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Oil Analysis as predictive and preventive maintnenance tool for engines and transmissions

0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
Any large fleet company uses oil analysis as a preventive maintenance.But I have to tell you,Caterpillar sells their oil analysis kits for less than $25 and you'll have a hard time competing with their reputation and state of the art labs.

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    pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Actually, according to oilanalysis' website, that feature of obtaining the results over the internet is not active yet.

    If anyone wants to compare oilanalysis' business to Caterpillar, here is a link: Caterpillar's S-O-S Fluids Analysis.

    Perhaps others can find links to more resources for this service?

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
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    rcarbonircarboni Member Posts: 290
    Blackstone (http://www.blackstone-labs.com/auto.html) offers analysis for $18.50.

    Another company is Oil Analyzers, Inc. Don't know much about them, but here is a reference with some other good info:
    http://www.pecuniary.com/synthetics/oilanalysis.html
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    oilcan2oilcan2 Member Posts: 120
    Having worked for Holt co. of south tx for a
    number of years and being familiar with their
    sos program,I have one tip,watch where you get the
    sample from,install a tap somewhere by a oil
    source preferably after the filter,do not stick
    a plastic hose down the dipstick tube ,it will
    get full of sludge and get wrong reading.
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    mrboostmrboost Member Posts: 32
    I wouldnt expect many people on the Edmunds site to have a clue about oil analysis. Most dont even know rudimentary maintenance items/schedules.

    For them it is far better to vent on these threads about "My car is a POS, dont ever buy a _____ "; than to find/read their owners manuals.

    Most wont spend the extra money on synthetic oil let alone shell out $20 or more to have an analysis performed.

    Bottom line is, that most dont have a clue, you know your in trouble when they cite verbatim Consumer Reports.

    I have used oil analysis in the past, mainly because I run extended drain intervals on my cars. I wanted to develop a confidence level as to how long I could go between oil changes. I also wanted to see how good the synthetic oil was. I used a lab in Vermont, Vermont Oil Analysis Inc.


    Later
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    pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    We have very many community members who are VERY interested in the proper maintenance of their vehicles, in this conference, and throughout Town Hall.

    And there are always the lurkers who read and read in order to learn as much as they can but don't post.

    Maybe you could share with us more specifically your experiences with oil analysis and what you found with synthetic oil. Many here will benefit from that.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
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    0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    You know, that was a totally uncalled for post, I should really go off on you for that post,but out of respect for Pat and the Edmund's site, I won't. But it is arrogance like that,that is part os the problem whith the automotive field.And before you start in about how I wouldn't have a clue about the automotive field,don't. I have been in the automotive field,long enough that some of my credentials meet the legal drinking age.
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    mrboostmrboost Member Posts: 32
    So you feel all the threads about people complaining(I will be polite) about their brandXYZ
    is a (fill in the blank) show extreme logic??

    Sorry 0patience, but I lurk in the background and have a good laugh at many of the threads and posts.

    Oh, please dont, imply that some others dont have an automotive background either. I have wrenched many cars over the years also. Note I am not a mechanic at a dealership(actually I am an Engineer, car nut, amateur drag racer) but wrenched cars to help pay the bills during school.

    My point on the above post is that most people(IMHO) on this board are either too cheap(to do an analysis) would not understand what oil analysis is nor how to use it, or they would tell you that you sholdn't "waste" your money having one done. Have already read posts to this effect on one of the Synthetic oil threads!

    Most depend on others in the field to maintain their cars/trucks. They also do NOT read their owners manuals, do not understand that cars are mechanical devices which require periodic adjustments, lubrication, and other fluid changes.

    Also, since they are made by humans, some may have problems since we are not perfect.

    But rather than educating themselves, say by buying a FSM and reading it, they would rather come to Edmunds and "warn" everyone not buy said vehichle, insult all the various people at said manufacturer, dealership, service dept,repair shop etc.

    FWIW

    I have done oil analysis in the past (SEM) on various cars, mainly to determine the drain intervals on synthetic oils. If you have good filters and do the right type of driving, you can extend the drain interval far past the 3K most use.

