Rotella T6 5W/40, 5,300 miles, 2003 8.1L Suburban

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May 9, 2006
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1,453
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
This oil was in the vehicle for 12 months and 5,300 miles thru 10/30/2014. I just purchased the vehicle a month or so before the previous oil change, so this is the first OCI for me with it. Nearly 3,600 miles of this OCI was towing over 7,000 lbs of travel trailer on all types of roads, from cross country interstate (in the flat, in the mountains), to big city interstate, to logging roads. Vehicle was stored during the Nov-Apr months. It has a K&N cold air kit from a previous owner, I replaced the K&N cone filter with an Amsoil cone filter in the spring before we started towing. It seems to be filtering well. 3 Quarts of make-up oil during this OCI, pretty normal for the 8.1L Oil filter is M1 Blackstone Coments:
Quote:
Thanks for the note about towing. That could be why copper and lead are high next to universal averages, which show typical wear for this type of GM engine after about 4,200 miles of oil use. Together, copper and lead show bearing wear, but copper could be from any other brass/bronze part as well. Sodium is a marker for coolant and it was bit hg her. Since potassium (another marker) is low, it's hard to be sure, but watch coolant levels to be safe. Sodium might just be residual additive from a previous oil. Use just 5,000 miles and check back.
Since this is my first UOA, I'm not going to worry much about it. I put T6 back in and will check again next year. I've toyed around with switching to Redline 0W-30 because I read someone else who did the same and it quieted down the cold start tick, which is very noticeable. Sounds like a diesel at idle when cold. One other odd thing happened. We drove it from Toledo OH, to Grand Rapids MI towing the travel trailer with only 2nd gear available. We hummed along at 55 mph and nearly 4k rpm for those (200?) miles. An electrical issue in the fuse panel was causing the issue. I also had 3 instances where when after first starting it, it would run extremely rough until shut down and re-started. Like the spark timing was all off. Could never duplicate it for the dealer. Water pump replaced not long before this oil change.
Code:
OIL             PP 5W30   Uni Avg
MILES IN USE    5.3k      4.2k
MILES           140.0k   
SAMPLE TAKEN    10/30/14

ALUMINUM        3         4
CHROMIUM        1         0
IRON            15        20
COPPER          43        17
LEAD            31        11
TIN             2         1
MOLYBDENUM      67        74
NICKEL          0         1
MANGANESE       0         5
SILVER          0         0
TITANIUM        0         0
POTASSIUM       2         2
BORON           22        52
SILICON         11        13
SODIUM          29        31
CALCIUM         1133      2148
MAGNESIUM       1153      168
PHOSPHORUS      914       735
ZINC            1317      909
BARIUM          0         0
                                                                                                      
                                                                                                      
INSOLUBLES      0.1
WATER           0
FLASHPOINT ºF   390
SUS VIS 210ºF   73.8
cSt @ 100ºC     13.94
TBN             n/a
 
Joined
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Originally Posted By: WishIhadatruck
3 Quarts of make-up oil during this OCI, pretty normal for the 8.1L
Normal?! One quart per 1700 miles is normal? Try to guess, why previous owner sold this car. Don't be surprised if you need to change catalyst pretty soon. Forget about all these miserable numbers in UOA. You have a headache that is much more important than UOA-based whistles...
 

WishIhadatruck

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I do not believe it has an aux. oil cooler. As for gloom and doom over oil usage, the 8.1L is not a normal engine and oil usage is normal. Many people report 1 qt per 1k miles, people with only 1 qt per 3k miles seems to be more rare. I had no expectations that this would produce an UOA similar to my other vehicles. Time will tell whether any of it is a real issue or not. If I had to guess why the previous owner sold it, it was probably because he was tired of 10 mpg. Unless you are using it to tow fairly heavy it is overkill, which is why we bought it as a 3rd vehicle.
 
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It has an oil cooler. It's part of the radiator so I'm told. I've got a 99 with a 5.3 and an 01 C3 with a 6.0 and these truck come equipped with a fluid cooler for nearly everything. Nin fact I found a small cooler in front of the tranny fluid rad which I've come to discover is for power steering,and from what I've seen with this generation truck,when equipped with a tow package as I'm sure yours is has a cooler for every fluid. Steve mentioned that these coolers are likely the reason these LS engines have such a long lifespan and I tend to agree. And your oil consumtion is better than normal for a 454 cubic inch engine. It's not a Honda,it's a big block Chevy with Pistons the size of coffee cans,so yeah they consume a bit of oil. All things considered I think your in good shape. The guys commenting that this engine has issues obviously know nothing about big block v-8 engines,not to mention modern ones. Carry on.
 
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KC
oil consumption isn't a big deal but seeing that much wear metals in a UOA with that much makeup oil is the odd part.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
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Houston, TX
How old is your fuel pump? When my 454 started idling rough, hard starts, strange behavior...bad pump. Your oil burning issue is worse than mine, but certainly not outside the band of normal for mid-mileage big block chevys.
 

WishIhadatruck

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Originally Posted By: BowNisPar
How old is your fuel pump? When my 454 started idling rough, hard starts, strange behavior...bad pump. Your oil burning issue is worse than mine, but certainly not outside the band of normal for mid-mileage big block chevys.
I am unaware if the fuel pump has ever been replaced.
 
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Oct 4, 2012
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Alaska
Originally Posted By: timeau
Originally Posted By: WishIhadatruck
3 Quarts of make-up oil during this OCI, pretty normal for the 8.1L
Normal?! One quart per 1700 miles is normal? Try to guess, why previous owner sold this car. Don't be surprised if you need to change catalyst pretty soon. Forget about all these miserable numbers in UOA. You have a headache that is much more important than UOA-based whistles...
1 quart for 1700 miles of extremely hard towing at elevation isnt bad at all. Don't overract. confused
 
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North Carolina
Every 454 engine i know of has used some oil even from the late 70's. Big pistons means bigger ring end gaps. .003-.004 per inch of bore. Thats a piston gap of .13 to .17 room for oil to get through.
 
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Oct 10, 2008
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Sunny Florida
Agree with Spasm3, we used to own vehicles with this engine and oil usage is not uncommon. After a pro rebuild the oil use can virtually be eliminated, and some use very little from the factory. But I have had one that used oil from day one and ran over 150k miles in service, the oil usage is not necessarily a killer...
 
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