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my oil analysis results

wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
Here are my oil analysis results from Blackstone Laboratories on my 98 chevy ext-cab Z-71 with 5.7L. Truck had 32,738 miles on it with 5,069 miles on the oil change. 5W-30 Mobil 1 oil used and UPF52 AC-delco filter used. Elements are measured in PPM (parts per million).

my results-- universal averages

aluminum 4--8
chromium 2--2
iron 17--46
copper 6--25
lead 55--20
tin 6--4
molybdenum 3--40
nickel 1--1
manganese 1--2
silver 0--0
titanium 0--0
vanadium 0--0
boron 49--42
silicon 46--35
sodium 6--26
calcium 804--1501
magnesium 1339--576
phosphorus 582--842
zinc 752--1011
barium 0--2

sus viscosity@210 F 62.3 should be 55-61
flashpoint 395-->365
fuel% <0.5--<2.0
antifreeze% 0.0--0
water% 0.0--<0.05
insolubles% 0.4--<0.6

They were concerned with the high levels of lead and silicon. Lead could mean excessive bearing wear and silicon could mean poor air filtration. They recommend changing at 4,000 miles and retesting.
I would like for others to post their results on similiar vehicles using Mobil 1 Thanks, Wayne


  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Again, your iron count was low. If the silicon was truly caused by dirt (and not an additive in the oil or from gasket material) you would have a much higher iron content. If you truly have excessive bearing wear then this could be caused by poor design of oil distribution system etc., not necessarily the oil. Further, you don't know what this level was early on in engine life.

    You need to know how much in ppm Mobil 1 has of silicon to start with. My levels ( I use Amsoil) of silicon range from 15 ppm to 40, most of the time at anywhere from 7,500-12,000 miles will be under 30 ppm. My lead will sometimes spike up to your level but iron is usually under 25 ppm for me. Every engine is diffenrent and their universal averages really do not mean much. I have five cars and every analsyis on each is somewhat consistent but between different cars-much much different!

    Having the reults form other Mobil 1 users will tell you nothing as they are on different engines! Only your analysis done several times on a long term on any specific engine is of any value! For the lab to say the additive package is about worn out is "CRAZY" unless they know for the weight of Mobil 1 oil you used what the additives were to begin with. Only an unused sample analyzed will show you this.

    You did not list the TBN (total base number) anywhere. TBN for synthetics is around 10-12 (dino 3-5) and the recommendation is that the oil additive package is getting worn when the TBN reaches 1/3 of original value or for a synthetic aorund 4.

    I think that you are getting way too concerned by the results and the way the lab informed you of them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Seems to me if he went through the trouble of getting an oil analysis, he shouldn't question the results just because Mobil 1 didn't perform a miracle for him.

    Synthetic oils cannot manage serious mechanical issues and more than regular oil can. If he's got grit and lead in his oil, he needs to change it more often, period, in his particular case and with his particular car.

    I don't think he should disregard or explain away this information; otherwise, one would have to say that oil analysis is useless, if even after this level of scrutiny, one doesn't know what to do with the results.

    This sounds like Killing the Messenger because the news was "bad" (actually not too bad, but you get my point....)
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Analysis is "trend analysis" You can tell nothing from one sample other then hey, maybe an issue to look at but that is all. If you wish to tear down an engine and replace the bearings go right ahead, me, I would want to see at least 2 reports of similar high lead content after having had at least two previous reports of lower lead content to base an opinion on that something changed. The level indicated may be perfectly normal for his engine. The lab gave him ave results (many different engines of different manufacturers) to compare to, not his manufacturer or specific engine averages..

    I agree, let's not kill the messenger but the messenger is just that a messanger that does not know all of the facts!
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Good basic discussion of analysis


  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    I did not give TBN because my report from blackstone labs did not give this information. I realize you cannot use just one oil analysis to determine if you have a problem. I was just surprised that as well as I have taken care of this vehicle and using what are supposed to be quality lubricants, that I would have higher than normal lead levels.

