to be used. It is also the
method most generally used for low speed engine used system oil analysis. The flash point test
gives an early indication of fuel contamination or lube oil degradation, so that the cause of these
problems can be eliminated.
3/6

Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

The flash point can be lowered by either:


(1) contamination with heavy fuel, resulting in a dirty crankcase and vanadium in the
lubricating oil
(2) condensation of a volatile fuel fraction in the lubricating oil, with the lube oil remaining
bright and clear
Fuel oil and lubricating oil can come into contact in the fuel pump, in the oil treatment plant and
through tank ventilation. These problems are rare, but when they occur, then appropriate
action should be taken to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
3.4.

Load Carrying Performance

The fresh system oil should meet the load carrying performance of the FZG gear machine
method IP 334/90, load stage fail 10.
System oil for RTflex engines should have FZG load stage fail 11. This condition is fulfilled by
each of the system oils mentioned in the enclosure RTA-14.1/1.
A high FZG is especially important when the engine is new or when gear wheels have been
replaced, to facilitate runningin of the gear wheels. A slight reduction of the FZG of system oil
in service is normal.
3.5.

Attention Limits for Selected Oil Characteristics

To monitor the good condition of the lubricating oil in service, oil samples should be taken and
analysed on a periodical basis. A normal oil sample interval is about 3'000 hours but oil which is
not in perfect condition might have to be sampled more frequently. The relevant directive in
the "Maintenance Manual" or in the "Operating Instructions" must be followed.
For monitoring of the oil condition by routine analysis it is recommended to make use of the
services provided by all major oil companies.
For the system oil maintenance in RTAtype engines the following limits for selected oil
characteristics can be applied as a guidance:
Property

Unit

Attention
Limit

Normal
Condition

Test method

Viscosity

cSt at 40 C

max. 160 cSt

max. 140 cSt

ASTM D 445

Water

vol%

max. 0.50

max. 0.20

ATM D 95 or D 1744

Base Number

mg KOH/g

max. 30

max. 12

ASTM D 2896

Insolubles

m/m % nPentane

max. 2.0

max. 0.70

ASTM D 893b

min. 180

min. 200

ASTM D 92

Flash Point, COC C

Table 1
Notes to the table: The attention limits should not be interpreted as condemning limits,
rather as an indication that something is not normal in the engine. Any
decision to change the oil charge should be based on a comprehensive
assessment of the general oil condition and the operating conditions of the
engine.
If any one of these limits is reached remedial action should be considered to correct the
situation.
Such action can be intensified purification (reduction of throughput, adjustment of
temperatures), treatment in a renovating tank or partial exchange of oil charge.
In case of a heavily contaminated system by insolubles (sludge formation) it can be beneficial to
change the separator temporarily from purifier to clarifier mode until the solids are reduced to
acceptable limits.
4/6

Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

The instructions of the separator manufacturer regarding the mode of operation of the
separator must be observed since some manufacturers have restrictions with the clarifier mode
of operation.
These limits are set out as a guidance. The quality condition of the oil in circulation, however,
cannot be fully judged by a single one parameter. Other oil parameters must be used as well in
context to be able to find the cause of the problem and the appropriate remedy for correction.
Experience shows that with correctly designed installations and carefully performed oil care
measures, generally enough safety margin to the above values can be maintained.
4.

MECHANICAL DAMAGE DUE TO INSUFFICIENT SYSTEM OIL CARE

If the water content of the system oil rises, care must be taken that no emulsification between
water and oil takes place. This could endanger the safe running of bearings since emulsified oil
loses its lubricating properties. Also corrosion and bacterial infection can take place as already
mentioned in paragraph 1.
System oil which is contaminated by insolubles can have an abrasive effect on bearings,
crankshaft journals, cross head pins and slippers and all the other running surfaces.
4.1.

Damage to Cams and Rollers of Fuel and Actuator Pumps

On older engine types we have observed some incidences of severe damage to the cams and
rollers of fuel and actuator pumps.
Investigations have shown that in most of the cases damage was caused by insoluble hard
particles which were carried in the system oil to the pins and bushes of the rollers of the
actuators and fuel pumps. Once they launched themselves in these areas it was only a matter of
time until they inflicted damage to same. The rollers ceased to turn properly and for that
reason, slip/stick damage started to occur on the hardened surfaces of the cams and rollers.
The hard abrasive particles had found their way into the system because of improper system oil
care due to shortcomings in the separating process. In some cases damaged filter mesh or even
continuously bypassed oil filters were found. Such conditions have of course nothing to do with
the normal running requirements and can lead to serious problems, especially when during
heavy weather additional impurities are stirred up from their hiding places and reintroduced to
the oil in circulation.
After severe cases of damage to cams and rollers with heavily worn pins and rollers a lot of fine
and very hard iron particles were found in the system.
For cases like this we recommend strongly to remove all the impurities by manual cleaning of
not only the cam housing, but also the crankcase, to pump the system oil into a renovating tank
and clean out the sump tank and then pump the oil from the renovating tank via the separator
back into the clean sump tank.
In such cases an additional safeguard fine filter has successfully been fitted just before the
lubricating oil line to the roller guides. Wrtsil Switzerland Ltd, Winterthur can provide
further informations if required.
The above procedure is recommended especially to avoid a repetition of a similar occurrence at
a later date.
Enclosure: Lubricating Oil List
Wrtsil Switzerland Ltd has issued this Service Bulletin with their best knowledge and ability.
However, Wrtsil Switzerland Ltd can not take any liability for any or all information contained in
this or any other Service Bulletin.
Changes of any nature to the form and or to the content of this or any other Service Bulletin as
published by Wrtsil Switzerland Ltd, are not permitted.
5/6

Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

5.

