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Oil Analysis

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What is this oil analysis all about then??

Can it really tell me the state of my engine??

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Engine oil analysis can be a basic indicator of engine health. It's not a new thing, this type of testing is common on very expensive machinery/engines used on big plant, and in aviation and naval engineering. Needless to say, it's not as definitive as disassembly and inspection of critical components subject to wear.

 

Completely co-incidentally I got the engine oil analysis results for my M5 from Miller Oils this morning!

 

The guys on the M5board seem pretty keen on engine oil analysis so I thought I'd give it a go. Was £25 - not much.

 

I noticed that the Blackstone oil analysis reports published on M5board have a column of 'Universal Averages' for our particular engines, so used this data set as a benchmark to make sense of my Miller Oil results.

 

Was a pleasing outcome for me since all the wear metrics for my engine/oil were better (some significantly better) than the Blackstone universal averages. The Miller report gives a load of info on the different metals/substances found in the oil. It's the amount of these in the oil (in PPM - parts per million) that indicate, to a lesser or greater degree, the amount of wear your engine has experienced recently. There's also other stuff about the general condition of the engine oil itself - changes in viscosity etc etc.. Wasn't particularly interested in that part of the report since I change the every year and have yet to do more than 5k miles between oil/filter changes.

 

How useful is the information to an owner? I guess if I saw that the copper and lead reading were very high then I might consider - as a pre-emptive  measure - rod bearing replacement even though the weren't yet making odd or alarming noises. I plan on getting my oil analysed every year from now on so I can monitor wear trends. Don't think it's going to tell me much about the chain guides though since they are plastic; a borescope inspection would be better for this, which isn't invasive or expensive. 

 

An engine oil analysis report that reveals below average wear gives a little (qualified) peace of mind, I guess? (A copy of my report has gone into the M5's service history file.)

 

Here's a background piece I found useful:-  http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/30274/motor-oil-limits

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Might want to wait a few thousand miles until testing the oil otherwise it's unlikely to give a meaningful result for accumulated wear metals. My oil had done 5250 miles when it was sampled and sent off to Miller Oil.

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