German Castrol, 0w/30, 4998/4845 Mi, SAAB 9-5 2.3L

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Any big giant red flags with these reports? The iron and lead obviously concern me. Could they be the result of weak oil pressure? The "idiot" light has NEVER come on - flickering or otherwise (the light does work). This engine is known for sludging due to a poor PCV valve design, but all of the PCV hoses are in great shape - firm, not spongy, with just the right amount of give - no telltale oil pump whine at startup, no smoke, minor valve cover gasket seepage (more like a stain than a leak). I'm considering having the oil pan dropped to determine level of sludging if any, and having the pick-up screen cleaned just to be safe. Engine History Prior Owner purchased vehicle new and has records for Oil Changes at: 4,805 10,526 15,481 19,800 31,024 (PO states record missing, and was religious about 5k oil changes) 36,372 I purchased this car with 38,655 miles in March 2006, and the following oil changes been done: 39,141 - Auto-RX clean phase, using German Castrol 41,641 - Auto-RX rinse phase, using Shell Rotella-T Synthetic (Hydro Cracked, okay for Auto-RX rinse) 44,387 - German Castrol, 2 oz Auto RX Maintenance Dose 49,094 - German Castrol, 2 oz Auto RX Maintenance Dose (prior UOA below) 54,092 - German Castrol, 2 oz Auto RX Maintenance Dose (current UOA below) 58,937 - German Castrol, 2 oz Auto RX Maintenance Dose We did recently have a cold snap for 2-3 weeks prior to sampleing (temps rarely above freezing, often in single digits and teens), but the iron levels were high in the prior sample with more moderate temperatures. Am I being parnoid because of the sludge potential, or are these results something to be concerned with? Most recent Blackstone Comments: Auto Rx usually will lower the oil's flashpoint and increase iron a little. Universal averages for typical wear from the 2.3L Saab are based on a 5100-mile oil run. The high iron in this oil is coming from steel parts while the increase in lead is from the bearings. Only iron is in the cautionary range. The TBN was 3.8, lots of active additive. Air and oil filtration (see silicon and insolubles) appeared normal. Excess wear metals make the oil abrasive and cause extra wear. A short oil run would reduce metals in the oil. Try a 3K-mile oil change before trying to extend use. Key: Current Test - Prior Test - [Universal Averages] Code:
Oil  			Castrol (GC) - Castrol (GC)
Weight  			0W/30 - 0W/30
Makup qts			0.5 - 0.0
Miles on oil			4,845 - 4,998 - [5,100]
Miles on engine		58,937 - 54,092 - [n/a]
Sample Date		03/03/07 - 12/01/06

Aluminum			3 - 3 - [3]
Chromium			1 - 1 - [1]
Iron			55 - 40 - [22]
Copper			6 - 10 - [6]
Lead			10 - 4 - [6]
Tin			0 - 0 - [1]
Molybdenm		3 - 6 - [50]
Nickel			1 - 1 - [1]
Manganese		1 - 1 - [1]
Silver			0 - 0 - [0]
Titanium			0 - 0 - [0]
Potassium			0 - 2 - [1]
Boron			0 - 6 - [35]
Silicon			5 - 11 - [8]
Sodium			15 - 18 - [23]
Calcium			1,588 - 1,778 - [2,075]
Magnesium		425 - 468 - [293]
Phosphorus		796 - 887 - [862]
Zinc			932 - 1084 - [1009]
Barium			0 - 0 - [7]

Sus Visco (210F)		64.7 - 63.4 - s/b 58-65
Flashpoint (F)		355 - 375 - s/b >385
Fuel %			1.5 - 0.5 - s/b <2.0
Antifreeze %		0.0 - 0.0 - s/b 0.0
Water %			0.0 - 0.0 - s/b <0.1
Insolubles			0.3 - 0.3 - s/b <0.6
TBN			3.8 - 3.6 - S/b >1.0

Is it possible that GC just isnt a good match for this engine?
 
