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Old 04-12-2012, 08:09 AM   #1
EOC Rank: Oxygen
2004 4WD EX 5AT
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Oil analysis found potential problems: coolant and high metal content in oil!

I don't drive a lot (~6K/mi year or so), and use Mobile 1 synthetic, so i was curious if leaving my oil in my car longer than one year was having any negative effects on my orange baby. A few weeks ago, i did my oil change (8K/mi after the last one) and sent a sample of the oil to Blackstone labs for analysis.

Here are the results:

As you can see, there are several caution flags:

1. Lots of metal. Iron is particularly high, but there's also higher than expected aluminum, chromium, lead, and tin. Blackstone labs think this is wear from the block, pistons, rings, cylinders, and bearings.

2. Some potassium/sodium - Which Blackstone thinks indicate antifreeze in the oil.

I discussed this with my dad who does chemical engineering for lubricant oil manufacturers, and he believes that these might have been from contamination, since the viscosity and TBN are still very high (basically, i could've easily done another 5K/mi on this oil). As far as contaminants - he said that some rust in the sample, along with some road salt would produce similar results - and since i didn't exactly power wash my undercarriage after winter, this is possible.

Still - i'd like to get your opinion on what if any diagnostic I could do to see if the problems really exist. I'm thinking:

1. Watch the level of the coolant - see if any disappears (I did add some coolant recently, but that was literally the 1st time I checked the level since i bought the car)

2. Do a radiator pressure test to see if there's any headgasket/head issues?

3. More frequent oil changes? Dad thinks this is a waste since the oil properties are still very good.

4. Something else?
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
EOC Rank: Nitrogen
2006 4WD EXS AT
Atomic Blue Metallic (ABM)
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Mass.
Posts: 6,243
That does not look good. I would start with a compression test on all cylinders. If the head gasket is leaking, most likely it will show up then. If it does not show wide/large difference in compression between the cylinders, then you may be looking at another issue.

The other possibility, is the obvious. Infrequent operation of an engine, can and will allow the allow the oil to drain off the cylinder walls, and other moving parts. This can contribute to the elevated levels you are seeing. I would suggest that you change the oil sooner the next time, and have it tested. See if that helps.

It's the Iron, Potassium, and Molybdenum levels that bother me.

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Last edited by Dom.five; 04-12-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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