    Blackstones universal averages is the average of all the samples they have analyized for the particular make and model. So they are comparing my results with vehicles like mine with the same engine. They are not comparing my results to totally different vehicles. I specifically asked them that when I talked to them.

    I don't have any plans on going out and getting new bearing put in my motor. I will get more tests done and see what results I get and then see if I need to maybe use a different oil.

    With my vehicle, blackstone labs doesn't recommend extending oil changes with Mobil 1 very far.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    There is a huge difference between your flashpoint analysis and the published one.

    Yours was 395.

    Original oil specs on Mobil1.com list it at 460 F.

    So time and usage affect this as well.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, trend analysis, of course, is the best way to approach these figures. But it looked like a good "heads up" to me at least. Seems like for your truck and your use you need to be changing the oil sooner. That would be my response, anyway.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    This seems like a pretty heavy duty truck 5.7 L engine. Is 5W30 recommended or is 10W 30?
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196

    I too have a Chevy truck w/5.7, a 2000 3/4 long bed. The 255 HP engine. I currently have 35,500 of 95% freeway commute miles. I have driven it hard, at times 100 mph. My first MOBIL1 oil change was at 3000 miles and every 5500 to 6000 mi thereafter. I use a K & N filtercharger with a few other mods. When i change the oil the magnetic drain plug is particle free, oil is dark honey color. In contrast to my neighbor's Silverado with 4.3 using the dino juice, his oil is filthy, his magnetic drain plug is full of metallic particles. I use the Mobile 1 filter or UPF1218 ULTRA GOLD. I am definetly going to have an engine analysis performed. I have heard horror stories of the K & N letting not only more air but more dirt. I service my air filter quite frequently, ie every 15,000 mi and going to drain tranny fluid every 25,000. I try to perform extreme maintenenace service due to the heavy duty use i give my truck (abuse too)



    PS I use the 5W-30 Mobil 1 Trisynthetic, have used Pennzoil Synthetic in my other trucks, which is more expensive thatn Mobil 1. Pennzoil recommends 3000 mi oil changes. At $4.39/qt it is steep price for thier products. The Pennzane additive was designed for ultra temperatures of outer space. Who drives their vehicles on the moon?
  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    I would definatly have an oil analysis done if your changing at those intervals just to see if there might be a problem starting. Like the other people have said, it takes more than one test to show that something may be wrong.

    Like you, I also perform extreme maintenece on my truck. I change most maintence items before they are due. I also use the ultragaurd gold filters from AC-Delco. When I changed my oil for this test at 5,069 miles, the oil was still golden brown and their was just a slight gray residue on the magnetic drain plug. No chunks or pieces of metal. I don't run my vehicle hard so I was surprised with the lead level.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    By all means do the analysis if it makes you feel better. I seriously doubt if you will find a **real** not an imagined problem. 6000 miles is almost wasting money for Mobil 1. The fact that it is dark honey at 5000 miles indicates that the rings are a little looser or perhaps the K&N is letting more particles in than it should. I hasten to add though "dark honey" is still acceptably "clean" from my experience as a "qualitative" standard. If you are using -say less than 10-12 oz your rings are in good shape and perhaps you should look at a conventional air filter for an oil change just for the heck of it.

    Now lets say that the analysis comes back high in something other than coolant (need to take action here). In my opinion it makes little sense to check for bearing torque or inspect bearings. Because if you go that far you might as well just replace'em. I worry about a lot of things, but I wouldn't worry about a 350 chevy that's using no oil, making no bearing noise, not smoking, running fine, and had a lifelong diet of Mobil 1. Call me old fashioned.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    But the whole idea of an oil anaylsis (unless I'm missing something here) is to do exactlly that....do an analysis of an engine that is NOT exhibiting the first signs of total destruction. Isn't this what fleet do, that is, test the entire fleet, not just the trucks that have bearing noises or are smoking, etc.?

