Oil Analysis Results and Opinions

August 24, 1996

Brian L. Sydness

The following are test results conducted by independent labs on two of my vehicles. A third vehicle is now being evaluated. The purpose of the tests was to confirm the claims of extended oil drain intervals when using Amsoil's products. Both vehicles were mechanically sound prior to the test.

The lab when analyzing results take into consideration the maximum value as well any significant trends or changes in levels. The values are compared with samples taken from other customers with same make, model and year of vehicle.

Anomolous readings were flagged during the sample intervals, but were not attributed to the performance/reliability of the oil.

Vehicle: 1979 Datsun 280ZX Coupe

Engine rebuilt @ 137k

Modifications: Weber throttle body, Schnieder cam, Motorsport flat top pistons, headers, and 2.5" exhaust.

Oil typeAmsoil 100% 10w-40,
PropertiesViscosity @100C 14.2 cST
Viscosity Index178
Pumping Temp-44 F
Pour Point-76 F
Flash Point484 F
Fire Point518 F
Four Ball Wear0.36 mm
Volatility %loss6.6
Total Base Number 9.7
Filter types Amsoil's ASF-15, fullflow filter. Amsoil's Synthetic foam air filter.


TEST DATA

Date8/912/92 6/928/92
Mileage (Lube/Unit)6102/145650 16656/15620422089/161367 28226/167774

Tests(ppm)

Contaminents

Silicon12 101516
Sodium*63 211824
Potassium*11 030
Boron0 231

*Note: Detected high levels of Sodium and Potassium. Recommend intake inspection. Found throttle body gasket to be defective. Levels returned to normal.

Wear metals

Iron30 594744
Chromium*17 1596
Aluminum1 967
Copper15 312829
Lead20 151313

*Note: High Chromium(rings) level detected, porbably due to above contaminents. Levels returned to normal.

Additives

Magnesium635 618661698
Calcium1400 167015751738
Phosphorous999 1055921825
Zinc1207 122613811322

Note: I noticed a increase in additive levels. Usually levels would decrease over time. Amsoil upgraded their formulation during this period.

Other (%vol) Contaminents

Fuel2.5 3.02.52.5
Fuel soot 0.20.10.1 0.1
Water/glycol 0.10.10.1 0.1

Note: Fuel contamination above normal. Engine modified and used occasionally for racing. No action taken. Other contaminents normal.

Viscosity

100deg C14.20
Total Base Number 6.16

Note: Normal findings.

OVERVIEW OF ABOVE OIL ANALYSIS

The above tests indicated a intake air leak, resulting in high contaminent and wear metal levels. The defect was corrected and levels stabilized. The vehicle was driven as a daily driver and weekend autocrossing. Oil consumption during period was 1qt/2k miles. Mileage 22/29 City/Highway.

Vehicle: 1985 Honda VF700 Sabre

Engine: stock

Modifications: Air Filter(UNI Filter), see results below.

Oil typeAmsoil 100% 20w-50,
PropetiesViscosity @100C 19.0 cST
Viscosity Index136
Pumping Temp-44 F
Pour Point-39 F
Flash Point482 F
Fire Point536 F
Four Ball Wear.40 mm
Volatility %loss7.5
Total Base Number 7.0
Filter types Honda, changed every 5k miles.

TEST DATA

Date5/912/93 7/95
Mileage (Lube/Unit)7863/20450 11523/2411015413/28000

Tests(ppm)

Contaminents

Silicon*26 12*25
Sodium*436 247*277
Potassium9 110
Boron12 3517

*Note: Detected high levels of Silicon and Sodium in initial sample. Switched back to the stock air filter. Resampled, levels returned to normal. Re-installed UNI Filter air filter, sampled. Contaminents returned to previous high levels.

Wear metals

Iron*42 20*46
Chromium0 04
Aluminum*60 14*31
Copper*25 7*23
Lead*52 13*35

*Note: High wear metal levels detected. Iron and aluminum from piston/cylinder contact. Copper and Lead from bearing wear. High levels follow changes in air filter.

Additives

Magnesium464 337450
Calcium430 11511280
Phosphorous1259 961798
Zinc1554 12661133

*Note: Decrease in phosphorous and zinc(anit-wear additive) levels. No flags reported, normal findings. Minimum levels is usually 50% of baseline.

Other (%vol) Contaminents

Fuel*3.0 2.02.5
Fuel soot 0.20.3-
Water/glycol 0.10.10.0

*Note: Fuel contamination above normal, due to change in air flow with aftermarket filter. Level increased again upon use.

OVERVIEW OF ABOVE OIL ANALYSIS

The use of the UNI Filter air filter increased air flow and performance, but at the expense of the engine. Marked increase in airborne contaminents resulted in higher wear metals. The higher air flow showed up as higher fuel dilution, to be expected with no changes in exhaust. If your objective is to race, then this filter is acceptable. Keep the stock filter if your objective is riding, not wrenching.

