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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    I always heard that the color of oil on your dipstick shows nothing about whether the oil is okay or if it should be changed.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I always heard that the color of oil on your dipstick shows nothing about whether the oil is okay or if it should be changed

    I haven't "always" heard about whether oil can be judged by color or not and taken without real experience I've seen people try and manipulate that statement both ways.

    If your oil looks like roofing tar, it needs replaced. There is a viscosity component to what this oil "looks" like.

    The oil in my Escape right now looks like it just came out of the bottle, except it's got 7000 miles on it, and the monitor just dropped under 20% left. By the time the next 10% clicks off next week the oil will still "look OK" and no doubt if I had an analysis done it would in fact still have useable life. But its going to be replaced anyway.

    Do you see how many posts we did today in this thread? ;)
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    If a mechanic pulled out my dipstick and said my oil was dirty just because it was black or just dark, I'd probably go ballistic on him (or her). (Amsoil) (Texlube)

    Your oil is so clean from not holding the dirt in suspension, the soot must be sludging up the engine, lol. (The Dark Oil Myth)

    Do you see how many posts we did today in this thread?

    You're a popular guy, Doc. :D

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    If a mechanic pulled out my dipstick and said my oil was dirty just because it was black or just dark, I'd probably go ballistic on him (or her).

    So that's the only way?

    http://www.fluidtesting.com/
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Your oil is so clean from not holding the dirt in suspension, the soot must be sludging up the engine, lol. (The Dark Oil Myth)

    You can't believe everything that's on the net. There are some things that are correct there, and some that are quite dated and no longer valid.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    Well, you were talking about how "clean" your oil looked. If it looks so clean why bother with a $20 analysis? The paper test you linked to isn't the same as looking at the dipstick or rubbing some oil between your fingers or putting a drop on a paper towel.

    If you want more sources for my dirty oil post, I can give you Valvoline for number 3 (or was is #4?). How many more would you like me to try to dig up? :shades:

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,549
    Is there an injector kill function on OBD-II cars if one cylinder is heavily misfiring?

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    OK so you gave us (me) a Valvoline page. Search dexos on that page, and scroll to the bottom. You will find a chart and the information in it is this.

    http://www.valvoline.com/promos/dexos.jsp

    Product Grade dexos spec Other specifications
    SynPower 5W-30 dexosTM1 ILSAC GF5 API SN/Resource
    Conserving, ACEA A5
    SynPower 5W-30 dexosTM1 ILSAC GF-5, API SN/Resource
    Conserving, ACEA A1
    DuraBlend 5W-30 dexosTM1 ILSAC GF-5, API SN/Resource
    Conserving, ACEA A1
    NextGen DuraBlend
    5W-30 dexosTM1 ILSAC GF-5, API SN/Resource
    Conserving, ACEA A1
    SynPower MST
    5W-30 dexosTM2 API SN/CF, ACEA A3/B4-04,
    ACEA C3-08, MB 229.51,
    BMW LL-04,
    VW 502.00/505.00/505.01

    Now learn how to read exactly what is there.
    In 2004 ACEA updated their ratings format. They no longer use the single A1, A3, A5. The correct format is the ACEA A1/B1 or as you see just above with the SynPower MST ACEA A3/B4-04 which means it is the 2004 specification.

    The "A" portion of the rating is for gasoline engines, and the "B" portion for diesels

    ACEA A1/B1 is not a long life oil, it is a thin (North American) specification for year round use. ACEA A5/B5 is an extended drain version of the A1/B1.

    ACEA A3/B4 is a "thick"(European) specification capable of year round use and extended drain intervals

    Which of the following correctly displays the GM specification?

    a. DexosTM1 b. dexos 1 c. dexos1 d. Dexos
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Is there an injector kill function on OBD-II cars if one cylinder is heavily misfiring

    It's more of a manufacturers function than an OBDII requirement. Ford makes liberal use of shutting down an injector when a misfire is detected. By turning off the injector, and then adjusting the fuel trim feedback map accordingly they can prove that they are not polluting the air, and they also protect the catalysts from damage. That combination can create a situation where the engine starts misfiring which results in a flashing check engine light, but if the misfire stops quick enough it doesn't result in a code setting.

    An example is the exhaust valve springs are weak on my 2002 Ford Explorer. Under a hard pull, over 4000rpm say pulling a trailer up a hill I'll get a flashing MIL. If I lift the throttle, and allow the engine to downshift the mil stops flashing and no code is set. If I would stay in the throttle, #1 injector would get shut down for a period of time, and then the PCM would attempt to turn it back on when the engine load changed. If it misfires then, it will turn it back off and may or may not set a code depending on the number and type of misfires that were detected.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Well, you were talking about how "clean" your oil looked. If it looks so clean why bother with a $20 analysis?

