Dead Sled Wrenchers
Oil and oil analysis
Today I want to talk about sled haulers, the cars and trucks we use to move our sleds around.
So my previous rap on oil created much controversy so I expect this will too.
do you know about the oil in the engine of your sled hauler? Do you
know how long its been in there? Do you know if its still in good shape
or if it needs to be replaced?
For years I'd used the 3,000 mile recommendation and changed the oil religiously. Then some time in 2001 my 1996 Dodge Dakota's rear main seal started leaking, it progressed to leaking BAD, like a quart of oil in 700 miles. Being a cheapskate I was reluctant to spend the big money to replace the seal. I'd heard that switching to synthetic oil could help some leaks. The quickie lube place I'd been going to had Mobil 1 synthetic oil available so I had them put that in. It cost nearly twice as much...
The result was quite honestly not all that exciting if you're looking for a quick fix. Still over the next 5 years the rate of leakage from the rear main slowed to the point that now so 70,000 miles later it leaks only about 1 quart in 3,500 miles. I consider this an amazing rejuvenation but as I say it took a long time. Based on Mobil's recommendation I took the oil change interval out to 6,000 miles. So the cost of the change was twice as much but I was doing it half as frequently. I liked that because I've got better stuff to do on a Saturday morning than hang around the quickie lube place.
wasn't until I got a diesel Mercedes car that I got real interested in
synthetic oil. Anybody who has an older diesel vehicle knows that when
its real cold out you need every advantage you can get. At 0F
conventional 15w40 oil is thick like honey, Mobil 1 synthetic 15w50 is
thin like, well like oil.
oils: For our purposes these are Group IV and V true
synthetic oils like Mobil 1, Amsoil and Redline.
These are pretty much
the best oils you can get. With analysis you can safely extend oil
change duration Mobil says out to 15,000 miles, Amsoil claims even more.
Of course one big problem is finding reliable information. Now I use Mobil 1 because its pretty easy to get, Wal-Mart, Autozone and the like have it. Amsoil has this wacky 1970s marketing scheme of dealers and preferred buyers and get your friends to sell it. They also sponsor, or authorize, or at least don't do anything to stop an amazing flood of websites proclaiming Amsoil's superiority. While I don't have anything in particular against Amsoil I'm not a fan of their marketing scheme.
Oil analysis has been very common for heavy over the road trucks, tractor trailers and such, for some time now. Companies running big trucks for millions of miles know they need to stretch every last penny out of those engines and all of the fluids in them. Big semi trucks can run multiple gallons of oil and changeing the oil needlessly wastes big money. Analysis also gives you a picture into the inside of your engine, a place that is so difficult to see otherwise. Caterpillar for instance uses oil analysis to help the heavy equipment owner keep his or her equipment in top shape, they call it SOS Fluid Analysis and you can read it at www.cat.com. Those of us with regular cars and trucks can also benefit from actually knowing when the oil needs to be changed rather than just guessing at it.
A week or so later you get an
email with a .pdf document. About a week after that you get a hardcopy
of the pdf. On the right you can see two of the reports I've gotten on
my '96 Dakota and two from my '85 Mercedes diesel car.
|Dodge Dakota Oil
Analysis #1 35k
Dodge Dakota Oil Analysis #2 35.5k
Mercedes Benz 190D Oil Analysis #1 37k
Mercedes Benz 190D Oil Analysis #2 37k
My Dakota gets used mostly for short trips, thats why in Analysis #2 you can see that the fuel dilution has risen. Notice thats with nearly 8,000 miles since the last oil change. Since then I've continued with changes at around 8,000 miles. I feel that mileage still leaves some safety factor especially during the summer time when we drive the truck more. If our driving style for the Dakota changes I'll do another 8,000 mile sample.
On my Mercedes you
can see that the oil is way out of spec at 7400 miles. This was the
first time I'd ever changed the oil in that car and to be quite honest
I'm not sure I did a very good job at getting all the old oil out.
Changing the oil outside in February will do that to you... At any rate
I'll sample again when the next oil change reaches 7,000 miles and
we'll see whats happening then.
you think about this story? Let me know!