Oils Analysis' are in the "Noise Floor"

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Jun 17, 2003
I don't believe this person was critizing anyone on this board. Just giving a point that the measurement comparisons are slight sometimes and that a broader difference should be used. The points given are probably valid in some context of this board.
Show us proof. 5 vs. 20 IS a significant difference. Anyone that has done tests between labs has show only a few ppm BETWEEN LABS. With the same lab your variance will most definitely be within a few ppm! If I was able to choose between an oil that gave 20ppm in wear metal vs one that gave 5ppm I would without question choose 5ppm!! I think you are the one in denial. There are so many examples on here. For example, Molakules 'molabrew'. Why does it reduce wear metals nearly every time??? Lc? oil extreme? The results are not coiincedence! Sorry nice try.
I disagree with the thinking that there is no difference between 5ppm and 20ppm in a UOA! I know that there is not that much of a margin of error on the UOAs. If that were the case, then someone who does UOAs on every single oil change would notice major swings in their reports. But this is not the case, most people find that if they keep using the same oil, their UOAs definitely do not vary by anywhere near that much, they are relatively close each time so long as the climate and driving habits don't drastically change. I could see it varying by 10 or even 20%, but certainly not 400%. Sorry, it's just not going to happen. We've even proven it on here with a few people sending the same oil to a couple of different labs. Not one of them showed anywhere near that much of an error. So, if you see a trend with your vehicle showing one or more of the wear metals being higher than you like, such as was the case with my LT1 Firebird showing higher lead, then you make a switch and see if it works. In my case it did. And I'll bet the farm that my future UOAs also show my lead remaining low as well, that it wasn't just a fluke. I'm sure Terry Dyson will chime in here as well, and prove that UOAs are indeed valuable and the varience in the reports isn't anywhere near what Russ says it is. I agree that if you're seeing a bunch of 2s, 3s and 4s on your UOAs, don't worry about trying to get those down to 0s and 1s. But if you're seeing consistent double digits in a 3k report, you could certainly try to get it into the 5ppm or less range if you can. And many people on here have been successful in doing just that, simply by switching oils or trying out different things. [ January 12, 2004, 01:20 PM: Message edited by: Patman ]
Originally posted by Russ_Knize: Out of all the oils analysis results on this board that I have seen, 99% are in the so called "noise floor" and show no benefit to any of the oils, even synthetics. If someone says that 5 ppm is any better than 20 ppm, they are fantasizng. These numbers are in the statisical noise floor of the measurements. Now if you see consistent high numbers from one oil, say in the 100-200 ppm range, than you can start to draw a trend. As for me, I agree with Patman, the QS 10year/250K warrany has got more merits than any of the other oils out there. I will be switching over at my next oil change. Worrying about 5 ppm of lead or copper vs. 20 ppm has no benefit. Just my $.02 worth
I tend to agree. From what I've seen and from the UOAs I've done myself, the synthetics seem to last (maintain viscosity & TBN) about twice as long as dino juice. The synthetics also hold up to extreme applications such as racing and motorcycle engines without getting chewed up as quickly as dino juice. For my beater econo cars, I use regular old cheap dino juice. For the race car & the motorcycle I use synthetics. I do UOAs on the race car & the bike. Not because I care whether Fe is 2 or 15, but to check whether the oil is maintaining viscosity and TBN given these engines that are modifed and driven hard.
Sorry I should have refered to percentages as Patman did. That would be more accurate overall. And that part of the reason you see large differences in additives. And must be how you came to your incorrect conclusions about wear metals.
These numbers are in the statisical noise floor of the measurements.
I see the purpose of your post, but I don't see it's point. UOA's provide for trend analysis. Performing a few of them in a row can provide very valuable information on what's going on under hood. And yes, sometimes, there's nothing much to talk about if the engine already has an oil and an OCI it likes. Besides, UOA's provide for good conversation! I've learned a ton here from them. There was a member here recently who showed Ford that his Taurus/Sable was trending in the wrong direction, and as a result, Ford paid for the leaky head gasket. A hundred buck in UOA's saved him a couple thousand. In the average car for 3-4K OCI's, this whole thing almost seems pointless, especially when QS gives you a 250K "warranty". But, QS won't cover the cost of that guy's head gasket leak! Bottom line to me: it's better to spend a couple hundred bucks on UOA's in a few years tim to make sure my cars engines will go the 300K mark than having to pay for a rebuild because the oil thinned out too much from a leaky gasket...or overworked oil in 98F heat for 4 months on end... Sometimes I think changing oil at 3K masks many of the coolant leaks drivers would otherwise deal with. So all in all, 5ppm or 20ppm just might matter in the long run.
