Ford 3.5L at 31k miles / SuperTech 5w-20 at 11.8k miles

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dnewton3

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Here's the first UOA on my 2018 Taurus; naturally aspirated 3.5L Cyclone v-6.
Mix of city/hwy driving. Was in the crankcase for about a year.

Rich (BB code):
Veh Miles       31k
OCI miles       11.8k   
filter          TG
oil brnd        ST
oil grade       5w-20
oil base        conv

Alum            5
Chromium        0
Iron            9
Copper          6
Lead            0
Tin             0
Moly            39
Nickle          0
Manganese       3
Silver          0
Titanium        0
Potassium       0
Boron           42
Silicon         38
Sodium          3
Calcium         1396
Magnesium       435
Phos            758
Zinc            876
Barium            0

Vis at 210F     54.0
Vis at 100C     8.49
Flash Point     440
Fuel            <.5
Antifreeze      0
Water           0
Insolubles      .2

As you can see, conventional ST 5w-20 is more than up to the task. Nearly 12k miles on dino, with a Fram TG filter, and the wear rates are admirably low. I will probably go to 15k miles on next OCI.

If not for the water pump being internal, these engines would be my pick for nearly any application other than a towing truck. They are powerful, incredibly smooth, and decently fuel efficient.
 
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dnewton3

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Kept the parts separated and it is in grade. TBN ?
Didn't get TBN. Not interested in paying the extra for info that really doesn't matter to me. I've not seen any data that shows correlation of TBN value to wear metals. I care more about outputs than inputs.
 
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I am not sure if this really tells us much. We can clearly see that the engine does not have an imminent mechanical issue (at least not from the range of wear metals that this analysis captures) and we do not have any coolant or moisture intrusion.

What we don't know is...

1) Cleanliness of the oil (since we do not have a particle count)
2) We do not know the TBN/TAN of the oil
3) We also do not know what condemnation limits are appropriate for items #1 and 2 for ensuring long engine life.
 
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Agreed. The thing we do know from that analysis is that the engine seems to be running "fine" under whatever the operating conditions are at the time. It tells you little to nothing about the oil.
 

dnewton3

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I am not sure if this really tells us much. We can clearly see that the engine does not have an imminent mechanical issues (at least not from the range of wear metals that this analysis captures) and we do not have any coolant or moisture intrusion.

What we don't know is...

1) Cleanliness of the oil (since we do not have a particle count)
2) We do not know the TBN/TAN of the oil
3) We also do not know what condemnation limits are appropriate for items #1 and 2 if we want to ensure long engine life.

1) doesn't matter
2) doesn't matter
3) doesn't matter

Why does it not matter? Because those are inputs and not outputs. Outputs (wear metals) tell us how things are really doing. I've seen PC reports that show very good correlation to wear data. So the inference we can take is that the PC is fairly low, or else the wear metals would be high. TBN/TAN has never shown good correlation to wear data; centainly not in the modern engines with modern fuels. I've lost track of how many times I've seen TBN/TAN cross over, and yet the wear goes completely unaffected.

The only condemnation limit I care about is when I see the metal wear-rates tick upwards at a magnitude that would indicate it's undesirable. Genearlly Al, Pb and Cu are at noise levels and you may only see a spike from a particle streak; but my experience is that these spikes often drop right back down again on the next OCI. The greatest wear tracker I care about is iron ... Here my Fe wear is less than 1ppm/1k miles. I would be willing to condemn the oil if the Fe was at 3ppm/1k miles. I've got more than 100 UOAs on this engine series; I know exactly what is "normal" and "not normal".
 
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Why does it not matter? Because those are inputs and not outputs. Outputs (wear metals) tell us how things are really doing. I've seen PC reports that show very good correlation to wear data. So the inference we can take is that the PC is fairly low, or else the wear metals would be high. TBN/TAN has never shown good correlation to wear data; centainly not in the modern engines with modern fuels. I've lost track of how many times I've seen TBN/TAN cross over, and yet the wear goes completely unaffected.
Your point would be valid if this type of analysis had the ability to capture wear metals of all particle sizes, and at a high accuracy. There a limitations to the particle sizes that can be captured by this type of analysis. This article goes into more detail:

I just do not see how you can make conclusive decisions from this limited data set that is only providing information on a small portion of the overall "puzzle."
 
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Great looking snapshot, just goes to show you can get the job done without the boutique brands.

Must have been some of the last of the Supertech "true conventional"?
 

dnewton3

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Your point would be valid if this type of analysis had the ability to capture wear metals of all particle sizes, and at a high accuracy. There a limitations to the particle sizes that can be captured by this type of analysis. This article goes into more detail:

I just do not see how you can make conclusive decisions from this limited data set that is only providing information on a small portion of the overall "puzzle."
There is no spectral analysis that captures all sizes of metals. We know this.

The wear data we do see is a implication of the overall. It's totally true to say that there could be large particles of Fe that we can't see. But that's not common in a newer, well running engine. If this were an very old, abused engine that was making horrid noises, I'd say it's possible that large Fe particles were present where the UOA was only seeing the small stuff.

That's not the story here. This engine series (3.5L Cyclone) has a very storied history of incredibly low wear. Because of the water pump issue, high mileage examples of these engines have been apart by many repair shops. Upon teardown in those examples, people often comment how clean the engines look and how good the bearings look (assuming the oil didn't turn to a milkshake). Everything I've seen is that these engines wear very well. So unless I have a major issue, there's no reason to believe that something horrid is afoot. If the UOA shows low wear, then it's fine.
 
