2018 Chevy Duramax L5P - 6,400 miles 37,800 miles total - Oil not changed

wwillson

Staff member
Messages
3,178
Location
Naperville, IL
This is an oil sample pulled in August at 6,400 miles from my Duramax. The oil is High Performance Lubricants 15w-40 HDEO. With a TBN of 14.3, there is no way I'm going to throw this oil away. Will resample around 14,000 miles on the oil, which should be soon.

Sample Information
Sample Date25 Apr 20191 Sept 201901 Nov 201908 Jun 2020Aug 2020
Machine Age miles13,00019,60025,30030,75037,800
Oil Age miles5,5006,6005,7005,4506,400
Machine Time hours320475590734886
Oil Time hours120150119144152
Filter Age miles5,5006,6005,7005,0006,400
Oil Changedyesyesyesyesno
Filter Changedyesyesyesyesno
BrandDeloDelvac 1Delvac 1Delvac 1HPL
Viscosity5w-405w-405w-405w-4015w-40
Wear Metals
Iron2052342023
Chromium000<1<1
Nickel00000
Titanium0000<1
Silver00000
Aluminum109844
Lead30002
Copper397356691763
Tin11311
Antimony0000<1
Vanandium0000<1
Cadmium00000
Additives
Boron737710291197
Barium00000
Molybdenum0465347604
Manganese000<1<1
Magnesium74610131040894471
Calcium13481146115910003654
Phosphorus741107211171030870
Zinc8111345135311201084
Contaminants
Silicon252212913
Sodium24423
Postassium42371154
Fuel %<11.7<1<1.0<1.0
GlycolNegNegNegNegNeg
Soot%0.10.20.10.30.3
Fluid Condition
TBN5.147.018.0711.714.3
Viscocity15.313.213.413.514.7
 
Last edited:
Messages
12,951
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I wouldn't like the copper being that high.
Right however, Copper is/was trending downward with the exception of the prior OCI which was nicely lower(17ppm) and now back up. It is certainly an area to keep an eye on.

IDK squat about diesel engines but, I'd think that they'd shed a lot of iron as well to a certain point. Which point? IDK that either. I'm still learning!
 
Messages
153
Location
Iowa
The TBN seems wildly high on the HP Lubricant and even the Mobil Delvac... The TBN # of the HP website says 9.7 so be careful thinking it's that good...

Just my $0.02
 
Messages
122
Location
Texas
Personally I hate spending money for an analysis, and then explaining away a high metal concentration as normal. I found myself in the situation with increasing lead concentrations when using Schaeffer 9000. At a minimum, IMO anyway, it can mask a real issue. I switched oil because of that. If it is from the oil cooler, perhaps the copper concentration will stabilize as the cooler metallurgy "adjusts" to the oil chemistry.

So forgetting about its source for a bit, is there a maximum concentration of copper where you will draw the line?
 
Last edited:
Messages
151
Location
Michigan, USA
This is an oil sample pulled in August at 6,400 miles from my Duramax. The oil is High Performance Lubricants 15w-40 HDEO. With a TBN of 14.3, there is no way I'm going to throw this oil away. Will resample around 14,000 miles on the oil, which should be soon.

Sample Information
Sample Date25 Apr 20191 Sept 201901 Nov 201908 Jun 2020Aug 2020
Machine Age miles13,00019,60025,30030,75037,800
Oil Age miles5,5006,6005,7005,4506,400
Machine Time hours320475590734886
Oil Time hours120150119144152
Filter Age miles5,5006,6005,7005,0006,400
Oil Changedyesyesyesyesno
Filter Changedyesyesyesyesno
BrandDeloDelvac 1Delvac 1Delvac 1HPL
Viscosity5w-405w-405w-405w-4015w-40
Wear Metals
Iron2052342023
Chromium000<1<1
Nickel00000
Titanium0000<1
Silver00000
Aluminum109844
Lead30002
Copper397356691763
Tin11311
Antimony0000<1
Vanandium0000<1
Cadmium00000
Additives
Boron737710291197
Barium00000
Molybdenum0465347604
Manganese000<1<1
Magnesium74610131040894471
Calcium13481146115910003654
Phosphorus741107211171030870
Zinc8111345135311201084
Contaminants
Silicon252212913
Sodium24423
Postassium42371154
Fuel %<11.7<1<1.0<1.0
GlycolNegNegNegNegNeg
Soot%0.10.20.10.30.3
Fluid Condition
TBN5.147.018.0711.714.3
Viscocity15.313.213.413.514.7

Data! Love it.
 

wwillson

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
3,178
Location
Naperville, IL
So forgetting about its source for a bit, is there a maximum concentration of copper where you will draw the line?
In an attempt to answer your question, I googled around and found a great article on Machinery Lubrication:

If you want to get to the heart of the matter, then scroll down to "Cooler Core Leaching"

.
 
Messages
122
Location
Texas
Your linked article is pretty much what I had seen before, and the statements below (taken from the article) were to my point:

"Copper from wear debris will rarely produce concentrations greater than 50 ppm, in fact, 10 ppm to 20 ppm would be more typical. As such, higher concentrations of copper from cooler core leaching and coolant leaks may mask more serious sources of copper associated with wear. "

Chances of serious issues are probably low for you, but it is a possibility that you will miss unless you do what they suggested:

"If copper associated with wear is suspected, perhaps it is best to prepare a filtergram and perform a microscopic analysis of the particles. Because copper suspensions from cooler core leaching and coolant leaks are soluble or the associated copper particulates are smaller than 1 micron, they likely won’t appear on the membrane for microscopic analysis. Only the copper from wear will be visible, which is helpful in distinguishing the source.

