Basing Oil Selection on UOAsl

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772
Location
Ohio
Wasn’t sure of the best place for this topic. Since it isn’t an actual UOA, I elected not to place it there. I’m not trying to start a fight, but I have several honest questions and concerns about the usefulness of UOAs in comparing the effectiveness of oils and their relationship to engine longevity. Perhaps someone here with more experience in this area can enlighten me. 1) According to most of the responses, It seems most of the UOAs posted in the UOA section are considered “good”. Could someone point me to a couple of bad UOAs so I know what to look for? 2) It seems that great stock is placed on trace metals in UOAs. Is there good correlation between trace metals in UOAs and engine life/longevity? In other words, if oil A shows one half the trace metals in a UOA as oil B, has it been demonstrated that using oil A will lead to significantly greater engine life? 3) There would seem to be many factors that can affect the levels of trace metals in a UOA. Driving style, temperature, driving conditions, fuel used, oil filter, air filter, engine condition, frequency of operation, and the number of “cold” starts, in addition to the oil used. My concern is that there could be too many variables present to make meaningful comparisons between UOAs between different vehicles with different drivers. Yet, in many cases, this is done in an attempt to recommend or select a “good” oil. 4) I suppose if one were careful, they could try to minimize the differences in the variables listed above and, over the course of several years, run UOAs on several oils and perhaps draw some meaningful conclusions about which oil protects their engine the best. But by that time, the car (though perhaps not the engine) might be half worn out, and the results would only apply to that vehicle. It’s also possible that by the time the comparison is finished the oil showing the best UOAs has had a change in formulation.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,993
Location
Oakville, Ontario
I'll give you an example of what I consider to be a bad UOA. My very first one, using Maxlife 10w30 in my 1995 Firebird Formula for a very short 2400 mile interval: Iron-15 Lead-19 Copper-4 Aluminum-6 Chrome-1 Tin-3 Silicon-7 After that I ran a couple of Auto-rx treatments, then tried a different oil, then finally settled on GC 0w30, which shows me considerably better results, here is a 3100 mile interval with that: Iron-8.2 Lead-3.6 Copper-2.2 Aluminum-2.5 Chrome-0.3 Tin-0 Silicon-10 So IMHO, if I had continued using Maxlife 10w30, and did not do an Auto-rx treatment at all, this engine would definitely not last as long as it will with it's current regimine. And as a result of my good luck with GC 0w30 and the K&N oil filter, I'm going to be using that same combo on my next car (coming very soon)
 
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1,539
Location
Shippensburg, PA
quote:
3) There would seem to be many factors that can affect the levels of trace metals in a UOA. Driving style, temperature, driving conditions, fuel used, oil filter, air filter, engine condition, frequency of operation, and the number of “cold” starts, in addition to the oil used. My concern is that there could be too many variables present to make meaningful comparisons between UOAs between different vehicles with different drivers. Yet, in many cases, this is done in an attempt to recommend or select a “good” oil.
I have always wondered this too. An oil can look great after 6k miles of highway driving in the summer, but how does this correlate to city driving / short trips in the winter? I suspect it probably does not, as we have seen cheap dinos look good after easy highway driving. The same oils would be bashed in a more severe application.
 
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18,449
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East of IGO
It seems that most of the oils are very good if changed with in their designed life span for the engine they are run in. Some engines seem to be easy on the oil and some just chew up the oil. The uoa's are imo a good overall guidline on how the oil works. For example the Castrol GTX shows that it holds up and the wear numbers are good. Usually there is a mechanical problem "to much feul ,air leak in the intake ,head gasket leak,etc. that is the culprit. In industry uoa'sare used to trend over a period of oil changes to give a snapshot of how the engine is holding up. It is a science in it self, interpeting the results.
 
Messages
1,455
Location
Indiana
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: So IMHO, if I had continued using Maxlife 10w30, and did not do an Auto-rx treatment at all, this engine would definitely not last as long as it will with it's current regimine.
Undoubtedly the GC lubed engine would last longer. But the unanswered question is would the Maxlife lubed engine last for the "useful lifetime" of the car? One thing I never see on this forum is somebody who had an engine oil related failure when factory specified maintenance intervals and brand name products were used, even if those brand name products were low rated ones like Fram and Valvoline. Also I see a lot of comments like my car "performed better" or was "sluggish" after changing brands but no 0-60 times or G-Tech numbers to back up the claim.
 
