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Hey Engine Man: What Kind of Oil Should I Use For My IH Diesel?

Successful Farming Engine Man Ray Bohacz has engine grease and field dirt under his fingernails from a life spent repairing vehicles and running a farm. When he’s not busy in the shop, he's working on maintenance articles and videos for Successful Farming magazine and answering questions from readers. The following is a letter the Engine Man received from John Hiltenbeitel:

What kind oil should we run in an International Harvester DT 466 engine? We have had bad problems with injector plugging.

Response from the Engine Man:

John, I would use a high-quality diesel oil that meets all of the specs for that particular engine. Any good product such as Shell, Mobil, Texaco, etc. will be fine as long as it is for a heavy-duty diesel.

The more important thing is to have a good oil change schedule.The HEUI (hydraulically activated, electronically controlled, unit injector) system on that engine exposes engine oil to very high pressure and temperature. This can cause oil to gum up the hydraulic side of the injector.

SF Engine Man: HEUI Diesel Fuel Injectors

On the fuel side, there is a problem of deposits forming, which skews fuel atomization (a problem that can occur with all injectors).

The following is a three-step plan that I like to use. Keep in mind that if the injectors are dirty and gummed up on both sides, it will take a number of miles to clean them up:

  1. Change oil regularly.
  2. Use FPPF-brand Total Power fuel additive. Double dose (0.26 ounce of additive per gallon of fuel) the fuel for the first two tanks the engine consumes. Then go to the normal fuel treatment rate (about 0.13 ounces per gallon of fuel) for the next 250 gallons consumed.
  3. Buy and use an oil treatment that eliminates stiction. There are a number of products that are sold at diesel service centers and truck stops for this purpose. These oil treatments will remove the deposits from the hydraulic side of the HEUI.

Do you have a maintenance question? Email Ray Bohacz at

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