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Pulled my mower out the other day to get it ready for spring - and noticed the oil had that chocolate milk look to it.

I know WHAT it means, and understand to a degree the why - but how do I prevent it going forward?

Machine has only 12 hours on it - I don’t have a huge yard, so I get that it doesn’t get a good workout to potentially burn off all the moisture. But why am I getting it in the first place - air cooled engine and garaged in a climate where humidity isn’t a big deal.

Obviously, can just change the oil more frequently than once a year. Still just doesn’t seem right that so much moisture should be building up in the oil does it? Guess I’ll try running it at higher revs and drain/see what it looks like after 5 cuts to see if that helps. Any other thoughts..
 

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Pulled my mower out the other day to get it ready for spring - and noticed the oil had that chocolate milk look to it.

I know WHAT it means, and understand to a degree the why - but how do I prevent it going forward?

Machine has only 12 hours on it - I don’t have a huge yard, so I get that it doesn’t get a good workout to potentially burn off all the moisture. But why am I getting it in the first place - air cooled engine and garaged in a climate where humidity isn’t a big deal.

Obviously, can just change the oil more frequently than once a year. Still just doesn’t seem right that so much moisture should be building up in the oil does it? Guess I’ll try running it at higher revs and drain/see what it looks like after 5 cuts to see if that helps. Any other thoughts..
Any time you have a big air temperature swing you have the potential for moisture build up. I have had my shop reach the dew point on the inside during what I consider a low humidity part of the year. As far as your tractor goes maybe operate a few times during the winter to where it reaches operating temperature. Maybe that will keep the moisture from building up.
 
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With what you describe I would just change the oil twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall. I mean how much is a couple quarts of oil?
 
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After running it pop the dipstick open. Just watch the steam flow out.

The other thing you could do if you’re really concerned about it is make a simple desiccant air pump with a fish tank pump and some silica canisters.


Something like this.

Engine Dehydrator - YouTube

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You could change the oil more frequently. However, if it were me, I would be interested, like realllllllllly interested, to find out what is causing the milky oil. Usually it is water as mentioned above. But what is the source of the water?
-Condensation?
-Water ingestion through airbox (ie: snow)?
-Head gasket leak?

At this point I would change the oil, run it for a couple hours, then change the oil again to make sure I got all the crappy oil out. Then I would check the oil very frequently to try to figure out what is causing the problem.

I would also contact my dealer. Assuming it is still under warranty, by contacting them they will have it on record if it comes down to needing repairs under warranty.
 

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When you say you will try higher revs, I take it you do not mow at full throttle? :dunno: How long does it take you to mow?

I like to change oil at the end of mowing season (I only mow, no snow work). My theory is it is better to sit all winter with clean oil in it. Maybe you should change oil in the spring so you start with clean oil and not worry about it collecting moisture all winter, since it will be changed in the spring. Or do you use it in the winter too?
 

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Interesting thread. I've never encountered milky oil in an air cooled engine, and in Georgia here it gets very humid with a lot of temp swings.
 
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Interesting thread. I've never encountered milky oil in an air cooled engine, and in Georgia here it gets very humid with a lot of temp swings.
Quaker State oil, a long time ago loved moisture. My dad's Dart had milk in it one time. All he did to get rid of the problem was change brands of oil. That is what I would suggest. But keep a sample, in case of engine issues later on. What oil did you have in it?

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Yeah, this isn't just condensation.

Either water is somehow infiltrating through some unknown point, or my best guess, you have a head gasket leak. You'll kill your motor in short order like that. Drop it off at the dealer. A dead giveaway is your coolant level isn't at the max level on the bottle (at appropriate temperature). To give you an idea, I changed the oil in a car that sat for well over six months, this was during the very moist spring season. I changed the oil with only 300 miles on it (it was conventional oil, and goes acidic). The oil looked like it came right out of the bottle, I was actually a little sad to have cracked open that drain bolt.
 

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Yeah, this isn't just condensation.

Either water is somehow infiltrating through some unknown point, or my best guess, you have a head gasket leak. You'll kill your motor in short order like that. Drop it off at the dealer. A dead giveaway is your coolant level isn't at the max level on the bottle (at appropriate temperature). To give you an idea, I changed the oil in a car that sat for well over six months, this was during the very moist spring season. I changed the oil with only 300 miles on it (it was conventional oil, and goes acidic). The oil looked like it came right out of the bottle, I was actually a little sad to have cracked open that drain bolt.
The OP's X370 has an air-cooled Kawasaki engine.
 

