11 Mercedes ML350 Bluetec 3.0L M1 ESP 5W-40

Messages
21
Location
Chicago, Il
I bought this truck used in Sept '13. It was two years old with 16k miles on it. My wife uses it primarily around town, a lot of short trips and her drive to work is only 1 mile. However, we bought it primarily to drive from Chicago to Denver and visit our children. I have seen very high Fe numbers from day one. I attributed them to short drives around town. The last oil change was almost all highway. 3 trips to CO with associated runs up and down the mountain pass. (We Stay in Frisco, CO and visit Denver 1-2 times a week so its 180 mile round trip over Loveland Pass). I thought this last oil run would be better due to the increased highway time. It was worse and I think the heat from the mountain driving toasted the oil. The prior oil run thru May had a lot of short runs in a very cold winter. My plan is to move the OCI to no more than 6000 miles. I may due a real short change (2-3000 miles) before winter to flush out the system. I welcome thoughts on a plan for the truck, what the problem could be? Is it still breaking in? I may also change to Amsoil later this winter. Thoughts?
 
Messages
40,842
Location
Great Lakes
Hmm... have you been able to find any other UOAs on BITOG from this engine, for comparison purposes? Iron level does look a bit alarming, especially that it's trending up. On top of that, the oil thickened up significantly. This oil starts out at 13.4 cSt, so its viscosity has increased by some 45%. shocked2 On top of that, TBN is down quite a bit. In your previous sample, the TBN was 0 - is that a mistake??? I wish you had asked them to get the TAN value, too. But even without it, this oil looks beat to death, even though you have an 8.5 qt sump, so something is just not right. I noticed 40 ppm of sodium in your first sample. Was there some coolant leak at some point?
 
Messages
40,842
Location
Great Lakes
Quote:
I may also change to Amsoil later this winter.
Just make sure you use the one that officially meets the MB 229.51 spec since you're still under warranty until 50K miles, in case you have to put that warranty to good use. Still, I don't think it's the oil's fault here.
 
Messages
28,123
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: Char Baby
You may have the "NEW" record for iron wear, at least from what I've seen here @BITOG!
The next time someone fusses about 17 ppm of iron, they should be referred to this page. That is high, and it would be interesting to compare to other similar vehicles with the same lubricant.
 

BigDz

Thread starter
Messages
21
Location
Chicago, Il
To answer some of the questions, the first sample was taken when I purchased the truck @16k. The vehicle was in pristine condition. There was a short oil change after I bought it (~4k miles) which I did not get tested. The second test showed zero TBN, which I verified with Blackstone. It was a run through the unusually cold winter here in Chicago. Plus, as i also have a VW TDI, I know that these new low ash oils do not have the same TBN or long life retention as more conventional HDEO. This oil, M1 ESP, is spec'd for MB 229.51 as a low ash oil. I also stay away from Biodiesel as it is legislated to be used here in this idiotic state of ours. I have a local dealer who has normal diesel. I am looking for any thoughts on the culprit? Could it be our use, driving up and down the continental divide? I typically do a cool down for a couple minutes before I shut it down too. Maybe it needs to be done longer.
 
Messages
40,842
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: BigDz
I know that these new low ash oils do not have the same TBN or long life retention as more conventional HDEO.
Just to clarify this... What affects TBN retention is the amount of sulfur in fuel. My understanding is that in the US we don't yet have ultra low sulfur gasoline, but we do have ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel). That is why these low SAPS oils are not recommended for gasoline engines in the US, but they should be perfectly fine for diesel engines, like yours. There is something else in your engine that generates significant acidity, and that is what's causing your TBN to tank. I wish I knew what it was. Has the vehicle been to an MB dealership lately? Have they found any fault codes stored in the car's computer? I'm guessing no, or else they would have addressed it under warranty.
 
Messages
5,725
Location
Atlanta,GA
I'm thinking oxidation from biodiesel, but I would think that it would show up a fuel however maybe not. I know the OP said he avoids biodiesel, but I wouldn't be surprised if the station owner was unaware. Thoughts??
 
