Blotter Test

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I searched the BITOG site and there is not much on this relatively simple test. I have been running blotter samples over the last oil change and have some interesting results (dark ring formation), but little info to interpret them. While I realize this is a tough-and-dirty test, I think it beats the dipstick analysis. Surely some others at BITOG are doing this. Let's hear your results.
 

TallPaul

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Well, I understand this message being moved out of the "Used Oil Analysis" forum, but I am afraid it will stagnate in this forum. Is it really that far off topic? What about the "Car and Truck Gas Engine Oil" forum? At least there it will get some responses. Thanks, Paul
 
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quote:
Originally posted by TallPaul: I searched the BITOG site and there is not much on this relatively simple test. I have been running blotter samples over the last oil change and have some interesting results (dark ring formation), but little info to interpret them. While I realize this is a tough-and-dirty test, I think it beats the dipstick analysis. Surely some others at BITOG are doing this. Let's hear your results.
Are you talking about watching the oil soak into paper and looking at the fall-out debris? Tell us or post pics if you can what they look like, or if you can't post like me, then you can e-mail me and I'll try to help. You are suppose to use special paper in the lab. I use the back of a business card. I think you are suppose to hold this ... but I lay mine down. Do one of a VIRGIN, and see what the best looks like. I like to do one every 2-4K. There are svereal things they can point to, like fuel, etc. I would do a search on the net for Blotter Oil Test or something like it... there are places with photos... What I look for is to make sure I still have oil, even if it's darker, that is in a outer ring, and I don't let the ring get tooo small. I make sure the outer ring stays a good distance away from any inner one... You don't want to have the inner ring get dark or black, I like to still see I guess I'd call it rings within rings and lines that fan out like the sun... I don't know how to explain it. I have cards of good oil and Bad oil if you want me to e-mail them. Also, If you do this on a regular oil, and you develop excessive say SI or Aluminum or Copper or some other problem... YOU can see it in the oil test. You can see the COLORS change, ie from the norm. It will be different than normal, believe me... do this for awhile and note youe lab results, and see if you can spot (even if it's after) where the blotter shows you "somethings going on"
 

TallPaul

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Wow, great response Robbie. Thanks. I'm letting a couple hot drops drip off the dipstick onto white file cards and watching the results. Only started doing this last oil change. I photographed several of the blots and should have e-mailable results in about a week (not sure how to post on this site). Also I am interested in seeing your blotter examples. I am not trying to be all that scientific and wasn't planning on UOA's (just figured it such a simple test would be worth doing for monitoring), but maybe this will lead me there. Virgin oil gives a nice clear light colored blot. After switching my pickup from Valvoline Durablend to Maxlife I did a blotter at 400 miles and it had a light ring around the middle that was very similar to the 950-mile blot from my wifes van which has Durablend. At 1600 miles the ring is getting pretty dark but the surrounding oil is still pretty light colored and clean. At 1800 miles the ring is closing in on the center and the outer part is darker, similar to wife's van at 2000 miles, but she has only a very faint ring. So my conclusion was that the Maxlife is cleaning out the engine, which has 105,000 miles. On this engine, shortly after I bought the truck at 58,000 miles, we found a half sludged oil pickup screen. I was pretty much running Durablend until this last change. I am going to try the Maxlife in the van and see if the ring forms to verify if it is Maxlife cleaning or that the pickup just has a dirty engine.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by TallPaul: Wow, great response Robbie. Thanks. I'm letting a couple hot drops drip off the dipstick onto white file cards and watching the results. Only started doing this last oil change. I photographed several of the blots and should have e-mailable results in about a week (-*-* Try SCANNER if you have one. Write the milage and Oil miles on the card. WATCH, WATCH, WATCH (just figured it such a simple test would be worth doing for monitoring ----- I agree, least every 4K or so... The thing is to watch for something OUT of the Norm. Virgin oil gives a nice clear light colored blot. --- depending on the oil... MINE you have to almost hold to the light to see... and it's LARGE After switching my pickup from Valvoline Durablend to Maxlife I did a blotter at 400 miles and it had a light ring around the middle that was very similar to the 950-mile blot from my wifes van which has Durablend. ---- Should take longer... Mine usually just slightly darkens all over and keeps darkening, then the fall-out later on, a little here and there At 1600 miles the ring is getting pretty dark but the surrounding oil is still pretty light colored and clean. At 1800 miles the ring is closing in on the center and the outer part is darker, similar to wife's van at 2000 miles, but she has only a very faint ring. ----- this ring you can see through? kinda like a light cloud? So my conclusion was that the Maxlife is cleaning out the engine, which has 105,000 miles. On this engine, shortly after I bought the truck at 58,000 miles, we found a half sludged oil pickup screen. I was pretty much running Durablend until this last change. I am going to try the Maxlife in the van and see if the ring forms to verify if it is Maxlife cleaning or that the pickup just has a dirty engine.
The main thing is to keep the outer layer large at least fairly light and clean looking
 