    Regards
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    mrboostmrboost Member Posts: 32
    Oh

    If I offended I apologize.

    But I do get tired of reading and or repsonding to people who do not honestly own up to issues and base most of their answers on anecdotal stories which are short on details and facts. Far too many do not understand any science or statistics and read something in Consumer Reports and then extrapolate it across the board.

    Oil analysis is one of the things they cannot refute, so most will not use it because they may be afraid of the results.
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    pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Look Mike,

    You are generalizing far too much. In reality most of the community members of Town Hall are here both to learn and to help out where they can.

    You may have seen some, or even many, posts that fall into the broad categories you are describing, but in no way does that mean that most of our 450,000 community members deserve your scorn.

    Again, if you would like to discuss how oil analysis has helped you - how and when to use it, how it benefitted you, what experience you have had with various analysis services, anything along those lines - a post with that information would be very welcome.

    A post constructed primarily to bash the members of this site is not called for at all, and in violation of the "civility and respect" portion of the Town Hall Participant's Agreement.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
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    bnormannbnormann Member Posts: 335
    mrboost,

    Help us out here..... Tell us what things are measured on a typical oil analysis, what they signify, what the normal ranges are and what are the possible causes for an out-of-range reading.

    How many oil analyses did you do in order to determine the proper drain interval for your engine? Were you using the Amsoil and bypass filter at the time?

    As for your first post, well....I am supposing maybe you had a bad day. So, shake it off and post something constructive, please.

    Your host, Bruce

    PS: What is the " DOC Forum " ??
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    0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    As much as I would prefer not to,I have to deal with oil analysis all the time and if you are using a good quality service(I use CAT's SOS service) then it should be pretty clear on what is what and usually pretty easy to read.If not,most of them have a toll free number to call in case of questions. If I remember,I'll have to scan one in and post it for all to decide.
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    rcarbonircarboni Member Posts: 290
    http://www.blackstone-labs.com/auto_report_1.html

    FWIW, I sympathize with mrboost because I know he was merely trying to point out that some topics here are nothing but assertions and allegations based purely on opinion with no basis in fact, and most of these opinions are some form of bashing. (see Tundra, Durango, etc. topics).

    It is very frustrating to read about some "guy I know's" vehicle that died questionably at low miles, or had many problems, when you own that vehicle and may be looking for potential problems. When you question these people about the facts, they never make sense, or the person never responds.

    However, I don't think the answer to bashing is more bashing. Perhaps Edmunds should set up a rating system where a community member can be rated by others based on the information he/she provides (kinda like e-bay). Likewise, many forums provide a filter mechanism to eliminate someone's opinion you don't find enlightening. I don't know though, if I put a filter in the Durango topic, I might wind up talking to myself! ;)
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    0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Guees I know how I'd rate.Shoot,I'd be last.
    rcarboni,I made the comment about the analysis report being pretty self explanitory,thank you for showing that it is.Almost all analysis programs include the comments from the analyst and their suggestions.
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    rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Why do an analysis if you change at shorter recommended intervals? The Army has done AOAP for years. But the point was to prevent catastrophic failure of major components in order to ensure readiness and save dollars. Fleet maintenance follows same logic. I just don't see it for a personal vehicle. If I have a major engine problem I'm trading the vehicle anyway unless it is a '70 chevelle LS-6.
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    rcarbonircarboni Member Posts: 290
    Why drain good oil? Analysis tells you when the TBN is below acceptable levels, and the particulates are above acceptable levels. Once you know how long your oil lasts, based on your vehicle and driving habits, you can adjust your change intervals to optimum durations.

    Conversely, how do you even know that 3K is a good interval?

    As you said, an analysis also prevents failure of major components by identifying dangerous levels of abnormal materials. I'd rather know that a head gasket was leaking anti-freeze into the oil from analysis, then to find out after the engine seizes.
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    mwiklemwikle Member Posts: 62
    Yep,

    There are some rather interesting opinions on oils/lubrication/testing/extended drains...then again cars can be a passion for enthusiasts.