    Perhaps, after a few more analyses, this truck owner might decide to sell the truck or rebuild it prior to ruining the crank or cylinders, if in fact things got progressively worse, according to the analysis.

    Engines blow up all the time, even low mileage ones, even very expensive ones.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    "Perhaps, after a few more analyses, this truck owner might decide to sell the truck". Of course I would wait until the warranty is ready to go. I seriously doubt that the dealer is going to happily rebuild the engine under warranty on oil analysis say-so. Im just saying I would personally not go into an engine and start pulling bearings on a vehicle which was well maintained. Probably we are looking at a bent crank. I say - send it down the road if you have confidence in the analysis.
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196
    The analysis may clear up concerns. I intend to keep this vehicle 10+ years. I may adjust my care and use and tone it down for longevity. My Dad still has his '74 Cheyenne 350 pick-up. first engine went 477,000 on a diet of Arcographite 10w-40 changed twice a year. In the early seventies the no longer made Arcographite was an ultra low friction oil. Rings, bearings, camshaft lobes were in excellent condition. I believe Graphite is still available for around $20 from Amway dealers for the 16 oz bottle. With the ultra fine filtration of the new filters i would not consider using such an additive, least you clog up the filter.

    Regards to all
  • gslevegsleve Member Posts: 183
    This was done rather recently when an amsoil analysis was sent to ford motor company, on one of their smaller trucks, the customer had spun a number of bearings within the motor and ford would not honor the warranty upon a completed analysis which was sent to them and discussions with amsoil ford sent a brand new engine to be installed in the customers truck
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Sorry that truck that went 477000 on Arco graphite was pure coincidnece. They (Arco) pulled that oil realizing that the graphite did no good. If it truly worked you would see it today in some form. Now what we see is teflon garbage in lieu of graphite. It was just a good engine and with good luck it went so far. Twice a year changes and 477,000 miles on dino oil with graphite. Sorry, it was a great engine and great luck!
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Now if that lead count goes up with further analysis then this would indicate the wear is getting worse but if it stays the same then no judgement can be made that excessive wear is occurring. Why, beacause we have no concept of what they lead count was at 5,000 miles or 10,000 miles as the engine was breaking in. It could actually have been higher. Remember what the lab stated, their cut off point was an average (remember how an average is calculated) They did not give the range of particle counts that developed that average that being what some engines had on the low end and the high end.

    Other then changing your oil more frequently I still believe you are placing too much emphasis on one analysis. Also, having used foam filters my silicon count did drop when I went back to paper elements and for some reason I found that the OEM air filters (oil not the same) were the best in filtering air. Contrary to the marketing hype of K&N and Amsoil and others!
  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    I have no intentions on making any decisions or changes based on one oil analysis. If I continue to get high readings on future tests, then I'll see if there is anything else to do.

    I just went out and started the truck and looked at the bottom pulley. There is a slight wobble to it, so it is possible that my crank is not perfectly straight and causing some additional wear.

    Since this truck is out of warrenty, even if I have some kind of mechanical problem, I doubt that GM would do anything about it.

    My other main concern with this oil, is that most of my anti-wear and detergent/dispersant additives levels showed quite a bit less than the universal averages. This is telling me that the additive packages are not holding up well.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    I doubt that what you are seeng is a problem with the crank. Its probably a pulley irregularity. Usually shafts and probably cranks have a Total Indicator Runout (TIR) of no more than .003" I doubt if you could see that. Now that's the tolerance for industrial pumps/motors etc. I doubt if the crank in a car/truck would be much different.
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    If you want a bit more high-pressure wear additives like ZDDP (Zinc DialkDsomething phosphate) you can pump up your oil by adding an oil treatment like STP or even the K-mart brand oil treatment which is very cheap (<$2 ??).

    Check the warnings on the back of the bottle. Usually products using this critical stuff carries health warnings which state the name.