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4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
There you go, of course this wasn't caused by the oil: Toyota pickup, 2.3 l engine, 4000 km on oil: Iron: 991 Chrom: 72 Lead: 3 Copper: 21 Tin: 0 Aluminum: 159 Nickel: 7 Silicon: 325 Boron: 119 Sodium: 19 Magnesium: 52 Calcium: 2720 Barium: 0 Phos: 1103 Zinc: 1295 Moly: 109 Fuel: <1 Visc: 19.13 TBN: 9.4 Water: 0 Soot/Solids 1.8 If you want to see the discussion on this analysis search on [Self-Destruction] in the Used Oil Analysis section. It will also give you a chance to see the Cliff-Notes version of a Terry Dyson Analysis. Gene [ June 24, 2004, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: Gene K ]
 
Messages
562
Location
Austin, TX
Whether one UOA is "good" or not versus I think you need to draw your own conclusions based on digging into the posts and looking at the data. Personally I have found the UOAs provide good information on oil performance. It gives me an idea how one oil is lubricating the engine relative to another. You can also get an idea how extending drain intervals affect wear. Are the tests scientific in the sense of large samples or consistent methodology? No. It would be nice to have same car, engine, and operating conditions applied to 1000 cars and then test varying oils and drain periods. You gotta do your own series of tests on your car, but the information here is a good starting point. This site is free and the information provided through all the UOAs and discussion has helped me discriminate amoung the sea of oil options.
 
Messages
7,409
Location
Austin, TX
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Barnhart: 2) It seems that great stock is placed on trace metals in UOAs. Is there good correlation between trace metals in UOAs and engine life/longevity? In other words, if oil A shows one half the trace metals in a UOA as oil B, has it been demonstrated that using oil A will lead to significantly greater engine life?
I've asked for someone to point me to the scientific research that demonstrates the above statements are true to a high statistical probability at least a couple of times. No one ever responds. [ June 24, 2004, 11:21 AM: Message edited by: 427Z06 ]
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,993
Location
Oakville, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by nascarnation:
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: So IMHO, if I had continued using Maxlife 10w30, and did not do an Auto-rx treatment at all, this engine would definitely not last as long as it will with it's current regimine.
Undoubtedly the GC lubed engine would last longer. But the unanswered question is would the Maxlife lubed engine last for the "useful lifetime" of the car?

This is the million dollar question! [Smile] In my case, it probably didn't matter what oil I really used, since I'm not going to have this car much longer anyhow. But I still approached it's maintenance as if I was going to keep it forever. I wasn't completely sure how long I was going to keep it, but originally it was going to be until at least 2006 or 2007, but now things have changed and C5 fever has taken over. [Smile] When I get that one, it will definitely be a very long keeper though, so the stuff I learned through doing UOAs on the Firebird will carryover into this vehicle. So all was not truly lost. Besides, I don't look at UOAs as a money saving venture, I look at it as purely educational and entertainment as well. I find them fun. It's always nice to post a great UOA, even if you think that the guy posting the "not so great" UOA can still get 200,000 miles out of his engine.
 
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225
Location
tyler, tx
UOA results are at least helpful in detecting glycol and silicon, and if present in unusual amounts, alerts the owner so he can get the problem fixed. Those who prefer longer OCIs in connection with good filtration can keep an eye on TBN as well as wear metals. Since each engine is unique, certain trends of wear which differ dramatically from "normal" or "average" are helpful to know.
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: I'll give you an example of what I consider to be a bad UOA. My very first one, using Maxlife 10w30 in my 1995 Firebird Formula for a very short 2400 mile interval: Iron-15 Lead-19 Copper-4 Aluminum-6 Chrome-1 Tin-3 Silicon-7
And what do we make in contradistinction of the Maxlife 10w30 4400 mile UOA on my 1990 460 V8 27-foot Motorhome, which was on its second fill of Maxlife: Iron-5 Lead-1 Copper-8 Aluminum-6 Chrome-2 Tin-0 Silicon-8 Maybe it was the lab. I used Oilguard. I bet Patman used Blackstone.
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
quote:
Originally posted by TallPaul:
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: I'll give you an example of what I consider to be a bad UOA. My very first one, using Maxlife 10w30 in my 1995 Firebird Formula for a very short 2400 mile interval: Iron-15 Lead-19 Copper-4 Aluminum-6 Chrome-1 Tin-3 Silicon-7
And what do we make in contradistinction of the Maxlife 10w30 4400 mile UOA on my 1990 460 V8 27-foot Motorhome, which was on its second fill of Maxlife: Iron-5 Lead-1 Copper-8 Aluminum-6 Chrome-2 Tin-0 Silicon-8 Maybe it was the lab. I used Oilguard. I bet Patman used Blackstone.

I make that it is a different vehicle, different engine, different lab, and possibly even a different formula. So comparing the numbers is a excercise in futility.... What do I win? Gene
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
quote:
Originally posted by Gene K: So comparing the numbers is a excercise in futility.... What do I win? Gene
My '84 F150 had 175,000 miles when I sold it. Power was excellent, no blue smoke. My boss is driving it now at over 200,000 miles and supposedly still running great. Never had an oil analysis. I think I usually ran the "orange bomb" filter and can't remember what brands of oil--probably a little of this and a little of that. Always ran a quart of Rislone it it too. If I had done an oil analysis, it would have done me no good. UOAs can, however, tell you of impending catastrophic problems, but then maybe that is like insurance as you may never need it. The few UOAs I have done were partly just to see how great my engine is performing and partly to get a couple Valvoline UOAs onto this site seeing Valvo is the underdog here. Not that I expect to change anything around here--just feels good I guess.
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
quote:
Originally posted by TallPaul:
quote:
Originally posted by Gene K: So comparing the numbers is a excercise in futility.... What do I win? Gene
My '84 F150 had 175,000 miles when I sold it. Power was excellent, no blue smoke. My boss is driving it now at over 200,000 miles and supposedly still running great. Never had an oil analysis. I think I usually ran the "orange bomb" filter and can't remember what brands of oil--probably a little of this and a little of that. Always ran a quart of Rislone it it too. If I had done an oil analysis, it would have done me no good. UOAs can, however, tell you of impending catastrophic problems, but then maybe that is like insurance as you may never need it. The few UOAs I have done were partly just to see how great my engine is performing and partly to get a couple Valvoline UOAs onto this site seeing Valvo is the underdog here. Not that I expect to change anything around here--just feels good I guess.