Although very valuable, elemental analysis has only limited capability and, in fact, may produce false alarms or mask real alarms unless other tests are performed concurrently or on an exception basis. A properly designed oil analysis program that mitigates these risks is the best game plan."



https://info.noria.com/cs/c/?cta_gu...sc=108323549.1.1602816496428&__hsfp=240886404
 
Messages
59
Location
USA
To attempt to draw conclusions looking at just one element in this case copper, would be short thinking. Rather one needs to look at the combinations and what they represent to the mechanical device we are sampling. Copper by itself is a known observation of cooler leaching. If there were copper, lead, and tin in combination then it would point towards bearings. This is clearly not the case with Wayne’s sample. What Wayne is doing is correct. If he had high Silicon, aluminum, and Iron clearly you would be looking at the induction side for the path of the dirt reaching the cylinders and generating wear. The OLM is an algorithm which does not pick up the fact that Wayne installed a higher performing non commodity lubricant by which the algorithm was based off of. Oil sample data is the only way to establish the correct drain for his oil in his vehicle.

We publish a TBN of greater than 13. It routinely will run 14.8 at the lab Wayne sent his sample to because the method they use will catch all the base. Wayne is in a safe area and it will be interesting to watch his sample data going forward.

BTW. Wayne that was a great article you found. I would also point out that leaching from the cooler is not just relevant to Diesel engines. I see this very same thing in gasoline engines and many industrial applications that have coolers in the system. We see spikes if someone changes a cooler, then like your sample data it tapers off. Changing oils can also effect the sample trend as you see on your truck.
David
 
Messages
443
Location
Southeast
The OLM is an algorithm which does not pick up the fact that Wayne installed a higher performing non commodity lubricant by which the algorithm was based off of. Oil sample data is the only way to establish the correct drain for his oil in his vehicle.
I am not in any way arguing that oil analysis is not a good tool to extend service intervals. I just don’t see the point in extending the interval on an in warranty engine that only holds 10 quarts of oil. A new engine alone (not including labor) is going to cost you 6-8k dollars if it fails outside of warranty. These Duramax engines routinely show excellent UOAs on cheap, off the shelf HDEO. Even at regular prices you can change the oil and filter in this engine for less than $40 with a well known semi-synthetic HDEO.
You’re gonna have to run your HPL oil at least 4x the OLM interval to see a return on your investment vs conventional or semi synthetic HDEO. Really you’d have to run it longer than that if you factor in the cost of oil analysis.
HPL is twice as expensive as the Delvac 5w40 he has been using and he could easily extend the OCI with Delvac if he wanted, per the UOAs he has provided.

The bottom line for me is this, follow the mfg recommendations while under warranty. He’s only 7-8 OLM based oil changes away from being out of warranty. I just don’t see any reason to give GM a reason to deny your warranty in the event that something goes terribly wrong. The fact that you have good looking UOAs isn’t gonna mean anything to GM if the engine fails and it wouldn’t be worth trying to fight in court. They’re gonna rule that you didn’t follow the manufacturers maintenance recommendations, case closed. Engines fail for lots of reasons, many times unrelated to lubrication. You can have perfect looking UOAs and still have a crank break or have a rod let go. I just think oil is too cheap to not change it per the manufacturers recommendation while in warranty.

Over the last 3 OLM based OCIs in my 2017 L5P I have ran nearly $4,000 worth of diesel fuel through my truck and only used about $120 worth of oil and filters.
 
Messages
122
Location
Texas
To attempt to draw conclusions looking at just one element in this case copper, would be short thinking. Rather one needs to look at the combinations and what they represent to the mechanical device we are sampling. Copper by itself is a known observation of cooler leaching. If there were copper, lead, and tin in combination then it would point towards bearings. This is clearly not the case with Wayne’s sample. What Wayne is doing is correct. If he had high Silicon, aluminum, and Iron clearly you would be looking at the induction side for the path of the dirt reaching the cylinders and generating wear. The OLM is an algorithm which does not pick up the fact that Wayne installed a higher performing non commodity lubricant by which the algorithm was based off of. Oil sample data is the only way to establish the correct drain for his oil in his vehicle.

We publish a TBN of greater than 13. It routinely will run 14.8 at the lab Wayne sent his sample to because the method they use will catch all the base. Wayne is in a safe area and it will be interesting to watch his sample data going forward.

BTW. Wayne that was a great article you found. I would also point out that leaching from the cooler is not just relevant to Diesel engines. I see this very same thing in gasoline engines and many industrial applications that have coolers in the system. We see spikes if someone changes a cooler, then like your sample data it tapers off. Changing oils can also effect the sample trend as you see on your truck.
David
@High Performance Lubricants So does the oil he is using have a known increase in copper leaching associated with it - at least initially? More than other oils? Does the oil's chemistry remove protective layers formed with other oils? How quickly should the oil be expected to develop a new protective layer (engine hours)? 250? 500?

I know it may not be engine wear, but copper leaching from an oil cooler for more than a short duration isn't particularly desirable either.

I have owned diesels for many, many years (granted Ford diesels) and never seen copper leaching from my oil coolers, so at a minimum the oils I have used have not been prone to that (or perhaps it is that the Ford oil coolers have some difference in construction). And yes, I have used Ester based oils.

His lead did go from three zero's in a row to 2 ppm. I realize that is still low (my current truck's lead level is almost always 1 ppm), maybe statistical variation, but it is data. I also know that leaching of metals from soldered components can also elevate lead (not just copper), so this is probably what is going on as well.

Lastly, I agree with BlakeB - Ford would use extended oil change intervals as a reason (at least try) to invalidate the warranty. I suspect GM would also.
 
Last edited:
Top