    At work, we use Cleveland Tech (CTC) for used oil analysis, they may do some OEM-branded tests too, I dunno. But our work is for fleets, and mostly HDMO (i.e. sooty diesel engines, not PCMO-Pass Car Motor Oil).

    I NEVER recommend **consumers** vary from OEM drain and viscosity reccomendations no matter what testing processes they do...risk/reward is too small IMHO. It is fine to be more conservative, and/or test, but sent max. intervals at OEM limits. Very surprising the amount of 10W40 & 20W50 PCMO we sell...BUT no OEM recommends those grades any longer (and has not for a while). Old habits/beliefs die hard.

    For the record, I use syn & premium (or OEM) filter in my personal car and change at about 5K miles...this is overkill, but heck oil is cheap...engines are not. The syn does not lube "better", but does provide some additional safety margins in some areas. I have used oil analysis from time to time on my older car to check conditions. Titan Labs (sold at K-mart) has a consumer-friendly report. Most folks should avoid purely numeric reports like fleets use.

    My PCMO oil advice to consumers is mostly like "Click & Clack"(NPR car show) give:(1) GF2/SJ oils are very good even at base spec. blend (2) buy a major brand (big oil co or retail brand-the issue is day to day quality control, NOT who is "best"...around 5% IIRC per API and State of NC (only state that checks) are misblended/off-spec (3) change and use a good filter each time and do it at *5000 miles* not 3000 oil change places say...when the color get darker the oil is still fine for service. If you are TRULY severe service (per OEM), then do that recommendation for miles (4) Add nothing to the oil...it is a competitive market if their was a miracle additive in would be in oil in the first place...our developers are pretty smart formulators.
    Disclaimer: most oil manufactures say follow OEM recommendations...to many Lawyers out there to vary from that advice if you are a big deep pockets company...little oil supplers can vary and push extended drains...they need a way to merchandise oils, and it is true that done right extended drains are possible.

    FWIW, I do have a professional basis to comment on oils, relevant credentials (besides employment: lubricants technical training at major oil co.) are ChE degree, and STLE (Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers) CLS(tm) credential (Certified Lubrication Specialist). Waaaaaay too many posters in these tecnical forums sound too "authoritative" in thier tone, but have no basis or evidence beyond free spech rights to proffer such views. Claiming a cause/effect relationship (or implying it) without data is silly...Like race car *drivers* endorsing oil additive...come on, that is "testimonial" not proof/solid evidence. Netizens beware...
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    dnuggetdnugget Member Posts: 17
    My hats off to those " experts " who have chosen to share their wealth of experience to us, average joe's or jane's in this forum. I for one
    holds no degree, possesses no mechanical expertise, but can READ and follow manuals and instructions. To some, a car is a mere luxury, for most, a necessity. It's my link to feeding my family and being a productive member of this society. Good car maintenance is a "must" for me, since I can only afford to buy and own used cars. That's why I use this forum to see how I can extend our car's life expectancy without dipping into my food allowance. My plea to all is to SHARE and advise, based on facts, experiences, and informed analysis. If you want to label us "parasites" , feeding but not giving, consider yourselves blessed. I take no offense in that, if that would mean our survival. Again, thanks to all, I have learned a lot since I owned this used computer and joined this townhall.
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    pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    It is very nice to hear your thoughts. We have very many folks hanging out in Town Hall who do just what you are asking, all because they, too, enjoy it here and enjoy helping folks.

    And we have lots of folks just like you who are learning all they can, and helping out whenever they are able.

    We're glad you are here, and glad to be helpful.