    --- Bror Jace
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    One must consider that new oil formulations have decreased the amount of Zinc used as engine with blowby [using oil] subject the cats to the zinc which leads to earlier failure ....this was ok when cats were only covered for 50k but now with 100k warranty the zinc had to go [or be drastically reduced] in oil.
    Mobil 1 has 1/4 of the Zinc of conventional oils!
    I fortify my Mobil 1 with BG MOA [Zinc] enough to double it's content [11oz BG in 6 quarts Mobil 1].
    AS of 223,000 miles the cats [Q45 has 4 cats] are marginal [dyno emission tests] but should still allow a pass for another two years [270k or so].
    The point being is if your engine is burning oil adding additives may cause expensive problems in other areas you need to know what the exact chemical composition is in each.....luckily the EPA found most are just colored oil with little or nothing in them.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I don't recall how you determined that the additive package had been depleted or had significantly decreased with the 5000 miles. One has to know what Mobil 1 5W30 started with out of the container and the only way to do that is to ask Mobil and or have a sample analyzed right out of the bottle. Sorry, but labs do not necessarily keep up with all formulations of an oil and their statement that the additives are nearing the end may be a bit of hogwash!

    My experience is that the only thing that matters is yoru analysis over time, what the labs state, what they flag as a concenr is all hogwash because it is not ono your engien. Only the analsyis on your specific engine over time is what counts. They can give you their hints their supposed database results ask them point blank and they will say every engien (even if the same manufacturere and same same off of the line) will have different oil analysis.

    The other point is that on the lead, if their cutoff for flagging this is a "absolute value" it is meaningless. For example, 50 ppmn at 3000 miles may be normal but so is 100 ppm at 6000 miles as this would be normal wear. Not the same for some chemicals etc., but for wear metals you must look at the mileage to see if there is "EXCESSIVE " wear for the mileage driven. Many labs are not into extended drains and simply have an absolute cut off and when the wear metals reach that they flag the results. This is not proper, it must be mileage calculated in the case of extended drains. So if the lab calculates their averages based upon 3000 miles you are receiving misleading information.
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196

    I remember reading in late 70's in Popular Science Mag. They did an oil analysis on two ultra low friction oils, Exxon UNIFLO and ARCOGRAPHITE. These two '86 Chevy Biscaynes with
    350 engines were run 30,000 mi with no oil changes. They just added oil and changed filters.

    Then they tore down the engines for inspection. The Dino juiced cars had significant cam lobe, bearing, ring wear. The engines with ARCOGRAPHITE still had the hone marks on the cylinders. The engine using Exxon oil also had low wear. It was an interesting test. Of course we know what happened to ARCOGRAPHITE. There was a MOLY oil also. I think STALUBE had it. There is great controversy on the Chlorine additives and their corrosive nature on the engines. Pop just advised his 2nd motor, a '77 Z28 350 was just bored over .030 with all new parts. That engine went 290,000 miles on Pennzoil SAE straight 30. Probably an SA rating. He mentioned engine was sludge free and oil changed 2-3 times a year. Luck again.
  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    Here is what Blackstone Labs wrote in the comments section of the report:

    WAYNE: Universal averages show typical wear metals for an oil from this type engine after 3,000-4,000 miles use. All wear in this sample matched up well with those averages except lead, which shows excessive bearing wear at 55 ppm. Silicon was also high and typically indicates poor air filtration, especially if this engine has not recently been opened for service. No fuel dilution or anti-freeze was found which would have caused the high wear. Suggest dropping back to 4,000 miles and resample. Hopefully, wear will improve.

    Maybe this means the results they gave me have no meaning since they based it on oil used for 3,000-4,000 miles. If thats the case, then how can oil analysis be valid if your running oil longer than 3,000-4,000 miles?

    As far as the anti-wear and detergent levels being low, I was going by what my results were compared to what the universal averages are. My results were quite a bit lower.

    On my next oil analysis, I may send a sample of unused Mobil 1 to see what the results are so I have something valid to compare to.
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