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Yeah, this isn't just condensation.

Either water is somehow infiltrating through some unknown point, or my best guess, you have a head gasket leak. You'll kill your motor in short order like that. Drop it off at the dealer. A dead giveaway is your coolant level isn't at the max level on the bottle (at appropriate temperature). To give you an idea, I changed the oil in a car that sat for well over six months, this was during the very moist spring season. I changed the oil with only 300 miles on it (it was conventional oil, and goes acidic). The oil looked like it came right out of the bottle, I was actually a little sad to have cracked open that drain bolt.
My wife’s car gets about 500 miles a year. It’s a VW TDI which has a drain interval of 10k miles. I change it every year due to sitting and the condensation involved. It gets very humid here.
 

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Pulled my mower out the other day to get it ready for spring - and noticed the oil had that chocolate milk look to it.

I know WHAT it means, and understand to a degree the why - but how do I prevent it going forward?

Machine has only 12 hours on it - I don’t have a huge yard, so I get that it doesn’t get a good workout to potentially burn off all the moisture. But why am I getting it in the first place - air cooled engine and garaged in a climate where humidity isn’t a big deal.

Obviously, can just change the oil more frequently than once a year. Still just doesn’t seem right that so much moisture should be building up in the oil does it? Guess I’ll try running it at higher revs and drain/see what it looks like after 5 cuts to see if that helps. Any other thoughts..
In the 12 hours of use since new, did the engine get washed or rinsed down with a hose to clean it? Or did the machine sit outside and the engine get rained upon? Wonder if the dealer had someone wash the machine down before delivery and maybe the oil cap wasn't tight.

Did the oil always look normal before when you checked it?

For an air cooled engine to have that "Nestle Quick" looking engine oil, you have to wonder where the moisture was introduced. I would run it on the new oil and keep an eye on the oil appearance. I would also mention it to the service department with that many hours on a relatively new machine. With the Deere warranty covering 48 months or 300 hours, I would want the condition of the motor oil noted on the tractor file for possible future action.

You also stated that you "Guess you will run the engine at higher revs and see how it looks after 5 cuts." What speed do you run the engine at now when you mow?

The oil didn't have a fuel smell to it, did it?

Keep up posted on what happens..............
 

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I’ve never washed it - cannot imagine it was prior to delivery either...bought off the showroom floor new. Never stored outside or in the rain.


Always normal prior, hard to tell off a dipstick completely.

Typically run at the lowest setting- just no need to rev it high for such a small and simple yard.

And no fuel smell to it.

Not sure of last oil used, but was serviced by dealer - so guessing turf guard - same as I just used. Perhaps the cap was left loose and just allowed condensation buildup.
 

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I’ve never washed it - cannot imagine it was prior to delivery either...bought off the showroom floor new. Never stored outside or in the rain.


Always normal prior, hard to tell off a dipstick completely.

Typically run at the lowest setting- just no need to rev it high for such a small and simple yard.

And no fuel smell to it.

Not sure of last oil used, but was serviced by dealer - so guessing turf guard - same as I just used. Perhaps the cap was left loose and just allowed condensation buildup.
The best thing you can do is change the oil NOW and then check the oil prior to every engine start, paying particular attention to the oil level and color of the oil.

Also, small air cooled engines should always be run at wide open throttle when mowing. Not only does that give the best power but it also provides optimum cooling. There is a reason they set the governor to 3600 RPM.
 

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Yeah, this isn't just condensation.

Either water is somehow infiltrating through some unknown point, or my best guess, you have a head gasket leak. You'll kill your motor in short order like that. Drop it off at the dealer. A dead giveaway is your coolant level isn't at the max level on the bottle (at appropriate temperature). To give you an idea, I changed the oil in a car that sat for well over six months, this was during the very moist spring season. I changed the oil with only 300 miles on it (it was conventional oil, and goes acidic). The oil looked like it came right out of the bottle, I was actually a little sad to have cracked open that drain bolt.
The OP's X370 has an air-cooled Kawasaki engine.
Interesting observation
 
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