    Because you can't tell anymore just by looking at the color! That means oil that is "clear" can in fact be at the end of it's useable life, while in another engine you could have a condition where the oil is black from picking up old deposits and it does not necessarily need to be changed yet.

    The paper test you linked to isn't the same as looking at the dipstick or rubbing some oil between your fingers or putting a drop on a paper towel

    And it isn't twenty dollars a pop either, but it is very accurate.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,923
    I have never used "MINI" oil

    I was heading to Autozone to buy a quart, and googled oil specs for my BMW, and it took me straight to the BMW USA website, and it gave me 5 specific oil brand/types I could use as a substitute for BMW branded synthetic...

    Autozone had four of them... :)

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    OK Steve. Now for the rest of the story, you should get your oil guys to help explain the answer so that you can write it out correctly.

    Take the SynPower MST 5W30 as listed, and break down and explain each of the ratings it is shown for.

    SynPower MST 5W-30 dexosTM2 API SN/CF, ACEA A3/B4-04,
    ACEA C3-08, MB 229.51,
    BMW LL-04,
    VW 502.00/505.00/505.01

    Everyone else, go to your local parts store and find a bottle of this oil and take photographs of both the front and rear labels.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,077
    >http://www.fluidtesting.com/

    I read and looked over the information about the paper testing methods from the seller's site. I decided I've been doing paper chromatography testing of my fluids all along when I drop a unit onto a paper towel and watch the spread and results. Why buy from them, because it's all relative and intuitive. They're selling the equivalent of nitrogen for tire air.

    Their statement of confidence in their materials and the efficacy of the materials is telling:

    "NOTE: One Drop Test is designed as an aid in determining the condition of the oils or fluids. There is no guarantee expressed or implied against component failure, since the damage may have already started before the first test. The equipment manufacturer[']s recommended practices should always be followed. Please read instructions and safety info below prior to using product. Be sure to dispose of your used oil and fluids in accordance with local regulations so as not to pollute."

    Notice they left out the apostrophe in manufacturer's.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    In our world not being specific will often have someone accuse of us of trying to hide something.

    I was heading to Autozone to buy a quart, and googled oil specs for my BMW, and it took me straight to the BMW USA website,

    That's correct, just like GM has a list of approved dexos1 suppliers, BMW has their list of suppliers who have specific BMW approvals.

    and it gave me 5 specific oil brand/types I could use as a substitute for BMW branded synthetic...

    They aren't "substitutes", they are approved products, it might not seem like that makes a big difference but it does. You can substitute the spare tire for one of the regular wheels when you have a flat (if you actually have one today), but it clearly isn't the same as running on the correct wheels and tires. This is a difference that you can readily see, when we are talking engine oil this isn't something you can see. In fact few people really read the bottles and don't understand the ratings, nor how some companies display them.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited February 2013
    I read and looked over the information about the paper testing methods from the seller's site. I decided I've been doing paper chromatography testing of my fluids all along when I drop a unit onto a paper towel and watch the spread and results.

    In a sense you are correct, you have been using a repeatable method that isn't a lot different than their system. But do you buy the exact same paper towels each and every time?

    NOTE: One Drop Test is designed as an aid in determining the condition of the oils or fluids. There is no guarantee expressed or implied against component failure, since the damage may have already started before the first test

    And this is different from a full oil analysis how? Don't they have disclaimers too? Oil analysis works over a fleet of vehicles because it allows for long term trends to be revealed and is consistent in its approach. This is actually no different in that over time you can accurately assess when a service is due, and then have the complete analysis done afterwards if you choose, and then depending on those results adjust your service schedule. That's why as they say the system has Ford approval.

    Notice they left out the apostrophe in manufacturer's

    Certaintly not perfect now is it. But is it just a typo or did they have a reason to do that? BTW its not like they only used part of the ACEA spec like A1 or something similar.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    "According to the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, the onus would be on GM or another automaker to prove that a non-manufacturer oil damaged the engine."

    What Ron doesn't say is that it takes time and money and stress to enforce your claim under Magnusson-Moss.

    I think the push back is already happening and we'll get back to fewer and simpler choices for oil change options.

    And I'm glad to see you do agree that you can't tell anything about the condition of oil by looking at it.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Is this the list you found?

    http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Owner/SyntheticEngineOils.aspx

    Is the Valvoline SynPower 5W30 listed the same one that you will find on the parts store shelf?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    And I'm glad to see you do agree that you can't tell anything about the condition of oil by looking at it.

    But I don't approve of the tainted use of the information, its often implied to only mean if the oil is dark and that's not accurate. If an oil displays clear characteristics that it is no longer maintaining its viscosity, then by appearance it is time to have it replaced and be perfectly justified in the reccomendation.

