Understanding Fuel Contaminants
By Tom Bock
Understanding why lube oil fails is vital to establishing a preventive maintenance program to protect your largest investment, the engine that powers your truck.
It has been common knowledge since the early 1900’s that the base oil does not break down, it becomes contaminated with solid and liquid contaminants and the additive package fails to properly protect engine. The used the oil can be recycled and used as a base oil again, by removing the contaminants and reformulating oil with new additive package. Preventing the additive depletion and removing contaminants will not only provide your engine with clean oil it will extend the useful life of the oil saving thousands of dollars per year.
What causes the additive to lose the ability to protect the engine? The additives in lube oil fail when it is over heated, contaminated with liquids and solid particulates. Ineffective additives create an environment that allows acid to develop, sludge to form, and metal-to-metal wear damage.
Overheating occurs when the engine oil levels are not properly maintained and there is insufficient oil to properly dissipate the heat caused by combustion or the flow of the oil is not maintained at normal operating flow rate. This is due to oil galley way blockage caused by sludge or defective oil pump, improperly maintained oil filters or oil leakage. Checking and topping of oil frequently, changing filters timely, proper inspection and maintenance to engine to avoid leaks and paying attention to oil pressure will usually prevent overheating issues. Keep oil properly filtered will help reduce heat issues as well. Once oil becomes contaminated with solid particulates the oil will not have the ability to dissipate the heat properly as the solid will retain heat thus causing engine damage.
Liquid contaminants; water, diesel fuel and glycol contaminate oil causing the formation of acid, decreasing viscosity, increasing oxidation, sludge and deterioration of additive chemicals. The water reacts with the sulfur and nitrogen in oil to form sulfuric and nitric acids as well as adding oxides to oil that corrode and rust engine parts. Diesel fuel will decrease the viscosity of the oil and affect the film strength of the oil to properly bond with metal parts. It is this oil film that protects engine from metal to metal wear. Once the film is compromised the wear levels increase rapidly. Glycol does not enter the oil during normal operation but by some defect in coolant system causing intrusion. Unfortunately since the advent of EGR and Oil Coolers there is an increase in glycol intrusion in engines. The glycol coagulates soot creating oil balls that cause blockage to oil filters and will react with the anti-wear additive zinc that bonds to metals to prevent metal to metal wear. The removal of zinc and the oil balls will cause bearings and moving parts to deteriorate and cause engine failures if not discovered and corrected as soon as possible.
Solid contaminants, soot, dirt, wear metals will eventually accumulate in numbers that will affect the oils ability to properly flow and dissipate heat. Soot, dirt, oil and water will create sludge that blocks galley ways and filter operation. Wear metals will become trapped between tolerances and cause additional wear. Using a good quality full flow filter with a secondary by pass filter will help decrease the accumulation and allow for longer useful life of the oil.
A system like the OPS EcoPur On Board Oil Refining System will extend the useful life of the additive package by filtering the solid contaminants down to 3-micron level and evaporating the liquid contaminants removing the potential for acid buildup and sludge development. Extending the life of the additive package will improve the protection of your engine and allow you to extend oil drains saving $$$$.
If you attend Mid America, Great West or Great American Truck Shows stop by the OPS-Oil Purification Systems booth for a demonstration of how an On Board Oil Refining System works and how using one will save you $$$$ in oil expenses and improve engine performance. If you can’t attend check out the website www.ops-1.com.
If you have any questions about oil sampling please send a copy of the sample results to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and I will contact you to discuss the report.