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Thank you for spending the money on an oil analysis and sharing it with us. Good to see such low wear metals on so many miles on conventional. How did your wear metals compare to universal averages? I'm guessing lower based on single digit wear in over 10k miles. (y)
 

SR5

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Brother! Good to see someone else isn't afraid of conventional (or synblend) oils, at real distances, in a reasonable engine.

I'll change my car oil sometime this week, and I have a conventional lined up to go in.

Thanks for sharing your report.
 
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Great UOA! Yes we’d all like to know the tbn but maybe that’s not what dnewton3 cares about. I’m just glad to see someone push this regular oil. Can’t wait for the 15k.
 
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There is no spectral analysis that captures all sizes of metals. We know this.

The wear data we do see is a implication of the overall. It's totally true to say that there could be large particles of Fe that we can't see. But that's not common in a newer, well running engine. If this were an very old, abused engine that was making horrid noises, I'd say it's possible that large Fe particles were present where the UOA was only seeing the small stuff.

That's not the story here. This engine series (3.5L Cyclone) has a very storied history of incredibly low wear. Because of the water pump issue, high mileage examples of these engines have been apart by many repair shops. Upon teardown in those examples, people often comment how clean the engines look and how good the bearings look (assuming the oil didn't turn to a milkshake). Everything I've seen is that these engines wear very well. So unless I have a major issue, there's no reason to believe that something horrid is afoot. If the UOA shows low wear, then it's fine.
I think you are making a calculated risk based on very limited data plus a set of assumptions. You are also working with only one example and this is a situation where you are familiar with the engine's history, driving conditions and its typical behavior.

While this may be reasonable given the unique circumstances, I don't think this approach should be applicable to all users.
 
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I don't understand the decision to own a newer vehicle and then buy dino oil to save like 2 bucks, and then push the OCI further out. But it is your vehicle, so rock on.
 
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There is no spectral analysis that captures all sizes of metals. We know this.

The wear data we do see is a implication of the overall. It's totally true to say that there could be large particles of Fe that we can't see. But that's not common in a newer, well running engine. If this were an very old, abused engine that was making horrid noises, I'd say it's possible that large Fe particles were present where the UOA was only seeing the small stuff.

That's not the story here. This engine series (3.5L Cyclone) has a very storied history of incredibly low wear. Because of the water pump issue, high mileage examples of these engines have been apart by many repair shops. Upon teardown in those examples, people often comment how clean the engines look and how good the bearings look (assuming the oil didn't turn to a milkshake). Everything I've seen is that these engines wear very well. So unless I have a major issue, there's no reason to believe that something horrid is afoot. If the UOA shows low wear, then it's fine.
The timing chains were shot on my mother's 2010 Taurus when the water pump failed at 240k miles. It had 3-4k mile conventional 5w20 oil changes and 90% highway driving. The engine was spotless inside. Will the timing chain wear show up in a uoa?
 
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Didn't get TBN. Not interested in paying the extra for info that really doesn't matter to me. I've not seen any data that shows correlation of TBN value to wear metals. I care more about outputs than inputs.
What’s it’s look like under the fill cap? Just curious is all.
 

dnewton3

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I think you are making a calculated risk based on very limited data plus a set of assumptions. You are also working with only one example and this is a situation where you are familiar with the engine's history, driving conditions and its typical behavior.

While this may be reasonable given the unique circumstances, I don't think this approach should be applicable to all users.
I would agree with you. I do not advocate folks do this without knowing the historical trends of the engine series, and the tools they use and how to properly use those tools with understanding of both the benefits and limitations of those tools.

Spectral analysis will tell us elemantal composition, but not size.
PCs will tell us size, but not composition.
Teardown analysis will allow a very detailed understanding of the wear patterns and locations, but is prohibitively expensive in both time and money and no one but a well-funded race team would every use teardown analysis as a means of tracking wear, let alone in their daily driver.

There are several SAE studies which show good correlation between wear data and PC data. The safe conclusion to draw is that if you don't see a lot of wear in the UOA, it's unlikely that there's wear elsewhere (larger particles). When catastrophic events occur, all bets are off. But that's not what's happening in my engine. So the UOA is, in and of itself, a good indication that wear is low. I don't need a PC to confirm that. There's never been any incidence of ONLY large particles present in a sump. If there is a high burden of large particles, then there's always correlation of elevated precense of smaller particles. Every SAE article/study I've seen shows that low wear data always is echo'd in the the low PC counts across the board. If anyone has info otherwise, I'd love to see it; please link the study so I can purchase/review it.
 
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dnewton3

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The timing chains were shot on my mother's 2010 Taurus when the water pump failed at 240k miles. It had 3-4k mile conventional 5w20 oil changes and 90% highway driving. The engine was spotless inside. Will the timing chain wear show up in a uoa?
The early generation of these engines had only single-row timing chains. Somewhere along the way (2015???) they changed over to double-row chains as an improvement. Generally timing chain wear will show up in a UOA; you'd typically see elevated Fe from the chain and also likely more Al from the guides (typically either steel or aluminum with some form of nylon overlays).

Honestly, at 240k miles, no one can really complain about the "life span" of the pump. It's not a problem of the pump giving out (all pumps eventually fail), but the labor to get to the darn thing is crazy expensive.
 
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