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I do this with my ATX and PS fluid to see when it needs changing. Very dramatic differnce here when they get dirty.
 
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Originally posted by SHOZ: I do this with my ATX and PS fluid to see when it needs changing. Very dramatic differnce here when they get dirty.
IMO it still works somewhat with my PS fluid but it is not the same. The PS fluid will not IMO darken as much as the oil before it gets bad or needs to be changed.
 
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When I got my '93 SHO the PS fluid looked as black as coffee. It took a lot of new fluid to get it clean. Once clean I flushed it out and used Amsoil ATX fluid. This has stayed clean for over 3 years now. The ATX tranny fluid though will definately show the signs of degeradation.
 
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Originally posted by SHOZ: -*-* The ATX tranny fluid though will definately show the signs of degeradation.
what do you mean>? exactly how>??? I am seeing I guess the early stages of a PS ready to die. It has begun to whine, even with a recent flush... 396K-miles I don't wanna replace the rack too, but thats what I am told you HAVE to do. If it is the pump, why not just replace that. If the Amsoil fluid will help as per som one else with a Toyota, I'm game. But it has been MY experience with the PS fluid... that it still looks fair and somewhat clean when I call it DIRTY and drain (usually about 2 years 100-140K, maybe too long)
 
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Robbie I have a 1986 4Runner. Te pump when bad in 1996. I put one from the junk yard on and I have been fine! THeir is no reason to replace a steering gear unless it is bad. I am sure Auto-Rx would do a good job of flushing the system out. I am preety sure that 131 and LC would work as well. I refilled a Toyota P/S system one time with MMO after repairing a hose while out four wheeling. I had intended to drain and replace the fluid with ATF but forgott to. I did not remember that MMO was in their until the pump started to fail over 3 years latter. This was my daily driver. When I replace the the pump I refilled with atf and have had no problems. My fluid never did look dirty and nothing else in the system has sufferered. I would definately try flushing the system first. If it is not the bearing on the pump it normaly works well. Most pumps are replaced because the flow control valve plugs up. Flushing will normaly take care of a flow control valve. You might also get the rebuild kit from Toyota for your pump!
 

TallPaul

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Originally posted by Robbie Alexander: [QUOTE]The main thing is to keep the outer layer large at least fairly light and clean looking
Thanks, So a ring is not a problem, but I would think if it is closing in it is not so good. Also, by the time the ring is filling in the outer part is getting somewhat darker. If I drain off a quart and put a clean quart in, the outer circle will get much cleaner looking. Anyway, I think that the comparisons over time should be very interesting.
 