    According to the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, the onus would be on GM or another automaker to prove that a non-manufacturer oil damaged the engine

    That has to deal with warranty issues. These engines should outlast their warranty by two to three times. Stressing the warranty part fails the consumer in the long term when the issue isn't fully explained. BTW, it is very easy for the manufactuers to prove if the correct oil was used or not should they choose to go that route. One only has to use the wrong product one time and the results are actually quite obvious. Which brings us to the next important point. Exactly what consitutes "an equivelant"?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I think the push back is already happening and we'll get back to fewer and simpler choices for oil change options

    There has always been pressure to do the job wrong.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    There has always been pressure to do the job wrong.

    Like the unscrupulous people who show someone their dipstick and say it must be changed because it's black? Or worse, the engine must be flushed. I don't hear too many tales of the grease on the shock absorbers any more.

    See, you're not only fighting consumer perceptions, you're also having to read about how crooks in your business harm your reputation.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    See, you're not only fighting consumer perceptions, you're also having to read about how crooks in your business harm your reputation

    So how does this pertain to the debate taking place? Does this somehow make the facts that I have written less trustworthy? You have Ron's story linked here, and you have information from the Valvoline page that you linked to. Now are they giving the consumers the whole story or not? If not, why not?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    Which debate? Consumers have to buy oil that only has the manufacturer's label on it?

    Or you comment that your oil was "clear", as if that meant something?

    (btw, is your shop closed today? :shades: ).

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Like the unscrupulous people who show someone their dipstick and say it must be changed because it's black? Or worse, the engine must be flushed.

    Unscrupulous. Nice word. Exactly who created and sold those engine flush machines and when did Edmunds ever do a story on how they and their use was presented as real training for the shops and technicians?

    Is there never a time to use such a piece of equipment? Does it have no value at all? (FWIW, I don't own one)

    You really need to follow through with the SynPower 5W30 MST issue as I outlined. You wouldn't want to appear to be unscrupulous would you?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    No thanks, I just want to be able to buy jugs off the shelf at Walmart without having to take my owner's manual and a magnifying glass into the store to read the labels.

    If I wanted to spend years talking about the minutia of motor oil, I could have been hanging out in Engine Oil - A slippery subject Part 2 all this time.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    No thanks, I just want to be able to buy jugs off the shelf at Walmart without having to take my owner's manual and a magnifying glass into the store to read the labels.

    Perfect, then you should be praising GM for the dexos1 licensing. You only need to look at the front of the bottle and you are assured to be purchasing the correct product. (Or not)

    The exercise is critical to properly explain the differences in the oil products to the consumers. They can walk in the door and buy Valvoline SynPower 5W30, but is it the North American version, or is it the European one. They are completely different products. Both are good products, and will serve the consumers well but only if they know how to choose the one that matches their car. Your refusal to assit the consumer in this matter is puzzling. BTW, where is Ron? Maybe he will explain it. Unless of course someone has something to hide.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Nope, it's a blessing to be able to type at some 2000wph.

    The list of what I have already completed today includes an 5000 mile service on a 2000 Accord, replaced and programmed a PCM on a 2001 Taurus, brake inspection on another Honda, it needs the front pads and the rotors machined. Plus the LH engine mount on a silverado 4WD 8.1l.

    Which debate? Consumers have to buy oil that only has the manufacturer's label on it

    Nope, that is distorting the issue. Consumers need to buy the products for their cars that meet the manufactures specifications. The problem is "How do they know for sure which products do, and which ones do not meet the specs for their car" Is there a reason why you repeatedly have to try and attempt to misrepresent the real issue?

    I really don't want to be a pr!(& here, but its time that consumers, and any shops/techs who may wander through here are told what they really need to know, and not the polished version one sided version that they have been getting fed. This also works for things like the engine flush. It takes a lot of nerve to bash the shops who made the investment, because they thought they were doing right by their customers, only to find out in a back handed way that it was not a good choice. Why didn't Edmunds address the issue in a way that might have prevented some of these shops from buying the machine in the first place? They (you) have no problem assailing it but you never tried to prevent the idea from catching on. What was that word you used, "Unscrup...."???

    BTW I just got a call from another shop for a SKIM issue on a Chrysler. I'll be hitting the road for an hour or so to address it for them. See if Ron can post and explain those Euro specs and how one oil meets all of them before I have to.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    Perfect, then you should be praising GM for the extra cost of the dexos1 licensing.

    There, fixed it for you. :-)

    (Ron is in the home office a couple of thousand miles away locked away behind the editorial firewall. Don't recall ever meeting him).

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Perfect, then you should be praising GM for the extra cost of the dexos1 licensing

    I have purchased a dexos1 licensed product by the case, on sale, under $4.00 a quart. I bought 2 cases, so it wasn't even like I had to buy a pallet of the stuff to get that price.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,157
    edited February 2013
    SuperTech runs around $12 for 5 quarts last I checked. This deal ends today, but you can get 5 quarts of Quaker State and a filter for $7 after rebate. (link)

    Too bad you can only use it for green Kias on Tuesdays. :P

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