SERVICE BULLETINS PUBLISHED FOR LARGE BORE RTA-TYPE ENGINES

We have so far published the following Service Bulletins which are valid for Large Bore RTA-Type Engines
(RTA 48T to RTA 96C):
RTA-1
RTA-2
RTA-3.4
RTA-4
RTA-8
RTA-9
RTA-10
RTA-11.2
RTA-14.1
RTA-15
RTA-16.1
RTA-17.1
RTA-18.2
RTA-19
RTA-20

dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated

01.03.88
05.10.88
30.03.98
20.11.89
15.06.92
20.07.92
28.10.92
11.05.2001
23.08.2002
10.02.94
20.02.98
28.02.95
14.06.2002
28.10.94
30.11.94

RTA-21

dated 10.04.95

RTA-22.1

dated 28.11.96

RTA-24.2
RTA-26

dated 18.05.99
dated 03.01.96

RTA-27
RTA-28
RTA-29

dated 26.04.96
dated 31.05.96
dated 21.10.96

RTA-30

dated 27.11.96

RTA-31
RTA-33
RTA-34
RTA-35.1
RTA-36.1
RTA-37.1
RTA-38
RTA-39
RTA-42.1
RTA-43.1
RTA-44
RTA-45
RTA-46
RTA-47

dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated

RTA-48

dated 20.09.99

RTA-49
RTA-50
RTA-51
RTA-52
RTA-53
RTA-54
RTA-55
RTA-56
RTA-57

dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated
dated

23.01.97
11.04.97
28.11.97
07.06.2001
08.06.2001
11.06.2001
26.02.98
31.03.98
14.03.2002
09.01.2002
26.02.99
03.06.99
17.06.99
28.06.99

08.10.99
10.01.2000
21.08.2000
22.09.2000
12.06.2001
18.07.2001
31.10.2001
26.02.2002
20.06.2002

Recommendation Concerning Piston Running Behaviour


Water Drain from Charge Air Receiver and Charge Air Temperature
Fuel Injection Nozzles
Oil Damping for Short Tie Rods
RTA-Cylinder Liners and Reinforced Water Guide Jackets
Cylinder Cover with Erosion / Corrosion Resistant Cladding
RTA "-8 Series" Engines / Piston Skirt in Two Parts
Fuel Injection Pump Regulating Linkage
System Oil Care and Maintenance
Elastic Studs on RTAType Engines
Retrofit for Piston Rod Stuffing Boxes for RTA "8 Series" Engines
Circulation Valve to Fuel Injection Valve
Runningin of Cylinder Liners and Piston Rings
Oil Supply Monitoring for Geislinger Torsional Vibration Damper
Rotational Safety Studs for Roller Guide of Fuel Pump and
Exhaust Valve Actuator
Improvement of Starting Behaviour (For engines with
DENIS-1 and DENIS-5 Control Systems only!)
Waisted Bolts for Piston Crown Spraying Plate of RTA 84C,
84CU, 84M and 84T Type Engines
VTR..4 Turbochargers After Sales Service Information issued by ABB
Loss of Material on Piston Crowns due to High Temperature
Corrosion and Erosion (Watercooled Pistons)
Plastic Water Separator
Improvement of the Engine Control System
Improved Oil Supply to the Integrated Axial Detuner
equipped with Internal Oil Supply Line
Improvement of starting behaviour on RTA engines equipped
with Type PGA200 and PGA EG200 Woodward Governors
Alphabetical Index of Topics of Service Bulletins
Crank Pin Bearing Shell
Fuel Injection System Modification and Maintenance
Retrofit for Piston Rod Stuffing Boxes for RTA "2 and 2U Series" Engines
Reconditioning of Piston Rods of RTA 2 Series" Engines
Reconditioning of Piston Rods of RTA 8 Series" Engines
Piston Crown Loss of Material on Combustion Side
Overhaul and Reconditioning of Pistons
Templates for Exhaust Valve Seat and Spindle
Piston Rings
Tightening Instructions for the Plunger Guide Nipple
Tightening Instructions for Screws and Waisted Studs
Cracks in Columns
Draining of Fuel Oil Pipes; Modification to Shutoff Valves of Fuel Pipes and
Drain Plug of Fuel Pump Block
Instruction for Replacement of NOx Relevant Components on IMO
Compliant Sulzer RTA Engines
Gearing for Auxiliary Drives Z 42800
Leakage Oil Collector in Air Spring System
Deflagration in Engine Scavenge System and Exhaust Manifold
Water Separator on RTA - Type Engines
Variable Injection Timing and Fuel Quality Setting
Electronic Variable Injection Timing Troubles and Remedies
Exhaust Valve Seat and Exhaust Valve Spindle
Indicator Valves
Improved Starting Behaviour with Quick Venting Valves

Should you not be in possession of the above mentioned documentation suitable for your plant, kindly contact
your local Wrtsil representative for your copy.

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Service Bulletin RTA-14.1

Service Bulletin Enclosure RTA-14.1/1