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Oil Analysis


Under ideal circumstances, the brand and type of oil to be sampled and analyzed will be known and reported to the laboratory. Also the number of hours on the oil will be at least 10 and the sample will be taken not more than 30 minutes after the engine is shutdown. Frequently, the surveyor takes a single sample for analysis and none of the ideal circumstances are met.

Once the laboratory analysis is received, interpretation of the analysis is usually achieved during discussion with the laboratory technician. If the brand and type of oil is known, the laboratory may be able to identify certain compounds as "additives" or "contaminates". The following table lists the nominal values for a broken-in engine and a new engine with less than 50 hours possibly still using the break-in oil.

CONTAMINATESBroken-In Engine
Normal Value
New Engine
Normal Value
Fuel (Diesel) [Detection Limit 0.1%]NoneNone
Water [Detection Limit 0.1%] None None
Anti-Freeze None None



WEAR METAL
Common Sources
Broken-In Engine
Less Than
PPM
New Engine
Less Than
PPM
IRON
Cylinders, pistons, rings,
crankshafts, bearings, rust
60100
CHROMIUM
Rings, bearings, shafts, rods, platings
4 7
LEADbrBearing overlays, platings, leaded gasoline 25 40
COPPER
Bearings, bushings, thrust washers, valve guides
25 40
TIN
Bearings, bushings, pistons, platings
10 10
ALUMINUM
Pistons, bearings, thrust- washers
10 15
NICKEL
Valves, Shafts, bearings
5 10
SILVER
Bearings, bushings, platings
0 0
VANADIUM
Trace element
0 0
TITANIUM
Trace element
10 10
CADMIUM Platings 5 5



ADDITIVES
Broken-In Engine
Normal Values
New Engine
Normal Values
SILICON
Sand, dirt, dust, also contained as Silicone in new oil as anti-foam agent in low concentrations. Also gasket sealing compounds. Element used to determine the level of airborne dirt and abrasives in the oil.
25 50
MOLYBDENUM
Contained in some new oils as additive.
5
Up to 100 as Additive
10
SODIUM
Contained in some new oils. Also contamination from anti-freeze or salt water.
50 50
ZINC
Contained in many new oils as an anti-oxidant, anti-corrosive, and anti-wear agent.
Additive Additive
CALCIUM
Contaminated in many new oils. Primarily dispersant/detergent.
900-5000 as Additive 900-5000 as Additive
MAGNESIUM
Contained in some new oils as dispersant/detergent.
100-2000 as Additive 100-2000 as Additive
BORON
Contained in some new oils. Also contamination from anti-freeze
* *
PHOSPHOROUS
Contained in many new oils. May be chlorinated phosphorus additive to anti-wear characteristics.
* *
BARIUM
Contained in some new oils mainly as dispersant/detergent.
* *



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