I think the extensions made by others to my comment were very valuable.
Only thing I would like to add, that Fred's (original asker) problem is probably that time sync daemon can not do it's job in the background properly.
Ntpd can not sync on startup or later and time async reaches 10 min, which is huge.
So the problem here is two:
- the time stepper probably broken
- and the time sync software can not do it's job properly.
I would suggest to debug the second first, as you will need time sync even after you solved the first problem.
Just some suggestion to this:
- check the ntpd logs. If there is no dedicated log file to it, make one by editing the ntp.conf file
- check if the drift file can be accessed and is writeable to ntpd
- check the restriction section in ntp.conf file. Make sure the service is available on localhost at least on IPv4
- if ntpd runs, issue ntpq -p command and check it's output (compare it's output to any other linux machine with working time sync)