    Thanks for your post.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
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    kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    by a degreed owner in Jewish Engineering. It is an 82 Lincoln TC, 302 V8. Mobil 1 used it's entire life. The synthetic oil was changed every 10,000 miles and the filters were changed every 5,000 miles. The engine was like new when sold with 125,000 miles on it to a friend. When Mobil 1 first came out in cans, one was saved and never opened because it stated on the can, "up to 25,000 miles before changing". I learned to maintain my own car when I was poor and still do my maintence, but no longer poor. Why? There is a sense of accomplishment and oh yes I know it's done. As for Consumers, if I had taken them seriously the garage would have housed Ramblers.
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    0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    I am curious at whom you directed your comments about.I have spent the last 5 years dealing with oil manufacturers and heavy equipment manufaturers.I am well aware of how oils work.
    I work on fleets,govt fleets and work under some of the most stringent guidelines out there.Before I worked on govt fleets,I spent the 15 years before that on commercial fleets.
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    armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I disagree with your commnet sticking a tube down the dipstick to obtain the oil sample being bad! First, you would only get sludge if you dredge the bottom of the pan and you if get sludge doing this you are in bad shape to begin with. Actually, directions state to take the sample when the oil is hot so that you do not get all the contaminants dropping to the bottom. Plus, if you start the analysis early on in engine life sludge is not an issue. I have been taking samples via the dipstick for 9 years without a problem. Besides, with a good synthetic you should not be getting sludge!
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    mwiklemwikle Member Posts: 62
    Really just sharing a view with the group...perhaps too wordy, but basically I'm not a fan of extended drains for consumers based on testing, but do like oil testing as in post #1 for monitoring (the topic). Especially, now that testing is is more readily available and cheap. Shared something similar in oil discussion group awhile back, thought it of interest here...

    A lot of the "boutique" and MLM oils push extended drains and filters as a reason to test. I personally believe that to perhaps be "fun" thing to do if an enthusiast, but really a not-so-good idea for almost all folks.

    Actually, most folks words here (re-reading topic) seem pretty reasonable to me...even Mr. Boost has some good points about many consumers (albeit I agree not well put at all, or relative to Edmunds participants).

    Ranting about background is strictly if anyone cares...no so much here, but elsewhere someone asks about an oil or practice, and someone chimes in ("yep, I use that and got 2+mpg and a quieter engine....") no concept of how silly it is to attribute HUGE measures like that to an oil *brand* alone. Yet the original poster replies as if he just heard from a Nobel Prize winner and thanks them for the woinderful advice...Caveat Emptor.
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    hooferhoofer Member Posts: 43
    for my engines and transmissions since the early 1990's.

    I am an engineer and I work for a large insurance company providing loss prevention consulting to Global 1000 companies. We know the value of NDE, infrared testing, oil analysis, etc. They are proven and effective methods for preventing or controlling damage to equipment and machinery.

    I recently detected an incipient problem in the transaxle of my 1996 Dodge GC (see Vans, #970 for details). It is now being fixed (out of warranty) by Dodge at their expense, largely due to my complete maintenance records.

    Oil analysis is a great tool, when it is used properly. You need to get a baseline when the vehicle is new and then take periodic readings. I test my engine oil every other oil change (twice per year) for the cost of $15.00 per year. The transmission I do once per year, so the total annual cost is $22.50. Cheap "insurance" in my book.

    Wear metals can alert you to problems with bearing, valve guides, etc.

    Contaminants can give you the opportunity to fix a failing head gasket or bad fuel injector before it takes the engine out.

    I use Schaeffer Manufacturing (see www.schaefferoil.com) for my tests.

    They charge only $7.50 per test. The catch is you have to buy the test kits in 6-packs. That is $45.00 plus S/H and tax. Each kit contains a plastic 4 oz sample bottle, a 2-part carbonless form, and a prepaid return mailer.

    I use an inexpensive 12V DC pump to get the transmission samples:

    http://www.blkfeather.com/gadgets.htm

    Here is some additional information on the effectiveness of oil analysis:

    http://www.mt-online.com/current/09-00log.html

    best of luck
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    hooferhoofer Member Posts: 43
    Auto Zone sells spectrographic oil test kits by Titan for $18.48. They sell for $29.95 on Titan's web site: www.titancheckup.com

    I bought 2 and I'm going to send identical samples off to Schaeffer for a compare and contrast.

    You can get more information on Proper Maintenance at my website: http://www.modular.net/hoofer/

    best of luck
This discussion has been closed.