Messages
41
Location
Portland, OR
In my unexpert opinion something is definitely off-kilter. You are also, what, one standard OCI away from the warranty running out? I would take this to the dealership now and insist they look into it, and at a minimum get them on record as to having been made aware of and investigated the problem. Assuming they come back stating nothing is wrong, I would also insist on seeing written documentation as to what MB deems acceptable wear numbers. (They are German. They might not want to share it, but they do have it.)
 
Messages
41
Location
Portland, OR
I don't know if Biodiesel causes that, but if that is the cause, I'd switch to an HDEO with a higher TBN and see if that fixes the problem. Checking M1 web site just now the TBN of ESP 5w-40 isn't given, but by way of comparison Delvac 1 ESP 5w-40 gives a TBN of 10.1. That's not particularly high for an HDEO, but certainly seems adequate for a 4 month, 9k OCI. Again, IMO, something isn't adding up here.
 
Messages
41
Location
Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
So, can we discuss some potential factors that would cause an oil to thicken up so much?
Unfortunately I don't have anything to add there. However, from the OP: "The last oil change was almost all highway. 3 trips to CO with associated runs up and down the mountain pass. (We Stay in Frisco, CO and visit Denver 1-2 times a week so its 180 mile round trip over Loveland Pass). I thought this last oil run would be better due to the increased highway time. It was worse and I think the heat from the mountain driving toasted the oil." The winter driving on the former OCI is arguably an explanation, but this OCI was textbook easy service for a diesel (I don't see the mountain passes being the culprit unless he was towing) and the oil and wear numbers came back worse. The only thing that comes to mind, short of an undiagnosed mechanical problem, is the fuel. The OP said he has a dealer that is selling him non-bio diesel contra city/state law. How does that work? One has to wonder what is this source. It's not an off-highway non-ULSD is it? (Though I'd think his DPF would be cooked by now if it was.) Oh, and I assume he was using regular retail diesel from multiple sources for three trips to CO and back. Something's not really adding up.
 
Messages
3,870
Location
NEUS
I'd go to buying diesel at the largest volume station near you and do a short 3,000 mile OCI to test that. What quantity of biodiesel is required there? B2? B10? Get to the dealer and have these progressively worse UOAs recorded.
 

BigDz

Thread starter
Messages
21
Location
Chicago, Il
I am opening a case with MB. I am certain it's not Biodiesel as my station is a large commercial bulk supplier. They have diesel pumps right next to biodiesel and he is an ethical guy who got burned with rotting biodiesel a few years ago. I will say that my oil turns black really fast. This is unlike my VW TDI which seems to run cleaner until ~6000 miles are on the oil. Also, I run Amsoil in that one. I will keep you posted on this one.
 
Messages
41
Location
Portland, OR
Black speaks to soot (obviously not unusual on a diesel), which speaks to the EGR (notoriously bad on the Sprinter forum where this 3L M642 is the standard engine, but I thought MB got all the bugs worked out of it by 2011). Plus the EGR is heavily instrumented, if there was a problem there you'd get a check engine light and a code right away. And doesn't soot show up as insoluble in the UOA? Yours wasn't particularly high. Exhaust gas would go through your detergent in short order, wrecking your TBN. Good luck, I'm really curious on this one.
 
Messages
13,384
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Originally Posted By: Garak
Originally Posted By: Char Baby
You may have the "NEW" record for iron wear, at least from what I've seen here @BITOG!
The next time someone fusses about 17 ppm of iron, they should be referred to this page. That is high, and it would be interesting to compare to other similar vehicles with the same lubricant.
Yeah really! smile I do see folks fussing over higher Fe but, this is waaaaay over the top!
 
Messages
28,123
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: folzag
Checking M1 web site just now the TBN of ESP 5w-40 isn't given, but by way of comparison Delvac 1 ESP 5w-40 gives a TBN of 10.1. That's not particularly high for an HDEO, but certainly seems adequate for a 4 month, 9k OCI.
You won't find an HDEO with TBN much higher than that any longer, at least if it's CJ-4. Delvac 1 LE 5w-30 has a similar TBN, with lower phosphorous yet and much the same SA.
 
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