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try adding 1oz per quart of Valvoline Synpower Oil Treatment, and fix your fuel dilution problem. GC doesnt have nearly as high a sludge potential as the other Syntecs do.
 

Al

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Low silicon, low Cr., low aluminum-high iron. Maybe this thing is just a hi iron producer.. No other problems except for fuel dilution. I would make sure the sample was good and hot with the cqr having been totally warmed up and driven at least half an hour with no short trips during previous runnings. If fuel dilution is still up there-deal with it. Might be worth getting Terry Dyson to do a reading on the thing.
 
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I didn't know autoRx would lower the FP. if so, there may not be a fuel problem here at all, b/c I think they use FP to calculate % fuel, and so the fuel # may be erroneous. of course the previous UOA didn't show it. I'd cut out the autoRx and run a few short OCIs on cheap dino to flush out the iron. then see how it looks. hard to know what's going on when there's strange oil adds in the mix.
 
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I'd go thicker...try a 5w-40 of 10w-40 full synthetic like Delvac 1 or the Rotella T, 5w-40 and this iron will go down significantly.... TS
 
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one more thought -- I'm not an expert on autoRx, but I recall reading that it can clash with ester-based oils. GC has a strange ester in it, so maybe autoRx doesn't get along with GC and that's what you're seeing. just a thought. in any case, I'd cut the autoRx.
 

f1forkvr6

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According to the Auto-RX MSDS, the Flashpoint is >410 - not sure why Blackstone thinks it would lower the FP. The 2.3 LPT SAAB engines do tend to run a bit rich, so combined with colder temps I'm not surprised to see fuel % up a bit in the second sample - not too concerned with that yet, especially since Cu actuall dropped a bit. Will include Terry Dyson's expertise in the next sample. These engines are tough on oil - higher temps, oil cooled turbo, decent torque at low RPM. Combine that with a poor PCV system design, and I'm not inclined to run inexpensive Dino for even short runs (I still need to update to the latest and greatest PCV system "fix" from SAAB) . Other than abrasion, or oxydation, what could be causing the high iron reading? Is it safe to assume this is primarily caused by piston scuffing, and possibly timing chain & cam gear wear? I may go up in viscosity at the next change and see how that works - most probably Lubromoly Voll Synthese 5W/40 as I've had good luck with that particular oil in my VR6 Passat. All great thoughts - keep 'em coming folks!
 
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A magnetic drain plug might show if its new iron, or old deposits being removed. Does this make sense to the experts? Looking at the media from a used oil filter should tell you if any old sludge is flaking off.
 

f1forkvr6

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I've been cutting open filters since the initial Auto-RX clean/rinse cycles ... there does seem to be bits of carbon/sludge in the filters - more so with the maintenance doeses than during the clean/rinse cycle. The filters are not over-loaded, and I'm pretty certain were still filtering adequately when they were changed. I think I'll run the current GC for 3k miles, use up my remaining GC, enough for one more change, change that out at 3k miles, rinse with Shell Rotella-T Synthetic 5w/40 (no Auto RX added to this oil), and begin using Lubro Moly Voll Synthese. The more I learn about these SAAB engines, it seems that a 30w, though specified by SAAB, is a bit light and only produces oil pressures marginally better than, or merely equal to minimum tolerences.
 

Al

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Quote:
I think I'll run the current GC for 3k miles, use up my remaining GC,
Its hard for me to believe that the GC will not perform as well as any oiil that you might use. If there is an underlying problem then no oil will do the job. We have seen just too many good GC reports in so many different engines.
 
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So whats the point of buying expensive fully formulated oil then pouring additives in it? Can GC not stand on it's own? I'd like to see the uoa without the snoil added?
 

f1forkvr6

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[QUOTE]Its hard for me to believe that the GC will not perform as well as any oiil that you might use.
It's possible that it just may not be thick enough to prevent excessive cylinder scuffing, and bearing wear in this particular engine. Popular 9-5 oils are M1 0w/40, M1 T&SUV 5w/40 (not partial to M1 myself), Shell Rotella-T Synthetic 5w/40 ... perhaps a 40w will take care of this. Worth a try, as I can get all of these oils, and the Lubro Moly, locally at decent prices.
 

f1forkvr6

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So whats the point of buying expensive fully formulated oil then pouring additives in it? Can GC not stand on it's own? I'd like to see the uoa without the snoil added?
I consider Auto-RX to be of the non-"snoil" variety, and extra insurance against sludging in a sludge prone engine. It's gentle enough to do no harm, and may actually do some good - my $0.02.
 