"For my beater econo cars, I use regular old cheap dino juice. For the race car & the motorcycle I use synthetics." I tend to go the opposite way, the newer ones have engines that can deal perfectly well with Petro oil while the old ones may have marginal areas that could use the extra performance for a little longer survival. By the way, does anyone know of a claim against Quaker State for the engine life warranty that has been successfully (or otherwise for that matter) prosecuted???????????????? Enquiring minds want to know!
Russ, if that is the case, then how did you determine that Castrol Syntec Blend was better than Mobil 1 in your Dodge?? Where are the UAOs of the Castrol and Mobil to show us the better results?? -Joe
The noise floor for wear metals for a good lab is 1 ~ 2 ppm. Many labs can consistently measure differences of less than 3 ppm for wear metals. Additive measurements are much less precise, so we tend to look at them more skeptically.
Russ, For me the first UOA established a baseline. Subsequent UOA provides an insight into what is going on in my engine. Helps also to weed through advertising and promotional hype with regard to oil filter capability and oil additive protection. Facts are facts, even if they are on the floor. Just my 2 cents worth. Doug
Russ, common observation but incorrect. "Noise floor" as pertains to automotive oil analysis is quite nebulous. Industrial applications with fixed systems,controlled environs,large sumps at constant RPMS .....then maybe I could buy that premise, not in highly variable autos. Bear with me here; Given a reasonably accurate lab result, knowledge of the construction, mettalurgy and operating characteristics of the component, knowledge of the oil formulation, and .... with access to a universe of oil analysis reports that is broad , COMBINED with the experienced eye of a proper interpretation and mutual exchange between the analyst and the customer....... You CAN use a $35 oil analysis report to show quite alot about the lube, the filtration, the engine health, combustion efficiency and actual operation of that engine to a remarkable degree of accuracy. One that has been checked against much more scientific and controlled test protocals showing the cost and accuracy of the trended oil analysis to be just the right tool for non destructive analysis on a PC engine or lube. As far as the QS 250,000 warranty,like most warranties IMHO its mostly marketing. Remember BITOG board is not the complete universe of oil analysis on autos nor do you always get a accurate "read" of the data that gets posted here. Many comment but few really know what they are reading. An annual oil analysis at minimum compared to a VOA of the oil in use is really inexpensive insurance for your second most costly investment for most drivers, the family cars,regardless of oil brand issues. Worrying about copper at 5 ppm vs. 20 ppm is not the issue; the whole result is. Unless you have all the attributes mentioned above to help you decipher the raw data you aren't getting the full benefit of a oil analysis. Hope that helps .
Like I said before, the QS 10/250,000 deal is mostly marketing. How long do you think you will have to pull teeth to get them to pay up?
As for me, I agree with Patman, the QS 10year/250K warrany has got more merits than any of the other oils out there.
FWIW, when I suggested to someone recently that they use QS because of this warranty, it was simply because their two choices given were Pennzoil and this one, and even though I believe Pennzoil to be the better oil, they are close enough that this warranty could be an extra bonus. However, don't take this to mean that I think QS is your best choice in motor oils in general, nor do I have any plans to switch to it myself. I have mentioned Quaker State a few times recently, simply out of curiosity as to why more people don't give it a try, especially considering this 250k warranty. It is a good point that QS would make you jump through hoops before they'd pay off though, so that warranty might be worthless in the long run. I just thought I'd mention this since that statement by Russ which I quoted above is very misleading.
Originally posted by dickwells: I tend to go the opposite way, the newer ones have engines that can deal perfectly well with Petro oil while the old ones may have marginal areas that could use the extra performance for a little longer survival.
Interesting. My rationale is that my econoboxes are so inexpensive, and have an easy life, and are already going to last > 10 years and > 200000 miles on dino, that synthetic oil is not cost effective and offers no practical benefit. However, my race car and my motorcycle are driven HARD and modified making more than stock power. They see redline on a frequent basis every time I drive them. I'm giving these vehicles a level of abuse the engineers did not anticipate in their oil recommendations. Maybe dino would hold up just fine under those conditions... Maybe... But competition use voids the warranty and I'd hate to blow a $6,000 engine to find out.
Patman, Quaker State got a bad reputation in the 60's and 70's in the Southern USA. Hot/Hi-Speed made the 10W-40's especially QS look bad. They have a reputation to live down in the Southern US. Many Sotherner's have had a bad experience here and I think they know that.
Haley10. I thought it was the whole world that had the quaker state experience in the 60-70. For sure I did and it will be a cold day in you know where before this stuff ever goes into anything I own. You might as well do this as use quaker state. [crushedcar] I feel sorry for you Russ [Frown] [ January 12, 2004, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: TR3-2001SE ]
How come whenever we get one of these incendiary comments from Russ he never responds to the subsequent debate? Are we only deserving of his decrees, but not worthy of a meaningful dialog with him? OOPS .... I’m sounding harsh and combative again. [No no]
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