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Sending Oil to Anaylzed By a Spectrometer?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by equalizer, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. equalizer

    equalizer Registered Member

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    I was reading a post for a truck being sold on ebay. Buddy said that he had a sample of the oil of the truck sent away to be anaylzed by some company so that it could determine what compounds were present in it. The rational was that certain compounds could tell you what's going on in your engine and what to do to fix potentional problems. Anyone heard, or used, this service.
    MarcD
     
  2. mccomas

    mccomas 1/2 ton status

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  3. bigburban383

    bigburban383 1/2 ton status

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    I did a class project on used oil analysis. It is very popular right now in fleets. Its a trend that should catch on to us.

    It can tell when you need to change the oil, and catch on to problems very soon. You set up a trend in particle wear and when it increases you know that theres a problem. Stuff like that.
     
  4. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    it's very, very common in the marine industry for the diesels. being that they are generally overhauled in the boat, it is a big pain in the arse, they want as much info on what the motors doing and it's tendencies before you tear it down..
     
  5. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Oil analysis is VERY common in commercial and military aviation, and is getting popular in light civil aviation too. As noted earlier, it's also popular in vehicle fleet operators.
    The biggest benefit of oil analysis (I'll call it "OA" from now on) is that a regular sampling interval will often warn an operator of an impending equipment failure, before it becomes a catastrophic equipment failure. Lots of money to be saved there, not to mention the safety issues (think in-flight engine failure in a plane or helicopter...). Another benefit of OA is that you can stretch your oil-and-filter change intervals out, from a mileage or hours-based interval, to an "on condition" interval. For instance, OA results, when properly interpreted, can tell you that the oil is still good, but to change the filter. If you're running synthetic oil, or a large quantity of oil (big diesel, oversize pan & filter, big cooler, etc.), you can save some money.

    BUT, you can't just take one sample, have it analyzed, and think you're in the clear. Or think your engine is dying. In the Navy Oil Analysis Program, at least 3 samples on a piece of gear are needed to determine what's normal and what's not. Unless the levels on something (iron, copper, silica, water, etc) are way out of line, the lab won't flag that gear as suspect until there's 3 samples or more to show a trend.

    Just as an example, here's what I plan to do when I get my new engine: Break-in period on petroleum oil, normal oil change intervals. Switch to synthetic oil after 9000mi change, sample 50mi after oil change (9050mi.) Sample again at 11,000mi and 12,500mi, anticipating a change at 13,000mi. I'll keep this routine going until I feel comfortable with a good change interval, then ease up on the sampling to, let's say every 5000mi. Of course, this all depends on what the results look like...

    Bottom line: You can't depend on a single sample to be a reliable indicator of engine health.
     
  6. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    thats great info, makes sense.. i send quite a few samples out for the diesels but never thought of how other industries may rely on it.

    does anyone know average cost for this? haha, i let the secretary do the shipping/billing after i give her the sample. i don't even know what we get charged.. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  7. ben427

    ben427 1/2 ton status

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    You dont even have to send it far. Just drop down to your local Caterpilar dealer. They do SOS scheduled oil sampling and can supply you with the bottles as well. If you decide to do it, catch the oil in the bottle as it drains. One of our divers forgot and dipped out of the drain pan one day. They counldn't figure out how the engine was still in one piece /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  8. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan 1/2 ton status

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    I use blackstone labs. I have pulled just one sample out of some of my daily drivers. Good thing too, found some intake gaskets that were just slightly leaking. Didn't discolor the oil or damage anything but did show in the OA.
     
  9. bigburban383

    bigburban383 1/2 ton status

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    Another thing, for example, the big three dont use or recommended gas additives for cleaning injectors and such, or oil additives, obviously because that crap is worthless. Large fleets, and the military (pioneered its use) use it because it works and it saves them money. Another thing, synthetics are not widely used because those large companies obviously dont see any benefits or cost savings for synthetic engine oils. Though synthetic gearlube is recommended by some manufacturers so I would use synthetic gear lube. I wouldn't spend $5 a quart for syn engine oil.
     
  10. sluggo45acp

    sluggo45acp 1/2 ton status

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    The service we use (Spectro) charges $18 per sample.
     

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