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The trick with the 9-5 is that Saab has 1) changed oil recommendations/requirements a few times and 2) has somewhat "loose" language regarding oil in the manual. I have an '03 Aero. The manual states that an SL 5W-30 synthetic blend is the minimum requirement. It also says things indicating that an A3 rating is desireable. It also says something to the effect that a quality 5W-40 full synthetic is suitable. Hmm. Then in '04 they switched to Mobil 1 0W-40 as the factory fill. The extended sludge warranty papers also say you should "strongly consider" using full synthetic and changing every 5k. I read all that and the magic 8 ball says to use a 5W-40. Anyway, I think you're on the right track. I'd save the GC you've got left for something that you know will like it and will be able to run a suitable OCI in, and switch to the 5W-40 of your choice sooner. FWIW, I believe the Delvac/Mobil 1 5W-40 TDT/T&SUV is not one of the "tainted" G-III varieties. If you've got good access to it it'd be worth considering. jeff
 

f1forkvr6

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I appreciate the recommendations, and agree with your conclusion about which oil really is better for these engines. I may try the Delvac/Mobil 1 T/SUV if I can find it ... seems like this is a decent oil, though I've not been a fan of Mobil 1 in recent years ....
 

f1forkvr6

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I'm trying to find a non-boutique oil that does a good job. It'll either be: Lubro Moly Voll Synthese 5W/40 Mobil 1 T&SUV 5W/40 or Shell Rotella T Synthetic 5W/40 I can get all of these locally at decent prices.
 
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Our last two cars have been leased SAAB 9-5 wagons with the 2.3 engine: 1) A 2001 2.3t, oil changes done at 5K intervals with M1 0W-30, switching to 0W-040 when the former became unavailable. While driving this car, the dealer was doing the free maintenance with a SAAB branded semi-syn. I paid their egregiously high price for the M1 once, then for the rest of the time took in my own M1. Did the mid-changes (5, 15, 25, 35K) myself, and then did all the changes when the free maintenance ran out at 36K. No problems, no evidence of visual abnormality in the drained oil (which I examine), or with the filter (always use a SAAB filter). Turned this car in at 3 years with about 50K on it, no issues. 2. A 2004 SAAB 9-5 Arc Wagon 2.3T. They have now gone to a 15K service interval on the car, with no specification for mid-OCIs. Yeah, right! I just do my own O&F changes every 5K, once again with M1 0W-40 and the SAAB filter. As with the last car, no issues (we now have 46K on the car, turn it in August 30th). My reading has been that the sludge issues were supposed to have been addressed by the 2004 car, but that the 2001s were supposed to be bad. I have observed no problems of any kind with the oil or performance in either car. The new service manager at the SAAB dealer is adamant about using M1 0W-40 in these cars, and nothing but (although he won't give me specifics). Since I've been doing that anyhow, nothing to argue about there... The only other thing to report is that I use a bottle of Techron Spring & Fall.....I do it, but I'm not convinced it does anything. I AM fairly convinced that these cars will run trouble-free following 5K OCIs with the recommended oil (the 2004 car even has a Mobil 1 sticker under the hood.....).
 

f1forkvr6

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Did you every do any UOAs on either vehicle? Also, when you mentioned no visual abnormalities of the filter, did you cut them open?
 
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Nope- never have done a UOA, never cut a filter open. Of course, as far as the UOAs are concerned, I've only been hanging around this forum for about half a year, and I had no idea that a UOA could be done so cheaply. If I'd known it was only 20 bucks, I probably would have done one a long time ago. Maybe next OC......
 
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