TallPaul

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Whoops Robbie, I missed the other comments yesterday, so here goes: No scanner, this is film negatives, but Photoworks (formerly Seattle Flim Works puts them on the computer for me). I am doing blotters like a madman--about 8 in 1800 miles. Wife thinks I am crazy. Maybe so, but it fits in with "WATCH, WATCH, WATCH." Yeah I also write the miles on the card with a key card telling what oil (or mixture) I used. After changing out the 1800-mile oil and filter that had the closing in black ring, I ran it five minutes and did a blotter. Amazing, there is a distinct but faint ring. Guess I should mention the 1800-mile oil started as 5w30 Maxlife then, to improve oil pressure (36 psi hot at 2000) I drained off 2 qts and added 2 qts 20w50 Maxlife to simulate a 10w40 and got 43 psi, then added several ounces of Maxlife Engine Protector, followed by a 15 oz Rislone (trying to use up left over stock), and at 1000 miles I freshened up with a quart of 10w40 Maxlife, but later topped up with 1/3 qt Royal Purple 10w40. But I have since repented [Smile] and have nothing but Maxlife 10w40 in it now. [Big Grin] Virgin Maxlife blot is very large and light, but can be seen without holding up to the light. That brings up a point. It would be good to have control over (or consistency with) the amount of oil placed on the card as then blot size would be more meaningful. "Should take longer..." Yeah, I think this engine has had a poor service life before I got it and the Durablend apparently is not the best for cleaning an engine. "Mine usually just slightly darkens all over and keeps darkening," That is the case with the Aerostar on Durablend. "then the fall-out later on, a little here and there" Will keep an eye out for that. "this ring you can see through? kinda like a light cloud?" I can see through the middle, it is grey, but the ring is dark and thin and then the oil is tan to brownish outside the ring. Then there is the motorhome's 460 V8 in which I must have cooked the polymers in its Durablend when it idled for over an hour last July in 90s temps. Water temp gauge was at upper end of NORMAL zone. When I drained that oil it looked pretty bad. Now it has Maxlife and the black ring is there already at 250 miles. Thanks again. Paul [ December 26, 2003, 01:22 AM: Message edited by: TallPaul ]
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by TallPaul: [QB] -*-*-* Virgin Maxlife blot is very large and light, but can be seen without holding up to the light. That brings up a point. It would be good to have control over (or consistency with) the amount of oil placed on the card as then blot size would be more meaningful. -*-* A: I just let it dribble on the card at normal gravity. I get a drop I quit! I guess you can go to those sample eye-droppers, you can buy Like a 1000 for fairly cheap. --**--** "Mine usually just slightly darkens all over and keeps darkening," That is the case with the Aerostar on Durablend. "then the fall-out later on, a little here and there" Will keep an eye out for that. - A: well mine will tend to keep a loght outer ring.. then maybe darken evenly until a ring appears... Adding additives and mixing oils will change the result of the test. To see the way a specific oil reacts, make sure it is the only oil there, and better for a couple OCI's Then when you know what to look out for, if you want then start adding additives. Color is not always the thing. Supposed - "FALL-out" is not either If you want, I can send you a compared oil with 7994 miles to one with 200 miles, and MOST people will say the 200 MILE one needs to be changed... not so. Just compare the images you see to your UOA, and have fun! "this ring you can see through? kinda like a light cloud?" I can see through the middle, it is grey, but the ring is dark and thin and then the oil is tan to brownish outside the ring. Then there is the motorhome's 460 V8 in which I must have cooked the polymers in its Durablend when it idled for over an hour last July in 90s temps. Water temp gauge was at upper end of NORMAL zone. When I drained that oil it looked pretty bad. Now it has Maxlife and the black ring is there already at 250 miles. -- Maybe you need to change the Thermostat... they are a bigger cause of failure than oil...I don't think there ever had been an oil related failure.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by DavoNF: I have a couple of .JPG photos of oil blots that I did, if someone wants to post them up for me. PM or email me and I'll email them over. thanks, Dave
I have the same problem, no way to post mine. I think it would be Cool to post a BLOT with every OCI.
 

TallPaul

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"I just let it dribble on the card at normal gravity. I get a drop I quit!" ---Guess I just need to practice, though I did notice some where I put a goodly amount on the card and the blot did not grow but half as large as some. "Adding additives and mixing oils will change the result of the test. To see the way a specific oil reacts, make sure it is the only oil there, and better for a couple OCI's. Then when you know what to look out for, if you want then start adding additives." ---- Yeah, I was running a regular witches' brew there, but I promise I'll only run the 10w40 Maxlife in the pickup this time around--well maybe a pint of Rislone for the last 300 miles [Big Grin] --gotta use up that old stock. [Big Grin] Also will stick with the same oil through many OCI's as you are perfectly right, the more I hold other factors constant, the better my blotter tests will be. (Oh no, I better not tell him what I added to the Aerostar [Embarrassed] ). "If you want, I can send you a compared oil with 7994 miles to one with 200 miles" ---- sure, go ahead and send it. "Maybe you need to change the Thermostat... they are a bigger cause of failure than oil...I don't think there ever had been an oil related failure." ----That beast does tend to run a tad hot. Some have told me this is because the engine bay is very tight and they recommend hood vents to let off heat. Normally not a problem, but because I idled it for so long, I guess. Wouldn't hurt to check thermostat though. I like your idea off holding these blots up to a light. You really see more and what looks somewhat dirty will, backlit, show much cleaner. Hey, I did manage to do a blot on the motorhome's supposedly cooked oil(albeit from the used oil filter) and it has the center ring but interestingly has wavy arcs in concentric circles around the ring off thin slightly darker lines. Only saw it when backlit.
 
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