Oil consumption during this period was negligible. Mileage range between 39-45 city and 44-50 highway.

SUMMARY

The results show a consistent oil performance over an extend period of time and mileage. It is my opinion that regular fitler changes is vital to extended drain intervals. Any changes to the vehicle in terms of maintenance or products(i.e. filters, fluids), should be observed closely, noting any changes in levels.

I reccommend using a fully formulated synthetic, Amsoil, or Mobil 1 when extending intervals. These oils have been under development for over 20 years and are inherently more stable than synthesized blends commonly found on the market. I would discourage the use of any oil additive or engine treatments with these oils. 20 years ago oil and auto manufacturers condemned the use of synthetics. As demand in performance and economy increased, petroleum blends struggled to meet the standards set by the industry, all the while synthetics were meeting those standards easily. Now synthetics are common place, but they are not created equal.

As with synthetics, extended drain intervals were once condemned. In reality the industry was in fear of the loss of the all mighty buck. Now that the government has classified used oil as hazardous waste and the market is demanding low maintenance vehicles, in short time the industry will begin to adopt extended drain intervals. Both Amsoil and Mobil 1 pioneered the use of synthetics and extended drain intervals.

Petroleum blends are far more advanced than those of a few years ago. Extended drain intervals with petroleum oils is possible. Regular sampling may reveal some surprising results.

In my humble opinion, under normal conditions, changing the oil every 3k miles is a waste of time and money. I found the oil analysis to be a worthwhile investment, and have added it to my regular maintenance and inspection routine. I also use it when I consider buying a used vehicle.

PRICES:

The additional cost of the analysis is $6 for a kit(3 samples) available from Amsoil. $8 to the lab for the cost of the tests. The results from CTC are easier to read than Lubricon's and they actually call you on the phone if they discover any problems. Their technical support is very helpful.

SOURCE: Spectroscopic Oil Analysis

Lab: LUBRICON, Lubricant Consultants Inc

350 E. Churchman Ave.

Beech Grove, In 46107

(317) 783-2968

Cleveland Technical Center

18419 Euclid Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44112-1016

(800) 726-5400

Available through an Amsoil dealer.

OVERVIEW OF A TYPICAL LUBE ANALYSIS TESTS

Spectrometric analysis(ppm)

Single test to determine 20 metallic elements including wear metals, contaminent metals, and additive metals.

Fuel contamination(% vol)

Raw fuel in crankcase(Fuel leaks, excessive idling. Typical 1.5% max.

Solids contamination(% vol)

Mostly in Diesel engines as "fuel soot", debris, and oxidized lube in non-engines. Typical 1-5%.

Water contamination(% vol)

Any amount is abnormal if unit was sampled in warm state, unless a unique environment exists.

Viscosity(cs)

Flow rate of lube with repect to temperature. Typical SAE 40, 11.7 - 15.5.

* Total base number(constant)

Primarily used for diesel engine lubes. Ability to neutralize combustion acids. Typical 5-10, drain limit <2.

* Infrared analysis(%)

Detects oil oxidation and degradation tendencies, overextended drain, or heat.

* All test are standard except those indicated, test performed upon request.

COMMON CONTAMINENT - SOURCES

Wear elements

IRON - Cylinders, Grears, Rings, Crankshafts, Liners, Bearings, Housings, Rust.

CHROMIUM - Rings, Roller/Taper Bearing, Rods, Platings.

LEAD - Bearing Overlays, additive in gear oil and gasoline.

COPPER - Brushings, Bearings, Thrust-Washers, Friction Plates, Oil Cooler, additive in oil.

TIN - Bearings, Bushings, Pistons, Platings.

ALUMINUM - Pistons, Bearings, Pumps, Blowers, Rotors, Thrust-Washers.

NICKEL - Valves.

SILVER - Bearings, Bushings, Platings.

MANGANESE - Trace elements in liners and rings, additive in gasoline.

TITANIUM - Trace element.

VANDADIUM - Trace element.

Contaminents

SILICON - Element used to determine the level of airborne dirt and abrasives in the oil(sometimes used as an anti-foam additive)

BORON - Present in most permanent anti-freeze systems(sometimes used as an additive).

SODIUM - Present in most permanent anti-freeze systems(sometimes used as an additive).

POTASSIUM - Present in most permanent anti-freeze systems.

Common oil additives - These elements are blended into the oil in different forms and quantities by the manufacturer. The additive package will vary depending on the type of oil.

MAGNESIUM, CALCIUM, BARIUM - Dispersents/Detergent additives.

PHOSPHOROUS, ZINC, MOLYBDENUM - Anti-Wear additives