Paul while I think there are better built oils in the same price range than Valvoline All-Climate and I tend to think most MaxLife type oils are just overpriced 10W30 HDEO Synthetic Blends I will say that I thought the Original High Moly Non-API MaxLife was a pretty good oil. I also think that while I think you can do better for the money you can go 400,000 mi on Valvoline. I will say I have seen one Chevy Truck go 500,000 ml on the original engine with no internal engine work on Mobil 1 Synthetic with 7500 ml changes (90% Highway Use) and a Series 60 Detroit Diesel go 2.1 million miles (Team Operation, 99% Highway Miles, Less than 1% Idle) on Delvac 1 with no internal engine work. Does that mean I think Mobil makes the best oil in the world? Not really there are fair number of PCMO oils I like better than Mobile 1. I think Mobile 1 Delvac may be the best Synthetic HDEO you can buy but I prefer Shells Rotella T Synthetic on price and Chevrons Delo 400 to Mobil 1300 (Although my current truck doesnt like the Delo, go figure?). Is a Valvoline I do like? Well I have been out of racing for a few years but I always liked Valvoline Conventional Racing Oil 20W-50. Right now I think my dollar goes farther with other brands than Valvoline. If that changes next week I will be the first in line. Gene
 
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13,132
Location
By Detroit
quote:
Originally posted by Gene K: Right now I think my dollar goes farther with other brands than Valvoline. Gene
Like the Citgo oil I found for 50 cents at Dollar General and that is on sale at Meijers for 1.17 a quart! I bought 6 quarts non-starburst 10w40. Valvoline smells a lot better [Freak] , but for the money you'd be hard pressed to beat the Citgo deal or some basic Havoline or Chevron Supreme. As for HDEO, I may pick up some Rotella next OCI, more for cleaning potential than to have an HDEO.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,993
Location
Oakville, Ontario
I didn't use Blackstone for my Maxlife UOA actually, it was the old lab that Terry Dyson used to send his kits out to, the CAT lab in Texas.
 
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34,146
Location
Southern NJ
To add to the confusion, Redline doesn't believe used oil analysis is a good way to compare oils at all, and that UOAs are for truck fleets. And then their is the idea that an oil like Redline will show higher wear #'s simply due to it's chemical makeup, but it's not wear from metal to metal contact, but dispersed particles that normally would be clinging to the engine walls etc. So who knows..... [freaknout]
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
quote:
Originally posted by 427Z06:
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Barnhart: 2) It seems that great stock is placed on trace metals in UOAs. Is there good correlation between trace metals in UOAs and engine life/longevity? In other words, if oil A shows one half the trace metals in a UOA as oil B, has it been demonstrated that using oil A will lead to significantly greater engine life?
I've asked for someone to point me to the scientific research that demonstrates the above statements are true to a high statistical probability at least a couple of times. No one ever responds.

Spoil Sport! [crushedcar] Gene
 
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1,130
Location
California
One can turn the question around. If not based on UOA results, how should a person choose an oil? Certainly the ideal statistical report correlating wear metal levels to engine lifetime is well beyond the resources of consumers. The only publicly reported engine wear vs oil study I have heard of is the massively dissed old one Consumer Reports did many years ago which concluded that oil brand, quality level and even change interval didn't matter. I think that most participants here fall into one or more categories: 1) People who would like to have their existing beliefs, choices and biases agreed with and "proven right". 2) People who are looking for the most bang for their buck in an oil and are searching for pretty good quality at a bargain price. Consumer Reports doesn't cover the motor oil and filters category well at all, so they come to places like this on the 'net to try and figure out the game being played by the mfg.s and how to best work the customer side of the game. 3) Obsessives who want Only The Best for their Babies.... er, cars. These people try things, take what data they can, try something else and *may* settle on something from which point they become a blend of types 3 and 1. 4) Salespeople with an agenda (see #1). 5) People who should be spending their time on more productive persuits but for some reason find talking about lubricants interesting and relaxing. 6) People who like to influence the decisions of other people (mixes with any or all of the above 5). I'm not in the mood for reflective self-analysis, so you can choose for yourself which of the above labels might fit me [Smile] . John
 
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