View Full Version : Oil

02-10-2001, 09:34 PM
Refrigerant compressor oil like automotive engine oil is the lifeblood of the mechanical equipment it protects. Over the years I have seen different oils used in the ammonia refrigeration applications. Each equipment manufacturer supplies the original oil charge at start up of the new equipment. Warranty on equipment is contingent upon using the manufacturers oil or a manufacturer approved oil. (If you are using a mfg. approved oil make sure you have it documented in writing on manufacturers letterhead and not from a salesman or factory rep).

After warranty expires many plants change to a lower cost oil which can be purchased locally. While this seems practical from a bookkeeping standpoint it costs the plant efficiency and money in a variety of ways.

1) Premature failure on wear parts

2) Different oil bases and additives congealing, sludging and clogging filters and strainers. This can starve the equipment of lubricant and cause a refrigeration system to shut down for low oil. This as well may cause a potential accident when a technician tries to remove and clean a clogged strainer.

The arrival of the “new generation” oils has been somewhat of a sore subject with some manufactures and warranty on their equipment. Be sure to do your homework before changing and mixing oils.

We have just had an experience where a client bought a new screw compressor and had the following situation occur. At start up the oil used was a “new generation oil” similar to ISEL2033 or CAMCO 717HD. The compressor started up without any problems and ran for two weeks without incident. Soon the unit shut down due to low oil pressure. After finding the primary oil filter clogged the technician changed the filter and the unit ran fine. This happened frequently. The manufacturer came to the facility and hooked up a laptop computer to the micro to track the operation and find out what keeps shutting down the compressor. We came to the conclusion that after years of running the old kinds of oil and mixing several different oils, deposits and sludge were distributed throughout the system as well as in the bottom of the vessels. When the new compressor charged with the new oil was put on line the new oil was actually dissolving the deposits and sludge and cleaning the system and clogged not only the compressor filters but strainers and filters throughout the plant After doing a complete oil and filter change the plant is now running clean and the system is now running more efficient than in many years prior. If you are interested in more information on this subject e-mail me at nh34756@accessatc.net

14-12-2001, 05:10 AM
thanks for a facinating insight into the world of big compressors

10-04-2002, 06:25 PM
Hi Jryffel, This is a problem I have come across on ammonia plants before as well especially with old plants which have run with one type of oil. It seems that small doses of different oils doesn't seem to have much of an effect but when the oil charge becomes significant then all hell breaks loose. I haven't seen this prob with large ***** plants yet but seems to be an ammonia thing. The company I used to work for were the agents for the Frick compressors which specify Mobil Gargoyle Artic 300 and if we found the customer was using an alternative oil then we would give him a waiver and supply the compressor with the same oil he was using in his plant. As you are aware the screws take a fair charge, 300 litres or so and that does have an effect especially if it is being installed in a recip predominant plant.


13-04-2002, 01:14 PM
Hi Dale & Jryffel

Also had the same experience about 12 years ago. Had to practically at work to clear system of carbon. Oil being used at the time was Arctic 300 and changed over to Genfreeze SPL68. This is a synthetic from Engen Oil.
Compressor being run at the time 2 x Sullair58 and Stall Screw Compressors.

It decreased power consumption and wear on moving parts and I never had to do a complete oil change for the last 12 years although adding oil occassionally to the compressor.

Robin Fillmore
Cape Town SA
cell: 0832404304
email: robinf@ij.co.za

Prof Sporlan
13-04-2002, 02:56 PM
The arrival of the “new generation” oils has been somewhat of a sore subject

Polyolester (POE) oils are typically used with HFC refrigerants, and they also are wonderful solvents. Retrofitting a large refrigeration system with long refrigerant lines using AB or mineral oil to POE, particularly a system having been in service for a long time, should always be handled with fear and trepidation.... :)

20-04-2002, 05:37 AM
Oh heck....Just use some 5w30 motor oil.