Two Labs, Same Oil, Different TBN Results...

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Jul 11, 2021
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More just for a interesting experiment I sent the same used oil to two different labs.

I'm in Canada so sending to Blackstone is somewhat of a inconvenience and somewhat costly with extra shipping costs.
My local Caterpillar dealer(Finning) does UOA, it's much more convenient for me to drop it off as its on the route of my typical travels.
I however wanted to "validate" the results so I sent a sample to Blackstone as well as the CAT dealer since Blackstone seems to be well regarded.

The results are very similar as you would expect except for TBN which has a big discrepancy as follows:

2.6 TBN - Blackstone
6.2 TBN - Cat(Finning)

For reference a VOA I found on this site for the oil (Rotella Gas truck 5w30) has a TBN of 6.78
The oil was from a 2020 Ford 7.3L with 231hrs on the oil.
Sampling method was I allowed about 2 quarts to drain, then caught the samples right after one another.

I'm really not sure what to make of the difference in TBN.

Would love to hear some people thoughts...
 

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  • Blackstone Oil Sample.pdf
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BeerCan

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For me personally I would take almost any lab results over Blakstone. JMO but I think they have not as good equipment as some of the bigger labs.
 
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Considering that the elemental analyses are essentially the same, as well as the viscosity value at 100 Deg C, I would be inclined to believe that a typo error was made by the CAT lab for the TBN, especially since they state that the TBN is acceptable.
 

JWC86

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Why not send the to both companies and ask them ?
That would be the best solution rather then seeing members bashing one company or another!
I asked for people thoughts on the information provided. I never had any intentions of bashing either company or soliciting for others to do so.
 
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Wackstone uses TBN method D4739 which only looks at hard base. CAT likely uses D2896 which looks at all base sources. D4739 will always read lower than D2896. When considering how much oil life is left, D2896 is the preferred method.

This is one of many reasons that I don't use Wackstone. Also, I'm referring to them as Wackstone from this point forward as their results are wack!
 

JWC86

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I emailed Blackstone asking if it might have been a typo or if they have any insight on the different results, this was the reply.


Hi

That is interesting that they ended up so different, but with numbers transposed. As soon as I saw this email I ran back to the lab and grabbed the sample to run another TBN on it. Ordinarily we hold samples for exactly one week, so it was a close one. Anyway, hopefully the results will be available tomorrow and I'll let you know what we find.

Thanks,
Suzi Herman
Analyst
Blackstone Labs

I will report the findings here.
 
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I asked for people thoughts on the information provided. I never had any intentions of bashing either company or soliciting for others to do so.
I appreciate that you contacted Blackstone Labs. Thank you sir (y)
Suzi's integrity and honesty in the business as well she has carried on her dads (Ray RIP) legacy of great customer service.
 

JWC86

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I hope you also contacted the CAT lab as they could be in error.
Thank you for your concern. However I haven’t reached out to the other lab yet. Will see what BS comes up with and go from there.
 

JWC86

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Hmmm ? I thought your intent was not to bash anyone? 🤔
I’m not following? Where is there any bashing? Are we teenage girls here?

I already had a email chain with BS about logistics so it was easy to simply reply to that to get the ball rolling rather than find the contact info for the other lab, that’s the reason I asked them first, because it was easy. They promptly replied stating they would retest(wasn’t expecting that) and have a result tomorrow so I will simply wait to see what the result is. If they had a error then it’s settled and no need to bother the other lab with any of this. If BS gets a similar result as the first time I will then contact the CAT lab.
Either way I will report the findings here.
 
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I done the same thing, sending 2 samples to separate labs, on 2 occasions.
AGAT vs FluidLife, & AGAT vs Blackstone.

I also found that Blackstone test came back with different results than AGAT.

Fluidlife, & AGAT were quite similar, & I have stuck with AGAT just because I can drop off my own samples, & do not need to spend any thig on postage, or shipping.

I was mostly concerned about fuel dilution. Both AGAT, & Fluid Life us Gas Chromotography, where Blackstone used an interpolation method.

AGAT flagged my samples, with 3% fuel dilution, & Boron depletion & recommended oil change, while Blackstone suggested my samples were thin but no fuel dilution.
 
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