Engine Oil Analysis

Billy_the_Kid

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So is anybody in Off Road doing any kind of engine oil analysis?

I work in the Predictive Maintenance field at a large ductile iron foundry. Most of my work is in vibration analysis and infrared thermography, but I do look at a good portion of oil analysis data on occasion. When my off road program gets going again, I want to start using engine oil analysis to determine engine wear. Most of the companies we deal with specialize in industrial applications which are mostly hydraulic and not engine related. Does anybody know of any good oil labs? or have any experience with oil analysis as it relates to racing applications?

Thanks

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Bill Schmitt
 

Chris_Wilson

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Every race man! Cheap insurance for big buck motors.
 

Billy_the_Kid

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Who do you use? And what do you have them check for, base oil integrity, additive package, wear particles, or all of the above?

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curt

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They're probably not any good until they get some experience but I saw an oil analyzer setup at Jiffy Lube the last time I was there. The tech told me they were just getting ready to train on it and he would run some "practice" samples for us just to see what we could see. Curt

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FABRICATOR

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I get about 500 a year done. Not for racing but for engines in heavy duty commercial vehicles. There is over a dozen things we look for. The biggest is silicon. This equals dirt, either from a intake system leak or an air cleaner or oil that is past due for change. With Diesels, another big thing is fuel dilution, but this is rarely a problem on gas engines. The rest are mostly elements like copper, lead, potassium, tin, aluminum, iron, zinc, etc, and antifreeze, water, viscosity, fuel soot, etc. It's not rocket science. These are simply indicators of something wearing out, or something leaking. The lab needs a baseline to go by which can be established with a healthy engine working at the intended duty. With that, they will alert you to abnormal findings. We have them call and fax right away. This costs extra, but with a vehicle working all day, every day, it's worth it. All findings are still subject to the discretion of an experienced person. After a while you will be able to make a good guess as to whether there really is a problem, what it is, and whether it is worth persuing. Criteria for racing is not much different than heavy commercial use. I can supply more info during the week.

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TRDshaunTRD

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A friend of mines Father owns Annalist Inc., which does oil analyzing for major oil companies. They are located in Torrance, CA. All you have to do is call them and they will send you a bellow to put your oil in, and then you mail it back to them. I have no clue how much they charge, but talk to Eric at 310-346-5063, that’s his cell number; I don't know his work number.

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Chris_Wilson

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I use Blackstone Labs
4929 S. Lafayette St.
Ft. Wayne, IN 46806

They perform a comprehensive check for many elements.
There are lots of other places to have this done. Its common
practice for fleet managers in heavy equipment, boats or
anywhere else where expensive motors are used. It could
potentially catch something like a worn bearing prior to a failure.
 

Dave_G

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I have oil analysis done on my airplane at every oil change. I change the oil every 25 hours and filter every 50 hours. The oil analysis folks keep track of the data by N Number and if things start to show up that are not normal in it's history we hear about it. On an airplane it is well worth the money to do the analysis since aircraft engines are very very expensive with some upwards of $50K to overhaul. Having a heads up on what is going south on you before you need a $50k overhaul is a major money saver. For something like a small block chevy racing engine that is relatively cheap to freshen up between races it might not be worth worrying about oil analysis. Your going to want to freshen it up as often as you can afford to.

Dave

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hoeker

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i had a couple samples analized last year and learned a couple things.
one, that was lightly touched on already, and i'm sure you realize because of your job, is that many samples are needed to look for trends, the deviation from trends will then raise flags.
the other, was that if you don't have the background on the oil, you may be wasting your time. a base line will get you close, but you can't baseline a fresh engine, so when can you baseline it? it's really a guess.
when i had my samples done it was when we had severe overheating problems, and we were really curious how the oil held up. the samples came back and after 400 deg oil temp, and the engine seizing, some of the items were still better than other oils out of the bottle. had we not know what these numbers were supposed to be we would have assumed that the oil was still good, when really it had degraded by 25%
one sample did come back showing a high content of bearing material. we had already had the engine freshend, and sure enuf, found a bearing that had been starved for oil, and probably wouldn't have made another race. i'm going to shoot for sampling every race this year, but a servicable oil filter will tell lots of stories too.

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