316 Onan Scare - Instant massive oil leak
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Thread: 316 Onan Scare - Instant massive oil leak

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    AJgrn78's Avatar
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    316 Onan Scare - Instant massive oil leak

    So I was tilling my garden on my old 316 Onan like I’ve done many times in the past, when suddenly I started to notice a little blue smoke coming out the front, I had just changed the oil so I thought I must have dripped some on the exhaust. But then the smoke got heavier, and then real heavy, so I stopped and went up to the front of the tractor to see OIL EVERYWHERE.

    Oil was running down the cowling, out the bottom, burning off the exhaust, just pouring out. It had never leaked a drop in the past, I was sure it lost a main seal or God knows what, I quickly went back to the seat and the oil pressure light was on, so I shut it right down and went to get the ATV to tow it into the shop. I was thinking bad things...

    Pulled off the right engine cover and here’s what I found... the stinkin oil pressure switch blew a huge leak! Sprayed oil all over everything. But I was happy as hell that was all it was! $20 part ordered and I’ll be back in business. Confirmed it was the switch because if I crank it over it oozes oil big time.

    Also, checked the dipstick, just barely down from the full mark, caught it quick so the engine never starved off oil.

    Just a PSA in case anyone else experiences the same scary event.

    (Sorry..stupid picture is rotated 90 degrees, no idea why...)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by AJgrn78; 05-26-2019 at 11:01 PM.
    1984 JD 316 w/ cat 0 3-pt hitch and 2000 rpm pto, 48" tiller, 49" snowblower, 42" belly mower
    2015 JD 1025r, 60d MMM, 54" front mounted snowblower, Heavy hitch, Ballast box
    1980 JD 1050 4wd, JD 75 loader, IH 60" brush hog
    1980? Satoh S550g Elk, 60" belly mower
    McCulloch Saws - 1970's Mini Mac 30; Mac 10-10
    1978 Ariens Sno-Thro 32"; Troy-Bilt 24" snoblower
    1996 Polaris 680 Ultra Snowmobile, 2004 Yamaha Raptor 660, 2016 Polaris Sportsman 570
    1996 KTM EXC 300
    Gravely ZT-HD 60"

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    At least you paid some attention and caught things BEFORE they went south. If only more operators did that prior to the “funny new noise before it quit.” Or better yet, “the little red light was on for a month.”

    Good catch sir.
    - Jason

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    AJgrn78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    At least you paid some attention and caught things BEFORE they went south. If only more operators did that prior to the “funny new noise before it quit.” Or better yet, “the little red light was on for a month.”

    Good catch sir.
    Thank you! Whenever I’m operating anything, I’m constantly scanning for anything that looks, sounds, smells, or feels different. I’ve saved more than a few things that way.

    2 weeks ago, my father in law changed the oil on our 2017 Explorer (as a kind gesture). We picked it up, as I was following my wife who was in the Explorer, I noticed something off, oil smell and some smoke. I called her on her phone and asked if any lights were on on the dash, she said no, we only live 5 minutes from her parents so I let her drive it home.

    She parks it, and there’s a puddle of oil on the ground, DEFECTIVE OIL FILTER. The filter can was crooked and the seam was split. It only lost a quart of oil, I replaced it with a new Purolator Boss (the defective filter was a Napa Platinum). I was a little freaked out by that experience as well....
    1984 JD 316 w/ cat 0 3-pt hitch and 2000 rpm pto, 48" tiller, 49" snowblower, 42" belly mower
    2015 JD 1025r, 60d MMM, 54" front mounted snowblower, Heavy hitch, Ballast box
    1980 JD 1050 4wd, JD 75 loader, IH 60" brush hog
    1980? Satoh S550g Elk, 60" belly mower
    McCulloch Saws - 1970's Mini Mac 30; Mac 10-10
    1978 Ariens Sno-Thro 32"; Troy-Bilt 24" snoblower
    1996 Polaris 680 Ultra Snowmobile, 2004 Yamaha Raptor 660, 2016 Polaris Sportsman 570
    1996 KTM EXC 300
    Gravely ZT-HD 60"

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    Diaphragm switches like that go from good to a gusher in no time.

    Snowmobiles use them to actuate the brake light. You have zero brakes when they go.
    Superglidesport and AJgrn78 like this.

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    Ray_PA's Avatar
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    This reminds me of what caused the demise of my 318 many years ago. My youngest son was mowing our lawn and the oil pressure switch started to leak, just like yours. The only thing is, he didn't know enough to stop.

    So yes, you guessed, the engine overheated. I did rebuild it and had to rewire the engine as the wiring got burned up when it overheated. I had some time to rebuild it as i had a vintage 430 at the time. I kept the tractor probably four more years when I traded it in on an X748. It had around 1100 hours on it when I traded it and was running strong.

    When I traded it, a local guy I know knew I was trading it in. He bought the tractor before it ever hit the lot and is still using it. It had the 50" mmm, MCS, 49 snow-thrower, and 3 point.

    I have to say, those vintage tractors were really built!!! I loved that 318 and the 430!!!
    JD 1025 TLB (2013) ** 60D 7 Iron MMM w/auto-connect ** H120 FEL** 260 BH ** 54" snowblower ** 54" blade ** 52" Front Broom ** Ken's Bolt on Hooks ** Frontier BB2048L box scraper ** County Line 5' landscape rake ** JD Hydraulic Dump MCS ** Artillian Forks w/36" Forks ** JD 3 - Point Ballast Box ** JD I-Match Quick Hitch ** Heavy Hitch front Weight Bar ** Heavy Hitch 3 Point Weight Bar ** Fimco 40 Gallon Sprayer ** EA Aerator ** FitRite Hydraulics Rear SCV ** 12 - 40# suitcase weights

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    AJgrn78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray_PA View Post
    This reminds me of what caused the demise of my 318 many years ago. My youngest son was mowing our lawn and the oil pressure switch started to leak, just like yours. The only thing is, he didn't know enough to stop.

    So yes, you guessed, the engine overheated. I did rebuild it and had to rewire the engine as the wiring got burned up when it overheated. I had some time to rebuild it as i had a vintage 430 at the time. I kept the tractor probably four more years when I traded it in on an X748. It had around 1100 hours on it when I traded it and was running strong.

    When I traded it, a local guy I know knew I was trading it in. He bought the tractor before it ever hit the lot and is still using it. It had the 50" mmm, MCS, 49 snow-thrower, and 3 point.

    I have to say, those vintage tractors were really built!!! I loved that 318 and the 430!!!
    These old tractors really were built to last!

    My dad put it best when I told him what happened: “your engine was almost ruined by a thing that was designed to keep you from ruining your engine!”

    Lol...so true.
    rydplrs likes this.
    1984 JD 316 w/ cat 0 3-pt hitch and 2000 rpm pto, 48" tiller, 49" snowblower, 42" belly mower
    2015 JD 1025r, 60d MMM, 54" front mounted snowblower, Heavy hitch, Ballast box
    1980 JD 1050 4wd, JD 75 loader, IH 60" brush hog
    1980? Satoh S550g Elk, 60" belly mower
    McCulloch Saws - 1970's Mini Mac 30; Mac 10-10
    1978 Ariens Sno-Thro 32"; Troy-Bilt 24" snoblower
    1996 Polaris 680 Ultra Snowmobile, 2004 Yamaha Raptor 660, 2016 Polaris Sportsman 570
    1996 KTM EXC 300
    Gravely ZT-HD 60"

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